Reiki – What Is It?
Reiki is based on an unseen “life force energy” which flows within us. If your “life force energy” is low then you are more likely to feel stressed, unwell or just out of balance or “out of sorts”. When it is high, you are more likely to feel happy, healthy and in balance.
Whilst Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not based on any religion or any belief and will therefore work whether you believe in it or not.
I often explain to clients who ask what Reiki is and how it works by saying that it is a bit like WiFi – we can’t see it or touch it, but it is there and it works. It is about making a connection with an unseen energy.
What I love about Reiki is that it has not been found to have any adverse effects, has no known contra-indications and there is nothing about Reiki that can intervene with conventional medical care.
There are now NHS trusts who offer Reiki treatments in some of their clinics – I have volunteered my time in a large London NHS hospital in the outpatient cancer unit, giving Reiki (and massage) treatments to patients – an immensely rewarding experience.
Benefits of Reiki
There are many benefits to Reiki including:
- Promotes deep relaxation
- Relieves stress and anxiety
- Promotes pain relief and healing
- Eases muscle tension
- Strengthens the immune system
- Improves rate of recovery from injury
- Rebalances harmony of mind and body
- Energises the body
- Promotes improved sleep
As Reiki is an energy treatment, the body will take the energy wherever it is needed – so I could be working on your head, but if for instance you have hip pain, the energy will move to that area.
What does a Reiki Treatment Involve?
Usually Reiki is given as a full, booked treatment, although it can also be given on an ad hoc basis, if someone has a headache, backache, feels stressed or just needs some relaxation. It can be a short 15 minute treatment just focussing on one area such as the head. I have done this often in an office environment.
The beauty of Reiki is that the client remains fully clothed, unlike other treatments such as massage.
A full body treatment would usually be around an hour including consultation time. But longer or shorter sessions can also be arranged.
As with other treatments, a consultation will take place where a series of questions will be asked including some health and wellbeing ones, and you will be asked to sign a consent form. As part of the consultation, you will be asked if you would prefer a hands on or hands off treatment – more information below on this.
During a consultation, I would demonstrate what the hands on and hands off treatment would like and show you the areas I would cover. You can then decide on the type of treatment you want and if you want any areas avoided.
I would often play some relaxing Reiki music but if you prefer silence that is fine as well – just let me know during the consultation.
The aim is for you to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
For any Reiki treatment, even a full body one, you will remain fully clothed (and this will be the same with any Reiki Practitioner) but asked to remove footwear and jewellery where possible.
You will usually lie on your back on a massage couch, although Reiki can given whilst sitting comfortably in a chair if that is preferable. I have worked with cancer patients while they are having chemotherapy and in those instances I worked around them while they were in the chair.
If you are able to lie down, it gives a very relaxing and restful experience.
The treatment is given by way of a light non-invasive touch – so a gentle laying on of hands on the body. Please note that my hands remain still and the skin/body is not massaged/manipulated in any way and there is no pressure from my hands on your body. My hands will remain on or above an area for a few minutes until I move to the next area. Each treatment is unique to that session, so for some treatments my hand may stay longer over one area than another.
The placement of hands will never be intrusive or inappropriate.
If you prefer a hands off treatment, my hands would hover a few inches over your body and not make contact with you.
The treatment is just as effective with either method and I have some clients who feel they get better energy from hands off. It really is down to personal preference.
A full treatment will usually start at the head/face, working down to the neck and shoulders and the rest of the body including the limbs and finishing with the feet. If you prefer, you can turn over once your hips have been done and have your back worked on and then work up towards the back of the head. This would be agreed at the consultation stage.
What does a Reiki session feel like?
The experience of Reiki will be different for each person and can differ at each treatment for the same person.You might feel a heat and warmth within areas of your body – this could be the area being worked on or different area altogether. You might also feel a coolness in some areas. And it could be you get a mix of both.
Most clients report a feeling of deep and complete relaxation and a feeling of comfort – often falling asleep during a treatment. Common feedback is an immediate feeling of relaxation, joy and reduced stress.
Feedback also shows that clients experience a much deeper and more relaxed sleep after a Reiki treatment even if they have had poor quality sleep prior to treatment.
Clients often report that in the days following a treatment they feel more grounded, more balanced and just generally have a sense of better wellbeing and mental clarity. This improves and continues with further treatments they receive.
A distant Reiki treatment is where the receiver would be at home, I would be at my home and I would “send’ Reiki on an agreed date and time.
This works as energy is not limited by distance – however far. I have given distance Reiki to someone in India while I was in London – and it worked.
For my distance Reiki sessions, I prefer to have a photo of the receiver as I feel I can make a better energy connection and visualise them while I am giving the treatment.
The receiver would need to agree to have a treatment.
The date and time would also be agreed.
I usually message the receiver about 15 minutes prior to treatment to check they will be ready at the agreed time. I will agree before treatment as to whether I message them as soon as the treatment has ended – often they fall asleep and I don’t like to disturb them.
All the receiver needs to do is be settled in a relaxed and comfortable place and can have relaxation music playing – this would usually be at home and might even be in bed (I often do evening sessions and the receiver might be in bed in case they fall asleep). If the receiver falls asleep they will still receive Reiki.
Depending on the time the session is given will depend on whether I message to say the treatment has ended.
There is no phone call involved during the session or skype or other such method. It is simply done by the receiver lying or sitting comfortably at home, and doing nothing but being open to Reiki.
I have given many distant Reiki treatments with great success. When COVID-19 hit us, the cancer unit where I volunteered my time as a therapist had to close the therapy service. I was however still able to give distant Reiki treatments to those patients who requested it. They found it helped them to relax and were happy that there was still a therapy they could receive whilst the face to face service was cancelled.
Who is Reiki suitable for?
Anyone can receive Reiki including:
- Pregnant women – treatments are very relaxing and comforting for both the mum to be and the baby. It can also be used during childbirth.
- Babies and children – they love Reiki and is a natural, healthy treatment for them. Reiki will adjust according to the needs of the baby/child so you don’t need to be concerned that it might be too strong for them. It might be that the session is shorter than those for adults
- End of life – Reiki can be a great comfort for those coming who are coming to the end of their life. It can help with deep relaxation and can promote a sense of peace
- Animals – they also love Reiki
After a treatment
Reiki practitioners are not trained in diagnosis and will not predict any outcome from a treatment. If you are concerned about any symptons you might have please consult your doctor.
During a Reiki treatment it may be that toxins are released and a cleansing and healing process takes place – this is known as a “healing crisis”.
In these cases some of the following symptoms may be experienced:
- Cold or flu-like symptoms – runny nose, sore throat, coughing
- Aching joints or muscles
- Sleeping more or sleeping less than usual
This is just the same as those who go on a detox (such as juicing detox) – sometimes they feel a bit worse as toxins are released, and then they feel amazing a day or so later. If you do have a “healing crisis” it might not feel great at the time – but once you are through it, you will feel great.
If symptoms do arise they should only last a few hours or a day or so. Let your Reiki practitioner know if you have any symptoms.
- Drink lots of water as hydration is important
- Try to do some mediation to bring more calm and peace
- Eat healthy foods – fruits and vegetables – and avoid processed foods.