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Spiritual Healing Through Reiki
Written by Dana Lisa Young   

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reiki_cloud_handsReiki: A Complementary & Alternative Therapy

Complementary and alternative therapies refer to health care systems, practices, and products that are not part of conventional medicine (drugs, surgery and medical devices such as Interstim). The alternative therapies most often used to treat painful bladder symptoms in Interstitial Cystitis patients include biofeedback, diet-based therapies, herbal remedies, massage, yoga, Pilates and Reiki.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a system for healing and self-improvement developed by Usui Mikao in Japan in the early 1900s that was synthesized from various energy and awareness-raising techniques and practices already in practice throughout Japan.


The word Reiki (“Rei” and “Ki”) translates to “spiritual energy.” Reiki practitioners believe that everything – the universe, and all sentient beings - consist of spiritual energy. This is our life force – what animates us, interconnects us to each other and is what we tap into for our healing work. Reiki practitioners believe that when a person’s “ki” or energy is strong and free flowing, their body and mind is in a positive state of health. The ultimate goal and benefits associated with Reiki are to feel more balanced, healthier and happier and progress toward a state of self-awareness.

What does Reiki do?

If the energy in our body becomes weak, blocked or over-stimulated, it may eventually lead to symptoms of physical, emotional or spiritual imbalance. The easiest way to illustrate this is to talk about the cumulative effects of stress. Having a stressful day every now and then will not harm the body, but unrelieved chronic stress eventually leads to compromised immune function, poor sleep, depression, hypertension, anxiety and physical pain. This is energy that has not been utilized in a beneficial way by the body. Reiki helps balance and increase beneficial energy levels that are restorative and healing.

Reiki practitioners are compassionate facilitators. They work by acting as a channel, allowing the energy present within and around us to flow through themselves to the recipient. Ultimately, the recipient is the one who does the healing by taking in and assimilating the energy as needed. Part of the healing journey requires that the person to be healed take responsibility for their part in the process. This quote by Misa Hopkins (The Root of All Healing) illustrates this point beautifully:
“The human being’s ability to heal is extraordinary. The power of love and intention a person can generate for healing is remarkable. Using the power of your mind and heart is in complete alignment with the law of nature. Bodies regenerate themselves naturally. Sometimes we need to help our bodies remember how to do that healthily and if we choose to do this consciously, we embark on a healing journey.”

What benefits does Reiki have?

Reiki is very gentle, but its effects are often quite powerful. It helps induce the body’s relaxation response, leading to a calmer physical and emotional state. Many people settle into an alpha state, (the edge of waking and sleeping) which is very beneficial because it allows the adrenal glands and the body’s parasympathetic processes to rest and recover. People who are recovering from illness or injury also benefit from receiving Reiki because the ELF (Extremely Low Frequency) range emitted through the hands (similar to magnetic field therapy) stimulate tissue repair to promote healing, reduce pain or discomfort and impart a sense of well-being.

Reiki is a wonderful tool to use as a complement to traditional and alternative medicine, and is practiced in many hospitals, medical care and therapeutic settings. It should not be a substitute for regular medical care from a qualified professional. It can help counteract the side effects of medication, such as nausea and fatigue from chemotherapy, or make it possible to reduce dosages of painkillers because of its own ability to minimize or alleviate discomfort.

What is a Reiki session like?

Before your first session, a Reiki practitioner will spend a few minutes describing the session to you and what you might expect. He or she will also give you an opportunity to discuss any particular issues you are experiencing and what you hope to achieve from your session.

For the actual session, you will rest comfortably and fully clothed on a massage table on your back with your shoes removed. You may spent part of the session face-up and then may be asked to turn over so the practitioner can work on the back part of your body. If a medical condition requires it, Reiki can be performed with you sitting in a chair as well.

A typical session utilizes a combination of standard hand positions beginning at the head and working down to the feet, but may spend more time working on specific areas of the body if the practitioner senses additional healing is required. Some hand positions may be hands-on, where a light touch is applied or hands-off where the hands are held slightly above the body. Many people report feeling very relaxed, peaceful, feel warmth or tingling in various parts of their body or simply feeling a sense of improved well-being. Some people actually fall asleep during a session, which is wonderful for its ability to promote deep healing.

Reiki can also be sent from a distance by qualified practitioners who have been trained to work with, understand and discern changes in energy movement. A great source for understanding a scientific viewpoint of distance-based healing comes from an interview/article with James L. Oschman, Ph.d entitled Science and the Human Energy Field. He describes, in very approachable language, the quantum science behind energy transfer and distance healing.

There is tremendous benefit in direct healing touch, because the body releases endorphins when the skin receives physical contact, but the healing benefits of Reiki are not limited to in-person sessions. This can be very useful for someone who does not have immediate access to a Reiki practitioner, is housebound or would simply prefer to relax in a safe, familiar environment and receive healing work when it is convenient for them.

For more information on Reiki, as well as clinical studies that support Reiki’s palliative and healing benefits, see the following:


Dana Lisa Young is a Master teacher and practitioner of Usui Reiki, certified life coach focusing on spiritual and personal development, and owner of Dragonfly Reiki in Atlanta, GA. She conducts private Reiki healing and life coaching sessions, facilitates a monthly donation clinic and teaches classes so that people can learn how to heal themselves and others. Dana has conducted Reiki sessions in her private practice and in the clinical setting (hospital room and ICU) and leads Reiki “shares” where practitioners get together to work on each other and learn new techniques.  Dana knows a great deal about Interstitial Cystitis as she suffered with it for years.  Read about her story of healing through Reiki.

Dana Lisa Young, Usui Reiki Master www.dragonflyreiki.net


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