Reiki works much like meditation and our brain uses it to promote alpha and theta brain waves. The brain is seen to produce different frequencies of electrical activity across its neurons depending on what it is doing. Alpha waves are predominantly associated with states of relaxation, a calm wakefulness. These waves can be produced by closing your eyes, relaxing and becoming still. Theta waves are more predominant in skilled meditators and represent a quiet watchfulness – the mind watching its thoughts. Both types of waves denote relaxation and a stopping of active, busy or anxious thinking, or active concentration, which produces beta waves.
The promotion of alpha waves into the body system has a dramatic effect on our stress levels. Using Reiki in this way can then be its most powerful benefit as it brings us growth, peace and vitality.
Reiki, like meditation, affects the mind by loosening its grip and helping us to release more and more energy and resources to the rest of the body. The active brain consumes more than 20% of the total energy required by the body (but only weighs about 2% of total bodyweight). Although there has not been extensive research on the amount of energy consumed by the brain in beta state versus alpha or theta, if you carry out your own simple experiment of relaxing quietly versus actively trying to problem solve, it is fairly clear which activity is more exhausting.
Meditation, for years, has been known in the East to be extremely health giving, calming and beneficial. Most Reiki practitioners attest to the similarities between Reiki and meditation, especially when it comes to the results they feel. As the art of meditation spreads to the West, research is confirming its qualities. Dr Andrew Newberg has run several experiments on expert meditators to find that there is a difference in the way their brain’s function compared with non-meditators. Specifically, there was a decrease in activity in the left brain, resulting in less brain chatter. Over time, when meditators are not meditating they show increased alertness, consciousness and empathy with others. In Dr Newberg’s recent research involving non-meditators who were given a chant to practice for eight weeks, results similar to those among the expert meditators were shown. These results show that anyone can learn to lessen the hold of their busy brains in a very short period of time and with little effort.
The Reiki Centre Survey found that respondents noticed improvements very similar to those mentioned above. Nearly 70% of respondents reported a reduction in their levels of anxiety, worry and stress in less than one year. Correspondingly, over the same period, over 70% of respondents noticed an increase in their levels of self-love, peace and contentment, with this figure rising to over 85% of respondents over a longer period of time. Since the Survey only captured data in yearly blocks, the improvements could have been noticed within weeks or months, certainly the qualitative responses indicate respondents saw changes soon after beginning self-Reiki. Reiki seems to follow very similar pathways to meditation by lighting up the intuitive (right) side of our brain that resonates with connection, empathy, oneness and wholeness therefore increasing our feelings of contentment, peace and happiness. In other words, it resets our brains and allows us to experience life in our natural state of being.
Reiki can provide an access point which allows us to experience inner peace by encouraging the meditative effects as described by Dr Newberg and others. The key difference between Reiki and meditation is the technique used to gain the same result: with Reiki the simple application of your hands on your body is enough to begin the energy flow, and as long as you are willing to stay still and quiet for long enough, you will experience the same effects of meditation without the discipline required to clear the mind or focus. For many Reiki practitioners this may well be an important benefit, as opposed to Reiki being a painstakingly difficult and disciplined journey.