The Brain Waves of Reiki

Judith PenningtonArticles, English 16 Comments


Who the best healers are and how healing works has been the subject of scientific research since the 1970s, when investigators first began to study the brain waves of hands-on healers. I have always been interested in energy healing, especially since 2001, when I discovered in my own brain waves that sending out healing prayers at the close of meditation expands and evolves the mind more than anything else—and in precisely the same way as loving communion with universal Light.

Below: Brainwaves – Mind Mirror display the ordinary mind

Brainwaves - Mind Mirror display the ordinary mind So it was with considerable excitement that last year I acquired a second electroencephalograph (EEG) allowing me to simultaneously observe the interactions of a healer and subject, and promptly embarked on studies of Reiki healers. To my surprise and delight, all of these studies, both with Modern Reiki and traditional Japanese Reiki healers, proved in every case that energy healing expands and evolves the minds of healers and their recipients.

I did this research with a Mind Mirror, a unique dual-hemisphere, composite-picture EEG invented and used by British biophysicist and Zen master C. Maxwell Cade to study the interrelationships of four categories of brain wave frequencies—beta, alpha, theta and delta—during meditation, energy healing, psychic inquiry, and spiritual communion with Source.

Conducting these studies was a privilege and pleasure for me, as they confirmed my original findings and several other theories about the brainwaves of healing that will move the field of consciousness research considerably farther along—thanks to the open-hearted healers who participated in these sessions.

Modern Reiki Healers in New York City

In several studies beginning in January of 2011, I observed the brain waves of as many as six modern Reiki healers working at the same time on a single recipient (also a Reiki healer). At times all of them produced—and some consistently—the two brain wave patterns identified by Cade in his groundbreaking book, The Awakened Mind, as higher states of awareness: 1) the open, flowing awakened (meditative) mind of clarity, creativity, insight, intuition and spiritual connection, and 2) the evolved mind of unity, bliss and illumination.

Brainwave patterns

These brainwave patterns are commonly seen in practiced meditators, highly creative people, energy workers, yoga practitioners, and spiritual seekers, but rarely in people not committed to some kind of mind-calming contemplative practice. Seeing these advanced patterns so consistently in 12 New York healers convinced me of the power of Reiki to transform consciousness in much the same way that meditation does: the quiet mind (beta) opens to its subconscious (theta), resonates with the energies of healing and growth in nature (alpha), and intuitively attunes to the quantum Field of consciousness (delta) containing all energy and information.

Thus open to self, nature and the Field, the healer receives and transmits healing energy and information to the subject without blocking, or impeding, the current of energy. Researchers say that healing light typically travels in the 0- to 30-hertz frequency range, with a strong concentration in the 7.8-hertz borderline of alpha-theta, where peak meditation and healing take place in the human body, mind and spirit. The awakened and evolved mind brain wave patterns carry precisely these frequency ranges.

Traditional Japanese Reiki
(Usui Reiki Ryoho as taught by IHReiki)

A close friend, Paula Michal-Johnson, a Pennsylvania teacher of traditional Japanese Reiki, suggested that I do a study on International House of Reiki healers as well. While studying the brain waves of four Shinpiden students working on one client, I was surprised to see an altogether different brain wave pattern. Still more surprising were the unusual brain wave patterns of founder Frans Stiene and his subject Deborah Harrigan during a healing session in Washington, D.C., while Stiene was teaching in America’s capital in early April, 2011.

Paula and I drove down to Washington on April 7 for the study. This time I brought two Mind Mirrors and hooked up Frans to one and Deborah to the other, in order to watch their brain wave interactions and record each session into computer files.

What I saw in Frans’ brain wave patterns was so startling that I checked his hookups repeatedly to make sure the electrodes were snug and secure enough to transmit a clear signal to my Mind Mirror. The hookup was good, but the images were hard to believe: Whether Frans was telling a joke or healing Deborah, he produced the brain wave pattern known as yoga nidra, or “psychic sleep,” wherein only the lowest and slowest delta waves are present to receive and transmit energy from the Field—without any but the slightest appearance (and interfering mental activity) of beta, alpha and theta.

