Reiki in Real Life

What is Reiki

Reiki has the capability to change lives on a dynamic level.  The healing energy of Reiki can alleviate physical challenges, emotional issues, social disharmony, and even improve and clarify what is hoped for in the future.  Reiki meets a person where he/she is, then enhances and optimizes potentials in healing.  

It is no secret that Reiki is one of the most misunderstood and confusing modalities around and there is no shame in thinking so.  It’s understandable why people tend to view Reiki as mysterious.  When testing/researching Reiki energy, prana, chi or ki, modern science has come up with varied results.  This is not an excuse, it is just the truth.  The word “energy” alone has different paths of definitions and meanings that can refer to almost anything.  There is energy that we power our homes with, energy we power our cars with, and there is energy our bodies use (ex. electrical impulses that makes our muscles function).  We also refer to energy when expressing how we feel, to the energy of the universe, and the list goes on.  With Reiki we are talking about an energy that moves through the body and expresses through the hands.  This energy can be used to heal the self or to help others heal.

Even though I am a Reiki practitioner I reserve a certain amount of skepticism around whether or not anything is happening; if there is a healing energy flowing or if it is just some sort of psychosomatic phenomenon.  This is a healthy thing for me as it keeps me questioning and exploring for the truth within the practice, and how I am able to bring harmony to someone else’s life.  From what I have been able to observe in my practice, Reiki affects individuals in different ways.  The psychology side of me is able to recognize specific transitional goals being achieved by each individual; balance in mind and body and re-connection to “self”.  

Personal Reflection

Before I became a Reiki practitioner, I witnessed Reiki in action.  My grandmother was admitted to the hospital because of a deadly super strain of bacteria she contracted from a clinic she went to for dialysis.  Many of the other patients she befriended at the clinic had already died from this bacteria and it looked like she was going to be next.  There were many nights when we were not sure if she would get through the experience.  When my grandmother started to get better she was sent to the recovery ward only to have the medical staff send her back because they noticed she had Shingles.  Shingles is not only highly contagious but was a major medical issue in her condition.  

My grandmother was so downhearted and afraid at that point, that she was afraid of dying in her sleep and could not eat.  Eventually the medical staff was able to send her back to the recovery ward, but she was still not sleeping or eating, which was a major concern for everyone.  The day we visited her in the hospital, my (now) husband came in and asked her if she would mind if he practiced Reiki with her.  At that point in time, he had been practicing Reiki intensively for 3 years.  Keep in mind that my grandmother was from the South, very traditionally minded and had NO idea what Reiki was.  Also at that time, my now husband was my then boyfriend, who she basically just met and was not too sure if she even liked him.  But none the less, she agreed to be worked on.  

He worked on her for about an hour and after he was done, to everyone’s amazement, she sat up, asked for some food for the first time in 3 days, and returned to her usual vital, fussy self.  I had never seen such amazement on my grandfather’s face.  He had been through so much with her at this point.  She had just gone from saying her goodbyes to everyone in the family, not eating, not sleeping, and surrounded by family who thought she was on her deathbed; to displaying a vitality that we were all used to from her.  She told us later that she slept better than she did in years that night and they released her from the hospital a couple of days later.

So, What is Reiki Modality?

Reiki modality is a healing session that is done by a trained therapist.  The client remains clothed while lying on a massage table or anywhere comfortable.  The only thing the client has to do is breath and relax.  The therapist has about 12 standard hand positions they can utilize that are directly on the body with very light pressure.  Areas that receive treatment without direct contact include places like the throat chakra, where having someone’s hands in that area could feel like getting choked.  Actually, anywhere a person doesn’t feel comfortable with being touched, can be treated without direct contact.  In this case, the practitioner will place his/her hands a few inches above the body.

The tradition of Reiki does not teach about the Chakras, but the seven main ones are acknowledged when explaining the work.  The biggest difference between Chakra work and Reiki is that Reiki works from the crown of the head to the feet, while specific Chakra work starts from the feet to the head.  The reason behind this is that with Chakra work you are building from the ground up, cleaning out the energy centers before increasing the amount of energy moving through them.  Reiki, on the other hand, works from the top down, flooding the energy systems with more energy as a way to burn off negative energy while cleansing the system.  Both methods are useful and a trained therapist will know when to do what.

