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The Beauty of Reiki

by Peter Campbell and Catherine Hill(more info)

listed in reiki, originally published in issue 18 - March 1997

The word "Reiki" means universal life energy. Broken down, the first syllable "Rei" describes the universal, boundless aspect of this energy, while "ki" is the vital life force energy that flows through all living beings. Its equivalent is to be found in the "chi" of Chinese medicine, or the term "Light" as used by Christians, or "prana" as used by Hindus.

Reiki is a way of transferring this so-called universal life energy. Reiki as a healing practise was 'rediscovered' by a Japanese monk Dr. Mikao Usui in the nineteenth century. He found the Key, the formula for healing, in ancient Buddhist scriptures. After a twenty-one day fast and meditation on a sacred mountain near Kyoto, he received on the last morning of his meditation an empowerment in which the use of the symbols he has discovered in scriptures, were revealed to him. The Usui system of Reiki Natural Healing was born. (A fuller history appears in "Healing the Spirit with Reiki" Positive Health issue 11 May 1996.)

Today there are over 4000 Reiki Masters throughout the world. Tanmaya Honervogt is one such Reiki Master and we talked to her about how Reiki differs from other healing therapies and for first hand examples from her clients.

Tanmaya Honervogt giving treatment

Tanmaya Honervogt giving treatment

Tanmaya, how does one become a Reiki master?

After you have taken the Reiki First and Second Degrees, you need to practice before becoming a Reiki Master/Teacher. This happens according to each individual's growth process. I was never interested in teaching Reiki until a few years ago. I was satisfied just practising it which I did for 10 years. Then in 1991, I felt as if I had received a call from inside me to go further with it. In 1992, I did the Masters Degree, with a German Reiki Master, Himani, who had been initiated by Mary McFayden, who in turn had been initiated by Hawayo Takata the founder of Reiki for the Western world. This is a clear and direct lineage which I am very happy about.

How does Reiki differ from other healing techniques?

It is a hands-on healing technique, which is unique due to an ancient "attunement process". This is the main difference. This process apparently originates within the Buddhist tradition and creates an "open channel for cosmic energy to flow through the Reiki healer, or giver, to the receiver".

Of course, all other healing processes and healers tap into this energy – it is just that the Reiki attunement process enhances the ability of the person to better "channel" the Universal Life Energy.

How long does a treatment take?

A full Reiki treatment takes about one hour, sometimes an hour and a half. I place my hands in several positions over the whole body. The treatment starts on the head, where there are basically five positions, and I stay from between two to five minutes in each position. And the same for the front of the body, and on the back of the body. Additionally I include the knees and the feet to ground the person and also to bring the energy in the legs.

What happens to the recipient?

The Reiki experience is different for each individual, and it usually has a powerful effect on many different levels. When you receive Reiki, you enter into such a deep, relaxed space where the unconscious can reveal messages to your conscious mind, often in pictures, colours, memories, or words. I personally have even experienced strong images about my past lives.

What can Reiki be used to treat?

Reiki is helpful in most conditions including chronic ailments and is beneficial in relieving pain, stress and anxiety.

Reiki works on four different levels. So lets start with the physical level. I usually ask my clients before the session their reason for seeking out Reiki. They tell me what is happening with them, sometimes they forget to mention things which I later discover through Reiki. Such as happened with a client when I asked if they had any problems with their kidneys. And they told me that they once had a kidney infection. So it doesn't mean that your kidneys are not working, just that they are not 100%. They may only be working at 40% or 60% of their capacity, and I can detect this imbalance with Reiki and determine how much energy the recipient needs to receive on the spot. It might also be different on the right side of the body as compared to the left side, and as a result, the left kidney would be drawing more energy on that particular position.

It also works on an emotional level. Some people may have a tendency to get depressed or just not feel emotionally balanced, and after receiving a few Reiki treatments they begin to feel more emotionally stable. Often, after about the third or fourth session, the emotional level opens up more strongly and people sometimes start to laugh or cry. It means expressing what has been underneath. Reiki brings out the emotions that have not been allowed or expressed. Every wound has to show up, be exposed in order to be healed. For some people this can be uncomfortable. I once gave a woman a session, and after the first treatment, she felt very emotional, and felt a lot of anger come up. So of course, this can be disconcerting, but these feelings are part of the healing process. When I explained this to her, she continued to come for treatments, and after the third treatment, everything changed and she felt more in balance with her emotions.

Then there is also the mental level. This means everything that has to do with our minds, our thoughts. With Reiki, people obtain more clarity. It happens through the treatments, for people relax more deeply, fall more deeply inside and they can reach a different perspective on their lives. With this kind of awareness, you may be able to see the changes that you need to make in your life. You get insights about yourself, and receive clues to situations that might have appeared insurmountable prior to that point. It feels like a door opening up, and these doors can serve to make you relax more deeply and touch a place within what I would call your centre, or being.

