How Reiki Works—The Science Bit.

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If you are like me, deeper understanding comes from learning everything both spiritually and physically, and how it fits into everyday life, as we can understand it in a tangible and logical way.

But to explain something that we cannot see or fully understand with our limited human minds is a massive task. I will try my best to collate my extensive research into a short version here as best as I can to help dispel any fears that may be associated with working with what is still not completely understood.

Nothing is as it seems.

Most people will view Reiki as a load of mumbo jumbo, but it is now being recognised throughout the scientific community as a tangible and measurable therapy which scientifically can be understood (to an extent) when we consider the Universe from a quantum perspective. Please see the book The Matter Myth (1991) by Professor Paul Davies and Dr. John Gribben.

Scientists are now realising that the answer to the question of life and our physical perception lies in the energetic make up of all things. Einstein expressed this in his famous equation E=mc², which in layman terms means energy is equal to mass multiplied by the speed of light.

This shows, that in fact, all matter is energy.

The first thing we should consider, and which we all learn in basic physics at school is that not everything is as it seems, and everything is made up of energy.

According to particle theory, tiny particles in the form of atoms, molecules or ions are moving around at different speeds. If we relate this to Einstein’s theory of relativity and assume that all matter is made from energy, then those particles are also made of energy. What we perceive as solid, is in fact not. It is a question of frequency, such as tuning in to a radio channel, and within our limited basic five senses, we are only able to perceive a fraction of these vibrations. Science tells us that there are frequencies infinitely beyond our sphere of perception. (See here for a human versus animal sound perception example.)

Our physical bodies are no exception, and are therefore made of energy also vibrating at a particular frequency. We have our own biomagnetic field which, like all energy, can be manipulated and channeled.

It is also recognised, that all thought is energy and can create a positive or negative effect based on its intention, as shown in one example by Lynne McTaggart in her book The Intention Experiment (2008).

So if intention has the power to manipulate energy, then could it be that what we think is what we are?

I believe that if we think or consume something with a negative intention or energetic vibration, it can create a negative response in our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual bodies—this is possibly where the saying “you are what you eat” or as Buddha put it “The mind is everything, what we think we become” comes from. This negative response would then logically create dis-ease within our bodies which can be healed with positive intention, if of course, we look at this matter from that perspective.

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How does Reiki actually work?

Research into this matter is gradually gaining speed, with much being done into the electromagnetic field of all living things, and the pathways for which this energy is transferred within the body.

Our physical bodies have a mesh of tubes made up of collagen and filled with a very fine fluid, called the myofascial system which links all parts of us, sort of like an energetic superhighway. The myofascial system carries signals in the form of tiny electrical light impulses called biophotons (literally meaning biological light) which are said to be the smallest sparks of conscious energy, carrying the very building blocks of life and allows all cells to communicate with one another.

The amazing thing is, that these biophotons have actually been photographed in a single drop of water using a somatoscope with a magnification of 30000x. What researchers found was that a single biophoton goes through a series of changes in shape, showing ancient symbols that we recognise from ancient culture and religion, starting as a single point of light, going through a series of six pointed stars and ending in the flower of life.

It clearly seems to me that our ancestors knew much more than we do now about life and left us these clues in the form of symbology—but that’s a whole other subject that I should probably not get into here.

We know now that energy, carrying messages and information, is constantly moving throughout both our electromagnetic fields and our physical body in the form of light. This light is everywhere and in everything, vibrating at different speeds as was previously mentioned, and imperceptible to the limited capabilities of our basic five senses.

The myofascial system is probably one of the most important systems in the body and also one of the most over-looked. Within us the myofascial system has seven major points where there is much more fascia than in other areas which, funnily enough, correspond to the seven main energy centres, or more commonly, chakras.

It stands to reason that if there is more fascia in these areas, more biophtons would be found here since the mesh of tubes is much thicker, creating a larger energy hot spot, so to speak. In standard Reiki treatments, it is with these areas that the practitioner will work with the most.

The Reiki practitioner’s role:

So this brings me to the purpose of the Reiki practitioner and what we actually do.

