Reiki is a healing modality in which universal energy is channeled through the practitioner’s hands to the client who lies on a table, fully clothed. This method creates relaxation and calm, which supports the body’s natural healing processes. Reiki can also complement other modalities to enhance their effectiveness.
The word ‘reiki’ is both an energy and a method for using the energy. “Reiki” is the combination of two Japanese words, “rei” and “ki,” meaning “universal energy.” But what does that mean? What, exactly, is “universal energy?”
“Universal energy” refers to the vibrancy that surrounds, empowers, and animates all living things. It is an entirely positive energy that allows living things to tend toward healing. It is what is behind the saying, “Most things are better by morning.” It is an intrinsic part of creation.
Reiki as a system is in many ways just as mysterious. While most practitioners agree that it dates to the late 19th century in Japan and to a medical doctor named Mikao Usui, many of the details of his story and of how his method came to the United States differ. Most agree that Dr. Usui went alone on a twenty-one day fasting pilgrimage on Mt. Koriyama and came down the mountain with a set of symbols he had received that could be used for healing.
After that it was a question of how to use the symbols, how to teach them, who was authorized to use them, and under what conditions. Naturally there were efforts to control the method and to allow it to be practiced only by a select few. In part this was normal, if unfortunate, human behavior, and in part it was the process of learning the method’s power.
Ultimately, two things were found to be fundamental: the recipient of Reiki energy must ask to be healed and an exchange must occur between the recipient and the practitioner. Thus, the recipient participates in the healing and without this involvement the method is ineffective. For these reasons, Reiki cannot be administered indiscriminately, without the recipient’s awareness, or without permission.
Shamballa is a development of this system, using many of the same practices but in a more open-ended and intuitive way.