Is Reiki Actually a Meditation Practice?

Meditation has catapulted in popularity in recent years and is currently firmly embedded in our popular culture. We hear about new scientific studies regularly in the media, we may easily download meditation apps to our smartphones and perhaps we have seen local meditation classes or groups form near where we live. It seems as though meditation is now accepted as much more than a spiritual practice and, instead, is widely regarded as a health practice touted and even prescribed by doctors and medical professionals across major specialties.

In fact, research and the number of scientific studies regarding meditation have dramatically increased in recent years. A search of ‘meditation’ on the website for the National Center for Biotechnology Information, better known as PubMed (, lists 7456 articles from 1919 to the very beginning of 2021 with over 40% in just the last 5 years alone as illustrated in the included graphic.

Is Reiki Actually a Meditation Practice?

In contrast to that recent trend, the Reiki community, has a decades-long history of both learning and practicing meditation techniques in addition to the practice of Reiki itself. One practice I teach is the Gassho Meditation which is quite similar to mindfulness meditation wherein we focus our attention and gently refocus when we become aware thinking is occurring. While this and other meditation techniques may enhance our Reiki practice, let us compare general meditation techniques and the practice of Reiki itself.

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Like many new Reiki practitioners, I believed I could be a better practitioner if I learned to meditate and did so regularly. I attempted to stick to a practice of regular meditation but I found it quite difficult to maintain. Over the years, I would begin with a strong and steady commitment but then I would inevitably meditate less and less often and then feeling as if I had failed, would repeat the pattern time and time again. As a result, I never felt like I was able to reap the benefits I believed meditation practice would undoubtedly yield if I could just stick with it. Luckily, one morning I finally let those feelings of inadequacy go and perhaps, if this feels familiar to you, you will be able to release them as well.

That important day I attended my first mindfulness meditation group meeting. The experienced leader asked the regular attendees to introduce themselves and include what benefits they realized through their regular mindfulness meditation practice. Each took their turn revealing their personal results including examples such as feeling less stress, less worry and anxiety, enjoying better sleep, increased optimism and decreased chronic pain among other commonly documented benefits. The last woman then offered a description I found to deeply resonate with me. She explained she used to react to life as if it was occurring right at the tip of her nose. However, as a result of her regular meditation practice, she gradually moved from reaction to response…

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