What Reiki Feels Like
Reiki works like a thermostat that regulates the body. Much like a furnace that automatically turns on and off to regulate the temperature, Reiki flows slowly or rapidly-as needed–to dispense balancing energies. Like a pendulum swinging back and forth, Reiki sometimes moves erratically, other times smoothly. These fluctuations of ki energy churning within us can often be felt as pins-and-needles tingling, hot flashes, goose bumps, chills, throbbing, etc.
During a Reiki treatment, both the Reiki practitioner and the recipient may feel Reiki sensations. A practitioner’s hands will often heat up as a result of the flow coursing through his palms. The recipient frequently feels sleepy and yawns repeatedly as incoming Reiki energies soothe and calm pent-up emotional tension and stress.
You may experience any of the following sensations during a Reiki session: heat or coolness, pins-and-needle tingling, vibrational buzzing, electrical sparks, numbness, throbbing, itchiness, and sleepiness.
Some people are more in tune with their bodies than others and will be able to share fantastic stories about feeling the different sensations that occur while using Reiki. They will talk about experiencing imagery, kinesthesia, and/or inner voices while either giving or receiving Reiki.
You May Not Feel Anything
Reiki sensations can be very subtle and may be overlooked, but with continued practice most people will begin to notice even the slightest shifts of energy. A few people will seldom, if ever, feel anything with Reiki beyond the tactile sensation of hands-to-body touch.
Fortunately, Reiki works whether you feel it or not. If you are having difficulty feeling sensations while giving a Reiki treatment, try closing your eyes. Keeping your eyes shut eliminates visual distractions, which will help you focus more on the person and the sensations.
Hot and Cold Hands
It is often taught that after receiving your Reiki Level I attunements you will develop hot hands. Having hot hands is supposedly a credible sign that the attunement worked and that you are now officially a channel for Reiki. Experiencing hot hands may very well indicate that Reiki has been awakened and you are now a genuine, functioning Reiki conduit. But if you do not experience hot hands, does that indicate nothing has happened and that your attunement was a failure? Not at all. Every person’s attunement experience is unique. Being told that you need to experience hot hands or that your experience was somehow deficient because it was different from that of others is greatly misleading.
Always wash your hands with soap and water before applying Reiki. Avoid fragrant soaps and lotions, especially if the person you are treating may be allergic to the aromatic chemicals used in those products. If your hands are naturally cold, briskly rub your palms together for several seconds to warm them up before beginning treatment.
Temperature Variations During a Reiki Treatment
For some Reiki practitioners, hand temperature may change as they are giving Reiki treatments. These changes range from burning hot to icy cold. Sometimes, the practitioner’s and the recipient’s perception of the temperature will be different. For instance, as you are giving Reiki, you may feel that you’re burning up, but your recipient may feel coolness from your touch. Or, it may be that you are experiencing cold hands, while the recipient may comment on the warmth of your hands.
Extra Healing Hands
Here is an experience that is not at all uncommon. Some Reiki recipients may feel that additional practitioners are participating in the Reiki session. For instance, one woman reported that during a one-on-one session with the Reiki practitioner, she had felt two additional pairs of hands placed upon her body.
One possible explanation of the “extra healing hands” sensation according to some belief systems is that healing spirit guides are present…. Maureen J. Kelly, author of Reiki and the Healing Buddha, says the sensations of the hands that Reiki practitioners experience can be explained by the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang. If the practitioner’s hands are hot, it indicates the recipient’s body has too much yang energy. If the hands are cold, the body has too much yin energy.
The Reiki Pulse
The pulsating sensation of Reiki can be felt in all parts of your body, but especially in the palms of your hands. This is because the palms are the outlets of Reiki energy. Reiki is like an anxious mother waiting at the door with open arms for her children to come home. Reiki wants to flow out of your hands and be put to good use. As soon as you place your hands on yourself or someone else, Reiki automatically turns on.
After you are attuned to Reiki, you become a walking generator of sorts. Your body will heat up and start spewing out healing energies whenever you are near anyone who is receptive to Reiki. This feeling can overwhelm the newly attuned person, especially if he or she had not been advised beforehand that this could happen. Your immediate reaction may be to place your hands on the person, but this is not recommended. Never assume that you have the right to go up to a person and touch him or her just because your body’s sensations are telling you that he or she is open to it. Always ask first.
You do not need to lay your hands on the person for Reiki to flow over to him or her. Simply put a smile on your face and allow Reiki to do all the transference; just being aware that you are a conduit for Reiki is sufficient. The receptive person doesn’t need to be aware that anything is happening.
