Reiki is a practice from Japan that dates back to the early 1900s. Reiki Ryoh, is a type of energy healing was created by Matiji Kawakami back in 1914, who had published several books about it. Other forms of Reiki were practised by other practioners during that era.

According to The International Center for Reiki Training, another style of the practice was developed by Mikao Usui Sensei (sensei meaning “honourable teacher) back in 1922, which set the foundation for modern forms of Reiki.

According to the IARP (International Association of Reiki Professionals), “rei” in the name Reiki, is universal life in Japanese, while “ki” means energy (known in Chinese martial arts as well). In Reiki, the Reiki practitioner uses gentle touch when they place their hands on a person’s clothed body or just above it and moves them in a specific pattern of hand placements.

These hand placements create a feeling of well-being to the person.

For more than a century, people from the East use and practice Reiki regularly. The health benefits of Reiki however, are still inconclusive and need further study.

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice published a review in 2018 that suggested that Reiki could potentially relieve pain. The review was from an experiment based on four randomized, controlled trials. The results did indicate pain reduction from 104 people who were treated with Reiki, compared to 108 control patients.

Three randomized studies of Reiki were looked at in a report published in Cochrane Systematic Reviews back in 2015, for treating depression and anxiety or both at the same time.

No clear benefits as well as no harmful effects were found by the researchers saying there was “insufficient evidence” to determine if Reiki was helpful for people aged over 16 with both these conditions. However, according to a study in the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health back in 2019, the combination of Reiki with traditional counselling could help relieve anxiety.

According to a report published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine back in 2017, Reiki has “reasonably strong support”  in the sense that it is more effective compared to a placebo. 13 studies were looked at by the author; eight of those showed a benefit over placebo, four showed no difference, and one showed significant evidence that it was no better than a placebo effect.

“Reiki is one of many ‘fringe’ topics in integrative medicine—it’s controversial, but there’s lots of public interest,” says an assistant clinical professor of medicine of the David Geffen School of Medicine and medical director of the UCLA Health Integrative Medicine Collaborative, Elizabeth Ko, MD, in Los Angeles. “We, as a committee, recently reviewed the topic in detail and came to the conclusion that there simply isn’t enough quality research to support its use. That said, the practice carries very little side effects. I don’t advocate for its use, but I also don’t advocate against it… there may be a benefit, even if it stems from a placebo effect!”

According to the director of fellowship in integrative medicine at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine in Tucson, Ann Marie Chiasson, MD, MPH, chronic pain can be eased by Reiki.

Dr. Chiasson says “Chronic pain is different than acute pain,” explaining that three months is the usual duration of chronic pain and that the brain is affected differently than acute pain. In chronic pain, more pain receptors are turned on and signals that tells the pain to stop which are fired from the brain aren’t fired as frequently.

Reiki may be beneficial because touch is helpful when it comes to chronic pain, Dr. Chiasson says, as the body and brain are put in a relaxed state. “In the paradigm of energy healing, pain is blocked energy. So you need movement or touch to move that energy block,” she explains. “You don’t want to touch right on the spot of pain, but more upstream to move the energy.”

Should you try Reiki?

According to a research scientist at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Natalie L. Dyer, PhD, who is in favor of Reiki; age, gender, or beliefs do not matter and anyone can try Reiki. Women are more likely to try Reiki more than men according to Dyer as women are more open minded to try mind-body practices, complementary and alternative medicine, like yoga.

Though science could not find a specific connection, the best results are seen by people who practice regular meditation or yoga. “I would hypothesize that, as a practitioner, meditation practice would enhance the effectiveness of Reiki because it cultivates the ability to focus,” Dyer says.

So, if you are feeling unduly stressed (and who isn’t nowadays), perhaps you may want to try a Reiki session for destressing and relaxation. Just make sure you consult a registered Reiki practitioner, and do highlight any health conditions before you proceed.

By Aaron
9th May 19:31

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