All good Reiki practitioners should make meditation part of their daily practice and should have gone through the proper attunements with a Reiki master. This facilitates a connection to higher frequencies with which they are able to channel energy through their own electromagnetic field into their crown chakra and throughout their bodies. It then travels from their heart chakra, down their arms and out of their hands into the electromagnetic field and physical body of the recipient.

To put it simply, the practitioner acts in the same way as a metal rod conducting electricity or heat energy from source to its destination and throughout.

By connecting to higher or finer frequencies of conscious energy which is all around us, and using loving intention or thought (which, as stated before, is also energy) to heal and cleanse, the Reiki practitioner is able to direct the energy to where it is most needed. But having said this, Reiki will go where it is needed regardless of where the practitioner places their hands, or in the case of distance Reiki, across any space to the desired recipient.

There are apparently now 40 scientific groups researching biophotonics and associated therapies at this present time throughout the world. Reiki is now recognised within our own NHS and is used concurrently with mainstream treatments.

The great thing about Reiki, is that it is for everyone: atheist, religious and spiritual. Belief or understanding really doesn’t matter—all we need to know (as average human beings) is that it works regardless, whether you take a scientific or a spiritual view.



3 Things every Reiki Practitioner Wants their Clients to Know.

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Author: Amanda Johnson

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Simon Berry/Flickr

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Amanda Johnson

Amanda Johnson is a Reiki Practitioner, Writer, Healer, Intuitive, and Truth Seeker. Her articles and details of some of her work can be found at her website. As a member practitioner of the Reiki Academy London, she is qualified in both Usui Shiki Rhoyo and Usui Reiki Rhoyo. Apart from working from her base in Surrey UK, she is able to provide distance Reiki for those unable to see her in person. You can connect with Amanda on Facebook, @AJReikiBookham or by emailing [email protected].

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Andy Sweet Feb 7, 2019 9:15am

Our ancestors knew much more then we do now about life. I’ve been saying that for years! In so many words. Thank you for mastering reiki. I enjoy it from time to time

Soulcoachlewis Feb 7, 2019 8:56am

This is a truly lovely and informative article. As a practicing Reiki Master I can attest to the fact it can be amazing and healing.

anonymous Mar 4, 2016 5:37pm

I agree with you Jon. I am a practicing Reiki Master Teacher and as far as I know, there is is no actual explanation as to how Reiki works. It just does. It comes from a universal power and is a mystery. Just because modern science has no way to to "prove" Reiki, doesn't mean it is a sham. It is definitely a modality of relaxation and healing that must be experienced first hand to even have an inkling of what it is. Hands on healing has been around for centuries. Just read the Bible . There are many more references to contemplate as well. Try Reiki, you'll like it! You don't have to believe in it for it to be effective. Do the research..many medical clinics and hospitals throughout the US and the world offer it to their patients for a reason….it works!

anonymous Mar 2, 2016 1:48pm

Um, yeah, my husband is a physicist and he would cry bs to this whole article. Quantum physics is taken entirely out of context. Just because you use science-y words does not make your claims any less pseudo-scientific. Besides, for all the support actual science has supposedly given the field of Reiki, you quote or reference or link to exactly zero. This article does nothing to enhance the credibility of this practice.

    Kathlyn Stewart Feb 7, 2019 3:11pm

    Exactly! Though there may be science to support many of Reiki’s claims, a good article will always provide substantiation in the form of references. The many spelling, punctuation, & grammatical mistakes here also weaken the article–inexcusable for a “writer”!

anonymous Mar 2, 2016 12:43pm

People need to try it before you say negative things. Our body is minerals and energy! God created us from dirt.. Kinesiology works as well.. Try it than voice your opinion. Otherwise shhh!


anonymous Mar 2, 2016 10:09am

Or it could be that our mammalian nervous systems respond mightily to gentle touch, raising parasympathetic activity, lowering sympathetic, and enhancing appropriate immune function. For a good start, check out “A General Theory of Love” by Thomas Lewis and Fari Amini. For a really heavily biological exploration, Robert Sapolsky’s “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers”.

anonymous Mar 2, 2016 12:02am

“An appraisal of “biophoton therapy” by the IOCOB notes that biophoton therapy claims to treat a wide variety of diseases, such as malaria, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, schizophrenia, and depression, but that all these claims remain unproven. Dr. F.Popp, a researcher who investigates biophoton emission, concludes that the complexity of cellular chemical reactions in living systems is such that it excludes the possibility to create a machine to selectively heal systems using biophotons, and that “there are always charlatans who believe in these miracles.”

