Reiki Therapy: What You Need to Know

reiki woman on massage table

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a complementary natural healing technique that originated in Tibet. In the early 20th century, a Japanese Buddhist, Dr. Mikao Usui, rediscovered Reiki. Today, this healing therapy is offered by certified Reiki practitioners who trained under Reiki Masters.

Below, Cleveland Clinic Center for Integrative Medicine Reiki practitioner Vickie Bodner, LMT, answers common questions about Reiki:

What does Reiki feel like?

Reiki is an extremely relaxing experience used to support your entire well-being — body, mind, emotions and spirit. The energy used in Reiki feels like soothing waves of warmth coming from the practitioner’s hands. It may be likened to the comforting touch of a compassionate friend, sustained for minutes at a time.

Is Reiki a type of massage?

Reiki is not a physical manipulation of the body’s tissues like a massage. A practitioner’s hands may touch the patient lightly or not at all. Reiki is gentle, noninvasive and has no side effects.

How does Reiki heal?

Reiki practitioners believe that the body is energy-based and that blocking the inner flow of this energy can lead to illness. Reiki sessions allow vital energy, or life force, to flow, releasing blockages that may lead to illness. This energy comes from a universal source, rather than from the practitioner or patient. Healing occurs as the practitioner connects the patient to his or her particular source of universal spiritual energy, whether it be God, Buddha or another source.

What conditions does Reiki treat?

Reiki is used for any condition or disease, since it treats and supports the whole person and helps to bring the person into balance. Reiki can be used safely to treat cancer, fertility issues, chronic disease and chronic pain. It is helpful prior after surgery and helps to promote healing during recovery. Reiki is also useful in treating stress-related conditions, and emotional or psychological issues.