Is Reiki a religion? No, Reiki is not a religion and it is not affiliated with any religion. You don't have to change your belief system to receive Reiki and you don't even have to believe in it. Just be curious and open to the experience. But Reiki is a spiritual practice - it helps you reach that quiet place deep inside. Some people find that practicing self-Reiki makes their faith stronger.
Is Reiki massage? No, Reiki is not massage. It is hands-on, but the hands are not manipulated as in massage.
Is Reiki a New Age Phenomenon? No, it was discovered in the 1920s in Japan by Mikao Usui and brought to Hawaii in 1938 by Mrs Takata. From there it spread to the US Mainland and around the globe.
What if I'm skeptical? If you're skeptical but curious and open to the experience, that's perfect. Reiki really can't be explained, you have to experience it. Sally loves introducing Reiki to skeptics. So try it, you might like it!
So what is Reiki? Reiki is a subtle vibration, or energy. Pamela Miles suggests that Reiki encourages the body to move into parasympathetic nervous system dominance (i.e., rest and digest, rather than fight or flight). This is where self-healing begins.
What about the science? Not much research has been done so far, but there are a few small studies that suggest Reiki treatment improves heart rate variability and blood pressure, and reduces pain, anxiety, and depression. That said, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence. Sally often receives feedback such as, it's so relaxing, it feels good, my pain is less, my nausea (from chemo) is better, my headache is gone, etc or she hears the deep sigh and sometimes snoring when people relax.
How do I choose a practitioner? You may receive Reiki from a friend, family member, or professional practitioner. There is no licensing and no standard curriculum for practitioners. We all have different backgrounds and different skill sets. What is most important is to find someone you are comfortable with so you can relax and enjoy the session. My advice is to interview several practitioners, listen with your heart, and make your your decision based on how you feel.
How often should I get Reiki? That depends on your goals and your budget, from an occasional time-out to a daily practice. The more Reiki you receive, the more you will benefit. If you are interested, take a Reiki I class so you can learn how to give yourself the gift of Reiki every day!
Where can I find more information? Pamela Miles is an excellent source (www.ReikiInMedicine.org). The International Center for Reiki Training (www.reiki.org) is William Rand's web site. Frank Arjava Petter has written several books on the history of Reiki (http://www.frankarjavapetter.com). Anna Twinney teaches Reiki for Horses (www.reachouttohorses.com/).