Reiki- The Holistic Therapy


Mrs. Malar Kodi Aathi

Assistant Professor, Dept. of Child Health Nursing, M.M Institute of Nursing, M.M University, Mullana,

Ambala Haryana.133207

. *Corresponding Author Email:



Reiki is described by adherents as a holistic therapy which brings about healing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level the belief is that the energy will flow through the practitioner's hands whenever the hands are placed on, or held near a potential recipient. Some teachings stress the importance of the practitioner's intention or presence in this process, while others claim that the energy is drawn by the recipient's injury to activate or enhance the natural healing processes8. Further to this notion, the belief is that the energy is "intelligent”, meaning that the Reiki knows where to heal, even if a practitioner's hands are not present in the specific area1. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery4.


KEYWORDS: Reiki, holistic therapy, Intelligent, Virtual, therapeutic technique.




Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "lying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy3. Treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you10. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. Its use is not dependent on one's intellectual capacity or spiritual development and therefore is available to everyone. It has been successfully taught to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds1.


While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma, and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki.


In fact, Reiki is not dependent on belief at all and will work whether you believe in it or not. Because Reiki comes from God, many people find that using Reiki puts them more in touch with the experience of their religion rather than having only an intellectual concept of it. Reiki is not a religion, it is still important to live and act in a way that promotes harmony with others6.




Reiki is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui, (figure: 1) which has since been adapted by various teachers of varying traditions. It uses a technique commonly called palm healing or hands on healing as a form of alternative medicine and is sometimes classified as oriental medicine by some professional medical bodies. Their purpose is to help people realize that healing the spirit by consciously deciding to improve oneself is a necessary part of the Reiki healing experience7.



There are two main branches of Reiki, commonly referred to as Traditional Japanese Reiki and Western Reiki. Though differences can be wide and varied between branches and traditions11.



Figure: 1 Mikao Usui (1865–1926)



The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy". So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy5."


Concept or principles:

The five concepts of Mikao Usui, contained within the whole text (Japanese writing is read from top to bottom, moving from right to left). Note: Commonly called the Five Precepts or Five Principles, they start in the third column from the right below the space, and continue in the fourth and fifth columns from the right. This is a secret art of inviting happiness, the miraculous medicine for all diseases3. (Figure: 2)

Figure: 2 Principles of Reiki Therapy


Figure: 3 Reiki techniques

Purposes of Reiki in health care:

·        National Health Interview Survey (2007) reveals use of complementary health practices by Indians, more than 1.2 million adults 0.5 percent of general adult population had used an energy healing therapy, such as Reiki, in the previous year11.

·        Use of Reiki for conditions such as fibromyalgia, pain, cancer, and depression, and for overall well-being6.


Although some small studies suggest that Reiki may help with symptoms related to these conditions, others have not found any clinical benefits. There is a lack of high-quality research to definitively evaluate Reiki’s effectiveness for any therapeutic purpose4


Side Effects and Risks

Reiki appears to be generally safe, and no serious side effects have been reported9.


Methods and techniques:

Usui Reiki Ryōhō does not use any medication or instruments, but uses looking, blowing, light tapping, and touching. According to Frank Arjava Petter, Usui touched the diseased parts of the body, he massaged them, tapped them lightly, stroked them, blew on them, fixed his gaze upon them for two to three minutes, and specifically gave them energy, and used a technique commonly referred to as palm healing as a form of complementary and alternative medicine11. (Figure: 3)


Whole body treatment

In a typical whole-body Reiki treatment the Reiki is instructs the recipient to lie down, usually on a massage table, and relax. Loose, comfortable clothing is usually worn during the treatment. Take a few moments to enter a calm or meditative state of mind and mentally prepare for the treatment, is usually carried out without any unnecessary talking14.


The treatment proceeds with the placing the hands on the recipient in various positions. However, may use a non-touching technique, where the hands are held a few centimeters away from the recipient's body for some or all of the positions. The hands are usually kept in a position for three to five minutes before moving to the next position. Overall, the hand positions usually give a general coverage of the head, the front and back of the torso, the knees, and feet. Between 12 and 20 positions are used, with the whole treatment lasting anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes11.


A Western Reiki treatment is considered a type of large-scale treatment in comparison to the more localized-style treatment of Traditional Japanese Reiki.

The use of the 12 hand positions are believed to energies on many levels by:

·        Energizing on a physical level through the warmth of the hands,

·        Energizing on the mental level through the use of the Reiki symbols,

·        Energizing on the emotional level through the love that flows with the use of the symbols,

·        Energizing on the energetic level though the presence of an initiated as well as the presence of the Reiki power itself13.