In each Reiki treatment all these levels are touched and reached with Reiki. I should just add that after a session often people tell me that they have experienced it like a meditation, which is very much connected to the spiritual level. On the physical level, a Reiki treatment is equivalent to a deep sleep of three to four hours.

When should someone have a treatment?

I recommend a Reiki treatment to anyone who doesn't feel in balance with his/her own energy. This can show in different ways like feeling stressed, overworked, or being depressed. Reiki is helpful in most conditions including sinusitis, menstrual problems, migraine, cystitis, asthma, arthritis, back pain, menopausal problems, tension, sciatica, depression and chronic ailments. It balances and revitalises your body, prevents diseases and strengthens your immune system.

What does one need to train in Reiki?

To train in Reiki no special conditions or talents are necessary. You need a desire to use Reiki and a willingness to let this healing power flow through you. Reiki is a simple and yet effective method of promoting healing, relaxation and well being. Anyone interested in healing can benefit from Reiki.

Healing reports from Tanmaya's students' case histories & selected quotes

I treat many elderly (over 80 years old!) people and they are loving it. The warmth stays with them and the pain lessens. I have one lady who has arthritis and osteoporosis, as well as high blood pressure, heart problems. I have given her four treatments so far. Her shoulder, neck and back of head get very, very tender and even touching as in light massage hurts. Reiki is wonderful. I can use it on the tender places to give pain relief and increase mobility in her neck. She doesn't have to get undressed which in itself can cause discomfort. Another lady has been coming to me as an Aromatherapist for a few weeks . She has lower back pain (feels like the back won't support her) and pain in the legs. She's a keen walker but has been unable to walk for 18 months. Massage had helped. I've given her two Reiki treatments so far and she's walking again, her back is stronger, the pain is less and she comes in smiling and happy.

The other thing that I've found is that by combining Reiki & Aromatherapy, relaxation is very deep. Much deeper than I get with Aromatherapy on its own. Muscles relax under my Reiki hands. It's wonderful, it's exciting, it's awe inspiring. Sometimes I can hardly believe what's happening under my hands.
– Gill

So, for me, at least Reiki was life changing. It initiated a very painful experience (I doubt if I would have been so vulnerable without attunements and I certainly wouldn't have had that energy release) but the outcome will eventually be worthwhile. I think I've grown a lot 'softer' – more kindly. I seek not to judge so much and I do genuinely seek to serve, now, and also to trust – the universe or the soul or whatever it is that motivates us. What little I've used it on other people has always been beneficial. I've alleviated some pretty bad headaches; restored lost energy and actually opened a bottle of perfume which was so firmly closed (for years) that it was thought the only way to open it would be to have it cut open . . . and who would bother? But I gave it a little Reiki every day for two or three weeks . . . just a minute or two and visualised it opening and sent it a lot of love and one day, it opened.
– Helene

I have had ME/Fibromyalgia for the past 11 years although, until 2 years ago, the more physical symptoms were masked by recurring severe depression. Until last year I had taken Lithium since 1990. I now take 100mg Anafranil which seems to help. I also take a battery of vitamins and eat a mainly vegetarian diet. For the previous 4 years I have been a nonsmoker and since last year, following an adverse reaction, a nondrinker. Jenny has used Aromatherapy on me with mixed success. The oils seem helpful but I find it hard to remain relaxed on the couch during a massage: particularly on my front. Jenny gave me my first Reiki treatment. I relaxed completely and stayed on the couch for over an hour. Indeed I had no sense of time at all and this is a feature of the treatment. I find that initially, I clear my mind of any problems, the mind seeming to focus better, then relax completely. I have always felt very much better after treatment. Not only more relaxed but I seem to have much more energy. Possibly the greatest benefit, although there has been no improvement to symptoms has been in attitude. I seem to have adopted a much more positive approach and dare I say it, but I seem to be more laid back.

From the treatment point of view there was definitely more heat from Jenny's hands after the attunement. One thing which has struck me is that when she covers my eyes her hands tend to feel cold yet I can also feel the heat in my eyes: rather like lying in the sun with ones eyes closed. Both of us have noticed that I usually have little tremors or muscle jerks during treatment.

I am completely sold on Reiki and it is the only satisfactory way of relaxing that I have, so far experienced.
– Tony

I experienced a very deep sense of calm and peace that weekend. I felt that I had entered a very special place within me and felt certain that Reiki was a very welcome addition to my understanding of my life. Later that year I attended the second degree Reiki weekend and added mental healing and distance healing. My use of Reiki at the present is mainly in support of my own growth and development. From my direct experience of life and from the information I know from my interest in astrology the present time is one of considerable change. This is both on my deep inner levels of beliefs about me, others and the world and about how I approach and connect with others externally to me. I find such change and transformation scary at times as I leave behind my old ways of surviving and with the help of others, both professional and friends, re-decide my strategies for surviving and growing today. I have often experienced Reiki as an important pause when I can be with a kind affectionate parent that supports me in the here and now.

