What Does the Research Say about Reiki?

Reiki is a Spiritual Path that pursues a state of peace and tranquility. In order to achieve such goals, it uses practices like meditation. Reiki is also known for its therapeutic effects. Actually, almost all people define Reiki as a therapy. When we talk about Reiki as a Spiritual Path, there are no controversy, but when talking about Reiki as a therapy, there are important differences of opinion: exaggerations or denials of its effectiveness. Although there are not too many, there have been some studies on the effectiveness of Reiki, here are a few:

Effect of Reiki Therapy on Pain and Anxiety in Adults (Susan Thrane and Susan M. Cohen)
Using Reiki to decrease memory and behavior problems in mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's disease (Crawford et al, 2006)
Reiki for the management of pain in advanced cancer patients (Olson K., Hanson J., Michaud M.)
The effect of Reiki on pain and anxiety in women with abdominal hysterectomies (Vitale AT., O'Connor PC.)
Long-term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression (Goldman, 2004)
Biological correlates of Reiki Touch(sm) healing (Wardell y Engebretson, 2000)
Reconnecting to Nursing Through Reiki (Natale, 2012)
Autonomic nervous system changes during Reiki treatment (Mackay et al, 2004)
Research About Reiki and Bioenergy Grows (2018)

Jordi Ibern (September 2017)

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Reiki, a Japanese practice for everyone
With Jordi Ibern (Traditional Reiki Teacher) by A.L. Paris 2015

Reiki is a Japanese discipline that helps to improve health, relax and go deeper into the Spiritual practice. Reiki is a safe, gentle, non-invasive form of hands-on healing. Reiki benefits include increased energy, reduction of pain, deep relaxation and a general feeling of well being. According to the Reiki teacher Jordi Ibern, Reiki initiation attunes a practitioner in order to become a channel for Reiki. Regular practice is a powerful, life-changing experience for physical, mental and spiritual growth.

Traditional Usui Reiki involves three levels as created by Mikao Usui. A practitioner is initiated by a series of attunements, which open the flow of universal healing energy. During the courses, practitioners learn the meditations and practices that will help them to remain balanced.

Jordi Ibern has taught Reiki since 2004. His courses take place across Spain as well as in other European and non European countries. He also works with Jose de Groot, a Yin Yoga teacher from The Netherlands, combining Yin Yoga & Reiki. Besides teaching Reiki, he has been working as a therapist for 14 years, and has published three books, which are available in Spanish.

Jordi, tell us about you, how did you encounter Reiki?
Actually I feel like Reiki encountered me. I was working in my hometown and I wasn’t looking for something like Reiki at all. I didn’t know anything about Reiki or Meditation, or even Yoga! But one day someone read a book that I wrote when I was 24 and he told me that I should do Reiki. I asked him what it was, and he answered that it was something that I would love to do. Then, a few weeks later my girlfriend did a Reiki course. She was very enthusiastic and I decided to try as well. That is how I went to my first Reiki course. This was in 2002.

What did it change in your daily life?
Bufff, everything!! When I first started Reiki I didn’t have the best habits or a healthy life at all. I was a smoker, working until 2am, not doing any exercise… And I was really disconnected from my body, from my feelings. I didn’t know anything about myself, I just wanted to run; I was trying to escape from myself. With Reiki I started feeling my body and my feelings. It helped me to slow down a lot. I stopped smoking, I started reading, doing sports… Reiki has been the biggest change in my life! It helped me come out of my own dark cave.

You have a more modern approach in your teachings, how do you reconcile modern life with Reiki?
We need Reiki in modern life! We are always busy, stressed. Reiki is a very simple practice that brings calmness and confidence to our life. We need to slow down a bit.
I try to go back to the roots of Reiki in my teachings because I truly believe in balance. I’m sure that the original practice of Reiki is the best for our lives; especially nowadays that everything goes too fast. For me Reiki is a practice that helps us to live our modern life in a human and meaningful way.

What is Reiki to you?
To me, Reiki is a path that helps you to go back to yourself. Reiki is a practice, a simple practice, which brings silence in our minds, relaxation in our bodies and happiness in our souls. It is a combination of a few exercises that includes meditation, hands on healing, mind work and sharing.

