Reiki is a type of energy therapy. The most widely practiced form of reiki is Usui reiki, founded by Dr. Mikao Usui in 1922. “Rei” means universal, and “ki” means life energy. Reiki’s energy relief is similar to that of acupuncture, but practitioners use their hands to transfer energy instead of needles. 

Reiki is not a cure for any disease, illness, or condition. Instead, the practice assists in relaxation and pain relief. This energy transfer promotes well being by managing symptoms, easing natural bodily processes, and alleviating emotional stress. Some patients seek out reiki for mood boosting. Practitioners can help soothe the various sources of pain a patient might carry into the session.  

Each reiki session is unique to the patient. A reiki session usually lasts for 20 to 90 minutes. Traditional reiki does not involve crystals or other items. The exception to this rule is distance healing, in which a practitioner uses crystals to help heal a faraway patient. Patients can prepare for a reiki session by wearing comfortable clothing and hydrating.   

After a short introductory conversation, the patient lies down on a mat or table. A practitioner will use their hands to tend to the patient’s energy fields. The practitioner’s hands are placed either on or just above the patient’s body throughout the session. That introductory conversation allows patients to pinpoint areas that need extra attention. The practitioner will likely pay longer attention to a wound, holding their hands in a specific position until the energy has finished transferring and stopped flowing. Reiki is the management of this qi, or universal energy that runs throughout the body. Practitioners can infuse, beam, clear, or center a patient’s energy, as well as rake the aura or remove harmful energy. Patients might experience tingling, heat, or visualizations during the energy transfers. These sensations can contribute to feelings of relaxation and relief.    

Anecdotal evidence from reiki patients point to the practice’s benefits. More research is needed to solidify whether or not reiki can actually heal patients of existing conditions. The physical and mental relief that patients experience is real, but studies show that reiki cannot be used as a cure. 

However, there are no risks or side effects of a reiki session. Patients can experience an improved quality of life from reiki even if an underlying condition is not fully healed. Ultimately, patients should seek out reiki for pain relief and symptom management, not as a cure.