Your Reiki Question, Please!

Please ask me a Reiki question. Pretty please!

It doesn’t have to be a question that’s keeping you up at night. It could be a small one.

Even small questions can keep you from opening your mouth or offering your hands to share your practice with others who might benefit.

Maybe it’s the question you’re afraid you’ll be asked. You know what the answer is to you, but you don’t know how to express it to others without risking derision.

Why do I ask?

That’s an easy one. Reading your questions is the best way for me to know how to support you and the rest of the Reiki community, both home practitioners and professionals.

I want to help you and everyone else who loves Reiki practice love it even more, get even more benefits, and be even clearer in your understanding and communication so you feel confident enough to share Reiki practice with more people.

I also want to help the mainstream public, people who might not be looking for Reiki because they don’t yet know such a practice exists or how it could help them. The more practitioners there are who feel confident and can address questions in clear, understandable language, the more our practice will be accepted mainstream.

I’m sitting on a wealth of Reiki practice information and perspective, the kind of perspective that only comes with hours and (30+) years spent in daily personal practice, (in office and in hospital) professional practice, and in class teaching Reiki practice to lay students and to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

Any Reiki question?

Thanks for asking. I can respond to most questions but clearly not all.

I can’t, for example, teach you to practice Reiki in an article or a book, but I can help you find a qualified teacher near you.

I can’t discuss Reiki symbols or the details of practice or initiation. Those are questions to take to your Reiki master.

So what Reiki question will I discuss?

Anything else, really. But first please look through the questions that have been asked below in case a similar question has already been asked.

Sharing your Reiki practice helps others

Of course being clearer in your understanding and communication is important for Reiki professionals, so you can help more people.

It’s also good for those who practice Reiki at home, on themselves, family, friends and pets. When you don’t feel like you can get your point across, when you can’t express the practice you value in a way that helps others try it—or even respect your choice to practice—it might affect your relationship with your practice and your friends.

And perhaps you want to let your doctor know how much your Reiki self practice is helping you but you’re shy, afraid you’ll be dismissed, wary that it might affect your rapport with your doctor or nurse practitioner. Being comfortable telling your doctor you practice self Reiki is not only good for you; it could also help others.

The more doctors hear from patients who have benefited, the more interested they become. I know because that’s how I was invited to create the first-ever Reiki hospital program back in the 1990s. Infectious disease specialists had heard about Reiki from my students at Gay Mens Health Crisis. They saw their patients faring better than others and sought me out to help more of their patients with HIV/AIDS.

I’ll answer your question directly or point you to free resources on my website where I’ve already addressed it.

Asking me questions helps me help the Reiki community. When many of you ask similar questions, I know that’s something I should write an article about.

So will you help me out by telling me what you need? I’d so appreciate it.

And I have a question for you. What do you want from your Reiki practice?

Retreat to find your answers

I will share my perspective on any question you ask, and I’ll help you find your answers to the questions we all need to answer for ourselves.

You might be looking for an answer with so much fervor that you’re getting in your own way. We’ve all done that. If you think that might be happening with you, consider stepping back a bit. Retreat.

Retreat is a time-honored way to go deeper into yourself and your practice. The better you get at dropping within, the faster you’re able to move out of the pressure that can mount in even a seasoned practitioner’s life, the kind of pressure that can lead you to do or say something you’ll regret.

A retreat to meet your needs, yes, yours!

Truly, every Reiki self practice is a mini-retreat in which you drop into your center to re-orient and heal. And taking some dedicated time will help you deepen that.

Can’t make it to the Heart of Practice Reiki Retreat in Mexico? I understand. As a single mom, such an experience was out of my reach for many years.

That’s why I created the Usui Virtual Retreat. It’s a retreat you make in your home, on your schedule. You don’t even have to do it on consecutive days. Make it work for you. It’s well worth it to go deeper into your practice experience.

Here’s another DIY option: the Daily Self Reiki Challenge. Your daily self practice is a retreat you take every day. The “daily” part matters because every day your life pulls you off center. Dedicate even a little time each day to come back to yourself and you’ll see a difference.

How little is “a little time?” Hawayo Takata* famously said, “Any Reiki practice is better than no Reiki practice.”  Momentary Reiki touch can soften escalating tension. And yes, in this case, more (Reiki practice) is better, but really, any support is better than leaving yourself unsupported. Make sense?

