Reelin’ in the Reiki

So what exactly is reiki?  Reiki is derived from the Japanese words Rei: universal cosmic energy, and Ki: individual life force energy.  The basic principle is that there is an infinite source of energy surrounding us, and if we become attuned to this energy, we can consciously invite it to flow through ourselves and to others.  (Sort of like the ideas that quantam physics is developing, that everything boils down to energy.)  This positive energy has an intuition of its own, flowing freely to where it is needed most to help improve the physical, mental, and spiritual health of those who receive it.  This vibrational energy enters the person’s biofield (the intricately layered vibrational energy field that is said to surround and penetrate the physical body, similar to an aura) and strengthens any weaknesses that are there.  There is little scientific evidence that backs reiki (subtle energy and biomagnetics are still juvenile in extensive research), yet there are countless stories of people having chronic illnesses healed after a few reiki sessions after years of no response to medications.  When most people receive a reiki treatment, they typically feel warmth throughout their body and a state of extreme relaxation.  As some energy channels become unblocked, they can experience a release of emotions such as crying or laughing uncontrollably.


A picture symbolizing reiki flowing from the palms of the hands. Photo courtesy of

One scientific study that I found particularly interesting can be found at the hyperlink in the citation below.  To summarize, there are studies that show that certain biomagnetic field frequencies are conducive to promoting the repairing of human tissues (and those of animals).

“Dr. John Zimmerman measured the magnetic field frequencies of Reiki practitioners and
other energy therapists while they worked on clients, and found that they all emitted ELF
frequencies from their hands. The range of that field was 0.3 to 30 Hz, the same range
of frequencies associated with healthy tissue and organs. The frequency occurring most
often in the hands of energy therapists was 7 Hz, the same frequency as the PEMF
device approved by the FDA for stimulating bone growth.” (Doran,

It seems only natural to be skeptical of the existence and application of reiki.  I will admit that I was skeptical at first.  Over the past few weeks, I have developed an awareness of energy in and around my body, like tiny neurons firing throughout my body.  When I take my awareness to my hands, through which the reiki flows, I can feel an almost magnetic field there.  But what really convinced me that some sort of energy field exists was my experience with two kittens in the Old Blues Bar.  (Gabe was talking at the bar with another sort of kitten at the time, a beautiful Turkish nude model whose work we unfortunately did not get to see.)

One night we were sitting in the bar and one of the two owner’s kittens sat on my leg.  I decided to place my hands over him and concentrate on letting the reiki flow (it can be given to animals; in fact they seem to have a greater sense of the energy fields created).  As soon as I started, his claws reflexively came out and he stretched as much as he could, latching onto the fabric of my jeans to stretch himself some more.  Next, his claws retracted and he nuzzled against my leg, slowly closing his eyes and going limper than I have ever seen an animal go, as if entering a trance.  Immediately, his brother kitten leaped up onto my leg, climbed on top of his sibling, and set himself under my outstretched hands.  As I moved my hands around, he followed them wherever they went, refusing to leave their presence.  I felt a deep connection with the animals and the remaining skepticism that I had was wiped clean.