Shamanic or Reiki Treatment
Both shamanism and Reiki are methods of healing. Shamanism has been around for at least 40,000 years and had a presence in most world cultures. The origin of the word shaman and shamanism has its own levels of disagreement. Reiki came on the scene in the 1920s.
Like shamanism, Reiki has its share of inconsistent origin stories. According to William Rand, Mikao Usui, while at a retreat, received Reiki. The word reiki is a Japanese word for universal energy. He used it on his family, friends and passed it on to others. Because of his own background as a student of qigong, medicine, psychology, religion, and the art of divination, he added those skills to his practice. He passed the learning and techniques to others, particularly to former naval officer and medical doctor, Chujiro Hayashi. He made some modifications to accommodate his own style. He trained Mrs. Takata who then introduced the form of Reiki healing called Usui to the West.
Does the fact that one predates the other make it a superior approach to healing? Personal experience dicates an unequivocal no!
A comparison will help. Both call upon the universe for healing energy and both use supplication in their efforts to connect with universal energy. Both function as conduits for healing energy. Shamanism viewed many of mankind’s ills to be caused by the loss of spirit/soul; (Life energy) while the Reiki healer recognizes energy drain and incorrect energy flow.
The shaman uses an altered state of consciousness to travel to another realm where he or she seeks a solution to a patient’s health or emotional issues. A Reiki Master does not travel or journey as it is sometimes called. The Reiki Master uses sacred or secret symbols, each containing its specific healing purpose. The shaman uses sacred objects to surround a patient; whereas, the Reiki may draw the sacred symbols on the patient using a finger to do so.
A Reiki Master will use incense as does the shamanic healer. Generally, this is used for cleansing the area around a patient. Soft music is the choice of sound for the Reiki Master; a monotonous drum beat serves the shaman’s purpose of driving out evil spirits, altering the state of consciousness of the patient, or changing the direction of the energy flow.
The Reiki Master uses his or her hands to change the energy flow of a patient. The hands are allowed to choose the place where the physical issue is located. With patient permission, the Reiki healer will physically touch the patient. During a Reiki healing session, the healer remains quiet; whereas, a shamanic healer may be chanting, have a flute played, and depending on the location, may dance around the patient.
Thanks to Michael Harner, many of the world’s best shamanic practices have been transferred to Western culture. We now have shamanic practitioners. They are different from a traditional shaman in that they are trained for the specific purpose of healing; a traditional shaman has other duties to perform.
If you are inclined to use an alternative healing approach, be sure you check the credentials of the practitioner, ask for references, and remember, you are the one who decides.
Norman W. Wilson, PhD