I want you to do me a quick favor: Think back to the last time you were upset—really upset. Now, I know this may be difficult, but bear with me here. Try to recall how you felt. Words such as anguished and overwhelmed likely spring to mind. And there’s a good reason why. Experiencing extreme emotional pain can be overwhelming at times. In fact, it can really turn your world upside down. And, often times, emotional stress can even transform into physical pain.
After I lost my parents, my heart literally ached—so much that it would stop me in my tracks. I became so consumed with the feeling of loss that I developed chest pain. I sought the help of a counselor, but it wasn’t the right fit for me. I knew why I was experiencing this pain; I just couldn’t “let it out” of my body. When a friend suggested I look into energy work, specifically reiki benefits, I was skeptical at first. But after just one session of reiki, a type of energy therapy, my life was changed forever. Who knew that the use of crystals and healing hands would end up being a huge part of my grieving process, and allow me to forgive and heal? I never felt that kind of relief from talk-based therapy.
The gentle, subtle energy I experienced during my first reiki session was powerful and uncontrollable. As soon as she moved her hands over my heart, I was overwhelmed with emotion and cried heavily. I began to see visions of myself at the age of three with my dad. I remembered fond memories of him that I had somehow stuffed away. I felt the presence of my mom by my side, and swear I felt her hand on my shoulder. This emotional release helped me to reconnect with myself and process a lot of the grief I was feeling. I felt lighter after each session, and now my chest pain has diminished.
Since then, I’ve allowed myself to reconnect with other areas of disappoints, grief, and perceived failures. I find myself more optimistic, more driven, and slow to anger. I also allowed my youngest son to have a session, and now he insists on holding certain crystals in his hands so he can rest at night. He talks through his fears with me at bedtime, and I have reiki to thank for teaching him this connection. But working through emotional pain such as grief is just one of many reiki benefits.
Have you ever felt like you were disconnected from yourself? Often when someone is feeling anxious or stressed, they have become disconnected from themselves. You may be surprised to learn that a reiki session can help to release energetic blockages that are causing the disconnect and calm feelings of anxiety. Most people feel soothed after a reiki session, although it can stir up a lot of feelings in some, as it did with me. It’s possible you may do a lot of crying on the reiki table just like I did. But I promise that this is a good thing because it is helping you to release a lot of pent-up emotion and results in a stronger self-energy.
Each person will experience reiki in his or her own way. You may feel lightheaded or sleepy after a reiki session. Memories that you haven’t thought about in a long time may float to the surface of your mind, generating a sense of peace and calm.
Self-healing is an ongoing process, and I still continue to see my reiki practitioner Lisa on a regular basis. Reiki helps me to manage my stress level and to stay emotionally and spiritually balanced, especially when I’m going through a tough time. If you’re wondering how reiki can help you, I’m happy to tell you that reiki benefits extend far beyond the mind and spirit. Reiki can also benefit your physical health and wellbeing! So, let’s take a closer look at what reiki is, how it works, and the many reiki benefits you may be interested in exploring.
Explaining reiki to others can be a little tricky sometimes. It’s really a simple process, but it may sound strange if you’re not familiar with it.
Reiki—also known as Usui reiki— was first developed in Japan over 100 years ago by Mikao Usui, a minister and university professor. The word reiki combines two Japanese words, “rei” and “ki.” Rei means basically means “Universal Life” or “Higher Wisdom” and ki means “energy.” Reiki translates into English as “universal life force energy.” 
So, how is reiki performed? When you receive a reiki healing session, the practitioner uses certain reiki hand positions to help direct reiki energy, or life force energy, within the client’s energy field. The client remains fully clothed and the practitioner will either touch the client lightly or hold their hands just above the client’s body. Some practitioners will also lay crystals over the chakras to facilitate energy movement. Reiki is intended to be a relaxing service, usually in a dimmed room with calm music and aromatherapy.
We are energetic beings and we are surrounded by energy. Quantum physics has shown that the world is made of vibrating energy. Interestingly, our bodies and other physical matter are very dense, but we are made of tiny energetic particles that are vibrating at a high rate. 
The electromagnetic field our body produces is also known as an aura or auric field. In fact, there are several layers to this field, and within this field there are energetic “organs” or “wheels” known as chakras that correspond to particular regions or organs of the body. The chakras help to move “Ki” or lifeforce energy throughout our bodies. [3, 4]
There are seven major chakras in the human body, along with many more minor chakras. These seven chakras are found at certain locations that correspond with the spinal column. Each chakra corresponds to an area and organ or system of the body. Each one also corresponds to particular emotional and mental aspects of our lives.
During a reiki session, the practitioner will test each chakra to assess where energy is deficient or perhaps excessive in the body. They will then focus the session on releasing any energetic blockages and helping to balance the energy throughout the body.
Here is a quick breakdown of the seven chakras, including information on their locations, correspondences, emotional signs of imbalance, and how to reconnect.
