According to its practitioners, it is a form of alternative medicine. A Japanese Buddhist named Mikao Usui is the founder. It is believed that the recipient of its universal energy is receiving it through the palms of the administrator.
The transference of the universal energy is believed to heal whatever medical condition is being addressed. It is referred to as qi. No evidence has been presented that confirms this is a medical treatment that heals. Medical professionals call it a pseudoscience rather than a science.
An individual can receive certification as a Reiki Art Master. There is a class that serves to qualify him or her. First, certain prerequisite classes must be completed successfully.
The first requirement is completion of Reiki I and II. The second is to have been practicing it for six months or more. The third requires drawing the three sacred symbols from memory.
All classes are taught by ICRT Licensed Reiki Master Teachers (LRMTs). Certificates are awarded by this instructional organization. It is not confirmed to be effective by any concrete evidence.
Research has been conducted. However, there is no clinical evidence that it improves the health. It has been said that those who experience perceived health improvement are doing so due to the placebo effect. In other words, they feel better because they believe they feel better.
According to the many people who are critics of the practice, it is taking unfair advantage of people who are vulnerable due to age or illness. There is no harm caused by the reiki. However, when a person with a serious illness does not get treatment for that condition, he or she may suffer needless damage.
Among those who disapprove is the Catholic church. The leaders say it is not appropriate because of its incompatibility with Christian doctrine and because it does not seem to improve the health. It is not permitted to be used in any Catholic hospitals or other health care institutions.
The symbols are used in a practice called attunement. Without having reached the required level of attunement first, a master cannot administer them with the expected power. Each symbol is traced in the air and the sacred name repeated three times. Alternatively, they can be drawn on paper.