Skeptics might think Reiki healing is far-fetched, made for tree huggers and hippies. But for those who are open-minded, Reiki can have a positive impact on one’s physical, spiritual and emotional well-being.

Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that also promotes stress reduction and relaxation. It is administered by laying on of hands by an attuned practitioner and is based on the concept that an unseen “life force energy” (chi or ki) flows through all of us and is what causes us to be alive.

The word “Rei” (pronounced “ray”) in Japanese has many meanings, the highest of them all being spiritual consciousness. “Ki” (“key”) also has multiple meanings; however, in Japanese culture when it is related to illness or disease, it is referring to internal or life force energy.

The practice of Reiki in Eastern cultures has been around for centuries and began to spread worldwide in the early 1900s. Reiki is a very sacred practice of healing, and in its early stages was not something that was openly shared with those who were not in the healing arts.

Attunements were very costly, with fees ranging in the tens of thousands of dollars. It was almost unheard of for a woman to be a Reiki practitioner.

In modern times, Reiki attunements are readily available and reasonably priced. Because it has been increasingly accepted as a legitimate healing modality, it has attracted both sincere and opportunistic parties.

It is important that those seeking help make sure that attunements are given in person by a certified Reiki master and that the practitioner has been properly attuned.

There are three levels to Reiki, and in order to become a Reiki practitioner, one must receive attunement for at least level one and two. Attunement can briefly be described as the passage of focused energy from the Reiki master to the Reiki student. Only a level three Reiki master teacher is qualified to attune another.

Receiving attunement is a commitment to be seriously considered. For attuned Reiki healers, the reward of balance, empowerment, self-healing and healing for their community will literally be in the palm of their hands.

Wellness is our natural state of being. Everyone’s body wants to return to that state of wellness and balance, and Reiki reminds and assists the body in doing so. While not a quick fix or a magic pill, it is a road to wellness for those with whom it is shared as well as for the sharer.

Reiki energy is divine love, and divine love always has and will bring balance to the world.

Sara Edwards, owner and proprietor of Angel Works in Bluffton, is a Reiki master teacher, birth doula and community health educator.