The Daily Self Reiki Challenge gently supports daily practice by giving you a very short email reminder to inspire your practice every day for 30 days. Some people appreciate it so much they sign up again and again. Makes me soo happy!

And your daily self Reiki practice makes you so happy!

*Hawayo Takata brought Reiki practice from Japan with her Reiki master Chujiro Hayashi, who was a direct student of Reiki founder Mikao Usui.


91 thoughts on “Your Reiki Question, Please!”

  1. Dear Pamela,
    I have learned a lot from reading your book, and I am a dedicated (daily) Reiki self-practitioner. I read in one of your answers to a question that a practitioner’s eyes should remain open. Can you answer why that is so? I find it easier to enter into a relaxed meditative state with my eyes largely closed. One of the things that I have noticed are the vibrant colors I see while my hands are placed around the body. When I lift my hands the colors vanish. The other thing I have noticed when I practice at night with my eyes open I see pulsing vibrating lights. Is this my brain reacting to the practice or the Reiki energy itself? I know you do not subscribe to the idea of Reiki as an external energy, but that is what I was taught. I am also of the Usui lineage….I would be interested to hear your perspective on all of this. As an aside I love your explanation of the parasympathetic nervous system versus the sympathetic nervous system, and I use that often when discussing Reiki with my clients. Thanks so much

    1. Have you joined us for the free Global Self Practice sessions? I encourage people to close their eyes during self practice, as long as you’re practicing somewhere safe.

      When we offer treatment to others, it’s important to keep our eyes open and stay present. It’s not our time to meditate.

      Everyone is in Usui’s lineage, as he is the founder of the practice. None of us practice as he did. Many people have made changes to the practice and even to the initiation process without disclosing. So the term Usui Reiki doesn’t really tell us very much.

  2. I am from Sacramento, California. Our county requires us to have a massage license to have a reiki business, an $8000 investment for something we don’t require. I am working toward changing that, but it will be a long process. On the Protect Reiki panel, I think I heard there was someone in California who was doing legislative work. I would like to connect with that person. Can you help me?z

    1. Susan, thank you for sharing an example of how local government can regulate Reiki practice.

      I’m sorry, I don’t know what/whom you’re referring to regarding someone doing legislative work in CA. Can you tell me more? Did you try the link for HFNA to see if there is a group where you are?

    1. I’m so sorry for what your friend is going through but unfortunately, I cannot help. To my knowledge, Reiki practice cannot be used to brainwash anyone. Also, the public usually doesn’t know there are no standards for calling oneself a Reiki master so we don’t know what that person is up to. I wish you both all the best.

  3. Hi Pamela, in Florida, Texas and New Jersey I read somewhere that you need a massage therapy license to practice reiki…I became a reiki master in 2015. I was wondering if you needed a massage therapy license in these states as well if you’re just giving distance reiki sessions…(and perhaps teaching reiki/giving attunements) through FaceTime, YouTube etc. with a reiki master on one end and just one person at the other end in a different location through the phone or computer. I haven’t done any of this, I’m just wondering. Thanks for the help.

    1. Lauren, please keep in mind I’m not a lawyer and cannot give legal advice.

      What I can tell you is there’s a ton of misinformation about the legalities regarding Reiki practice, as I discuss in my book REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide. I encourage Reiki professionals and pros-to-be to educate themselves in this area. Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals is an excellent resource. Otherwise check with the Massage Board, Department of Health, or Consumer Affairs for each state.

      For your convenience, here are the websites for the three states you mentioned:
      New Jersey

      There are other ways in which practices can be regulated, such as through local business ordinances.

      Keep in mind massage is generally defined as the manipulation of soft tissue in the body. In the situations you described, is that what’s happening?

  4. Dear Pamela
    I have been taught to place my hands (in self-treatment or treating others, with one hand next to the other in a row) so that there is very little hand placement in the center of the body (just the fingertips). In this way, I feel like most of the energy is spread out the sides, not in the center, not in the chackras. Most of the time I feel the need to change the placement of these hands to cover more the central body area and the chakras, as I feel more the energy in the center of the hand, not in the fingertips
    What do you think about?
    Thank you

    1. Javier, I encourage people to practice according to their training. What we “feel” and what is actually happening are not the same thing. While experiencing sensations may seem validating, they are the tip of the iceberg; the response to Reiki practice goes much deeper.

