What is Reiki and how can it help me? Learn what to expect from a Reiki session and all about what Reiki actually is (and isn’t!).
As more benefits are seen from Reiki, Reiki is becoming a practice that is accepted among many health professionals as a helpful alternative medicine. From end of life care, cancer care to stress reduction, it’s becoming a widely used form of complementary care.
Many people think of Reiki as a massage therapy, but touch doesn’t need to be involved at all. Reiki is more like a mediation, though the person receiving the Reiki doesn’t have to do anything.
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them, and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a form of energy healing which channels light energy from a force, which can be Source, The Universe, a Higher Power or God, depending on your belief systems, to help you heal. The most meaningful definition of Reiki is it is a spiritually guided energy force.
An in person Reiki session may include hands hovering, or even therapeutic touch, but Reiki can even be done virtually.
Where did Reiki come from?
It is thought that Reiki was discovered by a man named Mikao Usui (also known as Usui Sensei) in the early 20th century. However, in 1914, a Japanese therapist named Matiji Kawakami created Reiki Ryoho and published a book about the effects of Reiki and it’s ability to heal in 1919.
Shortly after, in 1922, Usui Sensei was given his Reiki energy and developed his own style of Reiki, called Usui Reiki Ryoho.
Though many believe Reiki healing has actually been around for thousands of years.
Reiki was brought to the United States by Hawayo Takata, who claims to have been healed of a tumor, gallstones, appendicitis and asthma by Reiki practitioners in Japan in the early 1900s. She was so impressed by her healing, she became a Reiki healer and brought Reiki to Hawaii.
In 1938, Hawayo Takata opened a Reiki practice, became a Reiki master and began teaching Reiki.
What does Reiki mean?
When looking at what Reiki is, it will help to break down the word Reiki.
The word Reiki comes from the Japanese words Rei and Ki, with Rei meaning the spiritual wisdom and Ki meaning the life energy.
The Rei incorporates three sections, which include the higher consciousness, the earth and the mind, body and soul. The Ki is the non-physical universal energy in all living things. If your Ki is restricted, or low, you will be more vulnerable to health conditions.
Is Reiki a religion?
Reiki can be thought of as a spiritual practice, but Reiki is not a religion. Many people who follow many different types of religions can use Reiki and may find it can enhance their religious experience.
Does Reiki cure disease?
Reiki therapy is not a substitute for medical care but can be used as a complementary treatment in helping channel where your body’s healing energy needs to go.
For example, many cancer centers offer Reiki treatments to their patients. Reiki can help cancer patients relax, help with fatigue and even help ease pain.
What are the benefits of Reiki?
Reiki can offer deep relaxation, pain relief, anxiety reduction and direct the body’s energy, or Ki, to healing. Reiki will work better if you believe in the process and the healing abilities.
There have been little studies done on Reiki to show scientific evidence of it’s benefits. But some studies on Reiki have suggested it can help lower blood pressure, lower heart rate and increase heart rate variability.
Someone who receives Reiki energy through a session will set and direct their intention to where they need help. Reiki has helped to heal nearly every ailment you can think of.
Here is a list of benefits commonly sought after from a Reiki healer:
- Chronic pain
- Fatigue and insomnia
- Cold and flu
- Anxiety and depression
- End of life preparation
Again, it’s important to note that Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatments, but can work as a complementary medicine to aid in healing of ailments.
Real Life Reiki Example
In 2022, while my dad was dying from pancreatic cancer, I went through Reiki I and Reiki II training and became a certified Reiki practitioner. When Dad first got to the hospital and was being checked in at the end of his life, we had many family members with us. I had been with Dad while he was in ER waiting to be checked in.
I left the room to allow my uncle to be with him. Just after I left, Dad’s heart rate shot way up and I got a phone call to hurry back. Dad was mostly “with it” at that point was having mild hallucinations as he prepared to cross over.
When I got back to him, he looked at me and said “You’re just what I need” and I placed my hands on his chest to bring him Reiki and within seconds, his heart rate dropped down significantly.
