Reiki is a form of hands on healing that originated in Japan and was developed by Dr Usui. Reiki would be classified as an alternative or complementary therapy. The basic idea behind reiki is that the practitioner channels universal life force or Ki(Qi in Chinese Medicine) through their hands and projects it into the receiver. Reiki is very simple and safe alternative therapy, and augments the Ki already in the body. Usually, the therapist will follow a fairly set routine in a treatment, placing their hands on the various chakras on the body since these are the points that are most receptive to Ki and are seen as a kind of gate or entry point for topping up the Ki.

Reiki is very simple to learn and it is simply a matter of being attuned by a reiki master. The attunement allows the student to tap into the reiki energy and to start working with reiki immediately. For this reason, it is very easy to learn and doesn't require any in depth knowledge of anatomy or physiology such as acupuncture would. In fact reiki could be considered a form of Qi Gong healing which is often found as ancilliary practices to arts like Tai Chi. The key difference is that in reiki, the therapist is not giving their own Ki or Qi to the patient, but rather channeling the energy from the universe. The practitioner becomes somewhat of a conduit in reiki treatments. Reiki is said to flow to where it is needed in the body so no special intent is needed by the practitioner. As with many alternative therapies, reiki has been further developed into various other systems such as Karuna Reiki, Blue Star Reiki, Tibetan Reiki and many others

So what do treatments feel like?
Reiki treatments feel very calming and relaxing. Most people feel a lot of warmth or heat at the point of the therapists hands, and some people even report the feeling continuing even if the therapist lifts their hands off the patient's body or moves to a different part of the body. People usually leave feeling calm and peaceful, though occasionally people can have fairly strong emotional releases during a treatment.

Reiki is usually broken up into 3 levels - in the first attunement, students are simply attuned to reiki and shown the basic chakras to start treating. The second attunement starts to teach the student various kanji symbols which they can use to amplify the energy during a treatment. There are usually 3 symbols taught at stage 2 and they each have a specific use (physical or power symbol, mental emotional and distance healing symbol). The third level introduces a master symbol at which point one is ready to learn how to pass attunements on to students if you wish to do so.

While treatments tend to focus on the chakras of the body, reiki can also be used at a point of injury or pain to simply sooth and treat the problem. Reiki has no religion or belief system attached to it, and often you will find it is used as an adjunct to other therapies such as shiatsu or reflexology.