The healing power of Reiki

Sarah-Belle Murphy
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Stress out?
In a perfect world, we'd sail through life completely devoid of stress and worry. It's a nice scenario, but for most of us this will never be the case. We all have our ways to unwind — a bubble bath, a mind-numbing flick or an after-work glass of wine — but sometimes even our favourites can leave us feeling still wired. If you're looking for a new way to chill out, try a different route in the form of reiki.

What is means
Reiki, for those unfamiliar with the term, is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation which hails from Japan. Made up of two words — rei, "higher power", and ki, "life-force energy" — it can be translated to mean "spiritually-guided life-force energy".

There has been endless speculation about where reiki originated, the most popular theory being that it started from Buddhism, but there is little confirmation of this. Wherever its roots lie, it's a complete natural practise that promotes peace, harmony and a deep sense of wellbeing — and it's not at all airy-fairy.

How it works
According to the principles of reiki, there is an invisible force flowing around all of us, through pathways known as chakras, meridians and nadis. This force is believed to keep us alive, nourishing the organs and cells, supporting them in the vital functions. Also responsive to thoughts and feelings, the flow becomes disrupted when we accept, either consciously or unconsciously, negatives in our lives.

These less than happy vibes attach themselves to the energy field and cause a disruption in the flow of the life force, which leaves us feeling drained. Using the laying of hands, which essentially involves the practitioner holding their hands a few inches from the body, the energy fields can be manipulated to increase intensity, dissolving the blockages that can result in disharmony.

The sceptics
Perhaps it's this lack of contact that has many scoffing at the idea of reiki having any effect whatsoever. So on that note, Health put it to the test to see whether a session of hand-hovering could really take the edge off an agitated existence.

The experience
Reiki master Dez Dalton of Reiki Empowerment has plenty of clients who rely on his reiki sessions to help counteract the lows of long working hours and the strains of everyday life. And Dez is quick to point out that no matter whether you believe in reiki or not, it is a proven formula. That is, it will work regardless.

At the beginning of the session, you will be asked to explain what it is you want to address, whether it's being helped to unwind or as a means to aid physical recovery from an injury or illness. You are then asked to lie down fully-clothed on a treatment table. If you find it more comfortable, you can remain seated. The practitioner then moves their hands over the affected areas and although there are a few positions when contact is used, overall very little touching is involved.

As Dez works over the chakras, it quickly becomes clear where the problems lie. The stronger the blockages, the more likely it is you will experience twitches, tingling and warm sensations around the body. Despite the fact that a disorder may only be recognised in one area, Dez points out it will inevitably affect the whole body. To counteract this process, he will work over all the chakras, four of which are on the head, four on the body and four on the back.

The results
For cynics, it can be hard to take seriously at first, but within a matter of minutes any self-consciousness disappears. It is not uncommon to feel overwhelmed as the therapist works over your emotional chakras. Sessions last around an hour but vary in length depending on the recipient's needs. When it's all over, prepare to feel somewhat spaced-out and completely relaxed, a feeling that should last for days.

Reiki may have had a reputation as a new-age faddy treatment but today it is highly regarded by millions around the world and even used to complement modern-day medicine. The therapy's calming effects are undeniable and if you are at a loss as to where to turn next, put your scepticism aside and try it for yourself.

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