How do you perceive Reiki now with more than 14 years of experience as opposed to when you started?
[Smile] When I started practicing Reiki I believed that it was like a ‘magical healing system’, I didn’t know anything about ‘Qi’ or meditation, I just wanted to believe that Reiki was a technique that could heal, that’s all. Now, years later, Reiki is completely different to me. I read many books of Chinese Medicine, Meditation, Yoga… I studied Psychology; I wanted to understand what was happening while someone was doing Reiki. I needed to understand how it was possible that with only breathing and placing my hands on my body I could feel so much and smile happily again. Today Reiki is for me a path that helps people to be themselves, to be healthier and to be happier. And it is my practice, my job, and my passion.

You join Reiki with Yoga, how did you first start this surprising combination and what are the benefits?
Years ago I was teaching a Reiki course in Barcelona and one of the students who felt amazed by the sensations asked me if I was interested in combining it with Yoga. She was a Yoga teacher. I knew Yoga and I wasn’t sure that we could combine it, because at that time I knew only Hatha Yoga, so I didn’t know how to combine Reiki and do Yoga asanas at the same time. But she insisted and I told her that we could try. A few weeks later I discovered Yin Yoga with her, Jose de Groot. I loved it!! And two months later we started doing Yin Yoga & Reiki, we were the first ones who combined these two practices. We still work together; she is one of the best Yoga teachers I ever met, and my best friend. After years of practice I can say that the combination of Reiki and Yoga is very powerful and a deep experience. It is inspiring and very therapeutic. I love the retreats where there is Reiki, Yoga and Meditation; I think it is something that everyone should try.

What should a student expect from a Reiki course?
An experience, a surprising experience! We need to feel the ‘Qi’ in order to understand that we are energy, and this is one of the goals of the Reiki course. Also, we teach how to practice; we provide the student tools in order to stay committed to themselves. There’s meditation, self treatment, theory and Reiki sharing. Reiki is a method that helps us to be balanced, and therefore we teach you how to practice in order to maintain your inner stability and a healthy body.

How would Reiki improve our lives?
Reiki gives vitality and relaxation at the same time. With a regular practice your mind becomes calmer and you feel healthier and more connected to yourself. Reiki is not a ‘magical thing’ that takes away all your problems, but it gives strength to face them. There are many benefits with a regular Reiki practice, not only for ourselves, but also for our surroundings. Inner balance is the best way to have healthy relationships. The combination of Reiki and meditation will improve your whole life.

You have been teaching in many different places, from western to Arabic countries, how do you convey the values of Reiki to your students in spite of their different cultural/religious background?
Reiki values are universal, they transcend cultural differences.
The Human being is looking for inner peace and peace with others, here and everywhere.
The values of Reiki are simple and very deep at the same time. It is about commitment to live your own life and to be in peace. Everyone wants that. And in my experience people around the world suffer from the same issues and seek the same goals. Everyone, a believer, a non believer, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, an atheist, everyone is a human being who wants to love and to be loved.

Is there a minimum age to practice Reiki?
I’ve done Reiki courses for children. My youngest student is 4 years old! And she loves Reiki! I don’t know how old my eldest student is, but probably 80 or 90 years old. Reiki is for everyone.

What is the life lesson you have learned from Reiki so far and that you would like to share with us?
The most important is that you are already perfect; and the world needs you the way you are. The second one is that everything is about balance.

A. L.
Paris, 2015

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Why is it so difficult to mantain a regular practice?

One of the continued difficulties that Reiki practitioners face is regular practice. This statement can also be applied to the practice of other disciplines such as meditation, Yoga, Qi Gong, etc. Why it is then so difficult to keep a regular practice of something that is beneficial for us?

Since I started teaching Reiki, one of the most challenging and difficult goals I face consist of transferring to the students and Reiki practitioners enough motivation to encourage them to practice, however many times without success. It is well known that motivation it is the necessary power to energize the body and guide the behavior. Theoretically, such a practice that contributes to improve health and mind conditions should be one of the easiest habits to maintain, however, this is not the reality. There multiple reasons and I do not know all of them. Despite of my limitations I would like to put down on paper my personal reflections on the matter.

