My intent here is not to go into the history of the development of the healing process called Reiki. It’s history and its originator are well known. Nor is my intent to discuss the origins of shamanism. Reiki and Shamanism are both energy based when it comes to healing.

Energy is created by vibration. Changing the vibration of a client becomes the primary function of  Reiki and Shamanic healing techniques. Both the Reiki Master and the Shaman function as conduits for the flow of healing energy.

Reiki practitioners call upon universal energy; the shaman calls upon the Spirit World. Both seeking external help to bring healing to their clients. Both encourage self-healing. The Reiki Master does not enter trance state; whereas, the shaman often does.  The Reiki Master does not hypnotize his or her clients. The Shaman may do so.

We are often told that imitation is the highest form of flattery. When it comes to the current trends,  Reiki healing procedures have emulated traditional Shamanic procedures. What the  Reiki practitioners have brought over from traditional shamanism fascinates. My first experience with Reiki remains well implanted in memory. Not only was it a pleasant experience brought to me by an excellent practitioner but as a shaman, I noted the inclusion of several traditional procedures.

Among these traditional shamanic practices were the use of incense and sound. In this case, the incense was burning in a shell and recorded music was softly playing in the background. On the other hand, a shaman uses a drum, flute, and or rattle during his or her healing procedures. My Reiki practitioner offered me bottled water before the session began and an Herbal tea after the Reiki treatment; whereas, the shaman offers them before treatment. Traditionally, shaman use stones or crystals during a healing session. I note now that clear quartz and amethyst have been introduced in Reiki healing sessions. Stones and or crystals offer a wide variety of healing energies.

My own Reiki training instilled the do not touch the client approach and that seems to be changing with a shamanic adaption of the use of essential oils placed on one’s feet, wrists, and the back of the neck. Smudging, a traditional shamanic practice to cleanse the area, as well as the client, has been added to some Reiki practices.

For the purest, these inclusions are heretical. For the modern Reiki practitioner, his or her dedication to helping the client heal her or himself is paramount. The addition of other ways of energy/vibration manipulation is welcome. 

©Norman W. Wilson, PhD. 2020

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