Clear Up the Confusion: Is Reiki a Massage or Something Else?

Reiki is a very popular treatment that you can find just about anywhere. Even though many people use the service, there is a lot of confusion about it.

Reiki is not a massage but a spiritual healing technique. The treatment promotes deep relaxation, increased peace and happiness, lower stress levels, and increased mental and physical healing, among other things. While Reiki practitioners may lightly touch you, it is not a massage.

There are many different healing techniques today, some more invasive than others. With Reiki growing in popularity since the 1920s, more and more people have wondered what the treatment is. This article will describe what Reiki is, what you can expect in a session, and will cover a few other frequent questions about the technique.

What Is Reiki?

Reiki is a treatment that reduces stress and encourages mindful living and quicker healing. It is a relaxation technique that is from Japan. People using this technique believe that all humans have a “life force energy” and can transfer energy through the treatment.

The belief behind Reiki is that if a person’s life force energy is low, the individual could experience higher stress levels or become sick easier. On the other hand, if a person’s life force energy is high, they are more likely to be relaxed, healthy, and happy.

Furthermore, the word itself represents what the treatment is. The word “Rei” means “higher power” or “God’s wisdom,” while “Ki” means “life force energy.” So this can be translated to “higher power life force energy.”

Reiki Is Not a Massage

Many people think that Reiki is a massage. Even though it can have the same relaxing effects as a massage, it is not the same. While a massage is meant to relax your muscles physically, Reiki focuses on your mind and soul.

In a Reiki treatment, the Reiki practitioner will touch you but not massage your muscles. They will lay their hands on various areas of your body, which is part of the transfer of life force energy.

Most of the time, the Reiki practitioner will touch places like your head, shoulders, arms, and other non-intrusive areas. You can also tell the practitioner to avoid certain areas.

Who Developed Reiki?

A Japanese therapist named Matiji Kawakami developed the technique of Reiki Ryoho in 1914. However, multiple kinds of Reiki treatments were also available during that time. Here are a few:

  • Reikan Tonetsu Ryoho – This treatment was created by Reikaku Ishinuki
  • Senshinryu Reiki Ryoho – This technique was developed by Kogetsu Matsubara
  • Seido Reishojutsu – Developed by Reisen Oyama

Around 1922, a Japanese man named Usui Sensei had a mystical experience and formed his own Reiki technique, calling it Usui Reiki Ryoho. Even though there were several different styles of Reiki in that period, the only one that lasted the test of time (and became very popular) was Usui Sensei’s technique.

What Is a Reiki Session Like?

Now that we know Reiki is not a massage, let’s look at what you can expect during a session.


Sessions Usually Happen in a Quiet Place

The Reiki technique, similar to a massage, usually takes place in a quiet room. The thing that distinguishes this technique from others is that the treatment can occur anywhere at any time. Since Reiki is more about transferring and adopting life force energy, a specific area is not needed to undergo the treatment.

That said, a quiet room is the best place for it, and most practitioners have a relaxing environment to practice. Furthermore, playing soft, soothing music during the session is expected. However, you can choose your music as the patient or no music.

Sessions Can Last Anywhere From 15-90 Minutes Long

Much like a massage, Reiki treatments come in different time slots. While shorter treatments are primarily used in hospitals and care homes, longer treatments are frequently done in private practices. As the patient, you can choose a time that will work best for you.

There Will Be Light Touching

Even though a Reiki treatment is not a massage, touching will still be involved. Although, the hand placements of the Reiki technique are much lighter and less invasive than a regular massage. The practitioner will often place their hands on your head, chest, and back.

If you have a particular area that needs healing, you can also ask them to treat that area of your body. They will do this by hovering their hand over the wound or injury.

The practitioner might also give light pulsations wherever they are touching. Often, their hands are hot or refreshingly cold to the touch.

People Can Feel Many Different (Positive) Things After a Session

The most common feeling that a Reiki treatment gives someone is deep relaxation. People often experience a release of stress throughout the session. Many people have said that they also have an easier time falling asleep after the session. Furthermore, the Reiki technique has been known to relieve headaches and give people a general sense of contentment.

Other effects could include being less emotionally reactive, feeling more centered in your daily life, and having better digestion.

Is Reiki a Religion?

After hearing more about the treatment, many people think it is a religion. You do not have to believe anything or do anything to gain benefits from the technique. On the other hand, the creator of this specific Reiki technique promotes people to live in peace and harmony with others. Lastly, since the technique involves energy from God, people of different religions use this technique to feel closer to the religion they practice.

Does Reiki Work?

A study by Nicola Mackay, Stig Hansen, and Oona McFarlane showed that participants that underwent Reiki treatment had a lower heart rate and blood pressure than those who didn’t. Furthermore, a study by Diane Wardell and Joan Engebretson revealed that a single Reiki treatment effectively lowered anxiety and increased relaxation.

Should I Get a Reiki Treatment?

Since there are so many different healing and relaxation techniques, it can be hard to decide what to choose. If you are religious, this might be a good option. It will lower your stress levels and allow you to experience a deeper connection to your religion.

However, even if you are not religious, you can still use this technique. This would be something to consider if you have a very stressful daily life since many clients experience deep relaxation and better sleep after Reiki treatments.

If you want to learn more about Reiki, check out Essential Reiki from Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Reiki is a healing technique that induces relaxation, faster healing, and a sense of contentment. While it is not a massage, the Reiki practitioner will lightly touch certain places on your body, such as your head, back, and torso. Most of the time, they will place their hands on your body, but sometimes they will pulse on the spot and lightly massage your temples, for example.

There are many different benefits of Reiki treatments. While most people experience deep relaxation both during and after the treatment, some patients have even said it helps them sleep better, cures headaches, increases their mental health, and leaves them feeling peaceful and happy. While this treatment has many benefits, it should not be the primary source of treatment for serious health issues.

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