"If you just allow your body and mind to rest, the healing will come by itself."
⎯Thich Nhat Hanh
What is reiki?
Directly translated, the word reiki means "universal life force energy." It is a Japanese form of holistic energy healing that reduces stress and promotes relaxation. Reiki is guided intuitively (going to where it is needed) and works on a physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental level. When the body activates the parasympathic system (the rest and digest phase), it is able to switch off the sympathetic system (the fight or flight response), allowing the body to reach a higher level of relaxation and restoration. Reiki is a complementary alternative therapy and is not a substitution for medical care.
How can I benefit from reiki?
Reiki can be beneficial in many ways, from reducing the effects of burnout, lowering anxiety, reducing overthinking or negative thought pattern, minimizing physical pain to faster recovery from injury and surgery, achieving a better night's sleep, feeling more energized and motivated, cultivating a greater sense of personal wellbeing, When we are able to turn off stress, our bodies are able to self-regulate and work more efficiently.
What happens during a reiki session?
During an in-person reiki session, the practitioner and client will discuss the reason(s) why they are seeking reiki treatment and what they would like to have treated during that session. The client will then either sit or lie down and the practitioner will direct reiki using their hands over different location of the client's body to help shift their energy. A distance reiki session works very similar to an in-person session except the client and practitioner are not in the same location. Reiki is a channeled energy that is not confined by space or time. The practitioner will often use a proxy (their own body, photo, visualization, stuffed animal or doll) in place of their client to send reiki through.
What does reiki feel like?
Everyone experiences reiki differently. The sensations can vary from session to session and from practitioner to practitioner. It is common to feel warmth or cold, pulsating, involuntary muscle spasms. Some people feel like they are floating or report seeing images or colors. There are also people who do not feel anything during reiki but that does not mean that it is not working since reiki works on a subconscious level.
What can I do to prepare for a reiki session?
Preparation is not required for a reiki session, but it is recommended that the client is in a safe space where they will not be disturbed. It is also recomended to drink water throughout the day to help the body stay comfortable and hydrated. I also recommmend that the client have a blanket nearby (in case they get cold), eye mask (to block out light), wired headphones (to listen to music), a glass of water (to drink after the session). It is strongly suggested the client does not drink alcohol/caffeine or recreational drugs prior to their reiki session. Some clients also like to meditate prior to their appointment to achieve a greater level of relaxation.
Is reiki safe? Who can receive reiki?
Reiki is a non-invasive therapy; by its principle, it is intended to do no harm. Anyone can receive reiki from babies, children, pregnant women, sick, and elderly. Reiki can also be sent to pets, places, and situations. While many people report positive feelings after receiving reiki, some people do experience spiritual detox (headache, tiredness) the next few days after a session. During reiki sessions, painful memories that need to be cleared can also come up. If possible, a client should let their practitioner know if they have any injuries or trauma that may impact how they receive reiki. Post-session, clients should monitor any changes and discuss with their primary care doctor any concerns that may arise.
Do you have additional resources where I can learn more about reiki?
I found these articles from the Bakken Center of Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota very informative, explaining how reiki works and how it can help you. This is a great article about three scientific reiki studies and some more science behind why reiki works. There is also a reiki short film where a practitioner and clients talk about their experience with reiki that you may enjoy.