If you are among a crowd of people, such as sitting in a movie theater or shopping at the market, you probably won’t be certain to whom the Reiki is actually flowing. Accept your role as a Reiki channel and try not to get caught up in a need-to-know mindset. It is not important to know where the Reiki is going. Simply let it flow. After a while, you won’t even pay attention when Reiki is flowing from you because it will become a routine occurrence.
Healers who are familiar with the healing properties of gemstones will sometimes combine the healing energies of specific crystals in their Reiki sessions with clients. Metals, on the other hand, are conductors of energy and will absorb Reiki, potentially cheating the receiver of the full benefit. Magnetic jewelry also presents a problem, as it may polarize the Reiki energy.
Balls of Pulsating Reiki Energy
There may be times when Reiki will ball up in your hands, creating a circling orb of energy. Imagine having a tennis ball glued to the palm of your hand. No matter how hard you try, you cannot shake it off. Now, imagine that this tennis ball is a living organism that has a pulse.
Experiencing these pulsating balls of energy in your hands can be an odd or even disturbing sensation, but there is nothing to worry about. Reiki isn’t flowing anywhere outside of you, because there is no specific place for it to go. However, this may very well be an indication that self-Reiki is needed. Take advantage of this excess of energy in your hands and place your hands on your body. Allowing the Reiki to flow into your body should help reduce or release the ball of energy from your palms.
Reiki and Objects
Anytime you feel an excess of energy building up in your body, you can take advantage of this by infusing inanimate objects with Reiki. Placing Reiki inside objects transforms them into healing instruments. Reiki can be put into any object by holding the object between your hands and allowing Reiki energies to pour into it. Reiki Level II practitioners can also place Reiki symbols, along with their energies, into these objects, making them become even more powerful.
Any of the following objects may be filled with Reiki:
- Reiki your bed pillow, filling it with Reiki energies for a restful night’s sleep.
- Reiki your bath water-nothing feels more soothing than soaking in a Reiki bath.
- Reiki your lamps and light bulbs-their illuminations will have a Reiki glow!
- Reiki your aromatherapy candles, incense sticks, and flower essences.
- Reiki your shampoo, skin lotions, and toothpaste.
- Reiki your vitamins and prescription medications.
- Reiki your shoes–this will be a special treat for your feet.
- Reiki your computer to reduce the number of system crashes.
- Reiki your telephone to help you be more patient with disruptive callers.
Water pipes expand and contract to accommodate the water as it flows through them. In this same manner your body also adjusts to the flow of Reiki being channeled through your body. When Reiki is being drawn out of your palms at a faster rate or in larger proportions than you are accustomed to, you may experience your hands vibrating. The vibration occurs as a result of the Reiki gushing through your body so quickly that it gets backed up into your hands. Reiki is trying to get out and go where it needs to go, but the openings in your palms are too narrow to pass it on efficiently.
This is not an insurmountable problem. You’ve done nothing wrong, so there is no need to be overly concerned. Aside from being uncomfortable, the shakiness in your hands is merely signifying that the person receiving Reiki from you is in great need. The recipient is sponging up Reiki as fast as he or she can get it.
Other Reiki Sensations
Aside from the vibrational sensation in your hands, you may also experience soreness in your wrists and the joints of your fingers. In treating people with severe illnesses, you may feel a powerful pulling of Reiki energies from your neck, shoulders, and down your arms as well. If you find channeling greater volumes of Reiki painful or uncomfortable when treating someone, remove your hands from the recipient from time to time to give your hands a chance to rest. You can alternate – ten minutes hands on, ten minutes hands off, and so on.
Facilitating the Flow
Reiki flows in the direction of the easiest pathway. When the natural course of a river comes up against a dam, the water pools up in that area until it either breaks through the blockade or reroutes itself by traveling around the obstacle, moving through to the next available open channel.
Reiki is just like a river. Its energies flow through our bodies, following the most natural path in filling us up. The hand placements used to administer Reiki allow the energy to enter the body through different channels.
There are twelve basic hand placements that are used in giving a full-body Reiki treatment–four placements on the head, four on the front of the body, and four placements on the back of the body. Applying Reiki for five minutes in each of these placements helps to distribute Reiki evenly over the whole body. However, when hands are placed on one area, sometimes the person will experience hot spots elsewhere. For example, you may have your hands placed on the person’s throat, yet the person will feel a trickling of energy running down one or both of her legs. Always know that Reiki goes where it needs to go.