At other times Reiki has helped me to bring to my consciousness things and realisations that have helped me to understand why I am behaving or feeling in a certain way. Sometimes choosing a different path or redirecting an inner belief is the first part of a new view on reality. I experience Reiki as helping me to travel down my new road by providing energy and fresh insight and helping me to let go of old less healthy ways of being that might have been harder to relinquish. On a physical level Reiki has been a great way of relieving pain and assisting healing. This can be anything from a strain to an infection to an injury. I have used Reiki together with Homoeopathy and Shiatsu as well as with more conventional medicine and I feel it works well with all of these.
– David

I discovered Reiki by chance through a friend who was going on a Reiki weekend course to learn how to help her beloved dog who was diagnosed as having cancer. When she told me about the course I knew instantly that it was just what I had been looking for and thinking about for several months. The weekend was a revelation, it was like coming home, finding a missing part of me – a part which I knew was there but did not know how to get in touch with. It was like being reconnected to a source and made to feel more complete. There was a tremendous sense of relief to be reconnected in this way. It was very exciting but at the same time calming, balancing and so right for me.

After the weekend I found myself giving Reiki treatments to many people, they just seemed to appear, and with some very exciting results. All were amazed by the heat coming from/through my hands, the colours and visions they experienced, the relaxation and revitalisation they received and the relief from pain. I was also delighted to find giving Reiki has exactly the same effect of relaxation and revitalisation on me.

After the second weekend my commitment and reconnection were strengthened and another dimension opened with the symbols and mental and distant healing. I feel very privileged to have been given this gift and to be able to share the experience of Reiki with others both in giving and receiving.
– Robyn

Quotes From Reiki Students

'The Reiki First Degree gave me a great confidence, and a place in the world I had not known before. It empowers me. I feel it is showing me that there has been a deep and serious imbalance in my life which has always been with me, this has been revealed clearly in the Second Degree. It shows the needs and gives me the tools to put things right. The Second Degree weekend has been quite different from the First: I am much more vulnerable and yet it feels as if an even bigger change has been triggered, beginning to open me to receive love, attention & care. To a new life. I find the style of training beautiful, kind, with a great depth of understanding I have not felt before. Understanding, soft, but firm and strong.'
– Ms. S, 49

'Reiki has brought a permanent space into my life where I can completely relax. I feel that no matter what happens the energy is always available to be absorbed. Reiki means peace to me, like a continually flowing tap.'
– Paula, 35

'Reiki has softened my outlook on life, it's made me realise that unknown things are real and very big.'
– Arthur, 35

'Reiki has made me feel happier with myself. It has also allowed me to explore parts of me I don't think I would've touched because I would not have known how to handle them. I feel safe now having a tool to use. I have often felt scared to open the dome of my Pandora's boxes, but now I feel excited about working through these things. The training had a relaxed atmosphere. The group was lovely. I don't always like sharing in groups, but I didn't feel too pressured to do so this weekend.'
– Jane, 20

Case Studies

Rose had been suffering from Crohn's disease in the large intestine for many years, and was taking steroids continuously. Since having Reiki treatments with Tanmaya, she no longer needs steroids, and after one treatment her pain was gone. Her medical specialist is delighted with her progress.

Yvonne, 34, had slipped a disc and a 2 year old injury to her lower back, plus sciatica, and her right leg felt numb. After receiving Reiki the stiffness and pain in her right leg disappeared. With each treatment she commented on the feeling and aliveness coming back to her leg, and she said she felt more refreshed and energised.

Ingrid, 70, suffered chronic cystitis and kidney complaints, which became acute a few times a year. She was treated when she was in great pain, and later that day reported that she felt much better.

Sam, 65, had bad circulation in his legs. After receiving Reiki his legs immediately felt better.

Sue, a Reiki trainee, connected 'mentally' with her partner, who was many miles away, during a distant healing process. She later found that a 'stuck' aspect of their relationship had shifted, renewing their sex life. Baby Tobias was recuperating from meningitis, but could not lose his high temperature and the spots all over his body. The day after receiving a Reiki treatment he began to improve, his temperature dropped and within three days he had regained his usual energy. His parents also reported that he seemed to have a 'developmental spurt' making up for the time lost during illness.

Recommended Books on Reiki

Reiki-Universal Life Energy. Baginsky & Sharamon, Life Rhythm. ISBN: 0940795027 This is the best all round Reiki Book and contains a selection of references to diseases and their holistic associations.

Empowerment Through Reiki. Paula Horan ISBN: 0941524841 A very wide ranging and more scientific overview of Reiki, with sections on crystals and other healing methods.

Living Reiki: Takata's Teachings. Fran Brown, Archedigm. ISBN: 0049795108 This book is highly recommended. It covers different areas of Mrs. Takata's life and teaching.

Hawayo Takata's Story. Helen Haberley, Life Rhythm. ISBN: 0944135064 This book gives you a lot of reverential and penetrating insight into Mrs. Takata's life.

A Complete Book Of Reiki. B Mueller & H Gunther

The Complete Reiki Handbook. Walter Luebeck

Practical Guide To Reiki. Klaudia Houchhut ISBN: 0909223572


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