In 2002, over one million adults in the US received one or more sessions of this alternative therapy. Like Touch Therapy, the method is borrowed from ancient Asian medicine, and focuses on channeling the body's inner energy, or chi. Here is what you need to know about Reiki.
Reiki (which essentially means "universal life energy" in Japanese), involves a therapist placing her hands near specific parts of a patient's body (including the head, shoulders, chest, abdomen and legs) to release blocked energy and heal the mind, spirit, body, and soul. See the video below for a sample session.
Popularized by Dr. Mikao Usui in the late 19th century, Reiki is based on the idea that an unseen energy – also known as chi – flows through the body, stimulating vitality and happiness. Practitioners believe that when the chi is blocked by illness or stress, they transfer their energy to the ailing patient to unlock the natural flow of energy, relieving stress, pain, and promoting overall wellbeing.
Devotees claim Reiki to be as soothing as a bubble bath. Most people feel deeply relaxed after a session with the effects normally lasting for a few days. Other perks include improved sleep and appetite and an accelerated healing process from injury. Experts are also looking into the role Reiki can play in reducing stress, anxiety, and pain in cancer patients. The National Institute of Health (NIH) is currently backing a clinical trial on the practice, and a 2003 study showed improved quality of life and reduced pain in one group of cancer patients who received Reiki plus standard drugs.
While some therapists are solely dedicated to Reiki, many embed the method into an existing massage, nursing, chiropractic, or acupuncture practice. Your best bet is to contact a massage school near you (to find one, check out the links below) and inquire about Reiki sessions and practitioners. Once you lock one in, expect to pay about $25.00 to $60.00 per hour.
To learn more about Reiki and to find a licensed practitioner near you, check out these links:
The International Center for Reiki Training
Reiki in Hospitals