Reiki and energy healing: are they the same thing?

Reiki and energy healing: are they the same thing?

In the last ten years the interest in energy healing has blossomed and many people are reaching out for holistic modalities to complement traditional medical care that can assist in their physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.  There is finally recognition that we are much more than our physical bodies.  It is an exciting time, but can also be confusing when comparing and contrasting different practices.

There are many different types of energy healing practices, all with subtle differences.  In acupuncture, thin needles are inserted which stimulate specific energy points, which help to restore the body’s energy.  Acupressure works in a similar way, but uses firm pressure with the fingers.  In other forms of energy healing the practitioners are trained to manipulate areas that have blocks or stagnant energy to assist in bringing the body back into a state of balance and harmony.  So, is Reiki any different, and if so, how?

The foundation of the Reiki system

First, let’s look at the foundation of the system of Reiki, which are the Precepts. They are as follows:

The secret of inviting happiness through many blessings

The spiritual medicine for all illness

For today only,

  1. Do not anger
  2. Do not worry
  3. Be grateful
  4. Be diligent in your practice
  5. Be compassionate to yourself and others

The Reiki Precepts are basically the Reiki practitioner’s little guidebook to life.  Although they are straightforward and clear, they require a lifetime of practice.  It takes much more than reciting them each day to truly embody them.  During a Reiki level one workshop practitioners learn the importance of establishing a routine meditation practice incorporating the Precepts. As an example, when we look at the Precept, “do not anger,” we could meditate on what stimulates anger within us and what we need to release in order to help us to move past it. Many things happen in our lifetime that cause us to anger, but how often do we really investigate them?  The Reiki Precepts challenge us to look deeply within ourselves to potentiate positive change. The same thing happens with worry.  Think about it right now.  How many things have you worried about today?  This is not to say that Reiki practitioners do not worry! We live in a world where we are constantly presented with the trappings of situations that have the potential to cause us great worry.  The key is in how to tone it down and not let it consume your life so that you are better able to maintain a state of balance and harmony no matter what happens.  For it is in this state that we can truly be healthy. We can use the third Precept, be grateful, when life seems overwhelming. At the end of the day I am grateful that I have a comfortable bed to sleep in.  I am grateful for my loving family and our close bond. I am grateful for my wonderful friends who are always there for me and willing to go through thick and thin with me. And the list goes on. When we really take some moments to think about all the things we can be grateful for, it can open our heart and bring tears to our eyes because we understand how much there is to be grateful for. Each moment of each day we can find something to be grateful for, sometimes we just have to give ourselves a gentle reminder. Being diligent in our practice means being conscientious of our Reiki practice, in other words “doing the work” that we learned in our Reiki classes.  This includes having a daily self-Reiki practice, meditating with the Precepts and staying true to our way and our being by following our spiritual path. The fifth Precept speaks of compassion, and when nurturing that, putting ourselves first.  It is essential that we have a solid self-Reiki practice for ourselves first before we begin practicing on others.  This, in addition to our meditation practice, helps us to be focused and grounded. Otherwise, we may get thrown off balance and become angry or worried and then it will be very difficult to be compassionate to others.  We may overextend ourselves without this self-care practice and burn out quickly. Loving one self first allows compassion to flow freely to others. The Reiki Precepts are an essential part of Reiki practice.  They are listed in a specific order for a reason.  When we let go of anger we are less worried.  When we are less worried we can be more grateful.  When we are more grateful and humble, our practice comes more easily to us without judgment for ourselves or others.  When we are more grateful, then compassion comes effortlessly. The Precepts help us to come into a peaceful state of mind where we can “be” Reiki.  It makes complete sense that as Reiki practitioners we need to work on ourselves first in order to effectively facilitate the flow of energy for others.  Reiki is a non-dual practice in which we become one with our client. Ultimately, it is not just me touching my client; my client is also touching me.  We are in the same space of the loving energy of the universe and this is where true healing can take place. When we are with a client, we need to be in a mindful place of presence so we can truly allow the energy to flow where it is needed.  In traditional Japanese Reiki practice, the Reiki practitioner trusts the intuitive spiritual energy of the universe, knowing it will go where is needed most to move the body towards wholeness and balance.  Sharing Reiki with someone else is like a beautiful, loving, gentle and meditative dance.

The key difference between Reiki and other energy healing modalities is that it is a diligent practice of self-work which helps us to remember what we already are – spiritual energy.  With self-practice comes the recognition that we don’t  “do” Reiki, we “are” Reiki.  We don’t turn it on or off or manipulate it in any way; we learn to allow the great bright light within us to shine with love and compassion at all times.  This allows us to share Reiki with every person we encounter.  So while many people think that Reiki is just a hands-on healing practice, it is so much more.  It is a system that helps us to recognize and radiate the loving light and energy of the universe.  When being asked the question, “Is Reiki the same as energy healing?” I always explain that Reiki is one of many different energy healing modalities and that it is a gentle yet powerful path to healing on all levels of our being.

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