Health Hub

by Robin Gaudette

Some time ago, I had a friend buy me a “healing” session.

The person called me on the phone and asked what my physical problems were that she was going to “treat.” She then told me to hang up and just relax in my chair while she did the healing session.

That was my first introduction to energy work. Since that session I have had other more successful “sessions” with various practitioners of energy work and heard of very positive experiences from others. I am not trying to advocate for or against Reike or other energy healing methods. I want to give you an overview of this discipline and its history.

Reike is a Japanese healing technique designed to reduce stress and promote relaxation and healing. In Japanese, Rei means “higher power” and ki means “life force energy.”

The word Reike translates as “spiritually guided life force energy.”

According to the International Center for Reike Training and The Reiki Association, the life force energy flows through the practitioner’s hands, channeled into the client’s body.

During a Reiki session, the client is lying or sitting and remains clothed. The Reiki practitioner uses a series of hand positions on or near the client’s body. There is no massage or manipulation involved. Proponents say they experience deep relaxation, harmony with their environment and are centered.

In 1922, Mikao Usui, a Japanese man who studied healing methods, founded the modern day Reiki practice. Usui passed his method to a naval doctor, Chujiro Hayashi, who practiced his refined method and mentored Hawayo Takata, who had been a beneficiary of his healing methods.

Takata is credited with bringing Reiki to the West in 1937. Before her death in 1980, she trained 22 Reiki “masters.”

As of 2014, the International Center estimates there are about 4 million practitioners and 1 million master practitioners worldwide.

I always try to include research information in my articles. Unfortunately, there is not enough data to support or dispute the validity of energy healing. As with many alternative practices, the studies done are few and with a very small sampling. The sticking points are the existence of a subtle energy field that is not visible or measurable, the definition of balance and having a control group for human touch.

The National Institutes of Health and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine have funded studies on Reike in regards to HIV/AIDS and cancer patients, pain and quality of life and older adults with pain, anxiety and depression.

Proponents of Reiki list benefits of treatments as relaxation, pain management, reduced anxiety, decrease in depression symptoms, improved sleep and digestion, quicker recovery from surgery and greater self awareness.

For myself, I support alternative methods if you can do so with an open mind and make every effort to consciously support the principles and philosophy. I am not advocating these therapies as a replacement to traditional western medicine, but opening the possibility of Reiki as a complementary therapy.

The five Reiki principles resonate with me. If I could wake up every day vowing to follow the principles and end everyday knowing that I did my best, I would be happy.

Just for today ... I will let go of anger.

Just for today ... I will let go of worry.

Just for today ... I will give thanks for my many blessings.

Just for today ... I will do my work honestly.

Just for today ... I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.

— Robin Gaudette is the aquatics wellness coordinator at the Redmond Area Park and Recreation District. Contact her at robin.gaudette@raprd.org .

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