There has been a rising trend of people seeking complementary and alternative therapies to help alleviate ailments and issues that mainstream Western medicine cannot (or employ them both in tandem). Think acupuncture, moxibustion, forest bathing, sound healing and flotation therapy. These therapies are said to help people cope with problems ranging from chronic ailments such as pain to mental stressors such as anxiety.
Reiki, or energy healing, is another form of therapy that has been gaining traction. This form of therapy, which originates from Japan, is said to employ the transfer of universal life energy (which exists in everyone) from the practitioner to the patient. To help us demystify reiki, we’ve tapped on the expertise of various reiki practitioners in Singapore. Read on to find out what they have to say about reiki and how it could benefit you.
According to Elaine Grundy, the founder of The Reiki Centre, reiki is a Japanese word loosely translated to “universal life force”. It also refers to the practice of reiki, which is a type of balancing technique and self-health modality similar to meditation.
Reiki brings about healing in two different ways. Elaine Victoria Yang, reiki teacher and sound healer at Reiki Glow Singapore, explains: “On a physical level, it supports the body in its healing – our body has an innate intelligence to heal itself and reiki simply supports that process.”
“Reiki is also very meditative and calming in nature, which makes it excellent for people who are suffering from emotional or mental stressors. Most importantly, reiki brings about more awareness, clarity and capacity to address the root causes of what we may be creating that is causing the imbalance and stress in our lives in the first place.”
The origins of reiki can be traced to Mikao Usui, who was said to have created the alternative therapy in the 1900s as a way to help students tap into and connect with the universal life energy to aid their own self-development. Grundy adds that while Usui himself was a Buddhist, reiki is not tied to any religion or belief systems.
Later, reiki was brought to the USA by Hawayo Takata (whose teacher was said to have learnt it from Usui) and the practice took off in the 1990s. Like yogic and meditative styles where practitioners add their own flair to the mix, Grundy explains that “there has been a further proliferation of different styles and lineages coming out of Japan and also developed by other teachers around the world.”
While this is not an exhaustive list, Yang provides some examples where reiki can be tremendously helpful.
1. To support and promote healing (It is important to note that reiki is a complementary therapy, not an alternative therapy – it is never to replace medical intervention)
2. When going through a difficult time, such as job stress, grief, or working through a transition
3. When there is too much mind chatter/mind fog and you want to have more mental clarity
Yang says: “Reiki is first and foremost a self-healing modality, and I encourage my clients to learn it for themselves at a workshop, so they can give themselves reiki. It is extremely empowering to know you can take healing into your own hands – literally in this case.”
“The benefits of reiki differ from person to person. In general, most people will feel more calm, grounded, relaxed and have more clarity or focus after,” shares Jaslyn Kee-Ng, a reiki instructor at One Heart. Her colleague and fellow reiki instructor Rie Komiya adds that the benefits of reiki include stress reduction, deeper relaxation and sleep, emotion management, personal growth and trauma healing.
The experts all agree that everyone can undergo reiki, though Komiya adds that it is not recommended during early pregnancy unless one had been practising or receiving reiki before pregnancy.
“A reiki session is usually an hour or more, and is performed fully clothed with you lying down,” says Grundy. “Every practitioner does it differently as there are no hard and fast rules around reiki. Each session will usually be very soothing with the practitioner’s hands lightly resting on (or hovering over) different parts of your body to induce deep relaxation.” Yang adds that the experience of each session is unique, where you might feel “sensations like heat, tingling, waves, or even see colours”.
“We would suggest to clients to come in comfortable clothing and have an open mind,” says Kee-Ng. “During the session, we will get them to let go of any thoughts that they might have and relax throughout the session. After the session, they are advised to drink more water and rest more if needed.”
“Reiki is a cumulative therapy and healing in itself is cumulative, so the more reiki you receive over time, the deeper the benefits. My recommendation for the long term, therefore, is to learn it for yourself, rather than only depending on receiving reiki sessions from a practitioner – I give myself reiki every day!” shares Yang.
“If you prefer to receive reiki from a practitioner, I’d suggest three sessions to support the healing process at the beginning. If it is a more chronic condition, then more sessions may be needed. In general, there is no specific recommended frequency, as it depends on what the individual needs at that time. I’d encourage practitioners to also tap into what feels right for them – you have to listen to your own wisdom with your healing.”
“How much one wants to give credit to reiki depends on one’s perception. In my view and experience, there is no placebo effect as the body’s innate wisdom uses reiki, the universal life force, for one’s highest good,” says Komiya. “To a naysayer, I would tell them, whenever you are ready.”