Location: Bottom of the spinal column
Correspondences: survival, financial security, home and family, issues affecting your “roots,” anger, lower back, lower digestive system, adrenals
Emotional imbalances: overwhelm, anxiety, fear, feeling unsafe
How to reconnect: The root chakra is where we “ground” our energy to the earth. You can balance this by physical exercise or connecting with the earth. Reframing your fear is also helpful.
Correspondences: emotions, creativity, relationship, sensuality, sexuality, reproductive organs
Emotional imbalances: guilt, lack of interest in sex and other activities, creative blocks, losing the feeling of joy, feeling lost and dull
How to reconnect: You can rebalance this chakra by embracing that life has ups and downs, living in the moment, giving yourself time to recharge, and most importantly, letting go of judgment. Doing something creative and fun can help as well. Dancing can be a great way to help this chakra.
Location: center of the body, above the naval and near the diaphragm
Correspondences: fear, anxiety, will power, confidence, self-esteem, pancreas, digestive issues
Emotional imbalances: anger, feeling lack of control, lack of will power, poor self-esteem, not asking for what you want, overcompensating for lack of esteem
How to reconnect: Rebalancing this chakra requires you to pull your power from within. Stay mindful, and set proper boundaries, eat proper nutrition, and fill those around you with positivity.
Location: center of the chest
Correspondences: giving and receiving love (including self-love), emotional hurt, grief, thymus
Emotional imbalances: grief, sadness, crying, fear of intimacy, lack of self-love, difficulty showing love
How to reconnect: To rebalance your heart chakra, you need to reconnect with those around you. Spend time with those that support you and forgive yourself. Self-acceptance of where you are in this moment is essential.
Location: base of the throat
Correspondences: communication, speaking, writing, hearing, listening, throat, thyroid, ears
Emotional imbalances: lying, not expressing your feelings effectively, comparing yourself to others, feeling shy, isolation
How to reconnect: The throat chakra is well-balanced when you speak your truth. Communicate your needs and desires.
Location: between the eyebrows
Emotional imbalances: depression, poor intuition
How to reconnect: Trust your gut! By tuning into your intuition, you can strengthen this chakra! Focus on how to move forward rather than falling backward. Trust the process.
Location: top of the head (the “crown”)
Correspondences: connection to God/Spirit/the Universe/ divine intelligence or a higher power (whatever you feel comfortable calling this source), pituitary gland
Emotional imbalances: feeling disconnected or alienated, depression, not finding purpose
How to reconnect: The crown chakra is where you connect your energy to the larger universe or cosmic consciousness. To correct this chakra, you have to connect to your higher self and place trust in your path. This involves all of your other chakras; balance them, reconnect, and find your divine purpose. Each moment is meant to be experienced and to foster growth. Be grateful for each and every emotion, and find a way to make peace with it. Journaling or writing down dreams can help with this.
There are five basic principles of reiki that reiki practitioners keep in mind. Honestly, they are also great reminders for all of us!
1. Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings.
2. Just for today, I will not worry.
3. Just for today, I will not be angry.
4. Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
5. Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.
Although reiki is considered an “alternative therapy,” many people feel a lot of relief and spiritual healing after a session. For example, like I mentioned previously, in my experience reiki can be a powerful way to help support the grieving process.
I’ve listed four reiki benefits below, but really there are so many more. For some, the fact that you can remain fully clothed is a benefit! Plus, sessions are usually only about 30 minutes long.
Reiki benefits are great for adults, but they can also help children and pets.
I encourage you to explore this safe, effective, and soothing healing modality if you’re looking for a holistic treatment to improve your overall wellness.
Research on both animals and humans with chronic health conditions has shown that reiki treatments can help to calm the nervous system and lower blood pressure. It has been identified as a gentle and helpful complementary therapy that can be used along with other forms of medical treatment and therapy. 
A literature review of studies on how reiki can help patients struggling with pain and anxiety concluded that reiki therapy can may be an effective complementary treatment to help alleviate pain and anxiety. The review included cancer patients and patients recovering from surgery. 
If you’re finding that stress is getting you down or if you’re dealing with a chronic medical condition, you may want to consider a reiki session to help you unwind and get re-centered.
Reiki’s ability to help calm the nervous system and relieve anxiety also allows it to be a great way to help improve sleep. While there is not a lot of empirical evidence specifically concluding that reiki can help insomnia, the relaxing effects of this gentle modality can help you relax and, by extension, get better rest. 
As a complementary therapy, studies show that reiki can help provide relaxation and support spiritual wellbeing, along with other reiki benefits. 
A study that surveyed 213 first-time reiki clients and cancer patients at a medical oncology facility concluded that 176 of the participants found the session helpful and 157 planned to continue using reiki treatments. Researchers also observed a self-reported 50 percent decrease in anxiety, depression, and fatigue among the participants. 
Another similar study concluded that reiki sessions on participating cancer patients receiving chemotherapy helped to improve the pain relief, sleep, relaxation, and wellbeing of the participants.