      BTW We place our hands on the physical body. Do you know that Americans put the chakras in Reiki practice; they are not part of the Japanese system, but rather added by people who perhaps thought they understood more than their teachers.

      1. I didn’t know about this late introduction of the chackras in Reiki. It makes sense for me and changes everything.
        Thank you very much

      2. I’m happy you found it helpful, Javier. People don’t realize there is so much misinformation about Reiki practice. We need to be discerning and diligent in our self practice. Blessings to you.

  5. Hi Pamela
    I joined in on the 30 day self Reiki that you encouraged and I have to say that it was a good experience for me. I felt more attuned with myself, lighter, clearer and more at ease. I really like the reminders you sent especially the one to make a date with yourself and keep it. So thank you.
    I also downloaded your book and have been reading it. The one comment I have is that you don’t speak of Reiki as a Universal Life force energy but a biofield, is that the same thing?
    Thanks again

    1. Good question, Mary-Lou. While I wrote of the biofield, which is different from ULFE, I don’t equate it with Reiki, which to my understanding is something much more profound, which has been called many names in different traditions, such as primordial consciousness, unified field, All That Is, Oneness, the Absolute–that which is unmanifest and from which all arises.

    2. My understanding of Reiki (I do have the 2 levels) is that once attuned you are connected to the universal energy and its source. Is that how you see it?

      1. That’s a common misunderstanding, Mary-Lou. Initiation enables the student to practice Reiki.

        I cannot speak definitively as I do not speak Japanese, but I am “fluent” in non-dual spiritual practice, and the idea of there being a separate “Reiki energy” seems to be an Americanization. American culture has a tendency to focus on what’s outside rather than inside. I say that as an American. ?

  6. Hi,

    I have a couple of questions..

    1. Reiki involves letting go of thoughts and just giving the attention to flow of energy. This is very similar to most meditation practices. Do you consider Reiki as a meditation or just a healing methodology?

    2. Can Reiki lead to practitioner’s enlightenment? Have there been examples of people who got enlightened through the practice of Reiki?

    3. Is it true that “if one is attuned to Reiki, he/she is attuned forever” even though they left the practice for a few years? What exactly is attunement? Why can’t one be attuned to reiki with just an intention and not by formal initiation?

    4. Is it okay to practice Reiki only on self, and not on others? Does it make one selfish?

    Thank you.

    1. AC, a couple is 2 and you seem to have 4 questions, but I’ll do my best. ?

      1. What you describe is not my understanding of Reiki practice. Like meditation, Reiki is a spiritual practice. Although some forms of meditation are empowered by initiation, most are not. Reiki, however, is always empowered by an initiation. Because of that, it is very easy to practice in the entry level, First degree.

      2. I would have to be enlightened to answer this question reliably, and I’m not aware of that having happened. That said, achieving enlightenment would seem to be more dependent on the practitioner’s consistency and sincere effort than it is on the chosen practice with which the aspirant starts that process. And having an enlightened teacher is also valuable.

      3. To my understanding, true spiritual initiation lasts at least as long as the body in which one received it. The initiation is developed by practice, but lack of practice doesn’t negate the effects of initiation. Usui decided to share his practice through an initiation lineage and that’s why we need initiation to practice Reiki. There are many legitimate spiritual practices that don’t require initiation, but when you are initiated in a lineage, you receive the blessings of the teachers of the lineage, so it’s quite a special, profound blessing.

      4. Spiritual self care is not selfish. We are responsible for ourselves and taking care of ourselves, whether through Reiki practice or other spiritual practices, benefits everyone. No one can do our spiritual practice for us; that’s personal, the most intimate part of one’s life. When we respect our spiritual responsibility to take care of ourselves, we are a more enlightened presence in the world and make more enlightened, compassionate choices. How can that not be good for everyone and for our planet?

  7. Hello. I’m due to get my first Reiki attunement soon, and it’s via a live online session. I have bad anxiety and find it impossible to relax, and my question is whether that can affect my ability to be attuned? I’ve previously been unable to be hypnotised or even be relaxed whilst listening to a relaxation CD. I’ve asked this question of the woman who will be doing the attunement several times, but for some reason it’s not been answered. I don’t feel I can go ahead with the attunement if my anxiety and inability to relax will affect it, but I’ve already paid for it and can’t get a refund (and I really want to be a Reiki practitioner). If you’re able to advise or reassure I’d be very grateful.

