Hands-on or touch therapy is not new in the world of complimentary and alternative therapy.
Massage, acupressure and reflexology are all well-known examples of touch therapy. Reiki is a lesser-known method of touch therapy, but it has been gaining in popularity quite rapidly over the last several years.
The 2007 National Health Survey indicated that 1.2 million adults in the U.S. received Reiki or other types of energy work during the prior year.
Reiki is a Japanese relaxation method that promotes healing in the body. It was first introduced into Western culture in the 1930s when a woman named Hawayo Takata brought the teachings back with her from Japan.
Since then more than 70 styles of Reiki have come to be developed, taught and practiced in the U.S. While each style has its own unique qualities, they all share a common foundation based on the original Japanese method.
The term Reiki is comes from the Japanese terms Rei, meaning "universal" and Ki, meaning "life energy." Reiki is based on the Eastern concept that all living things contain ki.
There are many different types of ki, but Reiki is mainly aimed at health-related ki. This is known as genki, healthy ki, and byoki, unhealthy ki. The practice of Reiki uses this "Universal Life Energy" to help relax the body, break up byoki and increase genki within a person's energy system.
Our thoughts, emotions and environment all play a major role in how the ki within our bodies develops. When we are well-rested, eating a balanced diet, exercising and leading a balanced life we have high levels of genki and very few occurrences of illness.
When we hold on to negative emotions like fear and anger or don't allow enough time to rest and relax, byoki tends to build up causing illness on both a physical and mental level.
During a Reiki session there is no physical manipulation of the body. Practitioners send the Reiki energy to areas of the body that have increased byoki by lightly placing their hands on or above the affected areas. The Reiki energy then works with the body to clear out the byoki and replace it with genki, which restore balance to the body's energy system.
It is the gentle and non-invasive nature of Reiki that has moved people to seek it out as a means of dealing with everything from pain management to stress relief.
If Reiki is something you might be interested in trying you don't have to look far. Walla Walla has a wonderful and talented Reiki community that can allow you to experience it individually or as part of a group.
Corbi Copeland is a reiki practitioner at Akasha Natural Healing in Walla Walla. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.akashanaturalhealing.com.