Healing hands

July 30, 2014
Reiki hand

Photo by Bonnie Steward/New Jersey

I was once married to a man who had healing hands.  They emanated heat and energy when laid upon an ailing muscle and it was obvious that something was going on there.  He considered becoming a masseur in his retirement, but abandoned that idea for some reason I no longer remember.

This was before I understood the power of touch to heal; if he’d had the same idea today I’d steer him toward Reiki or cranial-sacral methods.

What is Reiki? 

“Rei” is translated as God and “ki” as the non-physical energy that flows through all living things and animates them. The word means something like “universal life energy.”  So Reiki is a spiritually guided healing technique in which the therapist channels energy into the patient by touch. It’s said to activate the body’s natural healing processes, both physical and emotional.  It can also be done remotely, with energy being sent over time and space.

Have I lost you?

reikiIt’s healing energy.

Reiki is an interesting treatment modality and one I’d never considered, simply because I knew so little about it. Scientists would say it’s ineffective. But if I’ve learned one thing it’s that science doesn’t explain everything. It especially doesn’t explain things that aren’t mainstream. And maybe it’s not necessary to know HOW it works, just THAT it works.

There’s plenty of evidence that these alternative healing methods can work. Socio-cultural biases and a strong belief in the scientific method color our society’s view of alternative healing techniques, when in fact, many centuries of experience in China, India and other cultures have shown the benefit of ancient treatments.

Some might say that healing effects of alternative treatments might be the result of the placebo effect, in which the patient believes he or she is getting effective treatment, so it works.  If that’s so….so what? Healing is healing, for any reason, and the placebo effect itself is amazing in that the body has healed itself.

My experience of Reiki included entering a deep state of relaxation and meditating. If that, itself, caused my own relief from a compression injury to my neck and back, well–so be it.  (But Reiki practitioners would say that kind of self-healing is simple life force energy, not Reiki healing.)

If I thought mainstream medicine would pay any attention, I’d be in favor of further research.  But the big companies who profit from our use of pharmaceuticals wouldn’t like it if we got better without paying big bucks for drugs.  Remember the military-industrial complex? I call this the medical-pharmaceutical complex. They don’t like us to get better without them. They want their hands on all our treatments.

I’d take healing hands any day over that.

Have you had an experience with alternative healing? I hope you’ll share so other readers can benefit.



40 comments on “Healing hands
  1. Laura says:

    I utilized Reiki with psychotherapy over the course of eighteen months ten years ago and successfully weaned off anti-depressants. It was miraculous to experience the lasting change in my brain chemistry.

    The insurance industry needs to recognize the evidence in research of the positive effects of therapeutic touch/reiki can have on people. Unfortunately, there isn’t anyway for the FDA to regulate it. The other alternative medicine which needs to be legalized nationally is cannabis. In my practice, I have seen several patients who would benefit from medical grade marijuana for everything from neck pain to pediatric seizures. It’s frustrating as a nurse to know there are palliative and curatives in complimentary medicine that I can not ethically or even legally recommend.

  2. I know many people who swear by Reiki and I really want to try it. My husband tried it on a spa vacation, and was shocked by how good it made him feel.

    • My Reiki master does distance Reiki–I was surprised at how well it worked. I just relaxed in my own bed and she texted when she began and when she ended. I love it.

  3. Currently, and it is working.

  4. I share your frustrations over both of those treatment. Crazy-making, isn’t it?

  5. I have done Reiki in the past – even went to the first level of training. It is amazing the amount of energy we have in our bodies – the same energy that connects all of us together. It is tremendous!

    Using our own body to heal ourselves is a wonderful way to get better.


  6. Waiwai says:

    This is my first time learning about this! Thanks for sharing!

  7. kim tackett says:

    I actually had a friend do Reiki on my dog, over the internet. And you know what? I think it made both of us (the dog and myself) feel better!

