Reiki, or 霊気?, or ˈreɪkiː
It used to be thought of as a spiritual practice, and is now also considered to be a form of pseudoscience, created in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui, has since been adapted by various teachers of a wide range of traditions.
It uses a technique commonly known as palm healing or hands-on-healing as a form of Alternative Medicine and is sometimes classified as oriental medicine by some professional medical bodies.
Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring universal energy aka - reiki, this is transferred in the form of Qi (Japanese: ki) and through the palms, which practitioners believe allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium.
These beliefs have not been verified by modern medical science, and reiki is not considered an effective treatment for any recognised medical condition.
Currently there are two main branches of Reiki, generally these are referred to as Traditional Japanese Reiki and Western Reiki. Differences can be wide and varied between both branches and traditions, the primary difference is that the Westernised forms use systematised hand-placements rather than relying on an intuitive sense of hand-positions, which is commonly used by Japanese Reiki branches. Both branches commonly have a three-tiered hierarchy of degrees, usually referred to as the First, Second, and Master/Teacher level, all of which are associated with different skills and techniques.
Reiki is based on a "Ki" – considered to be a life force, some say this is purely hypothetical, others say this life force is real.
When used as a medical treatment, reiki confers no benefit, the American Cancer Society, Cancer Research UK, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine have found no clinical or scientific evidence supporting claims that Reiki is effective in the treatment of any illness.