What Is Reiki, and Is It Good for Seniors?

What Is Reiki?

Developed in Japan in the late 1800s, reiki is an alternative therapy sometimes called energy healing. During a reiki session, a reiki practitioner lightly lays hands on or over the recipient with the intention of sending healing energy throughout the body.

How does reiki work? Reiki practitioners believe in a universal life force, one that flows through and nourishes our bodies, minds and spirits. They also believe that negative experiences and thoughts can disrupt this life force, diminishing function in our organs and tissues. In the reiki practice, it is believed that healers can send positive energy through the body that breaks apart negative energy and raises the vibration of the recipient’s life force energy.

A typical reiki session lasts about 30 to 90 minutes. Reiki healers may provide gentle, hands-on touch treatments, may hover the hands over the body or may provide healing sessions remotely from long distances.

Does Reiki Work?

It may be impossible to ever conclusively prove the existence of a life force or energy healing. However, studies suggest that reiki can benefit one’s mental and emotional health. A trial conducted by Harvard University found that one session of reiki helped improve a variety of conditions for subjects, including pain, nausea, drowsiness, anxiety and depression.

Studies have also indicated that hands-on reiki may be more effective than placebo treatments, suggesting that this touch therapy may have potential as a complementary therapy.

Reiki for Seniors

While reiki is not meant to replace medication or professional medical treatment, it may offer benefits as a complementary healing treatment. Because it is so gentle, reiki may be a good touch therapy for aging adults for whom more rigorous massage could be uncomfortable or damaging.

Seniors can often suffer from chronic aches and pains, and reiki may help decrease or manage pain in a variety of patients.

How Can I Find a Qualified Reiki Practitioner?

Because reiki is a folk remedy, there is no official degree or certification agreed upon by the reiki community at large. However, recommendations from friends or trusted sources can help you find a reputable, trained practitioner. 

You may start by contacting your local hospitals to see if they offer reiki as a complementary therapy or partner with any local practitioners. Yoga studios, whole foods stores, or New Age centers and bookstores may also have flyers or recommendations for local reiki healers. You can also search online for practitioners with high ratings and reviews.   

Once you do find a practitioner, you can ask them a few questions to determine if they’re the best fit for you. See the suggested questions here for more details. 

More Health and Wellness for Seniors

Looking for tips to help stay fit, eat healthier, and be well as you age? Check out the rest of our blog posts about wellness for aging adults.  

The above content is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition.  The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.


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