Reiki Perspectives: My Journey to and with Reiki

Quite often I am asked, “What is Reiki?”

The answer is simple yet quite complex. The word Reiki means Universal Life Force or Energy.  It’s the word “energy” that is most interesting, simple, and complex. When we are tired we often say, “I have no energy left, I’m worn out.” This, of course, is not exactly true. Our bodies and the entire universe are made up of energy.

To take it to the simplest form look at the atom; this tiny microscopic “thing” is so powerful that when scientists found out how to split it, the atom bomb was created. It is not the electrons that circle the nucleus made of protons and neutrons that is powerful, but the empty space around them that keeps them moving, in other words, energy. Our bodies and everything in the universe are made up of atoms. How they are structured together creates people, trees, animals, tables, houses, and planets.

Imbalance and Disharmony

It doesn’t take much of an imbalance to create disharmony which in the physical body shows up as illness, diseases, and pain. Part of this disharmony can occur because of lifestyle, eating habits, and exercise habits. The body was designed for lots of physical activity, ample rest, and wholesome nutritional food. Oxygen and water are especially important to a healthy body as well. If you look around at our planet it doesn’t take long to see why people feel they have no energy! The air, water, and food have become more polluted; also, many people work long hours, and/or drive long distances to and from a job. Stress has become a way of life and has been shown to have a negative impact on our immune system. Coffee shops and caffeine-loaded soft drinks are available everywhere we turn to keep us going. Unfortunately, these are short-lived shots of energy and we are soon even more tired or ill.

Reiki can Restore

So, what does Reiki have to do with all of this? Reiki energy can assist the body in restoring the balance of energy in the physical body. A Reiki practitioner is attuned to Universal Life Force Energy and a channel is opened permitting the energy to flow through the practitioner to the person they are offering the energy to. A Reiki session may last from 45 minutes to an hour or more, usually on a massage table while the participant is fully clothed. The Reiki practitioner lays their hands gently on the participant thus allowing the energy to flow into the participant’s body. The first thing most people experience is deep relaxation. Some even fall asleep during the session. If a person presents a particular problem such as a headache, a sore knee or back, maybe some digestive problems, the practitioner may choose to focus on these particular parts of the body. The practitioners’ hands may, but not always, get warm during a session, a sign of energy flowing through them to the participant.

A Journey to and with Reiki

A Journey to and with Reiki

The Body Knows Wellness

The body knows wellness and the participant is responsible for their own healing. Reiki allows deep relaxation which helps to reduce tightness of muscles which in turn allows the energy of oxygen-filled blood to flow more evenly through the body once more. Thus after the session, most people feel some relief from the problems they had when they came in. More serious illnesses may require multiple sessions for help if any to occur.

Reiki Helps the Flow of Energy

Our bodies and our brains are made up of mostly water. We are 90% water when we are born, about 70% water as an adult. This liquid must flow through our bodies at a smooth uninterrupted pace every second we are alive. Some people talk about “blocks in energy”, I see it as a similarity to a kinked hose. The water stops sometimes entirely if a hose is kinked tight enough. Swelling and stress are two ways of “kinking” our arteries; other ways involve overeating, allowing fat to accumulate in the arteries, sometimes due to lack of exercise and insufficient water intake. Mental stress can also cause these blocks. Reiki works when the person requesting the energy is focused on their own wellness and well-being. Sometimes, just relieving stress for an hour or so with a Reiki session can work wonders on the human body! As the energy begins to flow through the body, the “kinks” are released reducing pain and stiffness in potentially a very short time.

I am not a scientist nor a medical doctor but these ideas are how I see the human body working or not with the energy that is available. When someone breaks a bone and a physician sets it, Reiki may help the bone and surrounding tissue to heal more rapidly. When someone needs surgery because the body has clogged up or disease has set in, Reiki may help the body recover quicker. How does this work? I have no idea, I only know it works as I have personally seen incredible changes in people from allowing the Reiki energy to flow through their bodies.

A Personal Experience

My personal experience began after I had surgery for cancer 19 years ago. I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the small bowel. When the surgeons began to operate they found cancer growing throughout my entire abdomen with a tumor in the duodenum that grew out through the intestine wall over the top covering the lower area of my intestines on the omentum and a tumor in my colon. They were surprised at how widely spread the cancer was, yet they set out to remove it surgically and ended up removing over three feet of my intestines in three different places and removing the entire omentum. They were incredible doctors who literally saved my life. However, they didn’t give me much of a chance at living very long. I thanked them for their part and told them the rest was up to me. I was in the hospital for nine days with tubes everywhere; yet, somehow I knew my body could get back to a place of wellness.

When I arrived home, the very next day a close friend called to let me know she had just been attuned to Reiki and wanted to know if she could come and give me some Reiki energy. I had never heard of it but was open to trying anything. She proceeded to allow the Reiki energy to flow into my abdomen for over an hour. I had been stapled from top to bottom and the scars were still quite tender and painful, I was only able to walk short distances. After the Reiki session, I was amazed at how much the pain was reduced! It didn’t really seem like she did anything though I did feel some warmth coming into my body, and I felt better. I was intrigued, to say the least. After the treatment it seemed healing began much quicker, each day I walked a little farther, setting up goals for myself until I could walk a mile, then I walked the mile faster.

During the course of my illness, before the doctors found the cancer, I searched everywhere trying to find a way back to a healthy body. I went to crystal healers, participated in sweat lodge ceremonies, and learned the Metis Medicine Wheel Ceremony. I used meditation in my daily life and found ways to be happy and thankful each day in spite of the pain and illness in my body.

A year after I had surgery to remove the cancer, I was introduced to a shaman from Canada who came down monthly to Seattle to teach the basics of Shamanism. I worked with her for five years and learned so much about the body, energy, and the human psyche and spirit. The time spent with her was amazing and I continue to draw on some of the lessons I learned.

Then in 1999, I began looking for someone to teach me Reiki, I knew very little about it, only the experience I had had ten years earlier. A friend referred me to someone she knew and I signed up and ended up taking all three Reiki Degrees over a period of time. From the first attunement, I felt the change in myself as the energy flowed through the crown of my head and down into my body as though it was awakening every cell. I practiced on myself daily, and eventually taught classes. In teaching, I learned so much because I began to do research and learn more about this incredible energy. I have continued and deepened my Reiki studies to include Japanese Reiki Techniques and Jikiden Reiki, in addition to Usui Shiki Ryoho.

Reiki is the direct use of energy to help the body and/or mind find the way back to a place of wholeness and wellness. I hope that in the near future Reiki practitioners will continue to work even more closely with more physicians and medical practitioners to bring relief and a state of wellness to their patients. I see Reiki not as an “alternative” therapy but rather as a “complementary” therapy.

**This article appeared in The Reiki Times, the official magazine of the International Association of Reiki Professionals.
by Patricia Strand
About the Author: Patricia is a Reiki Master certified to teach in both the Usui System of Natural Healing and Japanese Reiki Techniques. She is attuned to the Okuden and Shoden degrees in Jikiden Reiki. For more information see

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