A reiki practitioner performs stress relief, relaxation and healing techniques by channeling positive energy through his hands and into the body of the patient. The reiki practitioner puts his hands on the patient's body and concentrates on increasing the patient's life flow energy in an effort to heal the patient. The word "reiki" translates to mean spiritual or universal life force energy, and a reiki practitioner believes he is able to manipulate that energy in a positive way. There are several forms of reiki, and practitioners say any kind of ailment can be effectively treated, and often cured, by using its methods.
A reiki practitioner is not a doctor and cannot write prescriptions. Anyone can become a practitioner if he is open to the idea of tapping into life force energy for the purpose of healing others. Many reiki masters and practitioners subscribe to a natural lifestyle, but there are no restrictions on what type of person can become a practitioner.
The ability to be a reiki practitioner is "transferred" to the prospective practitioner by a reiki master. Only a reiki master can perform a transference, and the ritual is usually kept private. During a session or sessions with a reiki master, would-be practitioners become attuned to the life force and are, henceforth, able to raise and channel that energy for healing.
The two main types of reiki, traditional and Western, have three levels — first degree, second degree, and a master level. A second-degree practitioner is deemed capable of healing others from a distance, while a first-degree practitioner must be in close proximity to a patient to attempt healing. The second-degree transference can be given by a master once the practitioner has mastered the first degree, but it typically takes years of practice and most never reach the master level.
When a reiki practitioner "gives" reiki, he will gently put his hands on or above certain points of the body, depending on the region he feels needs adjusting, or over the entire body for a general wellness treatment. Sensations of heat or cold in the affected area are common, but most treatments are soothing. The practitioner will work on a patient for as long as he feels necessary, and treatments can last anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour. During treatment, old emotions sometimes surface and are released, and the patient may have a strong reaction or begin to cry. This type of release is cathartic and healthy, and usually assists in the healing process.