Reiki comes from two words: Rei meaning Universal and Ki meaning Life Force. Practitioners are Attuned to the Reiki Energy then Trained to work with and transfer Universal Energy through the palms for self-healing and a state of equilibrium.
Most commonly used for stress reduction, Reiki triggers the para-sympathetic nervous system to take over, allowing the recipient to release the fight-or-flight response and promote healing. During a session, the recipient remains clothed and the practitioner’s hands are placed near or lightly touching various parts of the body, including areas around the head, shoulders, stomach, legs, and feet. Reiki energy flows from the practitioner’s hands and into the recipient’s physical body and energy field. Most recipient report feelings of relaxation, peace and well-being. Recipients often fall asleep during a session. Sessions can last from ten minutes to more than an hour, depending upon available time.
Reiki was brought to the US in 1937 by Hawayo Takata and has gradually gained in popularity. A study done in 2007 by the National Health Interview Survey indicates that 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki in the previous year. According to the American Hospital Association, in 2007, 15% or over 800 American hospitals offered Reiki as part of hospital services.
The popularity of Reiki in hospitals has been largely driven by requests from patients and by nurses and doctors who have experienced its value. They report that Reiki reduces stress, decreases the amount of pain medication required, improves sleep and appetite, and accelerates the healing process. It has also been reported to reduce many of the unwantedside effects of radiation and drugs, including chemotherapy.