The Healing Power of Reiki

What is Reiki?

Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key), means Rei, ‘universal flowing’, and Ki (also known as chi, or prana), energy of life. Put together the word can be translated to mean something like “universal life-sustaining, harmonious-flowing energy”. It is a Khandu word, which is ancient Japanese.

Reiki is a hands-on healing technique that assists energy to flow through the chakras.

Reiki is not a religion. There is no creed, or ‘mantra’, and no specific deities you have to believe in. If you already practice some religion or other belief system you can continue to do so.

Reiki may be described as yoga of the mind.

There are two ways you can experience Reiki. The first is to go to a practitioner, the second is to learn to do it yourself. We will look at both of these now in turn.

Go to a practitioner

Simply look for a Reiki practitioner in your area and book an appointment.

At a typically session you will sit comfortably or lie down on a plinth, fully clothed, and the practitioner will place his/her hands on your head and body.

The role of the practitioner during a healing session is to channel this chi or energy. The energy does not come from the practitioner themselves, rather from the Universe, and the person giving the healing is but a conduit for it.

What does Reiki feel like?

The answer is that it’s highly subjective, and the best way to find out is to try it for yourself. Some people experience sensations of heat coming from the practitioner’s hands, others coolness, more still a tingling sensation. Some get a sense of detachment from their body, others say it’s like soaking in a hot bath. A few even feel nothing (although in my experience everyone who’s tried Reiki felt something; they may not have got any benefit or gone on to use it, but they felt something; that’s quite phenomenal and I think unique to Reiki).

It’s been known for people to have a delayed reaction, and not until some days (or even weeks) have passed before they notice things have changed.

Sometimes people fall asleep during a session, and that’s not a problem, you’ll still get benefit even if you do. The part of you that knows where this energy is meant to go will continue to work. In short, there is no definitive answer as to how Reiki feels, everybody will experience it in their own unique way. Occasionally people experience tiredness or headaches after a Reiki session. This is nothing to be alarmed at, it is usually blocked patterns at the cellular level leaving the body.

Learn it yourself

The really good news about Reiki is that it’s easy to learn to do it yourself. You don’t need any special qualifications. One training session is enough (however, if you want to practice it professionally you need more), and anyone can learn it.

There is an extra bonus here in that the study of Reiki as a discipline is excellent for personal development. Something everyone seems to be into these days.

About the learning process

Reiki is taught in three stages, known as levels 1, 2 and 3.

{1} At the first level the teacher will explain its history and origin, then introduce the hand positions, and finally perform what is known as an ‘attunement’. An attunement simply means that you are now aligned with universal energy. I’m not going to explain the hand positions here as it would be meaningless, however, they are meant as guidelines only. There is no ‘correct’ way to do Reiki, you’ll be glad to hear. The thing about hand movements is when you’re giving Reiki to yourself (or another person) you will instinctively be drawn to the place where it is needed most. In other words, the energy, the ‘intelligence’ that is Reiki knows and will guide you. Therefore, a rigid adherence to specific hand positions could be counterproductive.

{2} At the second level the student is given the Reiki symbols. You learn to hold these in your mind (it’s ok to draw them first to help you learn), in other words you don’t keep them on the wall and stare at them the way you might with a mandala. Originally, it wasn't permitted to reveal the symbols and the student had to draw them from memory! However, this is no longer the case and the Reiki symbols are now widely available. Also at this level the concept of distant, or remote healing is introduced. Here the student begins to deepen her awareness of herself and healing.

{3} Finally, then, at the third, or Master level the student advances to become a Reiki practitioner. Sometimes at this level one learns how to pass on the attunements to others. Each level is to be taught separately, usually over a day and a half or a weekend. It is recommended there be a suitable time lapse between each workshop just to allow the student to integrate the material (more at an energetic level). What is ‘suitable’ can vary from student to student; there are no hard and fast rules.

Teacher training

After level 3 some go on to become teachers of Reiki. The time spent training for this is quite arbitrary. I personally feel it takes about four to six months, because as a teacher you’re passing on the method to others. It’s not so much that the training is difficult, but the student needs to have a competent knowledge of Reiki and energy, as well as a high level of personal awareness. There is a lot of information to be absorbed at this level. I did it in a weekend and it was just too much information to take in.

Reiki is not a diagnostic tool. I prefer to see it as a complementary (rather than alternative) healing modality.

Don’t forget, if you have any health challenges consult your GP before starting. And continue to take any medication that you are currently on.

Our examination of Reiki continues at:

My personal journey (how I got involved in Reiki)

The history of Reiki (its origin and development), and

Quantum Reiki.

Return from the healing power of Reiki to the home page.

There is a voice that doesn’t use words - listen!


Reality is merely an illusion - albeit a persistent one.

Albert Einstein