Eastern methods of healing and medicine are rapidly increasing in appeal to those looking for alternatives to the traditional Western medical system. While some methods, such as yoga and meditation, are well known, there are other, less-recognised practices that are gaining in popularity. One of these is the ancient Japanese technique known as Rieki.
What is Rieki?
Rieki practitioners use touch through their hands, placing them lightly on or just above the person’s body, to transfer energy and to heal and treat ailments.
The principle behind this practice is the life force energy called ‘Ki’, which is believed to flow throughout our bodies. It is thought that Ki brings to life the physical organs and tissues as it flows through them. From this flow, the Ki creates a healthy condition in the body.
Put simply, when our Ki is low, we are more likely to feel stressed or fall ill. When our Ki is high, we reflect this through vibrancy, happiness and a healthy body. Reiki helps to restore our levels of Ki, resulting in healing and optimum levels of wellness.
Why is Reiki beneficial?
Reiki is a holistic practice – it treats the whole body, taking into account the emotions, mind and spirit. Because of this, it is thought to promote healing, increase relaxation and reduce stress. The simple act of human touch maybe enough to encourage these feelings, similar to the release felt in massage.
Despite its alleged benefits, there have been no studies to demonstrate the benefits of Reiki beyond relaxation. While its spiritual origins hail from Japan in the 1920s, the form of Reiki most often practiced is criticised as being watered down by the Western world. There is no unified certification for Reiki practitioners, which has resulted in questionable training. Unlike other Eastern methods of healing, such as acupuncture, Reiki isn’t recognised by medical insurance, and scientists (despite low rates of academic study on the topic) fail to acknowledge the presence of a life force.
The movement is a growing one however. The wife of Dr Oz, one of the most well-recognised television personalities in the medical field, for example, is a Reiki master. While the jury is out on Reiki for the time being, the shift away from traditional Western medicine continues to grow, as people seek new ways to heal, restore and rejuvenate.