Reiki for Weight Loss: Does It Actually Work?

By now, you’ve likely heard of acupuncture and aromatherapy, and may have participated in these activities yourself. But have you heard of reiki? It’s another example of alternative medicine based on transferring positive energy by placing one’s hands near another person’s body, but not touching them physically. It’s been linked to inducing rest and relaxation, and some say that it may have some weight loss benefits, too, though there hasn’t been any research on this potential effect of reiki.

What Exactly Is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese energy-healing practice that started in 1922 by Dr. Mikao Usui, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Reiki involves placing the hands lightly on the body or just off of it in order to transmit “universal life energy.” The goal of the practice is to create relaxation, promote healing, and reduce pain.

Kelsey Patel, a Los Angeles-based wellness and reiki expert and author of the forthcoming Burning Bright: Rituals, Reiki, and Self-Care to Heal Burnout, Anxiety, and Stress (out in April 2020), says reiki can help with physical pain and can promote balance. “It might be to help reduce anxiety, overwhelm, or stress,” she says. “I also recommend it for people who simply want to become more connected with themselves or call in deeper alignment, joy, or abundance.”

Reiki sessions are typically one hour and are done on a massage table, sometimes in your own home, Patel says. You’ll likely lay down with your clothes on and your shoes off. “The [practitioner] typically won’t touch any part of your body except for your head and your feet,” Patel says. “I always recommend wearing socks and comfortable clothing so you can really relax.”

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