Dealing with Blockages
As you move your hands through the various hand placements, you may come to a position on the body that feels blocked. When you no longer feel Reiki flowing from your palms, your first impulse may be to move on to the next hand placement-but hold on. Blocked areas are denser and often need more attention given to them. Sometimes all you will need to do is shift your hands an inch or two from that position, either up or down, in order to get Reiki to start flowing again. If this doesn’t work, be patient. Keep your hands on the recipient’s body where you sense Reiki is being blocked for a full five minutes before moving along.
In Tune with Your Etheric Hand
No pressure is to be applied to the body when giving Reiki. Place your hands gently on the body. However, there may be situations when your hands might feel as if they are actually sinking deeply into the body while giving Reiki. This sinking or magnetic pulling sensation happens when your etheric hand extends itself into the deep tissues.
During a Reiki treatment, you may sense a waft of fragrance. It has been said that this can be an indication that a spirit guide, angelic being, or Ascended Master is visiting your session. Some reported sensing Mrs. Hawayo Takata’s presence through a subtle floral fragrance.
Removing your physical hand before your etheric hand has retracted itself to join the physical hand can cause a disruption in the healing session. If your hands feel like they are stuck to the body, it is likely that this kind of deeper etheric healing is occurring. It is advantageous to keep your hands in position for an extended period while this deeper healing work is being done. If it is not feasible for you to keep your hands in position due to time constraints or some other unavoidable reason, be sure to remove your hands slowly without any abrupt movements. Take care to be as gentle as possible.
A Vessel That Never Empties
When you are giving a Reiki treatment to someone, you are giving your time and your intent to assist: you are not giving away any of your own energy. Reiki is in infinite supply. It never runs out. As a Reiki practitioner you are making yourself available as a vessel through which Reiki can be accessed.
During and after giving a Reiki treatment, you may feel a variety of emotions. These feelings can run the gamut from exhaustion to exhilaration, or something in between. However, these feelings have not occurred because you have been drained of energy. Something else is going on. It is possible that you were in great need of Reiki yourself and, by giving Reiki to another person, you also received Reiki. Reiki will always attend to the practitioner’s needs as well as the recipient’s. Reiki always offers a double treatment. If you routinely feel tired after giving Reiki to someone else, this is an indication that you need to focus on self-treatments for a while. After attending to your own needs, you will feel better and more capable of sharing Reiki with others.
Feeling the Pain of Others
If a practitioner is empathic touching other people may cause her to (Ed. appear to) develop mirrored illnesses. However, having empathic abilities is not a requirement of Reiki, nor does it enhance Reiki’s effectiveness. Empaths need to learn that the ability to “take on” or “feel” another person’s pain or emotions is best used as a diagnostic tool. Don’t hold on to the empathetic feelings–they must be released as soon as possible.
People with empathic natures are also known as highly sensitive people, ultrasensitive people, or people with “overexcitabilities.” According to the research of Jim and Amy Hallowes, highly sensitive people, or HSP, make up 15 to 20 percent of the world’s population.
Ed. Note – Being an empath is not related to Reiki. If you are also an empath, however, do take extra care and see suggestions in this section.
When you find yourself feeling the sensations of someone else’s emotions or pains within your own body, take some gentle, deep breaths and ask the person you are treating to take a few deep breaths as well. This should help break up the blocked energy so that you can continue the treatment without continued discomfort.
Reiji Ho and Byosen Reikan Ho are two Reiki techniques taught in Japan. These techniques focus the practitioner on perceiving sensations within the body of the person being treated. You can learn how to develop your intuitive abilities and use intent when treating illness and imbalance. The learning process is gradual, as you continue to practice giving Reiki treatments to others.
Byosen Reikan Ho
Byosen Reikan Ho is a scanning technique that is done before and after a Reiki session. The practitioner’s hands are moved over the body without touching the person, to detect dis-eases and imbalances. This technique can be used to detect and treat dis-ease that has not yet manifested in the body. It is also used to treat residual toxins from past illnesses as a preventative measure against reoccurrence. Byosen Reikan Ho is not a diagnostic procedure, but a technique performed to locate and treat illness.
Reiji Ho is the intuitive ability to know where imbalances are in the body without touching it. The practitioner’s hands are intuitively led to areas and specific spots on which to lay his or her hands in order to facilitate a healing.
Article by Phylameana lila Désy
From Everything Reiki Book, Copyright © 2004, F+W Publications, Inc. Used by permission of Adams Media, an F+W Publications, Inc. Co. All rights reserved.
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**This article appeared in The Reiki Times, the official magazine of the International Association of Reiki Professionals.