Yogic Consciousness

The delta-only yoga nidra pattern is so rare that I’d never seen it before, although I had been watching for it since finding in Max Cade’s book a piece of information that had been lost in translation: that this pattern appears just before consciousness merges with theField to form the circular evolved mind of transcendence.

This made perfect sense to me, since the other three categories of consciousness—beta, alpha and theta—must let go of their content and separate awareness (a huge leap of faith) in order for delta to amplify itself enough to reach into and unite with the quantum Field in the circular pattern of the evolved mind. But normally the yoga nidra state is elusive. The seasoned meditator lies on the floor in the spread-eagle “corpse” pose of yoga. So relaxed as to almost lose all conscious awareness, the meditator attunes to the Field for healing and psychic insight.

Frans’ operating in this yoga nidra pattern in waking awareness could only mean that his 13 years of daily Reiki practice and the healing it has brought him conditioned this superconscious state of mind into his brain waves—as in a yogi. In fact, the psychic sleep of yoga nidra is the pattern required of yogis at the time of initiation: Using their relaxation skills to drop into physical catalepsy, their minds roam the outside world to obtain information that must be accurately reported upon waking as a condition of initiation.

“When I am in this state,” Frans explained after the session, “I feel my physical body collapsing and my sense of separation disappears.” Remaining in what he calls “the witness consciousness,” he enters the “formless” in which he is aware only of energetic impulses moving through his body.

In brain-speak, his delta waves are intuitively sensing/feeling the energy in the most basic way of human knowing—without any analysis or interpretation.

A Dance of Light

Below – “No Mind” Pattern

brainwaves delta While Frans’ default pattern was yoga nidra—that is, an extremely quiet mind connected to the Field—he was not limited to it: At times, his pattern shifted from delta-only yoga nidra to a “no-mind” pattern of virtually flat brain waves known as the out-of-body pattern, meaning, as I like to joke, “There’s nobody home.”

While of course there is someone home, the brain/mind has so absented itself from mental activity that it is like a clear, still pool of water, reaching for nothing and only receiving what comes from the Field. Deborah, an intuitive consultant, medium and natural empath, prefers the no-mind state for psychic readings and healing work, rather than the awakened and evolved mind patterns, in which there is mental activity and, she explained in a follow-up conversation, “room for opinion and interpretation, providing opportunity for involvement of the mind to alter that which comes through.”

Deborah was the perfect recipient for Frans—and for this brain wave study—because she is a psychic empath. While entrainment—the synchronization of brain waves—is a desired result in any healing, a psychic empath reaches out with the anticipation and “clear mind” that facilitates this exchange of energy.

Deborah’s anticipation of healing produced consistent awakened and partial evolved-mind patterns (half of the circle, either at the top or bottom of the pattern), which allowed her to easily “mindwalk” with Frans. It was almost as if Frans was coaxing Deborah into the no-mind pattern that is so familiar to her. In Session 2, when Frans was kneeling on the floor and performed a spiritual blessing (reiju) across the room, she shifted into his yoga nidra delta-only pattern.

After the two sessions, Deborah said, “I felt myself mindwalking with Frans. I could see an arc of energy—his, and mine answering—and we began to merge.” She reported a sensation of energy moving into her feet and “blue lightning” moving up her legs.

Paula saw a blue arc of energy enter Deborah’s feet and mentioned this to me privately before Deborah said anything about it!

In both sessions, Frans and Deborah were engaged in an energy trade wherein her brain waves shifted into his states of consciousness, and at one point, for a period of eight seconds, his low-amplitude awakened pattern nearly doubled in strength as it picked up her high-amplitude awakened mind brain waves.

What Paula and I witnessed in Frans and Deborah’s brain waves was a beautiful dance of light, an energy exchange that washed them back and forth into the most advanced brain wave patterns that I have ever seen.

