The Ultimate Guide to Reiki & Energy Healing
Chances are, you’ve heard of Reiki, but do you have any idea what it means or what is involved when talking about this Japanese healing method that’s used as alternative therapy?
Thought to ease tension, relieve pain and facilitate physical, mental and emotional healing, Reiki is a powerful tool for many, many people.
Reiki is a healing technique involving the transfer of energy from practitioner to patient, through their hands. Reiki translates roughly as, ‘spiritual energy,’ from the 2 Japanese words, ‘rei’ - sacred or spiritual and ‘ki’ - energy. The International Center for Reiki Training describes it as, “made of two Japanese words - ‘rei’ which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and ‘ki’ which is “life force energy”. So Reiki is actually, “spiritually guided life force energy.”
Both translations point to something that can be a very spiritual, powerful and personal experience that has helped millions of people in treatment. While it is considered to be a spiritual experience, it is important to note it is not a religion.
Let’s break it down to better understand this natural healing method!
What is Reiki?
Reiki’s most recognizable form, Usui Reiki, was first developed in 1922 by a Japanese Buddhist called Mikao Usui, who is said to have taught 2,000 people the Reiki method during his lifetime.
Reiki is used to bring a state of balance to the mind, body, and soul, allowing us to live aligned and connected with our highest self. In addition to these amazing benefits, Reiki also helps enhance our intuition and psychic abilities. We’re all vibrational beings with the ability to change our experience based on what frequency we are living at. Reiki assists us in releasing blocked energy and past traumas, bringing more light into our energy body raising our vibration.
You’ll hear the term ‘subtle energy’ and ‘energy’ in general when people describe Reiki, and this is referring to the concepts of ‘ki’ or ‘chi,’ and our 7 chakras. Ki is described as a non-physical energy, flowing through all living things. We are excited to greet and accept the challenges life throws at us when our ki is high, but on the flip side, we can feel weakened and sick when it’s low.
Our bodies are composed of a series of energy centers and energy wheels, and each of those centers has the capacity to send healing energy all throughout our bodies. Unfortunately, these energy wheels also have the capacity to send negative or sick energy all throughout our bodies and this is what the healing art of Reiki does. It realigns and redistributes the energy in our bodies in order to restore health and healing.
Reiki uses basic hand placements, differing when you work on yourself or another person. These hand placements are dependent on which energy area, or chakra you intending to work with and what area of the body (or emotional trauma) it relates to.
The energy that flows through our chakras is ki or chi, and the chakra centers are where the work with the energy happens. Reiki helps the flow of this energy to make sure they get to where they need to go, or unblock them if needed, so you can feel whole and enlightened.
Along with the actual energy work, Reiki follows 5 principles, which can enhance the practice for both practitioner and patient/receiver. These can help us be more mindful, allowing us to focus on the work we are to do and encouraging the flow of positive energy.
5 Principles of Reiki
Mr. Usui taught these 5 ethical principles, considering them to be, ‘the secret of inviting happiness,’ as they act as a balm to help us focus on the positive, releasing anything else.
- Just for today, do not be angry
- Just for today, do not worry
- Just for today, be grateful
- Just for today, work with diligence
- Just for today, be kind to people
Starting with ‘just for today’ helps us focus on what we can do right now, in this moment, and not looking backward to the past or forward to the future - our present state of mind is the only thing we have control over. We can live in the moment, turning our attention to gratitude and compassion. Many Reiki followers use these as a daily mantra or as part of their wellness routine, as well as in their Reiki practice.
Reiki also uses four main symbols in healing:
1st Reiki Symbol – Cho-Ku-Rei, can be used to add or remove energy
2nd Reiki Symbol – Sei Heiki, said to bring balance and harmony to the emotions and mind
3rd Reiki Symbol – Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, used for distance healing
4th Reiki Symbol, The Master Symbol – Dai Ku Myo, said to help one reach enlightenment
Read this next: The Symbols of Reiki and What They Do
Now that we have a bit more of a grip on what Reiki is and some of the thoughts behind the practice, let’s take a look at some of the basics surrounding what happens when you set out to receive Reiki.
How Does it Work?
What to Expect
While experiences can certainly vary from patient to patient and with different practitioners, in general, you can expect to lie on a table, much like when you go for a massage. Standing or sitting are also possible positions, but it is more common to lie down.
You will not need to remove your clothes, and it’s a good idea to attend your session wearing loose-fitting and comfortable garments. Reiki can also be performed without actually touching the client, if they so choose - the practitioner can instead hover their hands just above your body. Be sure to make this clear before you start your session to avoid awkwardness or feeling uncomfortable.
