As a dedicated Reiki professional, one thing I find incredibly frustrating is an almost universal belief in a number of 'Reiki myths' amongst Reiki practitioners and Reiki teachers. So deep rooted are these beliefs that one would think they were fact, but unfortunately they are very far removed from any fact. In studying these 'myths' I find that there is truth in the origins, but this has been lost in the interpretation through a lack of understanding and awareness.
The main 'Reiki myths' that need to be dispelled are also the ones that make it hard for Reiki to be taken seriously as a healing therapy.
The biggest 'Reiki myth' is that ' Reiki does not heal or cure ', even though the founder Mikao Usui (Usui-sensei) in interview said he used his Reiki Ryoho to cure many illnesses. Many Reiki practitioners will say that 'Reiki helps to create calmness and relaxation in a client. This state of relaxation creates the optimum state for the body to heal itself'. Others will say that 'Reiki clears energetic blockages that will allow the body to heal itself.' There are even some Reiki practitioners that believe Reiki cannot and should not be used to treat specific conditions - they believe that the role of Reiki is to treat the client 'as a whole' and allow the Universe to decide what the clients needs according to their karma/destiny.
While it is true to say that Reiki will create calmness and clear energetic blockages, this is not the primary mechanism by which Reiki acts on either physical or emotional conditions. Reiki will act directly on any condition as long as the Reiki practitioner channels the correct frequency of energy needed to cause healing to take place. This is relatively easy for any competent Reiki practitioner to do, but many either choose not to, or have not been trained to. I suppose it is much easier to help a client to relax than it is to heal them of their conditions, with the added bonus that you cannot fail as you are not even trying to treat anything, and if there is improvement it appears that much more amazing.
The other 'Reiki myth' that I hear so often is that 'the energy is intelligent and it goes where it needs to'. This has been interpreted as meaning a Reiki practitioner can put their hands on any part of the client and the energy will travel through the client to the areas of greatest need without the Reiki practitioner doing anything. To me this seems like an easy option rather than an effective option. By believing this the Reiki practitioner does not need to bother with a consultation or assessment as they do not need to know what is wrong with the client - they just put their hands somewhere and 'let the energy flow for the highest good' and trust that the energy will work for the highest good (whatever that means).
Again, this contradicts the methods used by the founder of Reiki, Usui-sensei. In an interview he states "…if brain disease occurs I treat a head, if it's an eye disease, I treat eyes…" and in his Reiki Ryoho Hikkei (Usui Reiki Handbook) he has specific hand positions to treat a variety of illnesses, so obviously Usui-sensei believed you should put the energy at the site of the illness or injury. It is so much more effective to treat the area that is damaged. In practice, putting energy into someone's hand to treat a broken leg is not going to work. The energy will stay in the hand and affect the hand and the surrounding area only. By putting energy into the damaged area at the correct frequency the damaged cells/tissue/organ/bone will be stimulated to repair.
Another 'Reiki myth' that is bandied about is that 'it does not matter what you do, it's your intention that counts.' This strikes me as another way of avoiding responsibility and any kind of effort to learn and work in the most effective way. I have seen Reiki practitioners and Reiki teachers on Reiki forums saying that it does not matter how you treat a client, it is your intention that is important. I have even seen a popular Reiki teacher say that it does not matter how you attune a student it is your intention that matters - he went on to say that he could attune a student whilst standing on his head in the corner of the room! This is wrong on so many levels I hardly know where to start…
Firstly, it does matter what you do and how you do it - it is by your thoughts and actions that you connect to the energy, channel the energy and direct the energy. By being active and focused you can channel the energy at the required frequency to effectively treat any condition.
As for attunements, this is a process that involves specific thoughts and actions developed by the founder of Reiki, Usui-sensei. This is the way a Reiki teacher initiates students into the system of Reiki and is a wonderful experience for both the student and the teacher. Each step of the process has meaning and purpose and should be carried out lovingly and properly and with respect for the gift that as a Reiki teacher you are bestowing on your student.
In reality, as Reiki practitioners and Reiki teachers we have a responsibility to our clients and students to do the best we can for them - this means working with good actions as well as good intentions. No matter how good the intention, if the action is poor then the outcome is equally poor.
Finally, the last 'Reiki myth' I want to deal with is the classic and much quoted 'Reiki is passive, as a practitioner you have no input into the healing process and you should not even think about Reiki or healing or the client or their condition while you are treating them.' This school of thought believes that by thinking about what you are doing you are interfering with the energy. What really happens when you do this is the energy stops flowing with direction and focus. I have tried this and I could feel the energy dissipating and reducing - conversely when I put my thoughts back onto the treatment the energy starts to flow much more strongly (and effectively). It is common sense really, wherever your mind and thoughts are the energy will follow. This is true in every area of life, e.g. when someone is talking to you and you concentrate on what they are saying you pick up much more than if you were thinking about something else.
© Copyright Andrew Chrysostomou 2007.
For more information on Reiki myths and misconceptions see our Reiki Facts from Fiction information on our other Reiki healing website.