  8. I work with Hospice patients and Hospice offers Reiki. After seeing the effects many times I gave it a try. I too was blown away by the sense of relief I had.
    Anything that keeps me from needing meds with awful side effects is worth a try!

    • I agree, too! Love Dr. Lissa Rankin’s book, Mind Over Medicine, all about the placebo effect, nocebo effect, and the body’s amazing ability to heal, especially with the help of a positive, caring practitioner. Fear drives us to focus on our pain and illness. Anything that helps us to focus our energy toward wellness and healing is a very good thing. Excited to find those who are open minded in this area. Love your point about the fact that other cultures have relied on “alternative” methods for thousands of years. They’re the ORIGINAL methods, for goodness sakes!

  9. I once had a gal do hands-on healing for me when I’d run out of options with doctors. HUGE welts on my legs that were purple with hot red centers. Doctors knew nothing, did nothing. When I reached the point of crying in the shower because it hurt so bad and I just prayed to die, I gave in and allowed my then boss (at a salon) do her thing. She cried and shook her hands after, saying she was floored by the load I carry and the pain such things manifested. Within one day the spots were gone. Incredible. I didn’t believe it would work… until it did.

  10. WendysHat says:

    I haven’t gone to anyone official but I do believe that it works much better than medicine. I have severe allergies and bad sinuses. Instead of taking meds, which I am allergic to most of anyways, I have a head, neck and upper back massage and I feel everything draining and going away. My husband has been my healer for years! Great information here. Thanks

  11. mhaire Fraser says:

    when I was first diagnosed with Hashimotos, I tried it to get some relief form my joint pain. Sadly, it was not effective for me, but a friend with the same disorder swears by it.

  12. Ellen Dolgen says:

    I have done Reiki! I found it very healing!

  13. Thanks for this wonderful explanation of this healing technique. I love the photo you chose for this post as well! At first I thought it was a huge stature of a hand, but on a closer look, it may be a medallion hanging from a chain? Either way – a stunning photo!

  14. Lana says:

    I haven’t tried alternative healing, but I would be completely open to it if available. I agree that the big drug companies don’t like the idea – the insurance companies probably don’t either.

  15. Kathy says:

    It sounds like something I need to look into.

  16. penpen says:

    I’ve tried a variation of Rolfing–a less painful variation–and found it really helpful in relieving pain and in finding the source of the congestion, that is, where the body is storing energy in an unproductive way. Medicine will never come around to alternative healing methods–even tho yoga and mediation have scientifically proven track records. that’s why we have to communicate the benefits among ourselves.

  17. I studied Therapeutic Touch and have benefited from many sessions with a TT practitioner. It’s amazing what can be done with the power of intention and mindfulness.

  18. Ruth Curran says:

    The power of energy is overwhelming and, honestly, not something to wrap your rational brain around. I think this is one of those things we have to accept, based on results, not faith, as real and oh so important! I have had incredible experiences with Cranial Sacral practitioners after a head injury. Saved my brain :)!

  19. I used acupuncture for years and have heard a little bit about this Reiki. My old Dr. back in KY was a big proponent of alternative medicine believe it or not. The only one of many many Doctors.

  20. Diane says:

    My daughter has healing hands! We’ve tried to encourage her to take training, but she maintains that she works just fine as is. And I have to agree!

  21. Estelle says:

    Each and every post I read of yours makes me want to get to know you better. I actually do energy work with my daughter and myself. I learned it from a Tibetan healer that I interviewed for an article years ago. I swear by it. Keep putting out your wonderful words.

  22. D. A. Wolf says:

    This is a fascinating subject. I agree come tely on traditional doctors and Big Pharma.

    It wasn’t reiki but once, 3 years ago, a physician using alternate therapies eased severe back pain (mine), while I was on a plane. Extraordinary. With 5 or 6 minutes of massage. The relief lasted about 2 days. I was immeasurably lightened.

    Since then, as usual, I live with pain.

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