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What are the Different Types of Reiki Therapy?

By Rebekah Worsham
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Reiki, pronounced "ray-key," is a Japanese word that translates to "universal life energy." It is a form of healing that involves balancing energy transfer and relaxation. Whether looking to reduce pain, ease anxiety, or facilitate physical, mental and spiritual well-being, believers promote reiki as a non-invasive alternative to medication and surgical procedures. Many types of reiki therapy are practiced in the field of alternative medicine, including Usui reiki, Karuna reiki and Shamballa reiki, and practitioners believe each type offers unique benefits to the recipient.

Usui reiki is the oldest and most common type of reiki therapy. It was created by Mikao Usui, a Japanese teacher and a devout Buddhist who believed the body was capable of healing itself of any form of mental, physical or spiritual ailment through the use of its own energy. Practitioners of Usui reiki believe healing occurs through energy emitted by the practitioner's hands when placed on the recipient's body as the practitioner meditates on ancient symbols. Practitioners believe that while any symbol can be used, its meaning is sacred and the recipient becomes one with the symbol to which he is attuned.

Karuna Reiki® is a form of audio therapy in which soothing sounds are used to alleviate physical and emotional suffering. Sounds used can include anything from soft chanting to recordings of the sounds of nature. Karuna reiki is the reiki therapy most often used in the treatment of addiction. In lieu of audio sounds, many practitioners attempt to transmit thoughts silently to the recipient, which they believe can inspire a deeper level of healing and enlightenment.

Another common type of reiki therapy is Shamballa reiki. Shamballa, which translates to "spiritual warrior," is the form of reiki therapy most often used to cleanse the body of toxins and heal the recipient's physical, mental and emotional ailments. Practitioners of Shamballa reiki utilize the body's natural energy and concentration on rhythmic symbols to promote a sensation of well being and increased spirituality. Practitioners also claim to draw from the energies of the universe to assist them in their healing, because they believe that drawing energy from outside forces intensifies the healing effect and creates an environment more conducive to healing.

Kundalini reiki is most often used to help recipients overcome shyness or the effects of traumatic events. Kundalini, named in honor of a sleeping serpent goddess, is believed by practitioners to be a natural energy that lies dormant in most people. Unlike many types of reiki therapy, Kundalini reiki uses no symbols and instead relies solely on the physical energy transmitted from the crown of the head. The practitioner places his hands on the head or shoulders of the recipient, and the energy combined from the practitioner and recipient is said to awaken the dormant energy locked inside the recipient's body and heal him of his emotional barriers.

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