It is reported that the recipient often feels warmth or tingling in the area being treated, even when a non-touching approach is being used. A state of deep relaxation, combined with a general feeling of well-being, is usually the most noticeable immediate effect of the treatment, although emotional releases can also occur. As the Reiki treatment is said to stimulate the body's natural healing processes, instantaneous "cures" of specific health problems are not normally observed. A series of three or more treatments, typically at intervals of one to seven days, is usually recommended if a chronic condition is being addressed, and regular treatments on an on-going basis can be used with the aim of maintaining well-being. The interval between such treatments is typically in the range of one to four weeks, except in the case of self-treatment where daily practice is common.


Localized treatment


Figure: 4 Localized treatment


A Reiki treatment in progress, Localized Reiki treatment involves hands being held on or near a specific part of the body for a varying length of time. Recent injuries are usually treated in this way, with the site of injury being targeted. There is great variation in the duration of such treatments, though 20 minutes is typical. (Figure: 4)


Some use localized treatments for certain ailments, and some publications have tabulated appropriate hand positions, However, prefer to use the whole body treatment for all chronic conditions, on the grounds that it has a more holistic effect12.


Research/critical evaluation:

The proposed mechanism for reiki energy is hypothetical as the existence of the ki or "life force" energy used in this method has not been proven scientifically.


A 2008 systematic review of randomized clinical trials assessing the evidence basis of reiki concluded that efficacy had not been demonstrated for any condition.[4] Nine studies fit the inclusion criteria; a modified Jadad score of methodological quality was used, taking into account the difficulty of blinding practitioners. Non-randomized studies were excluded, as the potential for intentional or unintentional bias in such studies is large, rendering the results un-interpretable. Overall, the methodological quality of the evidence base was poor as most of the studies suffered from flaws such as small sample size, inadequate study design and poor reporting, with even high-ranking studies failing fully to control for placebo effects." As trials with such flaws are known to be likely to show exaggerated treatment effects, there is insufficient evidence to indicate that reiki is effective as sole or adjuvant therapy for any medical condition, or that it has any benefits beyond possible placebo effects. Placebo trials of Reiki are complicated by the difficulty of designing a realistic placebo, although subsequent trials with adequate placebo or sham controls have shown no difference between the procedure and the control groups5.


A 2009 review in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that "the serious methodological and reporting limitations of limited existing reiki studies preclude a definitive conclusion on its effectiveness4."



Reiki is a complementary health practice in which practitioners place their hands lightly on or just above the person, with the goal of facilitating the person’s own healing response. There is a lack of high-quality research in this field. However, this fact sheet provides basic information about Reiki and suggests sources for additional information2.



1.       Lubeck, Petter, and Rand (2001). Chapter 14, pages 108 to 110; Ellyard (2004). Page 79; McKenzie (1998). Pages 19, 42, and 52; Lubeck (1996). Page 22; Borang (1997). Page 57; Veltheim and Veltheim (1995). Page 72

2.       Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine. "BRCP Divisions and Practices [Institute For Complementary And Natural Medicine (ICNM)]". Retrieved 2 January 2011. 

3.       Reiki flows through hands: (McKenzie (1998). Page 18); (Ellyard (2004). Page 27); (Borang (1997). Page 9); (Veltheim and Veltheim (1995). Page 33)

4.       MS; Pittler, MH; Ernst, E (2008). "Effects of Reiki in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials". International Journal of Clinical Practice 62 (6): 947–54. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2008.01729.x. PMID 18410352. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 

5.       "Reiki". American Cancer Society. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 

6.       Energy Medicine: An Overview". National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Archived from the original on 11 November 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 

7.       The San Mateo Times, 2 May 1975, 32/1.

8.       Lubeck, Petter, and Rand (2001). Page 302; McKenzie (1998). Page 18; Shuffrey (1998). Page 1.

9.       Jack Halpern, New Japanese-English Character Dictionary Kenkyūsha, 1990, NTC reprint, 1993. Ki is additionally defined as "… spirits; one's feelings, mood, frame of mind; temperament, temper, disposition, one's nature, character; mind to do something, intention, will; care, attention, precaution".

10.     Derivation of name: Lubeck, Petter, and Rand (2001). Chapter 6)

11.     M. Spahn and W. Hadamidtzy (1989), Japanese Character Dictionary With Compound Lookup via Any Kanji, Nichigai.

12.     J. H. Haig (1997 edition), The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary, Tuttle.

13.     T. Watanabe, E., R. Skrzypczak, and P. Snowden (2003). Kenkyūsha's New Japanese-English Dictionary.

14.     Magical qi within the heart"; R. Eno, 2005, Lin Yutang, 1972, Lin Yutang's Chinese-English Dictionary of Modern Usage, Chinese University of Hong Kong Press.





Received on 10.09.2013           Modified on 28.10.2013

Accepted on 24.12.2013           © A&V Publication all right reserved

Int. J. Adv. Nur. Management 2(2): April- June, 2014; Page 118-121