Reiki, put simply, is another word for Placebo. There isn’t a single peer-reviewed scientific study in existence which demonstrates the effectiveness of Reiki, because there isn’t any to be found.

anonymous Mar 1, 2016 3:47am

Good to learn something about the myofascial system and biophotons. Never heard about them before. Something for me to research.

anonymous Mar 1, 2016 2:03am

its good to understand reiki a little bit

anonymous Mar 1, 2016 12:02am

yes baby,

reiki 123,

anonymous Feb 29, 2016 3:31pm

Just reading something that’s plausible and parroting it is not research. You just read some stuff. I wholly agree with Guerrilla Yogi, you are doing everyone a disservice with this pseudoscience. If you want real scientific evidence to justify whatever hobby you should also accept it when there is no objective evidence (yet). Cherrypicking some fancy terms and gravely misinterpretating some vague theories is not helpful neither to Reiki nor to science.

anonymous Feb 29, 2016 12:53pm

Being a science student and yoga geek myself, I *really* wish that authors claiming to present a "science" based perspective adjust their language to be a bit less fundamentalist and a bit more, can I say, humble? For example, this author says (regarding e=mc^2): "This shows, that in fact, all matter is energy." Not true in all scales of perception. It is merely a mathematical approximation of a theoretical phenomenon applicable to quantum scales, where rules are different than macro states, and few scientists would boldly claim that it is a universal "fact" that matter = energy. Moreover mass cannot efficiently be converted to energy, so this "theory" appears to have very little practical application in the context of creating healing energy, i.e. reiki.

And then there are statements such as: "The myofascial system carries signals in the form of tiny electrical light impulses called biophotons (literally meaning biological light) which are said to be the smallest sparks of conscious energy, carrying the very building blocks of life and allows all cells to communicate with one another." Does the author understand the concept of biophoton in the in scientific sense, and how using it inappropriately INCREASES the skepticism against pseudoscience, rather than making an effort to frame the discussion in a more rational way so as to steer clear of such accusations? See for example: (scroll to bottom)

And this: "To put it simply, the practitioner acts in the same way as a metal rod conducting electricity or heat energy from source to its destination and throughout." lazy analogy! By oversimplifying it like this, we do great disservice to the potentially complex mechanisms that underly actual energy exchange between human beings.

Not saying I know the answer (although I'm definitely a seeker, having studied physics and yoga), but I get annoyed when writers such as this claim to present a scientific perspective, and fall back into weak explanations with no apparent effort to counter or even level up to rigorous scientific analysis. Stop being a sheep and start owning and refining your knowledge before sharing!
finally, this:

    anonymous Feb 29, 2016 7:54pm

    *Slow clap*… thank you. I was thinking the same thing as I read it. I love reading about different ancient practices, but honestly so many people present them in a way today that they just sound like snake oil. Or they try and rationalize them using a slew a non-connecting scientific points that prove absolutely nothing but how little they actually know about it.

      anonymous Mar 1, 2016 7:45am

      Reiki isn't even ancient; it was developed in 1922.

        anonymous Mar 2, 2016 7:36am

        Reiki practicing in the U.S. as well as other countries isn't ancient. But, the symbols themselves as well as the reiki guides are ancient.

          anonymous Apr 5, 2016 9:07am

          That's interesting Rhonda, do you have a link to that about the symbols being ancient?

anonymous Feb 29, 2016 5:28am

please read and explore this guy's website.

i doubt any true benefits from reiki existe outside this "energy system" which is a very subtle, but completely "unnatural" layer of somehow common belief (whether conscious or not so much, on the part of the receiver).

to me, the effects of reiki have to do with a super-imposed system, which could be helpful but seems too often to be just parasitic. but this guy above, crazy-ass rhetoric aside, nails it much better than I can at the moment. read with an open mind, forget all "spiritual" notions taught by whosoever (including him ofc), and remember.