As mindfulness, energy healing, and holistic health and wellness have soared in popularity, one phrase has also become more common: Reiki. However, even if people are familiar with the word, they often don’t understand what Reiki is, what it means, and how it can help them. They may have misconceptions about what it can do and how it works. To help debunk any myths and to help explain exactly what Reiki is and what it isn’t, we put together this comprehensive, introductory post on this form of energy healing.

So, exactly what is Reiki?

Reiki  (“ray-key”) is a modality of hands-on energy healing that can reduce stress, promote relaxation, and release any energy blockages that exist in the physical body or a person’s aura. This healing modality was originally developed in Tibet, but was rediscovered by Dr. Usui of Japan a little more than a century ago.

During a session, the client lies on a massage table, sits on a chair, or is in another comfortable position, fully clothed. Meanwhile, the practitioner channels high-vibration healing energy through their hands and places their hands over the client’s chakras. Depending on the person’s preference, the practitioner may either directly touch the person, or may have their hands hover a few inches above the client’s chakras.

What is the benefit of Reiki?

There are several benefits to receiving Reiki. After a session, many people report feeling calm and relaxed. This form of energy healing can also help alleviate any physical pain, such as headaches, stomachaches, and chronic pain. Reiki can even help expedite a person’s healing after a surgery.

In my personal practice, I’ve seen Reiki calm my anxiety or nervousness on several occasions. And, like meditation, practicing Reiki on myself puts me in an altered state of awareness where I am more centered, grounded, and mindful.

I’m a skeptic. Is there any scientific research showing Reiki actually works?

Yes, several studies have demonstrated that Reiki is effective in reducing blood pressure, slowing a person’s heart rate, and oxygenating the blood. Most of this research has been published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, which is a peer-reviewed journal that has been in existence since 1995. The abstracts of articles from this journal are available for free online. Much of the research on Reiki goes back to the early 2000s.

In addition, though it is not scientific in nature, nor are these formally documented case studies, the International Center for Reiki Training has a number of anecdotes listed on its site that help demonstrate the healing power of Reiki, as well as its flexibility and versatility.

What happens during a Reiki session?

During a session, the client will typically lie down on a massage table, fully clothed, typically starting face up. The practitioner will either place their hands on or slightly above the client and serve as a channel for high-vibration healing life force energy. The client’s subconscious mind or Higher Self directs the healing process; the Reiki practitioner is only a facilitator for the client’s own healing. While people often react differently to the energy during a session (some may experience a release of emotional tension; others may feel completely relaxed and fall asleep), most people report feeling relaxed and de-stressed after a Reiki session.

How do I prepare for my first session?

Prior to your first session, you will typically need to fill out a client intake form and waiver. The intake form helps the practitioner best customize the session according to your needs and preferences, and the waiver helps protect both you and the practitioner. If you’re choosing to have a session with Mintaka Healing, you can download these forms from our website beforehand, or you can complete them in person at the beginning of your first session.

Other concrete ways to prepare for your session include wearing comfortable loose-fitting clothing, having an open mind, and hydrating before and after. Like any form of bodywork, including therapeutic massage, Reiki releases toxins from the body, so drinking lots of water before and after your session is absolutely critical. In addition, it’s often helpful to wear non-restrictive clothing during your session, such as a T-shirt or sweater and athletic shorts, sweatpants, or leggings to help you relax more fully. During a session, clients sometimes become sensitive to changes in temperature, so we also suggest that you dress in layers and bring thick socks. We’ll have flannel sheets and blankets, but sometimes people can still get cold during a session.

One other important thing to remember is to have an open mind. Because Reiki works with your subconscious mind, it honors your free will. That means that only the things that you are open to healing will be healed. For this reason, it’s important that, as much as possible, you can go into your session with an open mind and heart. If you’ve never had a Reiki session before, be sure to let your practitioner know so that they can guide you through the process and answer any lingering questions you may have.

Is there anything special for me to do after a session?

As we already mentioned, it’s important to hydrate both before and after your session to help flush any toxins out of your body. However, it’s also important that you’re gentle with yourself. Just as therapeutic massage can make you feel achy, you may experience a release on a physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual level after a Reiki session. Give yourself the space and time you need to process and integrate the experience. Taking Epsom salt baths to release toxins or chamomile tea baths to nurture your body can help immensely.

How can I learn more?

While we no longer teach or practice Reiki at Erotic Empowerment, there are a number of other resources online. Two of my favorite websites are The International Center for Reiki Training, created by William Rand, and Reiki Rays, which has a number of free and bilingual resources.

There are also several books that cover various facets of Reiki. However, these books tend to be more relevant if you are already attuned to at least Reiki 1 and are currently practicing. And, if you’re ready to take the plunge, you can also learn more about Reiki by taking a class and connecting directly with the healing energy yourself.

Last, you can schedule a session with a Reiki Master Teacher. If you’re interested more generally in energy healing, you can apply to work with me here.