Energy healing, Reiki and the alikes: why and how does it (not) work?
The Atlantic has published a quite comprehensive and complete overview of what Reiki is, including examples where it is used (find the link below).
Summarizing, it comes down to this:
"Reiki, a healing practice codified in the early 20th century in Japan. In Japanese, rei translates to “spiritual”; ki is commonly translated as “vital energy.” A session often looks more like mysticism than medicine: Healers silently place their hands on or over a person’s body to evoke a “universal life force.” A Reiki treatment can even, practitioners believe, be conducted from miles away." (source: see article below)
We know that positive intentions help us in creating a reality we wish, for ourselves and others. We feel more positive about the possibilities we face. Energy healing in general, might be just that, in another form: through some unknown mechanism and the dedicated attention a person receives in such a session, it may help the body to feel better and support other treatments in healing the body.
I came in contact with it when I noticed there is more than the physical body and my character is such, that I like to experiment and explore. So I just did the first course in Reiki. This was the start into this 'transparent' world of energy healing, where I learnt so much and tuned by capabilities in coaching and perceiving what's there.
So what has been proven? That's a question you hear a lot and I'm not an exception. The answer is, not much*. Nevertheless, positive effects are observed, it is being used and appreciated by many. Then my question is, does it matter, if it helps? While it doesn't do any harm to anything and anyone?
It leads to a more interesting question: why do we give more value to intellectually or rationalized reasoning, rather than our feeling? Many see effects, feel them, but discard them because they don't 'understand'. We can understand on many different levels, we have just been focusing on the rational way (the prefrontal cortex in our brain that can rationalize and differentiates us from animals). It makes sense, it makes us feel (!) safe: we get a proven and often externally generated confirmation (other smart people have done the work, in the trend of 'scientists and researchers must know'). But we are much more than that. And science takes its while. I decided not to wait for the extensive, peer-evaluated research, but go for what I felt: a positive impact on my wellbeing both ways, when giving and receiving energy healings.
* "Over the past two decades, a number of studieshave shown that Reiki treatments help diminish the negative side effects of chemotherapy, improve surgical outcomes, regulate the autonomic nervous system, and dramatically alter people’s experience of physical and emotional pain associated with illness. But no conclusive, peer-reviewed study has explained its mechanisms, much less confirmed the existence of a healing energy that passes between bodies on command."
Source of quotes: The Atlantic, April 2020