    1. Arlene, there are many approaches to Reiki practice and I cannot speak to what your proposed teacher actually does; I can only speak from my understanding and experience.

      I practice Reiki traditionally and initiation is an entirely different process than hypnosis. If you are receiving initiation from a qualified Reiki master, the process should be effective regardless the state of the student.

      But isn’t the real question here why you aren’t getting a reply from the teacher? Is that the kind of relationship you want to have? And assuming you paid by card, can’t you speak to your card and cancel before the class if the teacher is not available to respond to your question?

      I wish you all the best. This article might be helpful Reiki Classes: What’s Right for You?

      Please remember that the most important part of being a Reiki practitioner is your daily Reiki Self Practice.

  8. Hello – thank you for this post. Just reading the questions from others has been so helpful. Its been several months since folks have commented – if you can still answer a question I would be so grateful. I am a level II “practitioner”. I put that in quotes because I am still only practicing on myself, plants, pets. I would like to continue my education and share this healing gift with others, however I am very self conscious about having cold hands. I don’t know why this is – I am very focused when practicing and truly believe in what I am doing, yet my hands stay very cold. Does this mean anything significant? This has prevented me from sharing reiki because I fear it would keep the receiver from feeling what they need to feel into order to benefit. Thank you so much for any guidance/suggestions.

    1. Jennifer,
      To my understanding, a Reiki practitioner is anyone who has been trained at any level of Reiki practice and who actually practices, so no worries, you qualify and no need for quotes around practitioner! ?

      It doesn’t mean anything that your hands are cold. Also, there is no need to focus when practicing on others. Just place your hands mindfully and with detachment You’re not doing anything nor are you making anything happen. You’re offering your Reiki hands. End of story.

      Not sure what you think people “need to feel in order to benefit.” If it’s hot hands, that’s so not the point. I’ve known very good practitioners whose hands don’t get hot. It’s not about the sensations; it’s about the self-healing response that comes from deep within the person receiving the treatment, whether it’s you or someone else.

  9. Hi there! Thank you so much for spending time answering our questions. I just got my Reiki III certificate and live in Texas. I have been confused about the requirements in Texas for Reiki practitioners to be able to start practicing. I was informed by the Reiki community that Reiki practitioners in Texas would need to either be a licensed massage therapist, or they would need to be certified as a minister (something you can do online).

    I called the Texas Dept of State Health Services, and they informed me that there are no regulatory guidelines for Reiki and it doesn’t fall under their jurisdiction. Do you have any information on this? Thank you!

    1. Coco,

      There is so much misinformation about the legalities of Reiki practice. You did the right thing by contacting the Department of Health Services. They are the authorities, not the Reiki community.

  10. Hi Pamela,
    Thank you for this opportunity to ask questions! I’m a Reiki professional, practicing for the last ten years. I’m wondering your take on dual relationships. I’ve listened to your “How to Hold Professional Boundaries” video. I’m wondering specifically about if it is ethical to treat others who you may know in your community, for example, people who may go the same volunteer program, that you know in that context but not socially outside of that. I’m also curious how you approach, if at all, working with family or friends, when you have a professional practice. I already have some thoughts about these things, but curious about your perspective.

    Also, in the tradition where I was taught, when doing distant Reiki, we were taught how to see if we had permission to offer Reiki, even if we hadn’t spoken to the individual directly. For example, we would see if our Reiki would flow, or if we perceive the person shaking their head no or nodding yes to receive it. Then even if we do send, we do so conditionally so as to honor that person’s free will. Clearly it is important to get explicit consent. Though in cases of emergency, or working with animals, etc. I’m curious how you feel about this approach.

    Thanks so much!

    1. Sarah,

      Due to the wide range of approaches to Reiki practice, I cannot give a definitive response to this but I applaud you for considering the ethics.

      Traditionally, offering someone a Reiki treatment is rather passive; we mindfully place our hands, with detachment. Psychic readings are not within the scope of traditional Reiki practice.

      If that’s your understanding, and both parties are comfortable, I’m not sure what the ethical concern is. However, if your understanding of Reiki practice is more shamanic, meaning you are breaching the person’s boundaries to “move energy” or do extractions, etc., than the invasiveness of that approach might pose an ethical problem, especially in that you are aware that you’ll be breaching boundaries and the other person doesn’t realize that.

