Christina Aguilera Says Reiki Helped Her Lose Weight

You may have read earlier this week that Christina Aguilera reportedly credits her recent weight loss to Reiki, an ancient Asian practice that’s said to heal your body and mind.

“The theory behind Reiki is that you transfer your spiritual energy to different places in your body,” says Mary Vaccaro, a Reiki practitioner at Reiki New York. “Most of the time, practitioners do it, but if you're trained, you can do it yourself. The idea is that Reiki increases your entire flow of energy, and when your energy flows more smoothly throughout your system, you’re less stressed out.”

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So, um, how exactly does this energy transfer work? Let’s say you’re stressed out. If you get a massage or acupuncture, the masseuse or acupuncturist will focus on a few specific spots where you’re holding all your tension until it’s gone. But Reiki is more general. “To transfer your energy, the practitioner either holds his or her hands directly above all different areas of your body or places them lightly on your body—there’s no rubbing at all,” says Vaccaro. Think of how a parent might place their hands on their baby’s head to soothe an ache, she says. “It’s like practitioners are soothing your stress. It’s very relaxing.”

And it’s also why Reiki is said to help with weight loss. “If you read the literature, you know that stress leads to weight gain,” says Vaccaro. “So if you reduce that one exacerbating factor—stress—then you reduce the tendency to gain weight, too.”

Now, we’re not saying that Reiki is a proven way to lose weight. After all, there aren’t any studies that verify it actually works, and there are other ways to deal with stress, too, like doing yoga or going for a run. But if you’re interested in trying out the ancient practice, go for it! Vaccaro suggests Googling “Reiki” in your city and making an appointment at a nearby Reiki studio. If there’s not one close to you, most spas that offer massages also offer Reiki, so you can get it done there, as well.

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