Reiki is an ancient form of energy healing in which a properly attuned Reiki Practitioner serves as a conduit for Universal Life Force (or ReiKi). The Reiki practitioner acts as a conduit for a semi-sentient energy which is summoned from a higher source to facilitate healing or correct a person's aura.
The Reiki Practitioner is not a healer per se - but the energy moves through them to work with the recipient's higher will in correcting imbalances and treating situations from the core causal point rather than the effect. This is thought to have a beneficial effect on the body, mind, and spirit, emotional, and in Indian systems - the chakra system.
Everything in the universe is thought to have an underlying energy that gives it form, structure, health, strength and autonomy. This invisible but formidable force is called "Chi" by Chinese mystics and martial artists; Indian masters and healers call it "prana." It is also called "orgone energy" and the practice itself is also described by the names Chi Gong and Polarity therapy.
Whatever you want to call it, the word Reiki literally means "Universal Life Force." Reiki is capable of healing anything because it works at very fundamental levels of reality. The level of reality where Reiki operates is the underlying energy structure of matter, as the physical matter we see around us is a solidified form of energy.
The health, flow and strength of this force are thought to be affected by our thoughts. Think negative thoughts and manifest diseases and unfortunate events. Think positive thoughts, good health and good fortune result. Think nothing and achieve bliss. Reiki is really about accessing the healing energies of a higher power. In some ways too, Reiki can be called an active, ritualistic form of prayer.
A Reiki healing is a very simple and quite religious act of faith. In essence, the Reiki Healer or Master can be seen as a channel or vessel for the transformative power of God's love. The practitioner places his or her hands upon the person to be healed with the intent for healing to occur, and then the energy begins flowing into the afflicted part of the body without any judgment or thoughts from the Reiki Master.
The healer draws exactly the amount of needed energy to the recipient. There is no conscious intervention or appeal on the part of the healer who is there to keep the "healing space" open between the diseased or troubled person and the divine love before. The healer's job is to get out of the way and be a conduit. Often, if you will observe a Reiki healer, he or she will appear to stop and watch or listen for signs of what to do next from a silent voice.
Traditionally, the healer is taught a set of hand positions that are postured over the sick or troubled person's body. This sometimes looks like the Reiki master is giving the person a massage from mid-air. The Reiki Practitioner will occasionally make scooping or sweeping actions like he is smoothing a bedspread. This is all part of his intent to intuitively correct energy imbalances in your aura. Some healers will also place their hands directly on a sick or ill part of a body and keep them there as long as necessary.
Reiki can also be used to still emotional storms as well as heal relationships. This is done by correcting the subtle energies of what is known as the "orgone body", "electromagnetic field" or the aura. Often, hands are passed through the air, once again, removing blocks and negative entities or thought forms from the person's force field.
Reiki is also used to heal individuals at a distance. This is also called "remote healing". Although it is not always necessary, the Reiki healer will ask for an object or create an object that represents the ill person. Treating the object is thought to also treat the person at a long distance away.
Some very talented Reiki masters have also been known to heal objects such as cars, computers and traffic jams. The idea is to act as a vessel and send the healing light so that it will correct itself.
In a way, Reiki is also about breaking bad patterns. The great sages always despise anything too habitual as it is thought to cause stagnation and disease. Good interference from a well trained Reiki master or light worker is thought to break these patterns and allow fresh energy to trigger the process of healing.