      Breaching boundaries is not an unethical thing in an of itself. Surgeons and shamans breach boundaries as part of their medicine. What’s different is the client knows going in what to expect.

      Make sense?

      Regarding your last question about permission, my understanding of Reiki practice is very different than yours so again, I’m of limited use to you. That said, the process you learned for permission is very subjective.

      My understanding is that clear permission is always important when it is available. Usually if someone is unconscious and unable to consent, there is a proxy making those decisions.

      However, in the case of emergencies, my perspective is that we do what we can to help according to the situation–meaning for example that we don’t push the medic out of the way.

  11. Hey, Pamela. Thank you for taking time to answer all of our questions <3. I'm new to Reiki and just starting to explore its benefits. When a practitioner is performing Reiki on (with, for?) a client, are they balancing the energies within that person? Allowing that person's body to use that centered energy to improve, heal, strengthen, whatever that person may need? Or are they channeling their own energy into that person as a source of healing, balancing, rejuvenation, whatever they may need? What sorts of reasons would a person seek out Reiki for themselves?

    1. Great question, Ashley! My understanding is that we practice Reiki rather than perform it (as in “practicing” meditation).

      Traditional Reiki practitioners are not actively doing anything. Rather, we passively and mindfully place our hands and the person’s system responds according to its inherent wisdom. We don’t know why this happens but we don’t really know the mechanism of action for any spiritual practices (meditation, yoga, qigong, prayer, etc.).

      When a practitioner actively does something, such as “balancing energies,” he/she has moved out of passive Reiki practice into energy medicine/intervention. It’s not a right/wrong or good/bad, but different approach. That said, giving your own energy is not a good idea and definitely not what happens with Reiki practice.

      People have many reasons to seek out Reiki practice or learn Reiki Self Care; it’s totally individual. Some people are looking to support healing from illness/injury while others want to enhance and maintain their well-being.

  12. Hello Pamela thank you for offering to answer a Reiki question. A friend and i both have a Reiki business have a reiki swap between us. This last session i had which was timed at 5minutes for each position i noticed some felt like a very short time and other positions felt really long. Have you noticed it with your practice and any idea what the difference in energy would be? I also want to let you know your emails about reiki self care had a big impact on me, thank you. Elizabeth

    1. I’m so happy that the free month of Daily Self Reiki emails has been a support, Elizabeth. I never get tired of hearing that, so thank you for letting me know.

      Now on to your question–I don’t use the energy model, so I cannot respond from that perspective, but maybe the following will be helpful.

      When I first learned Reiki practice back in 1986 and I practiced on others, I timed each of the 12 hand placements I was taught, leaving my hands in place for 5 minutes, as you have done.

      For me, that was a helpful starting point. However, I quickly moved from that to following my protocol in a more intuitive way, lingering in placements where I noticed more sensation, and staying a shorter amount of time when I felt less response (but still usually at least 2-3 minutes). I recognized the sensations to be the person’s system reorganizing itself in the direction of balance and improved health.

      Hawayo Takata encouraged her students to follow the protocol they learned but do develop an intuitive feel for the practice. She often said, “Let your Reiki hands teach you.” That’s a quote I’ve been contemplating for decades, and which to this day opens me to deeper understanding and appreciation.

  13. Dear Pamela,
    Thank you for answering all the questions. I find it very helpful to read them and your answers.
    Here is my question now.
    Can the Reiki practitioners life energy be diminished in any way by giving Reiki to others?
    In Love and Light,

    1. Not to my understanding, Ása. Reiki practice is balancing to both the person receiving the treatment and the practitioner.

      That’s true when people practice correctly. By that I don’t mean according to a specific protocol, but rather that they have a practice orientation, placing hands mindfully and with detachment. When people practice to effect a specific outcome, that’s not a practice orientation and then the practitioner is vulnerable to intervening in ways he/she might not be aware, depending on their emotional or willful attachment to the result.

      Reiki is a nondual spiritual practice. The “goal” is to live in a state of true equanimity, free from the dualistic thinking that makes us want this and want to avoid that, and leads us to blame others, and ourselves.

      This state of benign equanimity exists within all of us all the time. It’s our timeless true nature, our essence.

