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Reiki (pronounced "ray key", commonly translated from the Japanese as "universal life energy.") is a spiritual, vibrational healing practice used to promote balance throughout the human system. Reiki does not involve physical manipulation or the ingestion or application of any substances, but works with the subtle vibrational field thought to surround and penetrate the body.  Reiki treatment is usually facilitated by light, non-manipulative touch to a clothed recipient. You can get Reiki treatments from a either a professional or a friend who has been trained , or you can learn to give yourself Reiki-treatment as a daily wellness practice. 

People receiving Reiki often express a sense of connection to their own innate spirituality, or inner source of meaning. There is, however, no religious belief system attached to Reiki. 

Reiki was originally developed as a practice for self-care, and students were encouraged to give treatment to and receive treatment from others. The practice can be easily learned by anyone who is interested, regardless of age (children through seniors) or condition of health.

Some people practice or receive Reiki to strengthen their wellness; others use it to help cope with symptoms, such as pain or fatigue, or to support their medical care, even in the case of chronic illness or at the end-of-life. 

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) categorizes Reiki as “energy medicine.” According to NCCAM, therapies in this category seek to “affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body” (also known as the biofield). Energy therapies, such as therapeutic touch and Healing Touch, are “believed to act by correcting imbalances in the internal biofield.” 

Some Reiki practitioners find that Reiki is different from other energy therapies and is actually closer to meditation. For example, while most energy therapies use techniques to assess the recipient’s biofield and make specific corrections, Reiki practitioners do not diagnose and do not deliberately reorganize the biofield. 

Reiki practice is extremely passive. The Reiki practitioner’s hands are still for most of the treatment, moving only to change hand placements. The Reiki practitioner is neutral, making no attempt to fix the recipient or to change the biofield. Additionally, the practitioner does not in any way control Reiki energy; she/he merely rests her hands lightly on the body (or just above the body if needed, for example, in the presence of an open wound or burn). 

Reiki energy in the practitioner’s hands arises spontaneously in response to the individual recipient’s need for balance at that particular time. In this way, each Reiki treatment is automatically customized to the immediate need of that particular recipient, even though the practitioner may use the same sequence of hand placements for each treatment. 

Reiki is optimally given in a full treatment format but can also be administered in abbreviated treatments to a specific area or areas of the body. In urgent situations, even moments of Reiki touch can be soothing. 

Reiki, as it is practiced in the US today, dates back to the teachings of Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1920’s. Usui was a lifelong spiritual aspirant, a lay Buddhist priest with a wife and two children. In Usui’s time, various lineages of Buddhist, Taoist, and Shinto practices coexisted as the dominant themes in Japanese spirituality and culture. Usui’s intense spiritual practices culminated in a profound revelation that led to the practice now commonly called Reiki. This realization most likely occurred in 1922. Usui traveled widely in Japan during the last four years of his life, offering his spiritual teachings to more than 2,000 beginning students, but training only 16 as Reiki masters. 

Arlington Acupuncture Clinic is pleased to offer the following forms of Reiki by 
Thomas E. Turpen, MS, R.Ac., a certified Reiki Master:

  • Usui Reiki—the original form or Reiki
  • Tibetan Reiki—Reiki applied with Tibetan energy practices
  • Anma Reiki—Reiki applied with acupressure