The brilliance of the basic Reiki hand positions is that they are over the major endocrine glands that controls essential functions of the whole body.  Jump starting these areas with charged healing energy wakes up the body’s systems that fortifies the natural healing processes.  In order to fully meet a client’s needs, Therapists will consider the client’s questions, concerns and physical issues.  They will also scan the body’s auric field for cold spots and possible areas of “dis-ease”.  Cold spots in the auric field indicates a decrease in healthy energy flow.  Healthy energy flow can feel warm, like tingling in the hands, or even as a certain vibration.  A healthy auric field is a sign of a healthy physical and emotional body.

What is Being Said

There is a lot of information about Reiki on the internet, both inspiring and not so inspiring.  Skeptics are having a field day about this topic, mostly because results are not easily observed.  The sad part about this is that those skeptics are usually people who have not experienced a Reiki session personally and who tend to get spooked by the terms that are typically used when explaining this modality. And that’s OK.  They are entitled to their opinions.  However, in my opinion, their criticism would be more palatable if they had personal experience with it.  Many of the skeptical articles that I have read about Reiki are referring to research that was done early on.  Reading those research publications myself, I kind of don’t blame them.  But you have to remember, this was the start of medical interest in the positive effects people were expressing after having a session.  

Over the last 10 years or so, Reiki has grown in popularity and can be found in spas across the world.  The claims of miraculous healing have caught the attention of researchers and professionals within the medical community with varied results.  The initial question with the research is, “does it work?”  The broad answer is yes.  Research has been done on preoperative and postoperative patients, cancer patients, stress and anxiety and in hospital setting.  The results are still out, but research is still ongoing.  The research on Reiki can be tricky because of the many variables.  It’s also new to research, and it will take a little time to figure out exactly what needs to be tested and how it needs to be tested to get an objective result.  The research I have seen so far seems all over the place, as if they were not sure how to approach testing or what to focus on.  Even the studies that show Reiki with positive results seemed unfocused.  It is essential for the approach to researching Reiki is to work with practitioners who are grounded and traditionally trained; and to employ researchers that are objective and without bias.  Personal bias in either direction will alter the outcome of any testing when it comes to Reiki energy or any spiritual energy healing system.  However, I am optimistic that we will get there.  People are having positive experiences with Reiki and science will figure out the key testing components in due time.

My advice would be, if you are considering Reiki for a healing session, do your research on the local therapists, how they were trained, and what the community has to say about them.  Reiki is not magic, and your therapist should be grounded and knowledgeable.  It does take specific training and practice for a practitioner to do the modality well and be effective.  The guidelines that the founder, Dr. Mikao Usui laid out for therapeutic practice are very specific, are meant to be studied intensely, and takes practice like any other therapeutic modality. It is not anything you gain overnight or in a weekend training.  Although, that being said, there are some really skilled therapist out there that could be right for you and your healing journey.



Want to know more about Reiki and it’s roots? I recommend this book. It is very insightful; especially for current practitioners. A wonderful resource to enhance practice.  Click on the book for more information.  Offered through Amazon.

About the author

Carla Moodie is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), Master level Reiki practitioner, and Yoga Instructor who is dedicated to holistic well being and lifestyle.  She received her 500 hour massage training and accreditation from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.  Carla also earned her Yoga Teacher Certification (CYT) from Kripalu and has been sharing the gift of yoga for over 15 years now.  She finds that Massage bodywork and Yoga really compliments one another; providing in-depth knowledge and awareness with the human anatomy and how it functions for optimum health. Carla has also earned certifications in Master level Reiki, Integrated Positional Therapy, Integrated Acupressure and Thai Massage.  

In addition to her holistic background, Carla earned her B.S. degree in Psychology, M.A. work in Counseling Psychology from Loyola College, and studies in Dance Movement Therapy.  She is currently pursuing a PsyD (Doctorate in Psychology) degree in Clinical Psycholgy. This knowledge and experience gives her a well rounded view of what keeps a person happy, healthy, and thriving.

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Featured Photo: Copyright: nikkized / 123RF Stock Photo

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