There is always a reason behind people´s interest in Reiki. This reason usually hides a need. The satisfaction of this need is the drive to know more about Reiki. Generally the reasons are closely related to the need to improve emotional states, reduce or eliminate discomfort or combating an illness. There is only few people who estates that they would like to learn Reiki in order to improve personal growth. Of course, there are many other people who say that they are learning Reiki to help others, furthermore some people who are simply curious. Nevertheless according to my experience the most common motivation is the reduction of physical, emotional or spiritual discomfort.

In many cases practicing Reiki helps to reduce and sometimes eliminate such discomfort, which results in the decrees of practice. It becomes easier to be motivated and find time for practice if our emotional and physical well-being is relative. This is one of the reasons related to the decrease from time to time of our practice. However, it is also true that some changes in our habits and attitudes cannot be done in one day. Even though we love the general feeling of tranquility and the connection we experience with Reiki, our habits and routines are strongly deep rooted. In order to change a physical or emotional habit we need concentration and alertness that it is not always easy to maintain. The good news is that there is always a second chance; we can try it as many times as we wish resulting in an eventual success.

Reiki practice gives us not only a feeling of relatively well being, furthermore gives as a felling to belonging to the world, people and ultimately to the heart. This is a difficult sensation to describe with words. It is, however, a sensation that all the Reiki practitioners we felt at some stage. Undoubtedly, regular and sincere practice takes you to fell serenity and equanimity deep inside you. That is why it is necessary to deepen practice and this is not possible without the right motivation.

Perhaps the main error, the teacher´s error, has been focusing in excess to the immediate effects, such as the reduction of discomfort. We didn’t know how to emphasize enough the long term benefits of Spiritual practice such as the sensation to belonging and feel deeply loved.

Jordi Ibern (February 2015)

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Why is there so much diversity in the Reiki teachings?

There is great variety in the Reiki teachings and that is due in part to the lack of contact over many years of Western and Easter traditions. Reiki was believed missing in Japan until the 80s! When both traditions met there was plenty of distance between them. Reiki expanded very rapidly in the West, but with significant gaps in many cases: the practice and its deeper meaning. Reiki in the East it is always understood through knowledge of Ki (Qi) and the forces that innervate and act on nature, and life itself, but in the West this knowledge is not so well known, and this led people to seek and give "alternative" explanations. And this is how the current "New Age", very popular during the past 25 years, found its place within the Reiki teachings.

Many Western Reiki schools and many of their teachers joined the practice of Reiki and esoteric explanations, that’s why we find Reiki and angels, ascended masters, light beings, fairies, etc. that have little connection with real Reiki and much to the beliefs that everyone decides for himself.

The need to understand the reality in which we live is a well known psychological need: to know the reality allows us to live in it, in part to control it and partly to anticipate potential hazards. When we find a few results and unknown experiences, our mind seeks explanations to satisfy that need for understanding, so we can feel calm and secure in an unknown and unpredictable world. Normally these explanations we seek in our mind "folders": memories, experiences, stories, legends, etc. When we find a possible explanation, one that is sufficiently successful, we take it! Sadly, there are just a few people who dare to investigate beyond the stored knowledge, although there are, of course. Reiki appeared in the West in an era where contact with Eastern and general information to be had about their culture and wisdom was much lower than we have at present, however Reiki grew much faster than expected and the need to understand and explain it urged its practitioners and teachers. The different and diverse explanations of Reiki are the result of the union of that need and access to the knowledge of the time.

Of course we must not fail to mention the lack of control and lack of regulation that have accompanied Reiki since its appearance in the West in the mid- twentieth century. This has not helped at all agreement and unanimity in their teaching.

Scientific studies focused on Reiki did not start until late last century, but there are some of them, and every day there are more. Knowledge about the life of Usui, the founder of the Reiki teaching, are far more accurate and known than before, and the fundamentals of Easter wisdom and their knowledge of Qi and energy laws are easily accessible in the West, so perhaps it's time to carry out a deep reflection about Reiki, leaving behind unnecessary explanations based on lack of foundation and try to unify criteria and teaching.

Mikao Usui had a deep spiritual life, with ethical principles and a deeply held values; Usui always tried to convey those values with the practice of Reiki. Those values and that deep spiritual inclination is the truth about Reiki. With a unified approach, studies to support it and more accurate knowledge, Reiki can be accessible to all people. Without it, without that union, we’ll continue walking down a lonely path, separate from those that don’t believe our stories.

Jordi Ibern (February 2015)

 

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