Reiki, pronounced 'ray-key', is a system of energy healing originating from Japan. The word Reiki itself translates to 'universal life energy' and is based on the belief that life energy flows through all living things. When this energy becomes disrupted or blocked, it is believed that stress and disease follow.

Reiki practitioners use the universal life energy they have been attuned to, to promote natural healing. On this page, we will explore Reiki healing in more depth to establish what it can help with and what you should expect from a Reiki session.

What is Reiki?

In a similar vein to many traditional eastern therapies, Reiki works on the premise that 'life force energy' flows through all of us. If this energy becomes unbalanced, low or stuck, it is believed that we are more likely to become stressed and unwell.

Reiki is carried out by practitioners who have been attuned to the Reiki energy. This attunement involves a Reiki master who acts as a mirror to help the student adjust to the energy. This creates a channel between the practitioner and the universal life energy so they can access and use the energy to help others.

Using their hands, Reiki practitioners use this energy to help balance clients' energy. The nature of Reiki is holistic, meaning that it addresses the body, mind and spirit. While Reiki is considered spiritual, it is not a religion. There is nothing specific you need to believe in, in order to benefit from Reiki healing.

This method of energy healing promotes relaxation and well-being and aims to help reduce stress and stimulate the body's natural healing abilities. Mikao Usui founded the practice in the early 20th century.

The five principles of Reiki

  1. Just for today, do not worry.
  2. Just for today, do not anger.
  3. Honour your parents, teachers and elders.
  4. Earn your living honestly.
  5. Show gratitude for every living thing.

The first two precepts lead into being grateful, being true to who we lead us into compassion, we can't show compassion to ourselves and others if we don't embody all the precepts as they are connected to our journey into compassion. If we don't understand them or really feel them, then they are just words.

- Reiki practitioner Jenny Newman discusses the Reiki precepts.

What can Reiki help with?

The relaxing nature of Reiki makes it beneficial in many situations. It can be especially helpful for those who may be feeling disconnected, isolated or overwhelmed. Reiki can help to bring about a sense of peace and centeredness, helping you feel better able to cope with challenges.

The calming effect of a Reiki treatment is also beneficial to pregnant women, supporting them on their journey. Children and even animals can benefit from Reiki as it relaxes and soothes. Promoting a sense of well-being, many find Reiki encourages and supports positive lifestyle choices. Some even say it helps to reduce the need for alcohol and tobacco.

When used in conjunction with medical treatment, rebalancing energy can help to manage symptoms of anxiety, fatigue and pain. Reiki can be used for short-term problems or in an ongoing capacity to promote overall health and well-being.

Find a Reiki practitioner

Remember, Reiki is a complementary therapy. If you have a health concern, visit your doctor and seek medical advice. Reiki should not be used in place of your doctor's recommendations; it should be used alongside your treatment to aid healing. Because Reiki is a natural treatment there are no contraindications, meaning it is generally safe to use for everyone. You are advised, however, to discuss your medical history with your Reiki practitioner in case they need to take extra precautions.

A typical session

Before you begin your treatment, your Reiki practitioner will explain to you what the treatment involves. During this consultation, they may ask you why you are seeking Reiki and details of your medical history. Providing as much detail as possible here ensures that they treat you safely and to the best of their ability.

After this consultation, you will be asked to sit or lie down in a comfortable position. You do not need to remove your clothing for Reiki healing. For comfort, you may wish to remove constricting layers, shoes and/or glasses.

The treatment itself involves the practitioner placing their hands gently on the body, or slightly above the body, in a predetermined sequence. The position of the hands is non-intrusive and should not cause any discomfort. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, let your therapist know. The amount of time spent in each position will depend on the nature of your concern. The touch should be gentle and light, Reiki is not supposed to manipulate or massage.

How will I feel?

Everyone will respond differently to Reiki depending on their individual circumstances. Some people say they feel sensations during their Reiki healing, while others do not. Some feel heat or tingling during the treatment and some report seeing colours. For some, the experience brings up an emotional response. The most common response, however, is a feeling of calm, relaxation and well-being.

After the treatment, you may feel very relaxed, or you may feel energised. There is no right or wrong way to experience Reiki. Some people say after the treatment they encounter a 'healing reaction', like a headache or flu-like symptoms. If you are concerned about any reaction, speak to your practitioner. 

How many sessions will I need?

This will vary from person to person. It is important to remember that Reiki healing is a process, and therefore may take a number of sessions. Generally, the more chronic and long-term the concern is, the more sessions it will require.

Your practitioner may recommend a number and/or the spacing of your sessions. You should, however, feel free to make the decision about the spacing of your treatment yourself.

This video explains what Reiki is and the impact it can have.

How do I choose a practitioner?

Reiki is not a regulated therapy, which means there are no laws in place surrounding practitioners. Reiki practitioners should have undergone certain levels of training before they practice on clients - these are described below:

Level 1 (first degree): This is an introductory level that opens up energy channels on a physical level. This allows practitioners to connect to the universal life force energy. The goal of level 1 Reiki training is to practice self-healing.

Level 2 (second degree): Once this level has been completed, practitioners receive the 'Reiki symbols'. These allow the practitioner to connect more deeply with the universal energy. This, in turn, allows them to use Reiki on other people.

Level 3 (third degree/Reiki Master): This is considered a teacher's level and is not required before treating clients. Graduates are able to 'attune' new Reiki practitioners after completing level 3. Becoming a Reiki Master signifies a deep commitment to the Reiki practice.

When it comes to picking a practitioner, it's important to check they have level 2 training (or equivalent) so they can practice on other people. On Therapy Directory, all members are checked to ensure they meet this criteria.

Once you have established the level of training, finding out more about the practitioner can help you decide. Find out more about their journey with Reiki and if possible, read some testimonials. On Therapy Directory we encourage all members to fill their profiles with information so you can find out more about them before booking a session.

Ultimately, you will want to book an appointment with someone who you feel comfortable with, so you can truly relax during the treatment. Follow your intuition and feel free to call or email them to find out more about the way they work. 

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