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Discovering What Reiki Is and Isn't

Reiki is popping up all over the place, but lots of folks are still confused about what Reiki is exactly. In the context here, Reiki is both:

  • A healing system that channels universal life-force energy: This system was originally developed by Mikao Usui in the early 1900s in Japan.
  • The name of the energy itself: Rei means spiritual wisdom, and ki means energy, so Reiki means spiritual energy.

Some people use the word Reiki as a verb, as in "I will Reiki him." What they are saying is, "I will give Reiki to him."

Reiki is available to everyone. Anyone of any age or illness level can receive Reiki. Even newborn babies or people at the end of life can benefit from the relaxation that Reiki provides.

What Reiki is

In short, Reiki gives you what you need, whether it's a release of tension or an energy boost, or both. To help you more fully understand what Reiki gives you, here are some terms used to describe Reiki:

  • Gentle: Reiki's touch is soft and light.
  • Harmless: Reiki can have only positive results.
  • Natural: You don't need any equipment or tools.
  • Healing: The highest level of healing is the goal of Reiki.
  • Balancing: Reiki will balance your energy levels.
  • Relaxing: The top reason to try Reiki is to feel the bliss of deep relaxation.
  • Energizing: If you're drained of energy, Reiki will revive you.

What Reiki isn't

Knowing what Reiki isn't is as important as knowing what it is:

  • Reiki is not religious. Reiki is totally nondenominational. You can practice any religion (or none) and still use and benefit from Reiki. Reiki Founder Mikao Usui was influenced by the religions of his country, Shintoism and Buddhism. But Reiki isn't associated with any religion, and people of all faiths and beliefs are Reiki practitioners. Reiki isn't New Age either.
  • Reiki is not massage or reflexology. Reiki is an energy-healing system and not a manipulative system (hands moving the body). Reiki is distinct from reflexology and massage. But Reiki is sometimes confused with other hands-on healing arts, especially reflexology.

Making the religion/spirituality distinction

Reiki isn't a religion, but it is spiritual. The distinction between spirituality and religion has caused a lot of confusion with regard to Reiki. These concepts are overlapping but separate. Spirituality is the belief in your connection with the divine, no matter whether you call it a higher power, God, spirit, soul, or even the stars. The purpose of spiritual development is to improve this connection and see the divinity within yourself and all around you.

Religion provides guidance on how to develop yourself spiritually. It tells you what the divine looks like and gives you frameworks of texts, places of worship, and guides to support you.

You can be part of a religion and not have a spiritual connection. You can have a spiritual connection and not belong to a religion.

Reiki provides a means for spiritual growth. No matter what your religious background, you'll find that the principles are relevant and don't conflict with your religious practice. In fact, Reiki should enhance your personal religious connection. The spiritual aspects of Reiki enable you to do the following:

  • Connect to a higher source: You use prayer and meditation to connect to God or the higher power of your own beliefs. Spiritual connection provides the never-ending supply of Reiki energy.
  • Channel the higher energy: Reiki healing energy is not from the practitioner but comes through the practitioner from God or another higher power.
  • Keep spiritually healthy: Just as you maintain your physical health with nutritious food, fresh air, and exercise, you also need to maintain your spiritual health. Prayer, meditation, quiet times, and spiritual exercise (doing kind acts) can help in this regard. Reiki uses the following spiritual tools: Reiki principles, meditation, and symbols and chanting.
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