The word Reiki means universal life energy. "Rei" describes the universal, boundless aspect of this energy while "ki" (or chi) is the vital life force energy flowing through all living beings.
The Usui system of Reiki is one of the more widely known forms of energy healing. It focuses on balancing the chakras to increase their capacity to use universal energy. In this way, it brings the human energy field into balance on all levels, encouraging the healing process within the recipient.
When receiving Reiki, universal life energy will flow through the hands of the practitioner and into the person receiving the Reiki energy. The practitioner is only a vehicle for the energy, meaning that it is not limited personal energy that passes through when the hands are laid on a person, but rather universal energy which flows through. The healer is responsible for keeping the healing space open and to allow the energy to flow.
Reiki healing energy finds its own way to the area of the body in need of treatment. It knows where, how and to what extent a person needs healing without the practitioner adding to or subtracting from its effect.
A Reiki session is done with the recipient fully clothed, usually lying on a table or sitting in a chair. The practioner will place his or her hands over the chakra points of the recipient's body.
Reiki can also be sent from a distance. A time is set aside by both the practioner and the recipient, usually thirty minutes to one hour. A photograph of the person receiving Reiki will help the practioner focus the energy, but is not necessary. Typically, a short phone conversation is held just prior to and immediately following the Reiki session to allow the practioner and client to discuss the session.
Reiki practitioners do not diagnose illness, and Reiki sessions should never be a replacement for needed medical attention by a doctor.