How Reiki Can Help Your Wellbeing

Reiki is fast becoming a very popular treatment. It’s frequently used as a complementary therapy in hospices and is now being introduced into many National Health Service hospitals around the UK, especially in cancer and paediatric wards.

The word Reiki is often bandied about in holistic circles but the wider public can still be confused about what Reiki is and how it can help both our physical and mental health.

What is Reiki?

In simplest terms Reiki is a Japanese healing therapy where the hands are placed either on or near the part of the body which needs to be healed. By learning to channel energy, a Reiki practitioner can stimulate the body’s natural healing process.

Scientifically speaking, it’s still hard to pin down how this works, which is why Reiki is so often dismissed. However, the fact that the NHS is now coming round to the benefits of Reiki as a complementary treatment proves that it doesn’t matter how it works if it gets results. And because it has no adverse side effects (except sometimes making people feel more emotional than usual) it’s a safe therapy to prescribe for people with all types of conditions.

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During a Reiki session, patients can often feel warmth, tingling or pulsing while the practitioner scans their bodies and seeks out the areas that need the most attention. The main benefits of Reiki are that it helps people to become more calm and serene, better able to cope, more positive and less affected by stressful situations. This is probably why Reiki works in helping to heal because our bodies are more likely to be able to fight infection and disease when we are relaxed, positive and de-stressed.

The therapy was first introduced in Japan in 1923 by a man called Mikao Usui who had a background in Zen Buddhism and martial arts and who was a popular healer who taught nearly 2000 students all over Japan. The Reiki treatment system was famously used by the Japanese Navy after Mikao Usui himself instructed three Imperial Naval Officers in the Reiki hand positions - there are even Japanese naval defence manuals from the 1930s that detail the Reiki system for officers to use whilst away at sea.

Since that time the benefits of Reiki therapy has become popular around the world, and the system has been tweaked to accommodate Western ideas and theories. But whether you follow the Eastern or Western styles of Reiki, one thing that remains constant throughout is the idea that all creatures have “universal life-force energy” and if we learn how to use it and use the power of good intention, then it can have remarkable results.

Reiki master James Graydon-Rhodes giving a Reiki treatment

Reiki master James Graydon-Rhodes giving a Reiki treatment

One person who has seen the benefits of Reiki is James Graydon-Rhodes – a Reiki master and a local businessman who owns the successful dog walking business Walkies and Paws.

He was first introduced to Reiki in 2003 when he was a hairdresser and – by his own admission “a big partier”. Turning up for work feeling slightly worse for wear, his boss who was also a Reiki master, would give him regular Reiki sessions before his shift to make him feel better.

James said: “She used to sit me down and give me a Reiki treatment. Afterwards I was like ‘Wow, what is this Reiki? It’s amazing.’ I wanted to know more and I ended up doing my Reiki first degree with her. When I give or receive Reiki, I feel very still and very calm so no matter what’s going on in my life and my head – fifty voices speaking all at once to remind me to turn off the gas or sort out my to-do list – when I sit and do Reiki it all just stops. Everything just drifts away – it’s just very calming. Personally, it helps me to be a more understanding person. It helps me evaluate things from a different perspective.

“Prior to Reiki I was all over the shop, everything I did, I would want a piece of everything right now. But after Reiki it just seemed like I could sit back and survey things. It guided me to what I needed. I don’t believe that Reiki itself has the power to cure. I think the body with assistance has to power to heal but I would never say cure. Reiki can’t cure cancer or a broken leg. It’s a supporting system. We’re not medically qualified. It’s a complementary therapy and that’s the key.

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“If you feel calm, your body is in a better state to heal itself. Reiki is great for any type of stress and anxiety and it teaches you how to calm your mind and meditate. I recommend Mindfulness too. Doing a full mindfulness session and learning how to scan your body with a Reiki treatment is really beneficial.”

After doing his Reiki first degree, James started doing the obligatory Reiki self-treatments as part of the course. (See below for our Reiki self treatment meditation video which shows you all the Reiki hand positions).

James explained: “I used Reiki on myself with the self-treatments, but I also started using it on dogs and cats. They just really blissed out. It was amazing. Then I started to do equine Reiki which was massive. I love horses anyway but I really fell in love with the way a horse reacts to Reiki. Animals respond better than humans to Reiki because as humans we have a preconceived idea of everything and we think we know everything - if we can’t see it, then we can’t understand it. Whereas animals have a certain amount of innocence and maybe they have an ability to feel and see what we can’t. Animals are super intuitive. You will find that when you’re doing Reiki or you ‘turn your Reiki on’ they generally flock towards you. You just tune in and open your hands and pretty much every time the animal will come to you.”

After seven years of practice, James discovered the organisation Reiki Evolution and went onto complete his Reiki second degree. He then set up his own business called The Reiki Practice, treating clients and spreading the word about the benefits of Reiki, after which he went onto do his Reiki Master’s certificate which allowed him to teach the practice to new students.

He adds: “The classic explanation of Reiki is “universal life force energy” and people think ‘well what is that?’ I think with Reiki you become a channel of some force from the earth or the universe. I have no preconceived ideas of God but I believe everyone can create Reiki, it’s just what you do with it. Some people feel a shiver or a gut feeling. It’s something you create with the universe.

James during his work day with Walkies and Paws

James during his work day with Walkies and Paws

“Certain teachers tell their students they have to practice X amount of hours but you can’t force it. I’ve had students force it and it’s like a rusty old car – they can’t get anything going because they’re trying too hard.  If you think about Reiki or you practice it on yourself for as long as you feel able then that’s good enough. Just let it flow naturally and it does.”

On the back of the Reiki Practice, James then felt empowered to start a second business which allowed him to channel another of his passions – dogs: “I started Walkies and Paws and it became immensely successful. I now have two girls who work for me. That’s all down to the Reiki – bringing good things. It’s reap what you sow. Being positive. I’ve given lots of treatments so because I’ve given it out, I’ve now got it back. And I think it’s the way the animals react to me – even if I’m not practising Reiki, it’s always there in my hands and I think the animals pick up on that. It makes the dogs happy, and then the owners see very happy animals so they’re happy customers.”

To find out more about James, please contact him via the Walkies and Paws website

Or for a special Reiki massage, click on our Reiki Massage page HERE to see how Reiki can benefit your wellbeing and for more information on Mindfulness Courses, click on our Mindfulness page HERE. Plus, there’s practical mental health advice, free audios, tip sheets and expert help for anxiety and depression from a senior psychiatric nurse, at the  LightHearts UK FREE online 10-week mental wellbeing course.

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Katya JezzardComment