Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reiki: The Power of Universal Life Energy- Nidean Dickson

Originating from Tibetan Sutras and later resurging in Eastern Oriental traditions, Reiki has become a prominent form of touch healing. This essay aims to outline the components of Reiki and the interconnected relationship between the role of the practitioner and recipient as an essential form of healing and how it has been incorporated in a medical field. The fundamental elements of Reiki are explained as an intrinsic element to the mind and body that is conceptualised by Martha Roger’s theory of Unitary Human Beings that is further validated in modern medicine. Reiki practitioner’s vary from first degree to third degree practitioners and act as a conduit of energy to become a channel for healing through methodical hand placements. The transmission of the recipient’s energy through the practitioner allows the exploration of several states of awareness in correlation with sensory experience that is identified through symbolism and liminality. Evidently, Reiki as a touch healing therapy or practice is an ancient tradition that fundamentally relies on the imperative interconnected relationship between the practitioner and recipient that forms a mediumistic channel of energy transference essential to the healing process.

Reiki utilises universal energy through touch therapy as a way of healing that deviates from dogma and instead is identified as a holistic integrative practice that aligns the body, spirit and mind through energy force. Literally translated as universal life energy that acknowledges the relationship between the mind, soul and energy, Reiki is formed from two separate terms “rei” and “ki” (Wetzel 1989, p. 48). According to Bullock (1997, p. 31) “rei” is defined as a “universal spirit, unlimited [and] the cosmic force of the universe.” Conversely, “ki” is attributed to an energy force that contemporary shaman Alberto Villoldo (cited in Koda 2008) described as the imperative nature and immensity of “ki” in the sphere of life as thinking of “ki” as “rain, or the fluid waters of life.” Thus, the innate characteristics of Reiki highlighted the intrinsic universality and all-encompassing relationship between life, energy and force. Medical practitioner Martha Rogers explains “ki” through the theory of Unitary Human Beings that the “unitary nature of the individual is in the natural interaction with the environment… [and therefore] the unitary human being is an energy field interrelated with the universe” (Chang 2003, p. 104). This is corroborated by Meleis (2007, p. 391) arguing the irreducible nature of the unitary human being and energy force by stating that “human beings and environments do not have energy fields; they are energy fields.” Evidently, Reiki relies on the interconnected and universal relationship between life and energy as a healing modality which is a direct correlate of Eastern philosophy that identifies the significance of universal energy as a way to sustain the physical of which is the human body (Gilbert 2004, p.480). Chang (2003, p.103) highlights the importance of healing by emphasising the role of the integration of body and mind to achieve an optimal healing state. To medical practitioners healing is an intrinsic process to patient care which identifies the significance of Reiki as a motivational and evidential took to “invite nurses to return to the ontological foundation of their practice…that is, person-nature environment” (Vitale 2006, p.192). By incorporating Reiki method into nursing practice several positive effects have been collated through qualitative data such as a higher level of relaxation that enables positive well-being, decrease in anxiety and blood pressure and facilitating an attitude toward an increased quality of life (Potter 2007, p. 239). Thus, the fundamental characteristics of Reiki are vital to healing processes in a spiritual and medical realm that utilises energy transference through touch vibrations produces by a Reiki practitioner.

At varying degrees, Reiki practitioners act as a conduit for the transmission of energy through a series of hand placements that allow healing to occur that can be mutually beneficial for both the practitioner and the recipient. There are three varying degrees of the level of Reiki practitioner that consecutively increase in responsibility and depth. According to Wardell (2008, p. 440) the first degree healer “becomes sensitised to imbalances of energy, and in the second the Reiki energy is accentuated for faster and deeper results… and at the third or Master level a commitment is made to Reiki as life’s work.” Reiki practitioners do not initiate or direct the healing but rather act as a medium for energy flow that is produced from the placement of hands over the head, torso and lower body to impose on the primordial consciousness that highlights the differing aspect of Reiki in comparison to other bioenergetic modes of healing (Horrigan & Miles 2003, 76). Practitioner Pamela Miles (cited in Horrigan & Miles 2003, p. 76) identifies the effect of Reiki treatment on the practitioner by stating “when I place my hands on someone it’s like feeling an orchestra in my palms- I feel many different volts and qualities of vibrations, and it keeps changing.” Through the ability to attune vibrations the Reiki practitioner is able to identify the intrinsic components of the healing that is classified on a mental, emotional, spiritual and physical level which in turn fulfils the philosophy of Reiki as a holistic “system of subtle vibrational healing” (Horrigan & Miles 2003, p. 76). Therefore, it is imperative for the practitioner to embody sincerity and experience to be an effective conduit of energy flow as “touch acts just as a stone thrown into a lake” (Chang 2003, p. 107). Effectively, the practitioner is essential to how the recipient is affected by the Reiki healing based on the practitioner’s spirituality and ability to be inwardly attuned to be a conduit for energy (La Torne 2005, p. 184). Conversely, the recipient also plays a vital role in the transference of energy and ability to enable healing as the practitioner and recipient act as complementary characters in Reiki.

