Updated: Mar 02, 2022
Both Reiki and massage are energy-based systems of natural healing, and Reiki massage is a popular and effective treatment option today. If you've ever had a truly great massage, you understand how you can feel both relaxed and energized simultaneously.
Both Reiki and Massage are energy-based systems of natural healing, and Reiki massage is a popular and effective treatment option today.
If you've ever had a truly great massage, you understand how you can feel both relaxed and energized simultaneously. This apparent contradiction of emotions contributes to your sense of well-being because massage relaxes muscles, increases oxygen and blood flow throughout the body, and promotes the free flow of the body's own energies, or "Chi."
Reiki, a Japanese healing art, has a similar practical purpose—to increase and balance the body's unbalanced energy flow. However, while massage is more vigorous and manipulates the muscles, Reiki relies entirely on touch and, in some cases, the proximity of the healer's hands to specific areas of the body, employing 12 to 20 prescribed hand positions depending on the training tradition. Today, a hybrid treatment known as Reiki massage is available.
While massage is one of the oldest forms of medical treatment, having been first documented in China over 2,000 years ago, Reiki is a relatively new practice, having been invented in 1922 by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist. He administered treatments and passed on his knowledge to a generation of approximately 16 Reiki Masters, who continued to practice and teach Usui Reiki.
To become a licensed massage therapist, you must enroll in an accredited school and complete extensive coursework, which typically includes anatomy, physiology, and other subjects in addition to massage techniques. These programs range in duration from six months to two years, depending on the program. To become a licensed practitioner in many states, you must also pass a massage certification exam.
On the other hand, Reiki is not licensed by any state board, but a few organizations have begun to develop standards for this emerging healing art. For example, the Reiki Licensing Commission for Reiki Masters and Healers (RLCRMH) has advocated for stricter standards of Reiki training and recognizes Reiki healers, coaches, masters, and instructors with designations. The lowest levels require approximately one or two days of training, while the highest levels require years.
Lightarian Reiki, Urevia, Shamballa Multi-Dimensional Reiki Healing, and Karuna are some of the additional Reiki certifications available. Usui Reiki healing techniques require direct lineage transmission from Dr. Usui or his student, Hawaiian Reiki master Hawayo Takata.
Massage therapy involves the practitioner manipulating the patient, whereas Reiki involves the healer barely touching the patient during a 45-to-90-minute non-invasive and non-manipulative session. However, the practices are complementary, and many massage therapy schools teach Reiki healing techniques as well, which graduates can incorporate into their private practices. Certain massage therapists incorporate Reiki techniques into their sessions, dubbed "Reiki massages," in order to promote physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
Although certification requirements are more stringent and there are more licensing laws governing massage therapy schools, Reiki training is growing in popularity, and with the growth of the healing arts and natural health degree fields, Reiki training can be a complementary addition to your massage therapy practice.