Reiki and Kampo Pt. 1

The 5-element system and yin/yang theory imported to Japan from China provided a view of the body interacting with the greater world both around and within it (Picone,1989). Maintaining the balance of each element in the system and the equilibrium of yin and yang, is both a responsibility of the individual self and of the larger community.  Influences from the cosmos, as well as the earthly environment also contribute to health or wellness on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels which developed into Kampo, the Japanese version of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  This legacy, of comprehensively viewing the body connected and operating from a global and celestial perspective, could explain why according to Picone (1989), there are few psychological practitioners in modern Japan, as the investigation of mental and emotional health might be considered surgically removed from the 5-element system that influences the individual.   

The Reiki system which serves as the foundation for both my praxis and therapeutic practice is composed of this inclusive Kampo model of viewing the body along with the application of ki.  According to Kukubo (2001), ki has many meanings, including the seemingly different concepts of ‘feeling’ and ‘weather’. Yet, as mentioned above, the Japanese Kampo concept of the interconnectivity of the body and the environment would validate a force such as ki being able to influence both internal and external conditions.  There are various kinds of ki depending upon circumstance and application such as living ki, illness ki, etc. as well as ki residing in different body systems (Picone, 1989).  Reiki is a form of ki from the universe, it is a life force that can bring and maintain balance to the individual and the community they are a part of.

In my own experience, the application of Reiki by a practitioner to individual influences the entirety of their system.  This may explain the findings discovered by Picone (1989) when she interviewed the healer Osumi who stated “the whole body is a tsubo (acupuncture point)” (p.475).  Instead of specifically placing a needle in a tsubo, a Reiki practitioner places their hands over or above the body. All the structures; body, energy field, environment, are impacted by the intention and application of the Reiki practitioner.


Kokubo, H. (2001, December). Concept of‗ Qi ‘or‗ Ki ‘in Japanese qigong research. In Proceedings of Present Papers of the 44th Annual Convention of the Parapsyhcological Association (pp. 147-154).

Picone, M. (1989). The ghost in the machine: Religious healing and representations of the body in Japan. Fragmented History of the Human Body1.

YAMASHITA, K. (1993). Pain Management and Scientific Acupuncture Especially about Ryodoraku Therapy. The Japanese Journal of Ryodoraku Medicine38(10), 269-280.

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