By Shelby Jones, ISPA

Some spa treatments are a bit harder to explain than others. For most people Reiki would fall into the “I don’t know what that is, so I’m going to avoid it” category. We’d like to take this opportunity to change your mind (we’ve always loved a challenge).

ALSO: Watch Michelle’s Reiki on Live Spa TV for more on “The Universe at The Spa”.

What is it?
Reiki is a scientific method of activating and balancing the life-force energy present in all living things, and literally means “universal life-force energy.” It was developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. It sounds pretty heavy, but it basically means that a therapist aligns your chakras (energy centers) by channeling energy to your organs and glands.

How does it work?
A technique called palm healing is applied to the entire body in order to channel energy. Therapists use their palms to transfer energy that allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium.

Reiki uses specific hand positions which normally correspond to the seven major chakras on the body. These hand positions are used both on the front and back of the body, and can include specific areas.

What happens in the treatment?
During the treatment you wear loose fitting clothes and lie down on a massage table. The therapist might take a few moments to prepare by meditating. The therapist will begin by placing his or her hands a few centimeters away from the guest’s body in a non-touching technique, and will remain in the same area for three to five minutes. Around 12 to 20 hand positions are held and the entire treatment usually takes 45 to 90 minutes.

What does it benefit?
It’s intended to help relieve emotional and physical conditions like stress, and is believed to speed up healing.

Where can you get it?
According to the ISPA 2011 U.S. Spa Industry Study, among the 30 percent of spas that offer complementary or alternative treatments, 61 percent offer Reiki making it the most popular treatment in this category.

And it’s not just for humans… Fido wants Reiki too.

If you want to learn more about different spa treatments visit ISPA’s spa glossary at

Shelby Jones is based in Lexington, KY at the ISPA  headquarters, Spa Week’s exclusive trade partner. She has worked as ISPA’s Public Relations Manager for five years where she connects with top media outlets to promote ISPA members and the spa lifestyle. To get in touch with Shelby please email her or follow @ISPADoYou on Twitter. If you’re in the spa industry, we encourage you to become a member of ISPA; weekly e-mails with pointers like these are just one small part of the package to help you succeed!



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