• Maggie Suits Bannikatti

What is Reiki?

By now, most people have at least heard the term Reiki, but have no idea what it is. This post will hopefully help give a better understanding of what it is, where it came from, and the many benefits it lends. Reiki is a Japanese hands-on technique that promotes stress reduction, relaxation, and healing. There are many lineages out there, and the one I am attuned to is Usui Reiki. A lineage is a line of teaching in which a teacher, or Master, has been trained. The most effective lineages will be able to trace an unbroken line to the founder - in my case, Mikao Usui. There is a belief that Reiki energy has always existed and that it has been brought to Earth and harnessed by many people throughout human existence. There have also been other founders in Japan before Usui (you can find them here), however the most known and accessible form of Reiki is Usui Reiki.


Mikao Usui studied medicine, psychology, religion, and divination in Japan, Europe, and China. He also practiced Zazen meditation in an attempt to achieve An-shin Ritsu-mei, a state of understanding one’s life purpose and how to achieve it. In February 1922 he went to Mount Kurayama, a sacred mountain north of Kyoto where he meditated for 21 days. At midnight on the 21st day, he received Reiki in the form of a powerful light entering his mind through the top of his head, causing him to feel as though he’d been struck by lightning, also knocking him unconscious. He spent the rest of his life developing Reiki techniques, training, and attument. He trained Dr. Chujiro Hayashi who opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo with his wife, Chie Hayashi.

Hawayo Takata (aka Mrs. Takata, Lady Takata), who brought Reiki to the United States, was born in Hawaii and later returned when her sister died. At the time, she had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor, gallstones, appendicitis, and asthma. Instead of opting for surgery, which her doctors suggested, she decided to look into Reiki at Hayashi’s clinic. There, after a Reiki session, the practitioner made a diagnosis that matched that of her doctors, so she began receiving regular treatments. She was treated by two practitioners each day, and in four months was completely healed. Mrs. Takata then learned Reiki, herself, and brought it to the U.S. via Hilo, Hawaii where she established her own clinic. She taught all over Hawaii and in much of mainland U.S., and trained 22 Reiki Masters who carried on her tradition. Without Mrs. Takata bringing Reiki to the West, Reiki may not have been nearly as prominent as it has become.

Reiki Defined

The Japanese word Reiki breaks down like this: Rei = “God's wisdom or the higher power” and Ki = “life force energy.” So combined, the word Reiki means spiritually guided life force energy.

An attuned practitioner uses symbols to activate certain aspects of Reiki and to achieve certain methods of healing. During an attunement process, a practitioner receives attunements (which allow the person to utilize Reiki energy) from their teacher/Master on the crown of the head, on the third eye chakra, on the heart, and on the hands. We receive Reiki energy through the crown of our head and it flows down to our heart, then up to our arms and down through our hands.

There are four main levels to Reiki. Reiki I, II, III, and the fourth is Mastership. With each level, there is an increase in amount of Reiki energy that flows through the practitioner, and new symbols and healing techniques are learned. With Reiki II, for example, the energy is stronger than level I, and three symbols are learned: two for specific aspects of healing and one for absentia, or distance healing. Yes, distance healing really works. Message me for some personal accounts!

It is important to note that Reiki is not a religion. Reiki will work whether you believe in it or not, but, like most things, it definitely helps if you do believe. The power of belief is a strong force! And while there is no dogma associated with Reiki, we do abide by certain concepts of oneness and living to promote harmony to others by living that way ourselves.

Benefits of Reiki

The benefits of Reiki are infinite. These are only a few examples of how receiving Reiki treatments can benefit you.

  • Reducing stress and promoting relaxation, which helps the body release tension and stress.

  • Helps to decrease and even rid energy blockages

  • It can help a person heal from major illnesses, as Mrs. Takata experienced

  • Help the body cleanse itself of toxins and support/strengthen the immune system

  • Helps one to feel more grounded and focused

  • Improved Sleep

  • Pain relief and physical healing

  • Accelerates physical healing - ie: wounds take less time to heal, tattoos heal faster

  • Aids in spiritual growth

  • Emotional cleansing

  • Reiki can be used during pregnancy, on babies and children, and is also beneficial for the end of life transitioning process

  • Animals love Reiki, too!

What does it feel like?

In areas lacking in energy, it will feel warm or even hot. In areas with an excess of energy, it will feel cool or cold. I once worked on a client whose jaw felt hot to my hands while my hands felt ice cold to them! It can feel like a tingling sensation in the area being touched by the practitioner. Both the practitioner and the client can receive impressions, colors, feelings, etc. It is also possible to experience a great emotional release as energy is shifted and stagnation is cleared. If there was a lot accomplished in the session, you may feel “out of it”, peaceful, perhaps a little dizzy, and relaxed. It is imperative to drink a lot of water the day of a treatment. Also important to note: NO PRACTITIONER SHOULD EVER TOUCH YOUR PRIVATE PARTS. Instead, we hover about 2" over these areas. Additionally, your practitioner should always ask if they can touch you and if there are any other sensitive areas you do not want touched. For instance, some people have trauma associated with a certain body part (could be feet). It's important to know this so we don't cause a post traumatic stress episode. If you prefer not to be touched at all, the practitioner can hover over your entire body and Reiki will still do its work well. Don't ever hesitate to communicate your needs; it's your body! Own it!

"Hello! My name is Maggie Suits Bannikatti and I am a 2nd degree Reiki practitioner in Dr. Mikao Usui's lineage, working toward mastership one day. I also greatly resonate with sound healing, thanks to my teacher Deb Jennings and her amazing sound baths, so I have decided to incorporate the powerful and research-based healing effects of sound into my Reiki sessions. I use metal bowls, crystal bowls, and tuning forks. I also like to pay close attention to lighting and implement aromatherapy."

Services can be booked with Maggie Bannikatti by contacting her on her Facebook Page, or emailing her at maggie@sacredhealthdsm.com

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