Reiki is a modern-day Japanese healing art which was developed in the early 1920’s, and the name is made up of two Japanese words: Rei which means “Higher Power or Wisdom of God” and ki which means “energy of life force”.

The practice of Reiki is intended to promote health and healing by relaxation and the release of stress, a mind-body method of inducing wellness. Reiki theory states that this can be achieved by the laying of hands to get a person’s life-force flowing properly. If life-force energy is low, a person can become depressed and ill. Unlike other branches of traditional Asian medicine such as acupuncture, Reiki is spiritually guided.

Reiki is meant to be a holistic approach to wellness, treating both the psychological and emotional issues a person may have which will in turn help restore a balance of energy to the physical body, eliminating problems such as disease and pain. The underlying ideology of Reiki is that negative thoughts and emotions cause a massive interruption to the flow of life-force energy; Reiki rectifies and heals this by flowing through the affected areas and blasting the area with positive energy. These positive thoughts will cause the negative energy’s vibratory field to rise in the areas experiencing pain or disease, making the bad energy collapse and melt away. The life-force can then resume its normal, healthy flow. 

One very interesting aspect of Reiki is that the life-force energy is deemed to be intelligent; the energy will know where a person needs to be healed, and the healing process is not dependent on the person administering the treatment. Reiki is also said to be beneficial for both parties involved and the practitioner suffers no loss of life-force whatsoever.

Because the practice is spiritually-based, scientific studies are difficult to come by, but some groups, such as the Cleveland Clinic and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine sponsor and collaborate on research concerning the effects of Reiki on stress; a study is currently being carried out. Anecdotal evidence abounds, with many people who have received Reiki treatments in conjunction with regular medical treatments claiming its effects are nothing short of miraculous. Doctors will also say that because Reiki is non-invasive, is natural and has no side effects whatsoever, that it can help increase the comfort levels of those who are in pain and can be used as part of an overall medical therapy.

Actual treatment is conductive in a very calm, almost meditative state with no talking, which some patients find incredibly relaxing. A whole-body treatment, in which a person lies down on a massage table, takes about 45 minutes to an hour and a half, and involves the practitioner either lightly placing their hands in 12 to 20 positions on the patient’s body or keeping their hands slightly above the patient. Each position is held for several minutes. A common effect that patients feel during this time is a localised, intense warmth in the area where the practitioner’s hands are. A deep state of relaxation is felt, and at times, patients may experience outbursts of emotional releases. This is what Reiki advocates claim will start the body’s natural healing process, and while spontaneous cures for serious conditions do not usually happen, people do tend to feel better than they did before treatment.

Reiki cannot cure cancer, however, what it can do is help people who are suffering from stress for any reason relax and perhaps feel happier. Science has proven that there is a powerful mind-body connection when it comes to healing and pain relief ( as seen in neurobiologist David Felten’s work); therefore, Reiki can definitely help in your quest to find lower back pain relief when used in conjunction with other medically established treatments. Before starting on any type of complementary treatment for your chronic pain, speak with your doctor to see if Reiki is a good option for you. For more information on how meditation and calming therapies can promote overall wellness and provide chronic pain relief, visit our blog.