High-Voltage Gamma Energies

Below High-Voltage Gamma over an Awakened Mind Pattern

awakened As if these patterns weren’t remarkable enough, a frame-by-frame study of the Mind Mirror’s recorded images back at home revealed in Frans and Deborah’s brain wave patterns a fascinating and rare progression: a sudden shift from their no-mind, out-of-body patterns to super-high-frequency gamma waves stretched out above an awakened mind pattern, and then back to the no-mind.

Frans later on explained this phenomenon: “I was just connecting, merging as much as possible with Deborah to just let the energy flow,” he said. Huge energy downloads are “very normal during a practice like this,” he continued. “Then it all settles down again, as you call it, into the out-of-body pattern. In Japanese this is called Mushin, which means no-mind and is linked to the level III symbol and mantra.”

Associated with sudden “aha” insights, out-of-body experiences, and high-powered psychic intuition, gamma has the unique ability to synchronize all regions of the brain into a high level of coherence that diminishes electrical noise enough for the person to open to frequencies higher than the human brain normally picks up.

It’s as if the person producing gamma is a radio set whose dial suddenly turns to higher-frequency stations not available before. But the “chatter” in these higher frequencies is not the usual noise. Instead, because gamma’s higher frequencies contain photons of light with more energy in them, these frequencies feel like to people like the Tibetan monks and Franciscan nuns studied by Dr. Andrew Newberg like spiritual ecstasy. Gamma would therefore conduct a supercharge of energy.

Cade conjectured that new technologies would someday be able to detect states of consciousness higher than the evolved mind. A few previous sessions that I have conducted with spiritually advanced clients and the present studies have convinced me that in certain situations and with certain people gamma shows up on the Mind Mirror, after all, in its 30- to 44-hertz range.

The few times I have seen gamma—most frequently in IHR healers—it looks like an inverted crescent moon sitting on top of an awakened mind pattern. At one point in our session, I saw in Frans’ brain waves two awakened mind patterns stacked underneath a gamma crescent moon.

I have also seen this gamma download in four students of International House of Reiki (Paula, Jotaro and Erin) during a healing study in Paula’s home, and in late February, in an IHR healer (Heather) working in New York City on a woman nearly paralyzed with spinal damage.

Inside the Photon

Why do IHR healers produce these gamma frequencies? Studies conducted by several different researchers show that people produce gamma in three instances, all during deep meditation states: as the result of attentional focus (possibly on mantras), unity consciousness, and loving compassion.

IHR graduates, engaged in energy healings producing the awakened, evolved, no-mind and out-of-body patterns of deep, profound meditation, may be generating gamma for any or all three of the above reasons. But it’s also true—and I strongly conjecture this—that any meditative mind, consciously or unconsciously, can tap into these super-high gamma frequencies in order to conduct high-voltage light to people in special need of it.

Why would someone need a high-frequency supercharge? Researcher James L. Oschmann, in his book Energy Healing: The Scientific Basis, explains that healers are directly transmitting to their recipients the missing frequencies that have caused discord or disease in the body. Most people, he points out, receive healing in the 0- to 30-hertz frequency band; apparently others need the supercharge emitted by 30- to 100-hertz gamma frequencies to fill the body with high-powered photonic light, much like a lightning bolt charges up the atmosphere.

This doesn’t mean that the awakened and evolved mind patterns produced by Modern Reiki healers are inferior, only that the lower frequencies in which they are operating are carrying more photons containing less power—a steady current of lower-frequency energy, rather than a lightning bolt.

Which, you may wonder, is better: the awakened/evolved mind’s strong, steady current saturated with photons of light or the gamma brain’s supercharge of fewer photons but powered-up light?

At this point in time, only the healer and recipient can answer this question, based on their subjective experience. In the end, it is likely that supernal Light travels as needed through those most capable of channeling it; if the capacity is not present, Light undoubtedly finds other ways to go where it is needed.

