The word Reiki is actually a combination of two words 'Rei' and 'Ki'. 'Rei' is the healing energy of the Universe and 'Ki' is the energy within. Thus, Reiki means the transformation of the healing energy of the universe into the energy within.
All the matter in the universe is made up of energy. This energy surrounds every living as well as non-living thing in the world. Similarly, the earth itself is a unique powerhouse of energy. This energy source is considered to be inexhaustible, and has an abundance of positive healing forces.
It is believed that there are seven centers or Chakras of energy in the human body. Each Chakra controls and manages the functions of different aspects of our life on several levels. The Chakras (from top to the bottom) are said to be at the Crown or the Head, the Third Eye, Throat, Heart, Upper Stomach, Lower Belly and Sacral regions of our body. The flow or blockage of the flow of energy between these Chakras and the Universe is supposed to create balance or imbalance of forces within us.
With Reiki, the energy healing is carried out by channeling the unique energy force via the Crown Chakra, Heart Chakra and then the hand of the Reiki Healer to the recipient of the healing touch. This healing energy is said to cure many ailments - either physical or mental or spiritual.
The credit of creating or discovering this unique method of healing goes to a Japanese Buddhist called Mikao Usui. He said that this method of energy healing therapy came to him after several days of meditation, prayer and fasting.
Reiki is taught by 'Masters' across the world. In most cases, it is generally considered important to see the lineage of learning - that is to say, who is the teacher's teacher, and then who is his teacher and so on. Several teachers of Reiki have created or modified new or existing Reiki practices to enhance the process. This has generated several schools of Reiki learning.
Reiki is generally taught in 3 levels. At each level, the student receives an 'Attunement' from his teacher or master. The student also learns various techniques of providing healing and different symbols used for the healing process. Therefore it is essential to learn Reiki only in a classroom, as the 'Attunement' process cannot be achieved otherwise. Only a trained Reiki Master (who has completed the 3 levels of training) can give 'Attunement' and therefore teach other students.
While this process is non intrusive and involves simply, a healing touch, Reiki therapy is often subjected to a lot of criticism. That notwithstanding, it has withstood the test of time and proved, with a variety of results, that there is surely something of substance present within its concepts and processes. There are several success stories, the world over, which will attest to the benefits of Reiki healing energy. From providing relief from minor headaches to even curing cancer patients, this healing technique has begun to gain acceptance as another branch of Alternative Medicine.