Reiki & Sound Healing Questions
What is Reiki?
The awareness that an unseen energy flows through all living things and directly affects the quality of a person's health has been part of the wisdom of many cultures since ancient times. This life energy goes by many names: qi in China, ki in Japan, and prana in India. The ancient Hawaiians called it ti or ki. It has also been called orgone energy and elan vital, and science refers to it as biofield energy.
When your life energy is low, it is more difficult to deal with stress; you may not sleep well, and you're more susceptible to illness. When your life energy is strong, you feel strong, can more easily deal with stress, and are less likely to get sick. Reiki is a technique that increases a person's supply of life energy.
Reiki was developed in Japan in 1922 by Mikao Usui and was brought to the West in 1937 by Hawayo Takata. The popularity of Reiki has grown exponentially in the past few decades. A survey conducted in 2007 indicates that in the previous year, 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children in the U.S. received one or more Reiki sessions.
What is a Reiki Session Like?
Reiki is administered through the hands of a Reiki practitioner with the client lying fully clothed on a massage table. A session usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour and a half and shorter sessions are also possible.
The Reiki practitioner places his or her hands at locations around the head and shoulders, the abdomen and on the legs and feet. Tissue is not manipulated. The practitioner's hands are simply held at each location, lightly touching or slightly away from the body. Reiki energy flows from the practitioner's hands and into the client's body and energy field. A Reiki session feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that surrounds and fills the client and includes feelings of relaxation, peace and well-being that also promote healing.
What are the benefits of Reiki?
Reiki energy allows muscles to relax and increases blood flow to treated areas, which in turn quickens the healing process. Practitioners and clients report help with stress, headaches, insomnia, upset stomach, sprains and other minor conditions. Occasionally, miraculous results are reported. Reiki also promotes psychological healing, including release of anger, fear, worry, sadness and other unhealthy feelings, and replaces them with self-worth, confidence and tranquility.
I heard Reiki is being used in hospitals. Is that true?
Reiki is becoming increasingly popular with the medical community, with over 800 hospitals across the U.S. offering Reiki as a standard part of hospital care. A research study at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut indicates that Reiki improved patient sleep by 86 percent, reduced pain by 78 percent, reduced nausea by 80 percent, and reduced anxiety during pregnancy by 94 percent. In addition, nurses report that Reiki helps patients heal faster with less pain, reduces stress and improves mental attitude, improves appetite, and reduces the negative side effects of chemotherapy, radiation and other medical procedures.
What is Sound Healing?
Sound Healing is a branch of the meditative therapeutic arts. The use of sound is ancient with history in every culture around the world: to intensify experience, to manifest creation, to explore the mind, transform consciousness and invoke healing. From the medicine elder drumming, chanting and rattling over his subject, to the Tibetan monks enhancing their meditations and rituals with the sounds of drums, horns, bells, and precious metal bowls, to the ancient chants in Christian Cathedrals, and the Australian aborigine playing a didgeridoo to invoke his Ancestors, sound is and has been utilized since the earliest of times to heal, instill wellness, make connection, and enrich communion.
Sound Healing can be defined as the intentional use of sound to create a vibrational environment which becomes a catalyst for healing in the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual aspects of our being. Sound is a powerful tool, because it is vibrational in nature, and we are vibrational beings. Indeed, the most modern science shows us that all life is vibrational in nature. Even deep space is in fluctuation (wave movement) as is the space between your tissues and cells. This is in line with age old mystical thought of most cultures, which often alludes to the vibrational nature of Creation.