Harmonic Waves of Love

What these studies prove—not only through brain states, but subjective experience—is that real healing is occurring through Reiki. We know this because brain wave frequencies are not confined to the brain, but cascade via harmonic wave motion into every cell and atom in the body (see Oschmann). The frequencies conducted by the healer jumpstart the “body electric” and instruct repair systems to do their repair work. In the process, light flowing into every level of one’s being carries intuitive insights into the mind, love into the heart, and illumination to the spirit.

Researchers have shown that an increase in the strength of brain waves, whether from the awakened and evolved mind patterns or gamma waves, increases the output of energy from the fingers and this energy ripples into infinity, with the consequence of healing the world. While this is a precious service to humanity, just as beautiful is the ability of energy work to heal and evolve the healer’s consciousness as much if not more than the person being healed.

Of course, no one needs to see brain wave patterns to know that healing has occurred. We can feel, experience and know this. And yet, it’s always good for the doubting ego to logically understand the process, so that it can unreservedly believe, trust and surrender to the divine Light which so deeply loves and heals us and all things.

Watch the videos of Reiki Brainwave Testing and Frans’ Response To Reiki Brainwave Test.

Judith Pennington, an internationally published journalist, author and meditation/consciousness trainer, is a world authority on EEG meditation and consciousness. Visit her websites and to see live brain waves, meditate online, and explore her two free publications, The StillSmallVoice and OneWorldSpirit, on personal and planetary peace.

Comments 16

  1. Avatar of FRANS STIENE

    Hi Judith,
    I love the comment you make about your own brainwaves in the beginning of the article;  “when I discovered in my own brain waves that sending out healing prayers at the close of meditation expands and evolves the mind more than anything else”.
    This is exactly what Mikao Usui was teaching within the precept “show compassion to yourself and others”. One aspect of this precept is that we need to dedicate our healing practice to others and one of the best moments to do this is when we are at the close of our own meditation practice, as it is at this stage that we are more in union with the universe.

  2. Avatar of frans stiene

    Hi Judith,
    Just flipped my calendar to August and there is a wonderful quote on it, very appropriate to the brainwaves patterns.
    “When I let go of what I am, I become what I want to be.” – Lao Tzu

  3. Avatar of Sundar Kadayam

    Judith, I was going to reach out to you to ask for just this sort of information.  What you have shared in this in-depth article is fascinating, and it most certainly does present the sort of information that helps the left brain (and the ego) to “logically understand the process”.  Your work is absolutely wonderful.  What resources would you recommend to a newbie to learn about all this systematically?  Thank you!

    Frans, the connection of Judith’s own experiences with healing prayers to “showing compassion to yourself and others” makes a ton of sense.  Why do I get that “Here we go again!” feeling, the feeling that I experience around you so often, that we are only scratching the surface of all this, again!  Thanks!

    – Sundar

  4. Avatar of Joe Moon

    Yay! A shout out of thanks to my friends Paula, Jotaro, Heather and of course Frans for particiipating in these studies.  These are phenomenal images. Yes, pun intended.

    i could not help but notice in the first (normal mind) and the last images (with gamma component) the cup/chalice image.  The Delta range forms the baseof the cup (groundedness in the field?) and the open top forms the receptacle for truth/light.

    I often think of truth as having the quality of water that takes the shape of any container into which it is poured. Our discussions of what we believe to be true often get stuck at the point where our respective containers/receptacles have different shapes and neither party is willing to accept that a different configuration might also hold the same truth.  Most amazing though is the image of the evoled mind.  To me it is not a closed circle but an open cup viewed from a different angle…as viewed from above.
    I am happy that Judith is nearby in Pennsylvania…color me curious.

    love to all,


  5. Avatar of Jessica Brown
  6. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Sundar, You are right, we are all still scratching the surface, there are so many layers to be discovered within ourselves and the system of Reiki.

    Joe, I personally think that we can only truly be in the delta and gamma state of mind when we have a very deep personal connection with the earth energy, being grounded.
    There is a wonderful blog about this on our website written by Kathryn Hudson in Paris, called “Frans plays with Dolls”.

