This NewsBreak originally appeared in Information Today as the April 2023 feature article “The Energetic Information Superhighway, Part 1: Reiki and Knoweldge Production” and as the May 2023 feature article “The Energetic Information Superhighway, Part 2: And the Beat Goes On.”
Knowledge production and dissemination on a cognitive and subconscious level through the practice of energy transfer using Usui Reiki Ryoho (“Reiki”) and sound healing through binaural beats has the potential to challenge our concept of knowledge creation and knowledge transfer. This NewsBreak will define and discuss Reiki and binaural beats as they help us to explore knowledge curation through (as some might think) less conventional means. Energy work such as Reiki is not a new healing modality, but it is becoming more common among the general population and in hospital settings in the West. This NewsBreak builds a comprehensive picture of conscious/subconscious and tacit/explicit knowledge production and diffusion through these two modalities.
For the purposes of this NewsBreak, we will be defining and looking at only two energy-related phenomena: 1) Reiki and 2) the cognitive-energy impact of binaural beat frequencies (when used in conjunction with Reiki or meditative practice). Note that there are other Reiki lineages and binaural beat uses other than those mentioned in this NewsBreak. With that, let us dive into how these individualized energy fields come together to enhance well-being via tacit and explicit knowledge patterns.
REIKI AND ITS ETYMOLOGY
Reiki (pronounced “RAY-key”) is a Japanese technique promoting holistic stress reduction and healing of the physical, emotional, and spiritual body through transference of “universal life energy.” Reiki is nondogmatic, and its etymology comes from the Japanese rei, meaning spirit, and ki, meaning energy. This technique utilizes energy transfer between the trained practitioner and client through prescribed hand positions. During these sessions, the practitioner-client universal life energy transfer disseminates the knowledge of rei and ki via the Reiki modality.
Reiki practitioners grow their knowledge through experiences that include formally recognized training and certification. This knowledge disseminates to clients (or the self) via cognitive means and energy transfer practices.
USUI REIKI RYOHO
The scope of this article limits the Reiki modality to Usui Reiki Ryoho, founded by Dr. Mikao Usui. This form of Reiki began to influence the West in the early 20th century thanks to the life work of Hawaya Takata. It was only in the 1990s, however, that verifiable Western publications began to surface regarding Usui Reiki Ryoho. Eastern cultures recognized Reiki-like energy benefits (Neiye) beginning in China circa 320 B.C. Neiye, described in early Daoist meditation techniques, references the same vital force energy found in Reiki, notes Harold D. Roth in the 2004 book, Original Tao: Inward Training (Nei-yeh) and the Foundations of Taoist Mysticism. This truncated history shows the progression of a healing modality that has transcended time, language, and cultural diversity.
THE EXISTENCE OF KNOWLEDGE AS ENERGY
At a fundamental level, Reiki is difficult to explain because it presents itself as a nontangible energy. While the discerning scientist may question how we know it exists, Faraday’s law of induction can help. The electromagnetic field is an energy power source that, to a Reiki practitioner, provides information on the client’s well-being. “The healer’s hands produce strong, pulsing electromagnetic fields, generally between 7 and 30 Hz, so when those hands come into contact with an organ of the body that is unhealthy or unbalanced, the hands naturally induce the healthier frequency into the magnetic field of that organ, entraining it to raise its vibration to a healthier level,” notes Rose O’Connor in the 2015 Reiki News article, “We Are the Reiki Messengers.” Because all things generate a frequency, and all things are energy, the body’s energy field is forever in motion. Dis-ease is said to be rooted in this energy system. (Disease, as we know it, can be looked at as the body—in all of its complexities—being not at ease or out of sync, thus “dis-ease.”)
KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION AND DISSEMINATION
In the following section, we will look deeper into Reiki principles, levels, and treatment to discuss their relationship with our own conscious and subconscious knowledge production and/or transfer. The Reiki Precepts/Principles, or Gokai, (translated from Japanese) are:
- Just for today, do not be angry.
- Just for today, do not worry.
- Just for today, be grateful.
- Just for today, work with diligence.
- Just for today, be kind to others.
Note that because language does not exist in a vacuum, some translations of the Gokai will vary. Knowledge production and transfer through the meditation on and manifestation of these principles are reflected through our treatment of all living things (humans, animals, plants, etc.).
Reiki Level I (Shoden)
Level I opens energy channels for students to connect to Reiki, provides an overview of Reiki lineage, and teaches students hand positioning and postures. Students can energetically benefit the self and others, and they are encouraged to live their lives in accordance with the Gokai.
Level I provides the most profound physical and emotional shift because our intrinsic and extrinsic knowledge of healing is challenged and enhanced. Fundamental learning occurs (principles, hand positioning, chakras, etc.) in combination with hands-on practice.
Reiki Level II (Okuden)
Additional energy channels are opened in Level II. There is a focus on practicing Reiki on others, and this is the Western practitioner level. The inclusion of Reiki symbols and their uses are introduced. Distance healing capabilities are possible in Level II, but distance healing is beyond the scope of this article.
