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An Introduction to Reiki

Reiki is a form of alternative therapy that is often used for stress reduction, relaxation, and promoting healing. The word “Reiki” comes from the Japanese words “Rei,” which means “universal,” and “Ki,” which means “life force energy.” The practice involves the laying on of hands to channel energy into the body of the recipient, aiming to balance and restore the natural flow of energy.

This guide is meant to be an introduction to Reiki and will serve as a foundational resource for those interested in exploring the practice further.

Whether you’re completely new to the concept or have some initial experience, the guide aims to provide you with a clear understanding of the basic principles, techniques, and troubleshooting tips necessary for a fulfilling Reiki journey. It also includes recommendations for further reading, allowing you to delve deeper into specialized topics, historical perspectives, and advanced techniques.

While Reiki is a lifelong practice that often requires personal instruction and mentorship, this guide offers a starting point for your path toward becoming a knowledgeable and compassionate Reiki practitioner.

Preparation Steps

Setting Up the Space

  1. Clean the Room: Make sure the room is clean and free from distractions.
  2. Atmosphere: Create a serene atmosphere with dim lighting, perhaps using candles or soft lamps.
  3. Sound: Gentle, calming music or nature sounds can help set the mood.
  4. Essential Oils: Use a diffuser to disperse a relaxing scent like lavender or sandalwood.

Gathering Tools

  1. Reiki Table or Comfortable Surface: Make sure you have a comfortable table or surface for the recipient to lie on.
  2. Towels or Blankets: To keep the recipient warm and comfortable.
  3. Pillows: For supporting the knees and neck.

Personal Preparation

  1. Hand Cleansing: Wash your hands thoroughly and perhaps follow it with a quick energy-cleansing visualization.
  2. Mental State: Take a few moments to center yourself, meditating briefly to calm your mind.
  3. Intentions: Set your healing intentions, either silently or aloud.

The Main Process

The Three Pillars of Reiki

  1. Gassho: Place your palms together in a prayer position close to the heart to center yourself and focus your intentions.
  2. Reiji-Ho: Raise your hands to the forehead and ask for spiritual guidance for the upcoming session.
  3. Chiryo: The actual treatment process, where you channel energy into the recipient.

Hand Positions

You will be placing your hands lightly on or near the body of the recipient, moving through various positions. The general areas to cover are:

  1. Head
  2. Shoulders
  3. Upper chest
  4. Mid abdomen
  5. Lower abdomen
  6. Back
  7. Legs
  8. Feet

Energy Channeling

  1. Connecting: Place your hands on the first position and take a moment to establish an energy connection.
  2. Channeling: Hold your hands in each position for 3-5 minutes, allowing the energy to flow.
  3. Moving: Slowly move to the next position and repeat the process.

Closing the Session

  1. Sealing: Once you’ve covered all the positions, hover your hands over the recipient and visualize sealing in the energy.
  2. Gratitude: Place your hands together again in the Gassho position and express gratitude for the experience.
  3. Feedback: Allow time for the recipient to come back to their senses and offer any feedback or reflections.

Troubleshooting Tips

  1. Energy Blockages: If you sense a blockage in a particular area, spend a little more time there.
  2. Recipient Discomfort: Make sure to adjust your touch or position if the recipient indicates any discomfort.
  3. Emotional Release: Be prepared for the possibility that the recipient may have an emotional response and be ready to offer support.
  4. Uneven Energy Flow: If you sense that the energy is not flowing evenly, you can use additional techniques like the Cho Ku Rei symbol to enhance the energy.
  5. Distractions: If you or the recipient become distracted during the session, gently bring your focus back to the present moment and your intentions.
  6. Fatigue: If you feel fatigued during the session, make sure to ground yourself again and perhaps take a brief moment to shake off any stagnant energy.

Advanced Techniques

Reiki Symbols

Once you’re more experienced, you may incorporate Reiki symbols to enhance your practice:

  1. Cho Ku Rei: The Power Symbol
  2. Sei He Ki: The Emotional/Mental Symbol
  3. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen: The Distance Symbol

To use these symbols, you would draw them with your hand or visualize them over the recipient before or during the session.

Combining with Other Modalities

Reiki can also be combined with other healing modalities, such as:

  1. Crystals: Placing healing crystals on or around the recipient can amplify the energy.
  2. Sound Healing: Incorporating tuning forks or singing bowls can add another layer to the healing process.

Additional Tips

  1. Hydration: Make sure both you and the recipient are well-hydrated before and after the session.
  2. Post-Session Care: Encourage the recipient to take some time to relax and absorb the effects of the Reiki session.


Reiki is a versatile and widely practiced form of energy healing that has its roots in ancient traditions. With the right preparation and a sincere approach, it can be a deeply rewarding practice both for the practitioner and the recipient.

Recommended Reading

Here’s a list of recommended readings for those interested in deepening their understanding and practice of Reiki. These books range from beginner guides to advanced texts, offering a comprehensive look at various aspects of Reiki.

For Beginners

  1. The Reiki Manual: A Training Guide for Reiki Students, Practitioners, and Masters” by Penelope Quest: A comprehensive guide that’s suitable for those just starting out as well as practitioners looking to refresh their knowledge.
  2. Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to an Ancient Healing Art” by Diane Stein: This book offers a thorough introduction to Reiki, covering history, techniques, and the three degrees of Reiki.
  3. Reiki for Life: The Complete Guide to Reiki Practice for Levels 1, 2 & 3” by Penelope Quest: A book that covers all levels of Reiki in detail, providing a one-stop resource for practitioners at different stages.

Intermediate and Advanced Levels

  1. The Reiki Teacher’s Manual” by Tina Zion: Aimed at those who want to teach Reiki to others, this manual provides in-depth coverage of both theory and practice.
  2. Advanced Reiki Training (ART) Manual” by William Lee Rand: An advanced guide for practitioners who have completed the first two levels and are looking to deepen their skills.
  3. The Hayashi Reiki Manual: Traditional Japanese Healing Techniques from the Founder of the Western Reiki System” by Frank Arjava Petter, Tadao Yamaguchi, Chujiro Hayashi: This book offers an insight into the traditional Japanese Reiki techniques, aimed at advanced practitioners and those interested in the historical aspects of Reiki.

Specialized Topics

  1. Animal Reiki: Using Energy to Heal the Animals in Your Life” by Elizabeth Fulton and Kathleen Prasad: A guide on how to adapt Reiki healing techniques for animals.
  2. Reiki and the Seven Chakras: Your Essential Guide to the First Level” by Richard Ellis: Focuses on the integration of Reiki and chakra healing.
  3. Reiki for the Heart and Soul: The Reiki Principles as Spiritual Pathwork” by Amy Z. Rowland: This book delves into the spiritual aspects of Reiki through the lens of the Five Reiki Principles.

Historical and Conceptual Background

  1. The Spirit of Reiki: The Complete Handbook of the Reiki System” by Walter Lubeck, Frank Arjava Petter, and William Lee Rand: A book that covers the history, philosophy, and methods of Reiki, suitable for those interested in the deeper aspects of the practice.

Remember, these are just recommendations and it’s beneficial to explore various resources to find the approach that best resonates with you.