The Reiki practitioner may have different techniques to do so, but generally, they will start to move their hands lightly on or over your body, using different hand shapes. This is where the energy transfer starts to happen and some clients describe the feeling as relaxing and peaceful and some feel changes in temperature and even in forcefulness. You might even feel the flow of energy, especially if this is not your first time. Your experience will vary with different times, experiences and practitioners, and even with how receptive you are to receiving the treatment.
More advanced Reiki practitioners can actually send healing energy to people from a distance, by using a picture, thinking of them or even writing the or name on a piece of paper! It should be noted that most practitioners will need to be asked to perform this type of distance Reiki, as they would not consider it ethical to do it without invitation.
How to Choose a Reiki Practitioner
While we all connect differently with others, this is much like you would choose a therapist or doctor - there are basic questions you should ask any professional before accepting treatment, but in general, you may need to try a few before you find a connection with someone. Trained Reiki practitioners should be able to make you feel comfortable, but not everyone will connect at first meeting.
Here is a helpful list of questions to ask your practioner before arranging treatment:
- How long have you been practicing Reiki?
- How long will our session last?
- How much do you charge per session?
- Where will I receive treatment? (Are you comfortable going to someone’s home? Will they come to you?)
- Do you offer additional types of treatment? (do they work with Reiki stones, crystals, aromatherapy?)
- You can also ask them for a referral from a current or past client
Now that you have a better idea of what to expect in a Reiki session, let’s look at some of the reasons why people seek out this alternative treatment.
Why Get Reiki Treatment?
- strengthen your immune system
- relieve stress and anxiety
- promote pain relief
- ease muscle tension
- encourage peace of body and mind
- increase injury recovery rate
- energize and balance your whole body
- promote deep relaxation
Let’s take a deeper dive and look at how Reiki can help with some of these issues.
Long-term stress relief
This is a big one, and a very easy way to relieve stress in your life. Reiki can help you to redistribute the energy in your body more appropriately, and the effect is instantly calming. This works at the long-term level, and can be a deeper form of stress relief than other methods.
Even if you aren’t using Reiki for health and wellness, the art itself is an instantly calming practice. If you are dealing with chronic pain, many people experience some pain relief when receiving Reiki treatment. This can in no way replace your current medical routine if you are experiencing medical problems, but Reiki works in conjunction with your current treatment plan to help you find healing and pain relief.
Immune system strength
Although our body has many organs and systems, one of the most important is the immune system. If you’re the kind of person who picks up every little germ or bug, you may want to consider Reiki healing. It can’t fix a critical problem, but it can give your body that boost it needs to fight off what is ailing you. Reiki works to boost immune system strength by strengthening all of those energy wheel houses you have spinning, or not spinning, in your organ systems. Improved immune system strength is a long term benefit that ensures optimum health and wellness both physically and spiritually.
Reiki healing works to unblock energy pathways, so if you’re the kind of person who has problems sleeping at night, Reiki work can help. Here you will train your mind and your body to relax, and work with the healing energy and your own chakras and energy systems. When you engage and align all of these systems, you don’t just feel better physically, you feel better spiritually, and feeling better spiritually is often the most important resource needed for those that need more sleep.
Practice Reiki at Home
While you may want to seek out a licensed or certified Reiki practitioner, there is no reason you can’t try this yourself at home to get a feel for how you will respond to it.
You can try this little tutorial on how to do a simple Reiki practice:
To begin any Reiki practice, you must activate the energy within yourself.
- Close your eyes and take a few rounds of deep breaths
- Imagine the crown of your head opening and a stream of healing white light flowing from the top of your head, into your heart, and out through your arms and hands
- Ask to be filled up where you need healing most
(This way, if you’re going to offer Reiki to a loved one, you won’t be giving to them from an empty cup.)
- As you feel the flow of energy, continue to breathe
- If you find your mind gets busy or starts to question whether this is working, come back to your breath
- Envision yourself as a vessel for healing.
- Then set an intention or prayer to receive healing of the highest good.
It’s important to offer gratitude, cleanse yourself, and close the energy once you’ve completed a healing session. It can be as simple as stepping back, wiping your hands of any excess energy, and placing them in prayer to thank yourself, the energy, and the recipient for the exchange. You can also draw a large circle, crossing the arms in front of the body to signify the close of your two energies, and ending with hands in prayer.
Reiki stones are additional tools used to enhance the Reiki treatment. Let’s take a look at how these polished stones can further assist in our Reiki practice!