At Level II, intuitive awareness increases, and distance healing heightens learned and intuitive knowledge. The use of symbols helps elevate the practice. Learning and demonstrating mindful living practices are essential, as what we take in, we also expel. A practitioner is a conduit of Reiki energy; if they are distracted (as in, if their channels are clogged with the sludge of daily life), the session could be impacted. Reiki will do no harm, but it is the practitioner’s responsibility to learn and exhibit a lifestyle that is in line with the practice to best transfer that Reiki knowledge and energy to their client.
Reiki Level III/Master Teacher (Shinpiden)
Level III allows the practitioner to become a Reiki Master over a period of time and a teacher. This level involves learning additional symbols and meditation practices. Vibrational energies are increased. Learning the curriculum and deciding to teach Reiki are options for some practitioners.
Part of the mission of Reiki is to bring knowledge and healing to others (animals, plants, water, etc.) and the universe as a whole. This may take the form of formal knowledge, as a teacher, or the unspoken transfer of Reiki energy. This level is about deepening our understanding of Reiki, continuing to live mindfully, and sharing this knowledge with others directly through Reiki or indirectly through our life choices.
“Reiki Symbols are considered transcendental. They affect the subconscious mind and the higher-conscious,” writes William Lee Rand in his 2000 book, Reiki: The Healing Touch—First and Second Degree Manual. Reiki symbols, like other sacred symbols (e.g., Sri Yantra), provide energetic wisdom to the individual working with and meditating on that symbol.
Symbolic knowledge works on the conscious and subconscious level. Our meditation on and understanding of symbology increase our knowledge. Transfer of the symbolic knowledge is given through Reiki treatment and received as energy. The client does not need to be aware of these symbols to benefit from them.
REIKI SESSIONS AND ENERGETIC KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER
To highlight the knowledge transfer during an in-person Reiki session, it is important to understand the cohesive process the practitioner goes through pre- and post-session. Reiki treatment is typically performed on a massage table. It can be hands-on, when a practitioner lightly puts their hands on the client in accordance with the traditional hand positions (which are learned during the training process), or hands-off, when the practitioner’s hands hover over the client using the same traditional hand positions. The client chooses whether to be touched, and their preference does not alter the effectiveness of the Reiki session. As the practitioner notices energetic blocks or imbalances, they may work on some areas of the body longer than others. The high-level treatment application in relation to knowledge is described in the following sections.
Preparing the Session Space
The session space is prepared energetically through Reiki. It includes other processes, such as the utilization of aromatherapy practices and meditative music through which cognitive awakening on a subconscious level occurs (for practitioner and client).
On a subconscious level, these subtle energy changes bring relaxation to the nervous system before the session begins. Binaural beats (found in some meditative music) and olfactory stimulation (aromatherapy) may be used to optimize cognitive relaxation and the meditative state.
Pre-Treatment and Treatment Session
The practitioner learns about their client through dialogue, health forms, and Byosen Scanning. (Byosen Scanning informs the practitioner about what areas of the client need the most attention, i.e., where there are energetic imbalances. This is noninvasive—no physical touching is involved—and part of the treatment session.) The practitioner moves their hands over the client (scanning) to detect energetic differences throughout the body. For example, if a client’s knee causes the practitioner’s hand to become very hot or cold, this indicates an imbalance in that area, energetically. During the Reiki treatment, the practitioner would then spend some extra time sending Reiki energy to the knee. During the session, the practitioner remains in a meditative state of Reiki consciousness. Hand placements are used based on training and client assessment.
Forms and conversation give the practitioner baseline information on client needs (learning). Reiki energy is knowledge manifested through the practitioner (but not the practitioner’s energy). Physically, the hands become very warm and hold a pulsing beat within the palms. This indicates a connection to Reiki on the practitioner side. Hand positions and the results of Byosen Scanning assess the location of dis-ease and transfer Reiki knowledge via the treatment session.
The practitioner and client discuss the session when complete. Reiki has the potential of releasing energy blocks that no longer serve an individual’s highest good (sometimes subconscious). Think of energy blocks as self-limiting beliefs.
It is important that the practitioner discusses with their client how they feel (physically and emotionally) because energy work can bring about unexpected emotion (often positive) and awareness for the client.
Reiki benefits are limitless, and Reiki intensifies awareness for all parties involved. An increased state of awareness yields the conscious and/or subconscious creation and transfer of knowledge.
SCIENTIFIC VALIDATION THAT REIKI IMPACTS OUR PERSONAL BODY OF KNOWLEDGE
One of the most progressive signs that Reiki is having widespread impact is its validation through science. While living beings feel energy in some capacity, energy is a type of phenomenology, and, as we have learned from physics, it is never lost, just simply changes form, according to Frank Arjava Petter in the 1999 edition of the book, Reiki: The Legacy of Dr. Usui—Rediscovered Documents on the Origins and Developments of the Reiki System, as Well as New Aspects of the Reiki Energy.
Medical science communities linked to leading hospitals (e.g., Brigham and Women’s Hospital) are further authenticating Reiki by seeking practitioners to treat pre- and post-op patients, cancer patients, and staffers, according toregistered nurses Kathie Lipinski and Jane Van De Velde in the 2020 Nursing Clinics of North America article, “Reiki, Nursing, and Health Care.” Some Reiki training programs also qualify as continuing education units for those in the medical field. Because energy work is traditionally less explored and less mainstream in the West, recognition by the medical and scientific community helps to add validation to the practice for many.
See page 2 to learn about binaural beats and to access lists of resources for further reading.