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Reiki

What is reiki?

Reiki means "universal life energy" and is an ancient healing method that manipulates energy flow in the body. Reiki practitioners believe there is an energy force in and around the body. They believe that there is a flow of energy between the reiki practitioner and the receiver of the treatment. It is thought that reiki releases energy flows and allows the body's own natural healing ability to work.

Reiki focuses on seven main energy centers, called chakras, in your body. The energy should flow freely through your chakras in order for you to be spiritually, physically, and mentally healthy. Practitioners believe that if energy paths are blocked, you may feel ill or weak or have pain.

A reiki treatment session usually lasts an hour. The reiki practitioner puts his or her hands over or on your body at certain chakras. Most reiki practitioners recommend more than one session.

What is reiki used for?

People use reiki to decrease pain, ease muscle tension, speed healing, and improve sleep.

Reiki is sometimes used to help people who suffer from pain or discomfort from cancer or other diseases. But reiki is not used as a treatment for cancer or any other disease. Some people who have undergone chemotherapy treatment said they felt better and had less nausea after undergoing a reiki session. Research is ongoing to determine any benefits of reiki.

Is reiki safe?

Many people who receive reiki say they experience a refreshed spirit, better healing, and an increase in general well-being.

No scientific studies have proved whether reiki is effective for treating any type of disease. But some health professionals believe it may be useful in helping reduce stress and anxiety.

Always tell your doctor if you are using an alternative therapy or if you are thinking about combining an alternative therapy with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on an alternative therapy.

Other Works Consulted

  • Freeman L (2009). Spirituality and healing. In L Freeman, ed., Mosby’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Research-Based Approach, 3rd ed., pp. 485–518. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

  • Coughlin P (2002). Reiki: The Usui system of natural healing. In M Micozzi, ed., Principles and Practice of Manual Therapeutics, pp. 175–183. Philadephia: Churchill Livingstone.

  • Ergil KV (2011). Traditional medicines of China. In MS Micozzi, ed., Fundamentals of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, 4th ed., pp. 373–402. St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMarc S. Micozzi, MD, PhD - Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Last RevisedJune 29, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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