What’s the Deal With Reiki Stones?
Reiki stones are one of many methods of divination; generally, highly polished, adorned stones that bear the key symbols used to access specific energies. Key symbols are carved or hand-painted on the stones - Reiki symbols - intended to connect the user in a simple and beautiful way to the universal life force. Each stone bears a symbol representing a different level of vibration that aligns with our chakras.
Reiki stones are smooth to the touch and are often so lovely in appearance that the tranquil beauty of the stones themselves has a calming effect on the psyche even before they’re used in the practice. Visually, these polished stones complete the physical aesthetic of Reiki and the use of them as healing tools can be seen as an energy-infused extension of the hands. While they are traditionally created from black jasper stone and gold leaf, Reiki stones can be made out of any number of stones known for their vibrational properties, such as calcite, quartz, lepidolite and rose quartz.
How are they used?
Reiki stones must be cleared and programmed for the purpose of healing. Clearing is needed before using any stone for healing. The clearer the energy of a healing tool - such as a stone - the more powerful it is. Reiki stones need to be cleared before and after every healing. A cleared, ready stone feels positive and cool to the touch. A stone that needs clearing may give off the feeling of being heavy, or drained of good energy.
To clear a stone, one might use dried leaves of sage or incense - you may pass each stone through the smoke while asking your deities to assist in cleansing the stone of any negativity. To program a stone is basically a way of dedicating it to your purpose. Once a stone is programmed with your intent, it will hold the essence of it until you or someone else reprograms it.
What do the Reiki symbols represent?
The 7 stones, each represented by a color – are much like the colors associated with chakra healing and ancient kundalini yoga. The spectrum of colored stones are specific and work in accordance with the body, the mood, the mind and the awareness of the energy stored within us.
- Red – Root Chakra: Designed to relieve pain or discomfort. Place on the area that needs physical healing.
- Orange – Sacral Chakra: Provides and restores balance and sends energy to physical systems. Helps with addictions, can be carried in your pocket through the day, or used on your stomach to align the sacral chakra.
- Yellow – Solar Plexus Chakra: Using this stone helps you restore the confidence that your solar plexus chakra works with every day. When you want to feel “puffed out” like you just had a big win, a healing session with your yellow Reiki stone can help, reducing stress immediately.
- Green – Heart Chakra: A great stone to use for love, in matters of the heart or otherwise. It heals heartbreak as well. Every time you lie down, put your green Reiki stone on your heart and just breathe for a few minutes to clear negative energy, opening the door to make room for love.
- Blue – Throat Chakra: This stone will help you to communicate on a higher plane, with the Divine, and also communicate to others with the highest and purest intent. Holding it in your hand can immediately help you to channel this energy.
- Pink – Third Eye Chakra: The third eye chakra is typically indigo, but it’s the pink Reiki stone that will help you to enhance your intuition and your connection to a plane where visualizing the great beyond is possible. It takes people to a place of healing, and a place where you can see your present pain is only temporary.
- Purple – Crown Chakra: This is considered the most powerful Reiki stone. Like the Crown chakra, it connects you instantly to the Divine. It also opens up your psychic portal, and seasoned Reiki practitioners can feel it actually vibrate once they tap into this energy.
Take our quiz: Which Reiki Stone are You?
Why Use Reiki Stones?
Reiki stones are used for the purpose of concentration and grounding energy - the stones act as extensions of the energy being transferred by your practitioner.
You use Reiki stones if you wish to become a dedicated, compassionate healer who is committed to the principals of Reiki. You use them to open the channels and expand awareness and healing. They are also helpful when healing animals, children, the elderly or the disabled.
You don’t need to use them for others either though. If you have pain in your life and are seeking comfort, Reiki stones can be a wonderful tool to help you work through it and put it behind you. You don’t need to be certified. Literally anybody can use them and start harnessing this power today.
Reiki stones can be used any and every time one employs the use of Reiki.
There you have it! While this is really just skimming the surface of the magical healing world of Reiki, it hopefully gives you some context to get started!
With interest in holistic healing on the rise, anyone can learn Reiki and create an at-home practice! They can practice Reiki on themselves, their friends and family, start a business and even animal Reiki is becoming a lot more popular!
While anyone can try Reiki as a healing method, remember that it is considered a complement to medical treatment and should not be substituted. IARP Registered Professional Members Reiki practitioners abide by a code of ethics that clearly lays out that they are not to diagnose or prescribe or impede on treatment from a licensed healthcare professional.
Related Article: Reiki Stone Healing: 5 Long-Term Benefits You Can Enjoy Today