A skeptic's look at alternative paths to healing part 2: Reiki

in psychology •  2 years ago

Reiki is an energy modality in which one person receives positive, healing energy from one or more practitioners. Energy is typically transmitted through the hands. No contact is required for a person to receive. In fact, the recipient and giver may not even be on the same continent. Reiki can be transmitted to anyone anywhere and is practiced with the purpose of healing and stimulating growth on animals, plants and people. Inanimate objects can also be "infused" with Reiki.

I learned about Reiki through a flyer on a cafe wall. A friend was with me, yanked the flyer off the wall and declared that we were going. I was at a low point in my life, struggling with overcoming depression. My meds weren't working, I was tired all the time and I never, ever left the house. In fact, that trip to the cafe was an anomaly. My friend would say it was a "synchronicity." Either way, I ended up taking that class and have been certified as a Reiki practitioner.

But do I believe Reiki has the power to heal?

My experience with Reiki has been confusing for me. As a skeptic, I want to write it off. But as a person who has given and received Reiki numerous times over the last few years, I can't say that it doesn't work. I have seen recipients experience incredible benefits. One even had an area of skin cancer dry up (for lack of a better description) and fall off after a group Reiki session. She was, of course, using other alternative healing methods including diet changes and herbal supplementation, so I can't point to Reiki as the cause, but she never received traditional medical help beyond diagnosis, and her melanoma has not recurred. I mention it because the area had been spreading for three months, and three days after energy work, it was gone.

Is this the power of positive thinking? Another look at the placebo effect? Quite possibly.

When I was taught what Reiki is, I was instructed that it is never negative. It is impossible to practice negative Reiki. I was immediately suspicious, especially as energy work is another area I was taught comes from Satan. But I went along with it. During my instruction, I received energy from multiple students. Some had little or no effect. Others left me shaking to the point the instructor had to intervene and ground me.

Perhaps what is more interesting is how the energy exchange felt to both recipient and practitioner. After each practice session, we would talk with each other. I liked to hear what my practitioner had to say because then they couldn't change their experience to match mine. Since I thought it was most likely crap while everyone else there was starry-eyed, I assumed there would be little to no overlap. I was wrong.

I had visual responses to the movement of energy in my body during every session. It was either shapes or colors or both. Sometimes I had a sense that I was being pulled or pushed or struggling with a heavy weight. In twelve sessions, only one practitioner had a different description of what they felt and saw and where on my body they felt and saw it that did not match my experience. It was so uncanny I decided it was confirmation bias. But years later, I am still occasionally receiving Reiki and practitioners are consistently describing the visual and physical sensations I experience during sessions.

What I do believe in as fact is that if you allow yourself to receive believing it will be a positive experience, you will benefit from deep relaxation at the very least. This is the placebo effect. If you believe it will work it will. If you believe it won't . . .well, my spouse thinks it's a load of crap but still lets me practice Reiki on him because it improves his well-being. I say give it a try. Consider it a spooky Halloween treat!

Have you tried Reiki? Do you practice? What is your experience?

Read about my experience with card readings here.

images via pixabay.com

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It's probably no surprise to you that if only one person on Steemit has tried it, it will be me :-) I was attuned to it first around 99/2000. Then to level 2 in 2001. It was the first modality that I trained in myself. I use it sometimes with clients, mostly when it comes up in the context of a kinesiology balance. But there are a lot of Reiki people in Wellington, and my other skills are more rare. So if someone wants just Reiki on an ongoing basis, there are other options.
When @sift666 was first diagnosed with the brain tumour, I was doing nightly treatments. I don't think it fixed it, but it relaxed him, so he could sleep.
In our training we were taught that the energy came through us, not from us. But like you, my experience is that energy received from different people feels different. I'm not sure if that means that our ability to be a clear channel differs. Or whether some people have their own innate healing ability which is added to the Reiki energy. A friend who trained when I did already had a sensitivity to energy in her hands. Reiki from (through) me is very relaxing, but from her it feels more powerful (so I've heard).

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This is so interesting to me! I am told my Reiki feels very powerful but maternal. I have a friend whose Reiki is hot. Another whose is like water.

Yes--your point about it being transmitted rather than coming from us. That is accurate. I'm glad you mentioned it. I didn't get into how the giving of Reiki affects the giver. The transmission piece speaks to that point. I would love to read anything you have to say about it, and possibly to write on that aspect as well.

A friend of mine's mother did Reiki on me one time. I didn't notice anything good or bad about it other than I felt like it was nice of her to offer support during a time when I needed it. But I've actually appreciated a lot of other healing modalities all across the spectrum. I guess this one just never did it for me.

I have heard, though, that Reiki can be invasive in that you are allowed to do work on people without their permission. Doesn't this kind of disregard important boundaries?

Then again, I guess sending good vibes or prayers or good will toward another or imagery for them to succeed could fall under that same category, and I don't think anyone would argue with that...it's just that healing modalities that purport to have an effect on people should be consented to, because with all healing, there are after effects of healing as well to be considered.

Just my rant. Kind of diverged there a little.