In receiving a Reiki healing, a patient will endure several different phases prior and during the healing that explores several states of awareness and experiences that are assimilated with intention to direct the energy force imperative to optimise healing. Initially, it is vital that prior to Reiki the recipient recognises the necessity for the healing which is “based on the premise that thought follows energy and energy follows intent” (Bullock 1997, p.31). Intention in the pre-therapeutic phase acts as a precursor to the direction and ability of energy to flow during the treatment. Often during Reiki a patient experiences a change in the state of awareness that can be associated with a liminal state which has been identified as “optimal states for healing” (McClenton 2005, p. 328). Originally van Gennep (cited in Perez 1986, p. xiii) described liminality as “a phase, a fleeting, ephemeral moment destined for supersession.” Turner (cited in Perez 1986, p. xiii) elaborates on van Gennep’s explanation of liminality by transforming it into a spatial view that goes beyond the concept of a threshold towards “a place of habitation.” Effectively Turner (1969, p. 95) classifies the ambiguity of liminality as “the entities [that] are neither here nor there; they are betwixt and between the positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention and ceremonial.By applying the concept of liminality to the altered state of awareness associated with a Reiki healing there is a significant effect on the orientation in time, place and self that explicitly reflects the affects of altering between two altered states of consciousness or a “threshold”. Reiki recipients often reported the experience of time either accelerating or decelerating with either no knowledge or hyper awareness of the natural surroundings that contributed to the ambiguity of self perception (Engebretson & Wardell 2002, p.51.) In addition to perceptive alterations, sensory experiences are also strongly prevalent during Reiki. Several participants have reported “numbness, involuntary muscle twitching, and feelings of heat, which are clustered into sensations in temperature, sound … and discordant touch” (Engebretson & Wardell 2002, p. 51). Subjectively, during my Reiki healing with a level two practitioner, my visual and aural sensory awareness heightened and I felt a strong sense of relaxation that enabled an unexpected emotional response. Evidently, a heightened state of awareness and sensory experiences affect the cognition of the recipient as feelings of relaxation and calmness that leads to emotional transformations of clarification or detachment that would otherwise not be achieved in the ordinary waking state (Engebretson & Wardell 2002, p.52). Thus, through the ability to affect the spiritual, emotional and physical states of the participant, Reiki can be seen as a prominent and successful form of healing that embraces the interconnected relationship energy transference produces between body, spirit and mind.

As a result, the universal life energy force as an essential element of Reiki is vital to the process of healing. By reverting back to a holistic practice, Reiki identifies the intrinsic nature between life and the environment as a direct impact of a universal energy. The characteristics fundamental to the development of this energy defined by the unitary human being significantly contributes to the appeal and effectiveness of Reiki in medical practices, particularly nursing, as a way to attain optimal healing. Optimal healing is achieved through the use of vibrations through hand placements to formulate energy that are attuned by varying degrees of Reiki practitioners who act as a conduit for energy transference. However, the transference of energy is co-dependent on the role of the recipient in providing intention and acceptance for the healing. This intention then allows the energy to alter states of awareness, cognition and sensory experiences to contribute to healing process of the affected areas of the participant to highlight relationship between energy, the mind and the body. Evidently, as a universal life energy force Reiki highlights the imperative relationship between the practitioner and recipient to capture the essence of healing as an intrinsic element that is derived from the interconnectedness between body, mind and spirit.

Reference List
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