Reiki Therapy: What You Need to Know

Learn more about energy healing

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.

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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. 

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  • Pamela Miles

    Thank you for providing information on Reiki practice. However, it is well documented that the practice was founded in Japan in the early 1920s by Mikao Usui. Because there are no standards for Reiki education or practice, there has been much misinformation circulated since the practice was brought to the U.S. The story about Tibet and “rediscovery” has no basis in fact, and was put forth after the death of Hawayo Takata in1980, apparently as an attempt by one of her student to bolster the respectability of such a young spiritual practice.

    • Dillonvale1964

      Seriously? I am going to file this away under “who cares?”

      • Lilia V. Marquez, RN

        ” A bad attitude is like a flat tire, you will not go anywhere unless you changed it “

  • Lilia V. Marquez, RN

    Quite disappointed that you remove my comments. Patients/clients/the public must be well informed. As an RN(Critical Care/Holistic Nurse) myself, I am a strong advocate of patient safety.

    Some of your Reiki information are misleading. As Reiki teachers, we are evolving and must continue to learn and have an open mind and grateful heart for new knowledge about Reiki history. Ego has no place in Reiki.

    • John Avery

      From the article. “Reiki can be used safely to treat cancer…”
      can be a preferred method in pain management, recovery, and achieving
      well being, but this statement is simply false and irresponsible. I’m
      really surprised to see this from the Cleveland Clinic.

      • franktrades

        Reiki can be used safely to treat cancer. There is no falsehood in that. Is it effective? That is another question not dealt with here.

    • franktrades

      I’m sorry. Exactly what, specifically, do you object to here relative to ego-promotion?

  • Ann Dexter jones-Jones

    Thank you Cleveland Clinic for guiding us on the right path of information. – any ‘Nay Sayers’ should leave their egos and self importance at home.

  • Kevin Daly, RN

    It’s sad to see such a well known hospital such as the Cleveland Clinic promote in amy way baseless faith healing methods such as Reiki. It’s demeaning to those that practice actual medicine.

    • franktrades

      Kevin, have you experienced Reiki?