  7. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Joe,
    Was thinking about the image of the Evolved Mind and an image of the Enso (zen circle) came to mind. Below are a couple of quotes about the Enso from this website:

    <start>The Enso, or Zen circle, is one of the most appealing themes in Zen art.  The Enso itself is a universal symbol of wholeness and completion, and the cyclical nature of existence, as well as a visual manifestation of the Heart Sutra, “Form is void and void is form.”  One can see in these paintings of the Enso that form and void are also interdependent and, in fact, define each other.<end>

    <start> Perhaps this quote of the enlightenment experience of Omori Roshi will give some additional clues about the real meaning of this Enso’s symbolism:
    “At the right time, you will be able to break through to the state of nothingness.  You will attain this realization because of some thing and you will know with your entire being that you are at the center of absolute nothingness, at the center of an infinite circle.  To be at the center of an infinite circle in this human form is to be Buddha himself.  You have been saved from the beginning.  You will know all these things with certainty.” <end>

    It is all very interesting 🙂

  8. Avatar of Sundar Kadayam

    Frans, If I’m reading the brainwave patterns right, the “Evolved Mind” pattern corresponds to the DKM state in Reiki that you talk about.  And the Enso circle you cite above from Zen, is exactly that?!  That IS a coincidence indeed!  Or perhaps this is NOT a coincidence!  Reminder to self: “The more I think I know, the farther from the Truth I am!” – Sundar.

  9. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Sundar,
    The enlightened mind is symbolized within the system of Reiki by the level III symbol and mantra DKM and the precepts.  We can call this the Evolved Mind, Buddha Nature, God-Essence, our True Nature, Tao, you name it, it all is one and the same.
    The more we practice the system of Reiki the more we start to realize that there is so much more to discover.

  10. Avatar of Matti Täppinen

    Thanks a lot Judith! The video left open a lot of questions, at least for me, but this article answered them all (and more)!

  11. Avatar of Susan

    Frans and Judith,
    Thanks so very much for this wonderful post and for investigating the practice of Reiki from this viewpoint.  I am most thankful for my IHReiki training and for the shift it created in my practice of Reiki.  My practice is my daily compassionate gift to myself and others.  Thank you!

  12. Avatar of Judith

    Frans and all: These are such enlightening comments, and I deeply appreciate your kind words. The studies, especially with IHR students, greatly expanded my understanding of brain waves and consciousness and will be featured in my upcoming book, Your Psychic Soul. So apparently, we are on this book journey together, and it is unfolding moment by moment.

    Sundar, to learn more about brain waves and consciousness, you could go to my website, and explore the Brainwave Biofeedback, How It Works, and Meditation & Healing pages. For a still deeper understanding, you might want to look into Anna Wise’s books, The High-Performance Mind (sometimes hard to obtain) and her second book, with much the same information in it, Awakening the Mind. I sell copies of Max Cade’s seminal and rare book, The Awakened Mind, on my website.

    I am heading off on a 10-day vacation early tomorrow morning, so will be out of touch for awhile. Happy summer, everyone!

  13. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  14. Avatar of Kelly McDermott-Burns

    How fascinating all of this is!!  I had the opportunity to sit across from Frans when he did a meditation with Debra in 2009 Shipiden.  It was clear he was in a totally different place.  It gave me goose bumps:)

  15. Avatar of Carmen

    Hi :
    In New York City, I want to learn how to produce gamma waves, I had an experience that tells me that I did produce them already naturally.  If there is a technique, I would like to train on it.  Also my experience had a manifestation as Psychokinesis. That’s why I am very interested in replicate the experience I had had many years ago.



  16. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Carmen,
    The most important thing is to make sure we have a solid base, gounded, that way we can stay still in our mind. They call it Fudoshin in Japan, immovable, not being moved by the drama of life and by our monkey mind. So I would suggest to keep your mind focused on your hara/tanden, just below your navel.
    Good luck.

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