Reiki is a form of laying-of-the-hands energy healing developed by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan, early 1900s. Today 300,000-plus Reiki practitioners live in the U.S. alone. The numbers are increasing in vast amounts.
The following is an interview with Atlanta Reiki Master, Brad Dixon.
>Q: Brad, how many years have you been involved with Reiki? What are your “credentials?”
>I first learned Reiki in 1996 for the improvement of my personal health. I continued my training after moving to Atlanta in 1999 through the Usui Master and Karuna Master levels. I opened my practice, Wellspring Reiki, in 2002, offering both sessions and classes. I recently became certified as a facilitator of La-Ho-Chi, another powerful form of energy work.
>Q: What sort of problems do people come to you with? And how does Reiki affect these clients?
>Reiki works on all levels – mind, body, and spirit – depending upon what the clients’ needs are. Some people come to me for specific health problems while many simply want to explore new means of stress management. A lot of people come for the Reiki experience simply to broaden their horizons.
During a session, they learn about the importance of healthy energy flow through the body’s principal energy centers – called chakras – which are located at the top of the crown, third eye (just above the brow area between the eyes), throat, heart (center of chest), solar plexus (just above the naval), sacrum (just below naval) and root (at the tailbone). A typical Reiki session involves hand placements focusing very high vibrational energy on the chakras to restore them to optimal functioning.
Stress, negative thinking, and unhealthy lifestyle choices can cause our chakras to become imbalanced or even closed. Keeping these important energy gateways properly functioning is vitally important to our health, because disruptions in energy flow frequently lead to illness. So Reiki is great preventative care. It’s also helpful for health problems that have already manifested. Any problem involving mind, body or spirit can benefit from this healing technique. All I can promise, though, is that it’s good for stress reduction and relaxation.
What people experience during a Reiki session varies. Most people sense the energy as soothing heat or pleasant tingling, and some feel completely enveloped in radiant warmth. As the energy breaks away negative feelings like tension and fear, people sometimes drift in and out of sleep or feel like they’re floating. Many of my clients have reported profound experiences.
>Q: Is Reiki difficult to learn? What makes for a good Reiki healer?
>The beauty of Reiki is that virtually anyone can easily learn it. It requires no prior experience with meditation or other healing arts. It’s widely accepted in the Reiki community that this healing art is a gift from a Higher Power (however you choose to define that) that wanted humankind to raise its consciousness. But Reiki isn’t a religion, so even if you reject that idea, you can still learn this healing art, and it will work for you.
In Western Reiki classes based on the traditional system of Reiki developed by Mikao Usui in Japan, there are four attunement levels (I, II, Advanced, III), each of which confer increasingly heightened ability to use this energy. I divide the training into two one-day classes (I/II, Advanced/III), so the basics can be learned very quickly. A lot of important learning, of course, involves regular practice. Many people just want to learn it for use on themselves and friends/family.
For those that feel guided to work with others professionally, I think it’s important to approach the work with good intentions and get your ego out of the way. Don’t let the title “Reiki Master” go to your head. The Level III/Master training can easily be obtained by anyone (in fact, I encourage it).
Reiki energy, by nature, is spiritually guided to do what it needs to do on whatever level (mind, body, spirit) it’s most needed at that moment. So if practitioners just focus their intent on being a clear, open channel for the energy to pass through, remarkable things can happen. With time, practice and dedication, Reiki practitioners can develop heightened intuitive ability to read or perceive energy fields, but seeing auras and getting psychic impressions isn’t necessary to be a perfectly effective Reiki healer.
>Q: Reiki seems to be growing within the mass consciousness. Why do you think that is?
>I believe the explosive growth of yoga, with terminology including chakras, has done much to deepen curiosity and understanding of our energy. On many of my students’ personal paths, Reiki is the next stop after yoga. Many people in the Western world have also embraced the concept of feng shui in recent years, recognizing that the proper flow of energy — or “chi” — through the environment is vital for maintaining a happy home. They are also beginning to realize that this energy flows through their physical bodies as well. Awareness of the importance of maintaining strong levels of life-force energy is rising even in medical circles (I’ve had several doctors come to me for both sessions and classes).
Also driving interest in Reiki is the growth of spirituality. People all over seem to be having spiritual awakenings, pursuing enlightenment in many different fashions. The great thing about Reiki is that people of all religions can practice it. I’ve even had a Southern Baptist minister take my class, and he loved it.
Knowledge of Reiki sped up much faster in the 1980s after the death of Hawayo Takaka. She is much respected for bringing Reiki to the West from Japan in the 1930s, but she introduced some restrictions that weren’t part of the traditional system. For instance, she required that Reiki only be taught orally; nothing could be written down. She also charged an extremely high price for the Master training, $10,000, so there weren’t nearly as many teachers to share the gift. In the years after her death, teachers began charging much more reasonable rates as well as writing books to spread the word.
I believe that the information treasure-trove of the Internet is doing more than anything these days to build awareness of Reiki. Many people are exploring online for alternative means of improving their health. Like me in the 1990s, they’re getting fed up with a medical system focusing on treating symptoms rather than finding root causes. I’m hopeful that the trend toward planting some Eastern practices into Western medicine will continue. The growing acceptance of acupuncture by the medical establishment in this country shows that this merger has already begun.
>Q: What has been your most profound experience(s) with Reiki?
>For me, the most miraculous thing about Reiki is the attunement process, and I feel blessed to get to regularly facilitate it. No one’s quite certain of why this fairly simple ritual works. It requires a student to simply sit peacefully in a chair while I touch their hands and shoulders in a few specific ways while focusing my intent visually and energetically. In 10 minutes or less, they are plugged into this universal life force that is of much higher vibration than energy they could previously access. Even students who already practiced other types of energy work are amazed by the difference.
Attunements are always successful, only requiring the intent of the student to receive it and the teacher to pass it on. Many people believe that angels and spirit guides are involved in adjusting the energy field. Others speculate it’s a latent ability in all of us that simply needs to be turned on. All I know is that I feel profoundly wonderful from the intense energy passing through me during attunements, whatever their source. To my knowledge, no one has ever been able to debunk their success.