Reiki healing: what is it & how does it work?

Q: What is Reiki?

A: Reiki, pronounced ray-key, is a form of energy healing which involves the transfer of energy from the practitioners palms to the patient in order to increase energy levels and improve overall wellbeing it believes in the notion that the body can heal itself. This non-invasive treatment emerged in Japan in the early 19th century and is seeing a rise in popularity not only in Australia but all over the world.


Reiki originates from Japan and is made up of two Japanese words - Rei “God’s wisdom or the higher power” and Ki which means “life force energy,” which put together Reiki loosely means “spiritually guided life force energy.” No researchers have been able to track down the original founder of the Reiki system, although, Mikao Usui is believed to be the modern founder of Usui Reiki opening his first clinic and school in Tokyo in 1922. Every morning and evening he would chant these five admonitions:
The 5 admonitions in question are:

  1. Don’t get angry today.
  2. Don’t be grievous.
  3. Express your thanks.
  4. Be diligent in your business.
  5. Be kind to others. 

How does reiki work?

For an expert opinion on the matter we spoke with wellness practitioner and reiki specialist Alexis Hamer, who describes Reiki healing as a “gentle and relaxing form of energy healing that works with the body’s chakras/energy centres. There are 7 main chakras and each has its own frequency/vibration, emotional signature and corresponding systems and organs in the body.”

The human body and its cells emit a bio-energetic frequency and has a natural flow of energy known as chi/qi (life force energy). When this energy is flowing freely and abundantly, individuals will experience health, balance, vitality and alignment on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.”

In a Reiki massage (which lasts between 30-90 minutes) a practitioner will generally ask the patient to lie down (fully clothed) and will move their hands above the body taking particular care to the seven chakras or energy centres. Some practitioners use physical touch whereas others will simply hover their hands above the patients body. Patients have reported tightness, light tremors, pressure and tingling sensations throughout which is said to indicate a blockage.

Alexis explains that blockages are caused “when an individual experiences stress/trauma/negative emotions/thought patterns, the body’s computer chip like cells hold a memory of it. When this happens, it can create a glitch in your energy field, resulting in an energy flow/chakra blockage. Blockages create stagnant/slow moving energy and if left untreated, the corresponding system (i.e: endocrine/circulatory/nervous) may be affected and the body will become unbalanced.”


In Australia, reiki is being used as a form of complementary therapy to traditional medicine in hospitals, nursing homes and community services.

There are clinically proven benefits for Reiki and a whole host of ailments but is most commonly used to help:

Whilst there have been numerous studies and research into the benefits of Reiki in short there is no scientific evidence supporting the existence of an energy field and Reiki's benefits.

Reiki risks

Reiki hasn’t been shown to have any harmful effects and is deemed safe for adults, children and pregnant women.

How often do you need to go?

As with most alternative therapies there is no one size fits all answer. Alexis offers the example: “If I have a new client who has never done energy work before, I generally advise to have at least a couple of sessions reasonably close to each other to help balance their energy. It’s also a question of why they are coming for the treatment in the first place. If they wanted it for stress relief/relaxation/centring yourself before a life event such as a job interview, your needs may be met in one session. If it’s a longer term issue, then regular sessions may be more suitable.

How do you find a good reiki practitioner?

“One of the best ways to find a practitioner is word of mouth/referral. Ask your family/friends/co-workers if they know of someone” Alexis explains.

If you don’t know anyone who has been to a Reiki master before use the Reiki Australia members website or Australian Reiki Connection as a guide.

How can you learn to do it?

In Australia, there are three levels of training to be a Reiki practitioner, then master.

Level 1: 10-18 hours of training. Outcomes: ability to practice self-treatment
Level 2: Training duration varies on education host. Outcomes: practitioners certificate
Level 3: Training duration and cost varies on education host. Outcomes: Reiki master.

There are numerous education centres who teach Reiki just be sure to check that their completion certificates are accepted by the main Reiki boards in Australia before getting started.

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