Reiki: A Gateway to Healing Mind, Body and Soul

The practice of reiki in hospitals, either by volunteer reiki practitioners or by reiki-trained doctors, nurses, physician and nurse assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech language pathologists, has vastly grown around the world. Both qualitative and quantitative studies demonstrate that hospital patients who experience reiki sessions are calmer, heal faster, experience less pain and are frequently discharged earlier than anticipated. The upshot is hospitals clearly recognize that reiki is not only an integrative mind, body, spirit healing art, but also a practical resource that not only improves patient care, but also reduces costs.

How and why has Reiki practice become so popular?

Reiki is a gentle, non-invasive, mind-body-spirit healing practice for maintaining and restoring health and wellness. People seek out reiki to get relief from troubling physical conditions or to simply realize a happier more vitalized self. It is not a religion, nor is there any dogma associated with reiki practice. A reiki treatment is performed by gentle touch on (or hands hovering a few inches above) the body’s major organs, glands and joints. The recipient is always fully clothed, either lying down on a reiki table or seated comfortably in a chair.

The system of reiki offers more than hands-on healing, however. In fact, the system of reiki, as developed in Japan by its founder Mikao Usui, is a spiritual self-development system of wisdom and compassion teachings, based in meditation practices, contemplative practices, as well as hands-on-healing of self and others. Reiki can be practiced with oneself after a reiki training class, as well as offered to others. Reiki training classes are accessible for all learners.

Four Levels of Alignment

A reiki treatment and the reiki meditations facilitate balance and alignment on four levels: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

The Physical Level

Reiki helps individuals have more restful sleep at night, maintain higher energy levels in the day, and get relief from pain caused by acute and chronic illnesses, injuries and other health conditions. It facilitates stress reduction and relaxation which has beneficial effects on all of the body’s systems, including the immune system. A reiki treatment induces the “relaxation response”, shifting the nervous system from sympathetic (fight or flight) to parasympathetic (rest and digest), in which all of the body’s systems are in a state of balance, allowing natural healing to unfold.

The Mental Level

The mind is sometimes called the “organ of misery” because it has the capacity to ruin our days, even our lives, with its incessant rambling and ruminating. Sometimes our minds just freak out, which then sets off a cascade of hormonal and chemical responses that compromise our physical, mental and emotional health. By bringing the mind-body into a state of balance, reiki facilitates mental clarity and promotes mindfulness. The recipient may experience an attitude shift, a creative insight or a solution to a vexing problem.

The Emotional Level

The ups and downs of everyday life, with its worries, anxieties and fears, become more manageable when one is in a balanced state. Reiki practice helps us move out of our frantic emotional state of hyper arousal into a state of emotional regulation and calm. We can pause and thereby reduce habitual emotional reactivity.

The Spiritual Level

A state of balance facilitates spiritual growth, allowing the individual to connect to an inner peace and serenity, as well as to a sense of oneness and inter-being with all beings. We experience an openness to life, a sense of spaciousness and expansiveness.

Health and well-being can be transformed with a gentle transformative reiki practice. Whether one is seeking to reduce reactivity, to bring in new habits, to create an inner space for gratitude and compassion, or to gain relief from physical and emotional distress, reiki can be effective.

Elise Brenner, Ph.D., reiki practitioner and teacher, is the owner of Brenner Reiki Healing, located at 324 Central St., Auburndale, and is the executive director of Celebration of Reiki, Inc., a nonprofit organization with a mission of reiki education and outreach. Contact at 617-244-8856 and visit

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