Introducing Reiki, the Spiritual Healing Art

2003 Health Supplement

Volume CIII, No. 5May, 2003

Thomas Verchot

Stress – both physical and emotional – is certainly not uncommon to musicians. Too much work can cause tension or injury to certain parts of the body. And too little work creates a lot of anxiety.

Reiki – a gentle, noninvasive method of natural, spiritual healing – is an effective way to help cope with musicians’ stress. Reiki can also help unlock energy blocks that interfere with peak performance. And it can create emotional connections to facilitate greater communication with an audience.

Reiki is actually a common Japanese word. The first part of the word, Rei, translates as transcendental spirit, mysterious power, or essence. The second part, Ki, means life force or breath, also known as chi or prana. As with most practices, however, words act as mere pointers – Reiki is much better experienced than explained.

Reiki is a healing art, and it’s important to remember that “healing” is different from “curing.” Healing re-establishes a sense of well being and inner peace. While healing may indeed also cure your physical symptoms, it is experienced primarily as an increased internal calmness and peace. A Reiki session works to establish balance in the whole person.

The benefits include relaxation, emotional release, stress reduction, energy stabilization and increased creativity. It can also help relieve pain as well as boost the immune system.

Reiki as a traditional practice was discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui in mid-19th century Japan. After a comprehensive study of spiritual healing techniques followed by a 21-day fasting and meditation period, Usui discovered the symbols and techniques for healing now known as Reiki.

Hawaya Takata brought Reiki to the United States after training in the late 1930’s with Chujiro Hayashi, Usui’s spiritual heir. Takata began teaching Reiki to other practitioners in Hawaii during the 1970’s.

There are three levels of training for Reiki.

Level One enables practitioners to treat themselves as well as others.

With Level Two, symbols are learned which can be used to balance and increase energy as well as allow healing from a distance – without even being in the physical presence of the recipient.

Level Three – Reiki Master – is the teacher’s degree. At this level one learns to attune others as channels for Reiki.

A Reiki session begins with a discussion of any physical or emotional issues that the recipient wishes to address. Permission to touch the (fully dressed) client is then formally requested.

Reiki can be administered in two ways – through direct hand contact or hovering over the body without any physical contact. The recipient draws healing energy through an attuned practitioner from the universal life source.

While the principal aim of a session is the balancing of the entire energy system, special attention can be given to specific areas where there are physical or emotional concerns.

A short meditation opens up the channeling of the energy before the treatment begins. The recipient either lies on a massage tables or sits in a chair. Standard hand positions are employed; however, intuition plays a significant role as well.

Reiki practitioners say they are channeling higher intelligence, which directs their hands to the areas where they are most needed.

At times the recipient will experience sensations of heat or cold, muscle tension release and a deepening of the breath during the session, which usually lasts approximately one hour.

There are some variations on Reiki training, but the traditional Usui method is as follows.

Both Levels One and Two involve class instruction followed by a 21-day cleansing period where Reiki is self-administered daily. Training for the master level is more complex, the procedure varying from teacher to teacher.

Although there are instructors who teach all three levels in a single weekend, this is not considered to be traditional Usui technique.

In choosing a practitioner it is usually helpful to inquire about the lineage of your prospective practitioner’s teachers. Traditional practitioners will have a lineage that leads directly back to Dr. Usui. It is also imperative that you feel safe and comfortable with the person. Trust your instincts.

Dr. Usui wrote five principals of Reiki that guide practitioners and recipients alike:

  1. Just for today, I will live the attitude of gratitude.
  2. Just for today, I will not worry.
  3. Just for today, I will not anger.
  4. Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
  5. Just for today, I will show love and respect for every living thing.

Wishing you good health and peace,

Thomas Verchot

Thomas Verchot, Traditional Reiki Practitioner, is a member of 802, and holds a Level Two certification. He is a member of the International Independent Reiki Masters and Practitioners Association. Call (212) 740-0596 for appointments or information.