By coupling vibration with clear intent (a focusing of awareness and ‘direction,’ or, ‘expectation), to attune to or transform one's consciousness, we indeed have stepped into a powerful place. When sound is used our being comes into co-resonance with that vibration. Our thinking process stills, and the mind comes into present focus, in which we can intentionally move attention. With proper attention and intent, vibratory sound then allows access to coherent emotions (examples being loving kindness, empathetic joy, bliss and compassion) to stabilize the mind and body for enriching wellness. Through aligning with the fundamental, inherent quality of the sounds being generated, and coupling that with clear intent and coherence of emotion, heightened states of awareness can be reached, and 'expectations/intentions' made manifest. Whether we are praying for Divine intervention, or calling upon a holy being or medicine ally in the subtle realms of consciousness, it is the coupling of sound, with proper attention and intent which creates the portal, or dynamic, for elemental consciousness to, move, stir and manifest. Thus, sound is a powerful ally in the meditative arts for clarification, for transforming one’s life and for manifesting. When one understands the true nature of this "healing," alongside of the use of sound, one sees the great potential for wellness and growth.
This discussion of sound healing here is one of the many varieties of the use of sound. There are many methodologies and many tools used for sound work, from highly technical medical & scientific instruments to simple ancient tools of the shamanic, indigenous, and 'wisdom' cultures of the world. Sound is being used therapeutically throughout the human life cycle, from creating a calming and soothing atmosphere at birth, to enhanced modalities to assist in the peaceful transition at death. Sound practices are blossoming in fields of personal growth, spiritual wellness, and yoga, as well as, in medicine, complementary and alternative medical practices, psychotherapy, physical therapy and therapeutic body work. One can find vast and varying bodies of information on the therapeutic use of music. There is so much information, we highly recommend finding reputable dealers and educators in the field that can help refine your vision, and provide for you quality tools to use effectively.
What are the benefits of Sound Healing?
It's been found that sound and music can be effective healers for a range of mental, emotional, and even physical ailments, and has been a valuable treatment for several conditions such as:
Autism spectrum disorders
People with learning difficulties
Those with behavioural and psychiatric disorders
Aches and pains
Some of the most highly reported benefits of music therapy and sound healing include:
Fewer mood swings
Lower blood pressure
Lower cholesterol levels
Better pain management
Reduced risk of strokes and coronary artery disease
What is a Sound Bath?
Sound Baths are as they sound, playing instruments and "bathing" participants with sound. This is usually done with groups, with one or a few people playing instruments, while everyone else just relaxes and listens. The purpose of a Sound Bath is to promote deep relaxation, fostering a sense of well being and more expanded states. Stresses and anxieties fade away as one merges with the many different frequencies that the instruments provide. Given that sound moves energy and that we are virtually 99.9999% space, the frequencies allow for the opportunity to open and let go of what may be held on a physical, mental or emotional level, all within a safe and nurturing environment. Sound Baths do not take a lot of training to conduct. Sound Baths do not need to be complicated meditations. The simple power of the instruments is enough to allow people to relax. One only needs to be familiar with the instruments that are being utilized and aware of how the sound is generated including the level of sound which requires auditory sensitivity. Many who have limited musical experience have great success with instruments that are simple to play, but integral to created a soothing and harmonic experience.
There are unlimited possibilities for sounds that can be generated and those sounds may cover a spectrum of frequencies from harmonic to dissident, from very soft to sharper, all within a range of volume that is consistent with a therapeutic sonic soundscape. There is not a set progress for how sound needs to be created in a sound bath. There can be an intentional progression through instruments and sounds, or sound bath's can be led intuitively being led from one instrument to the next. Instruments can be used hard or soft; the tones made can be harmonic or dissident; what is really important to remember is that sound works. Playing these instruments like crystal singing bowls, drums, gongs and shakers for a single person or room of people, sitting or lying down with the intention to relax, will support those people in letting go and gaining greater spaciousness.
Sound baths can range from one hour to 1 1/2 hours. Participants should be in the most comfortable physical position either lying of sitting. An example would be a restorative yoga pose lying and supported with mats, pillows or any props that allow for maximum comfort including blankets to provide a warm and nurturing feeling. It is helpful if the outside environment can be quiet, but not necessary.