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The Truth About Reiki

by Jeff Hotchkiss

The following are a few typical questions about Reiki, and the answers are my opinions only. Though there is often broad consensus around these questions in the Reiki community, everyone has their own view, and they aren't afraid to express it!

Q: Isn't this all just a bunch of "woo-woo" nonsense, designed to separate me from my hard-earned cash?

A: Many people wonder what to make of all the alternatives out there, and you are always advised to evaluate a practitioner's integrity, just as with any professional.

The National Institutes of Health have taken Reiki seriously enough to fund four studies on its effectiveness (all are in progress), and to use Reiki at the Warren Magnuson Clinical Center in Maryland (Reiki News, Summer 2004). Many hospitals have Reiki programs. As an example, go on the Internet, search for "Hartford Hospital Reiki outcomes", and see the results of their survey. And, Reiki's growing popularity attests that something is working.

Ultimately, you have to make your own judgment and decision about your own healthcare, based on the best information available to you at the time.

Q: Do I have to believe in it, for it to work?

A: No. If you don't believe, but give permission anyway for a Reiki practitioner to treat you, it will have an effect. In fact, skeptics often make great practitioners, because they demand direct evidence, and when they receive it, their confidence in their Reiki practice deepens.

Q: What kinds of illnesses can Reiki heal?

A: The state of profound relaxation and gentle awareness supports mind and body in whatever healing challenge you may face. However, Reiki practitioners do not diagnose illnesses, nor do they prescribe for them. They cannot promise to heal you - to do so would be unethical and illegal.

Reiki is not a replacement for medical care. It can be a great support, and there are many individual stories of amazing outcomes, but another person's story is not a guarantee of your personal results.

"Healing" is not "curing". Your physical body will die someday. It's how you live in the meantime that matters. Reiki is a powerful way of learning to live in love and joy instead of pain and fear, so you learn to heal as a whole person.

Q: I am a devout Christian, and I am interested in Reiki, but I worry about its origins and practices. My friend says it is an occult art, and good Christians should stay away from Reiki. What do you say?

A: This is a question that deserves much respect and understanding from all sides. Reiki did arise in Japan, and its founder Mikao Usui was a Buddhist, although it seems clear he intended it to be a practice, not a religion, and therefore could be adopted by people of any faith.

The practice of Reiki is a sacred gift. I believe that the beauty and wonder of Reiki's workings are very much in tune with Christianity, and the other religions in the world today. Millions of Reiki practitioners around the world belong to faiths as diverse as Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, indigenous religions, and yes, Christianity. Reiki does not require any specific belief in a god or gods.

For more discussion, please see

Q: How do I decide who is the best Reiki teacher or practitioner for me?

A: Often you will be drawn by apparent happenstance to find the person who's right for you. It is still good to ask questions, such as: their description of Reiki, their ethical principles, how long they've been practicing, what are the expectations for clients or students, and what you should expect from a session or a class. Any defensiveness from politely probing questions may indicate caution is advised. Outlandish claims or guarantees are also to be mistrusted. And never, ever, should you be asked to disrobe for a Reiki-only session or during any part of a Reiki class. (Other treatment modalities, such as massage therapy, that normally require disrobing, may often be combined with Reiki - that is legitimate).

So, trust your heart to bring you to the right person, but verify as you would for any professional service.

Jeff's web site can be viewed at

About the Author

Jeffrey Hotchkiss is a Reiki Master Teacher. He teaches and practices in Yarmouth, Maine, and travels to bring Reiki to elder communities.



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Yoga is A philosophical as well as physical way of life emphasizing harmony of body and mind.

What is Meditation:
Meditation is continuous contemplation or musing on a subject or series of subjects.



What is Aromatherapy:
Aromatherapy is based on the use and blending of undiluted, pure essential oils extracted from specific aromatic plants in order to promote healing.

What is Reiki:
Reiki is a system of Enlightenment and a Hands on Healing art developed in the early 1900's by Mikao Usui in Japan.


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