What Is Reiki

Reiki is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. The teaching was continued and adapted by various teachers. It uses a technique commonly called palm healing as a form of complementary and alternative medicine and is sometimes classified as oriental medicine by some professional bodies. Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring universal energy (reiki) in the form of ki through the palms that allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium.

There are two main branches of Reiki, commonly referred to as Traditional Japanese Reiki and Western Reiki. The primary difference between branches is that the Westernized form uses systematized gestures rather than relying on an intuitive sense for proper hand patterns. Both branches have a three-tiered hierarchy of degrees - commonly called First, Second, and Master/Teacher - which are associated with different skills and abilities.

A comprehensive review of the research (Lee, et. al. 2008) concluded: “evidence is insufficient to suggest that reiki is an effective treatment for any condition. Therefore the value of reiki remains unproven.” The American Cancer Society has reached a similar conclusion, stating: "Available scientific evidence at this time does not support claims that Reiki can help treat cancer or any other illness. More study may help determine to what extent, if at all, it can improve a patient's sense of well-being.”

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