I continued Reiki on him while he spent the week at the hospital and truly believed it helped ease his anxiety and fear he had of dying. Reiki has been an incredible gift.
How is Reiki given?
During a typical Reiki session, you will likely first have a conversation about what is going on and what brought you to the session. This can set the intention of the session. Though setting an intention is not required and the Reiki will still work without stating it.
You may be asked to close your eyes and/or try to mediate or bring an openness to healing and/or to focus on being grateful.
In-person Reiki session:
During an in-person Reiki session, a Reiki practitioner will have you lay down on a massage table or somewhere comfortable. The practitioner will start with a quick (generally a few seconds) meditation with their palms together in a prayer like manner.
Next, the Reiki practitioner will run their hands, hovering over your body and may stop to give a light touch. The partitioner will be sensing for any energy blocks and sensing where energies need to be opened.
The practitioner may stop to do a gentle touch to bring energy to an area. This may not be an area you expect. For example, if you are having ankle pain, it’s possible for a Reiki practitioner to be guided somewhere different, like your shoulder.
Virtual Reiki session:
You can get most Reiki benefits from a 20 minute virtual session, but some practitioners will offer longer sessions.
During a virtual Reiki session, the same thing will happen, but without the physical touch or being together. You will get comfortable by laying down or sitting up in a comfortable position. The virtual session will be done by phone or on a video conference call.
A Reiki practitioner will start by calling in Reiki and the distant healing symbol. It’s possible this will be done out loud, but likely they will do it quietly, or without speaking, and you may not even notice.
Each practitioner will have slightly different methods. Some may utilize a crystal to help field the energy to you, others may hold their hands up or in different places to field the energy to you.
Various hand positions will be used to channel the Reiki. A typical session will be about 20-60 minutes, but these can vary depending on practitioner and your individual needs.
What does Reiki feel like?
You may not notice anything during a Reiki session. Some have reported feeling a lot of heat as the energy is moving. It’s possible to get a sudden cold chill or it’s possible you don’t notice anything out of the ordinary.
You may also have a sudden emotional release, such as crying, sweating or intense feelings and it’s possible to feel any of these things days after your session.
Not to worry if none of these things happen. This is normal and it’s it’s best to let these reactions happen.
After a session it’s best to drink lots of water. A salt and baking soda scrub can also help to clear energies after a session.
Can anyone do Reiki?
Reiki ideas and practices can be used by anyone as we all have internal sources for healing and a life energy. In our article about Reiki mediation, we offer some tips to tap into Reiki.
But to get a true Reiki experience, Reiki should be done by a Reiki practitioner.
A Reiki practitioner is someone who has been given a Reiki attunement/empowerment (by a Reiki master) and is a healer, who acts as a bridge between the spiritual realm to bring healing, guidance and wisdom to people on earth.
How you can learn Reiki
If you are interested in learning Reiki, you will start by learning Reiki I, which is a self healing course. After you have had time to practice Reiki I on yourself, you can move onto Reiki II, which will give you an attunement to practice Reiki on others.
If you love that, you can take a Reiki III course and become a Reiki master. Reiki masters can teach Reiki to others and give them their attunements.
Where can I get a Reiki treatment?
If you are looking for a virtual Reiki session, I can help! I am a Reiki II certified practitioner and am currently offering 20 minute Reiki sessions. You can email me at [email protected] and I’d love to chat with you (information page on provided services will be coming soon).
You can also Google “virtual Reiki sessions” and see what you are drawn to.
If you are looking for someone to do an in person session, the best way is to Google Reiki practitioners in your area. You can also contact a yoga studio or a healing center if you have those nearby. They may be able to help guide you to someone they work with.
The International Association of Reiki Professionals has a search directory, but you have to join that membership to be found. You can search that directory here.
Give Reiki a try today and see how you feel. I’d love to answer any further questions. Feel free to comment below or email me at [email protected].
If you are nervous to start, reach out to a practitioner and ask questions. Many Reiki practitioners also offer free sessions at hospitals (for patients), conferences or events. Check your neighborhood for any healing centers or events hosting a Reiki area.