Thursday, 4 February 2016


by Helen Germanos, author of 'Silent Pain. How stress and Trauma may lead to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome'. This post is an excerpt from her book she has kindly shared. Read Helen's experiences of ME/CFS and writing her book here.

At first, I thought Reiki and spiritual healing were one and the same thing. They are not, though both are a form of energy healing. Reiki was developed by Mikao Usui in the early 1900s. He devised this therapy as a form of self-healing and spiritual development. Initially he called it a ‘Method to Achieve Personal Perfection’, and it was rooted in Tendai Buddhism, which provided spiritual teachings, and Shintoism, which gave methods of working with and controlling energies. In the West, even in Japan nowadays, Reiki is considered a form of alternative therapy rather than a self-healing tool. Reiki (pronounced 'Ray-Key') is a form of energetic healing.

A Japanese word, 'Rei' means universal and 'ki' means life force or energy, which flows in and around every living thing. This energy, generally referred to as ‘chi’, 'qi' or ‘vital force’, works its way through our energy channels or meridians. It promotes healing on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level, restoring balance and bringing a sense of calm, clarity and wellbeing.

In Reiki, the practitioner gently lays their hands on the recipient in order to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). When we are asleep or in a deep state of relaxation or meditation our PNS is activated. When activated, the body enters a state of ‘rest and digest’. It is at this time that the body is able to attend to any adjustments that need to take place in order to bring it back in to a state of balance.

When we are awake, as explained in chapter 2, our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is activated and is responsible for what is commonly referred to as our ‘fight or flight’ response. It is the SNS that is active when we feel under pressure (stressed) and remains in an active state for as long as we feel overwhelmed. If stress persists our state of health goes out of balance as our SNS is unable to stand down and allow the PNS to fully take over. For us to remain in the best state of health possible mentally, emotionally and physically the SNS and PNS need to work together.

A Reiki practitioner has been taught how to go in to a deep state of meditation, allowing energy to flow freely in and around themselves and the person they are in contact with. This is a very therapeutic experience that encourages the recipient’s body naturally to activate the PNS to restore a state of balance and harmony.

Most people find they will drift off to sleep during a Reiki session. In essence, a session can be described as the ultimate rejuvenating power nap. The Reiki therapist acts as a conduit through which universal (healing) energy flows, and the physical and subtle bodies use this to restore health and harmony.

The amazing thing is you do not need a Reiki therapist long term. Anyone can receive Reiki training, and it is very easy to learn. All it requires is practice and dedication. It is very beneficial, as it allows you to give yourself a daily energy ‘top up’ to help support your body in its healing process. I would suggest you consider doing the training yourself; it can be done over a live Reiki course or home study course. There is a link to the course I did after the bibliography section.”

Reiki (based in London); to either do the home course or find a course near you go to