What Is Reiki?

What to Expect During a Reiki Healing Session

Young adult female taking reiki and bioenergy

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Reiki (pronounced RAY KEY) is a combination of two Japanese words rei and ki meaning universal life energy. Reiki is an ancient laying-on of hands healing technique that uses the life force energy to heal, balancing the subtle energies within our bodies. Reiki addresses physical, emotional, mental and spiritual imbalances. This healing art is an effective delivery system. The Reiki practitioner serves as a vessel that supplies healing energies where they are most needed by the recipient. Reiki's ki-energies flow out of the practitioner's body through the palms of the hands while they are touching the recipient's body.

What to Expect During a Reiki Healing Session

You will be asked to lay down on a massage table, couch, or bed. You will be fully clothed except for your shoes. You may also be asked to remove or loosen your belt so that your breathing is not restricted in any way. It is best to choose loose-fitting garments to wear on the day of your appointment. Wearing natural fabrics is best (cotton, wool, or linen). You may also be asked to remove any jewelry (rings, bracelets, pendants, etc.) prior to the session, so consider leaving these items at home.

Relaxing Atmosphere

Reiki practitioners will often create a relaxing atmosphere for their Reiki sessions, setting the mood with the use of dimmed lights, meditative music, or bubbling water fountains. Some practitioners prefer to be in a place that is completely silent, without the distraction of music of any kind, to conduct their Reiki sessions in.

Healing Touch

During the Reiki healing session the practitioner will place his hands lightly on different parts of your body. Some Reiki practitioners will follow a predetermined sequence of hand placements, allowing their hands to rest on each body placement for 2 to 5 minutes before moving on to the next. Empathic practitioners will freely move their hands in no particular order to the areas where they "feel" Reiki is most needed. Some Reiki practitioners do not actually touch their clients. Instead, they will hover their lifted palms a few inches above the reclined body. Either way, Reiki energies flow where they are suppose to. Reiki is a smart energy that automatically flows where the imbalances are in your body regardless of where the practitioner's hands are placed.

Phantom Hands

Because Reiki energies flow to where they are most needed there is a Reiki phenomenon called phantom hands that you may or may not experience. Phantom hands feel as if the Reiki practitioner's hands are touching one part of your body when they are actually elsewhere. For example, you may be able to see that the healer's hands are actually placed on your stomach, but you could swear that hands are touching your legs. Or, you may feel as if several pairs of hands are on your body at the same time as if several people are in the room with you.

Booking a Reiki Healing Session

You may have turned to the yellow pages of your telephone directory in search of a Reiki practitioner in your area. However, very few practitioners advertise their services using this media. Reiki practitioners work out of clinics, hospitals, spas, and home businesses. Some practitioners provide house-calls, traveling to your location to give treatments. Check out bulletin board postings in natural food markets, metaphysical stores, yoga classes, community colleges, etc. Reiki practitioners often rely on word of mouth from their regular clients in attracting new ones.

There are many different types of Reiki systems, so be sure to ask any questions you may have about a practitioner’s services before you book a session. Reiki shares are sometimes used as a promotional tool to introduce Reiki in their areas. Shares are usually offered periodically on weekends for free or at a minimal price.

Becoming a Reiki Practitioner

Reiki is traditionally taught in three levels. Level I and level II are typically taught in one day class (8 hours) or over a weekend period (16 hours). Level III is generally a more intensive course of study and will take a longer commitment. Class time involves an initiation ritual called an attunement and learning the hand placements for self-treatments as well as treating others.

Reiki Controversies and Myths

The healing community has come a long way in demystifying the cloak of secrecy that once surrounded the teaching of Reiki in the western hemisphere. As a result, inaccuracies that were born out of the teaching being hidden away have been chipped away layer by layer. However, some of these Reiki Myths continue to grow organically.

Reiki was first introduced to Canada and the United States in the 1970s. Hawayo Takata a Hawaii native of Japanese descent, brought her knowledge of Reiki to the mainland through oral teachings. Reiki teachings and stories were passed down from teacher to student by word of mouth for several years. No wonder the stories got jumbled up!

There is a continuing argument about publicizing the symbols used in Reiki. They have been talked about as being sacred and powerful and should not be shared outside of the Reiki community. Yet, the symbols are printed in several publications and widely distributed across the Internet. What may have been kept a secret for awhile is no longer. I personally do not believe the symbols have power in of themselves, but that the power they represent is actually the intention or focus held by the Reiki practitioner when they are being used.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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Desy, Phylameana lila. "What Is Reiki?" Learn Religions, Apr. 5, 2023, learnreligions.com/what-is-reiki-1725326. Desy, Phylameana lila. (2023, April 5). What Is Reiki? Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-reiki-1725326 Desy, Phylameana lila. "What Is Reiki?" Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/what-is-reiki-1725326 (accessed May 29, 2023).