      However, the ability to live in the state of steady equanimity is not easily won, and it’s not a fake-it-till-you-make-it proposition.

      The state of benign equanimity arises naturally from within as our consistent dedicated spiritual practice slowly dissolves our inner obscurations.

      But how many Reiki practitioners are practicing with that understanding? To my experience, most have been taught to “do” Reiki as an intervention, or even as a performance. That is particularly the case when licensed healthcare professionals take a quick Reiki training to, as they express it, “add Reiki to their healthcare toolkit.”

      Spiritual practice is not as simple as checking off boxes. It’s important to be present, aware and honest with ourselves.

      Regardless your belief, if you ever feel that something is amiss, stop the session gracefully. We are all human beings living a complex, nuanced existence. We can be doing everything correctly in terms of practice and still be in harm’s way for reasons we don’t know and which have nothing to do with Reiki practice.

      I’ve come across healing practitioners trained traditionally in Asian practices, in the countries where the practices originated, who expressed concern for my safety when they found out what I do. They were concerned that I could be negatively influenced by my clients and/or that I would deplete my source (called Jing in Chinese medicine).

      I contemplated what they were telling me because I have great respect for their experience. However, I came to the conclusion that they didn’t really understand what I do–and perhaps more importantly, what I don’t do.

      There is a stanza in the Tao te Ching that expresses the effectiveness of a practice perspective: “Less and less is done until finally, when nothing is done, nothing is left undone.”

      Daily self Reiki will benefit anyone; it is of the utmost importance for anyone who practices on others. It’s part of how we earn the right to practice others.

      Takata student and long time Reiki master Susan Mitchell wrote a guest post related to this topic which is very practical and elucidating.

      1. Hi Pamela, your answer about simply allowing reiki to flow in and do what it needs to do, rather than direct or believe as a practitioner we are in any way the main part, was music to my ears. It really worries me when people talk about doing reiki and it negatively affecting the practitioner (horror stories such as she got cancer from giving reiki to cancer patients). I get that people are worried, it would be foolish not to be I guess, but there seems to be a lack sometimes of people just ‘being with’ the energy. So many courses are now just a bit here or there and don’t cover much about the background and principles of reiki, but most importantly, how to respect and give gratitude for this amazing gift we get to be a part of. Many thanks for your work! Always an inspiration. Shauna

      2. Thank you for your kind words, Shauna. I am always happy to know that practitioners find my work useful.

        And that doesn’t mean we agree on every point. For example, I don’t follow the energy model of Reiki practice. My perspective is that Reiki is a spiritual practice.

        Therefore my reply to Ása was not about “allowing reiki to flow in and do what it needs to do” as you wrote, but rather about having an attitude of practice as distinct from intervening to push a specific outcome. I think we agree on the practice v. intervention part but not the model. Rather than seeing Reiki as an agent that “does” something, I see Reiki as a practice that evokes a self-healing response.

        My understanding is that Reiki practitioners simply place hands and the receiver’s system responds to whatever information we carry in our hands through the grace of the initiations.

        It might seem to be a subtle distinction. Nonetheless, it’s an important and useful one.

  14. Hi Pamela
    I am writing via a friend. I have my 2nd degree Reiki and am part of a local Reiki circle. I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about 4 years ago and my memory is now becoming more problematic. For the last 2 years I haven’t been able to feel the familiar Reiki tingling in my hands and, recently, one of my reiki friends has said she cannot feel any sensation from me during a treatment.
    Would it help to get another attunement or have I perhaps lost my reiki ability?
    Thank you!

    1. Jennifer, I’m so grateful you asked this question. Thank you.

      To my understanding, the ability to practice Reiki is never lost. But while there is no need, if you connect with a teacher from whom you feel you might benefit and you want to take initiation, why not?

      Many people mistakenly judge their practice by the sensations they feel. The sensations we notice are part of our response to the practice. Just because we don’t feel anything doesn’t mean there is no response.

      Reiki is a spiritual practice, which means much of the response is likely on subtle levels, well below the radar of even a seasoned practitioner. I never assume that I’m not responding when I don’t notice sensation.

      Rather, I think of the sensations as scenery, and when I don’t see any scenery, I direct my attention within to experience the practice on a more subtle level. In this way, my awareness keeps growing.

      I hope you will continue your practice regardless your experience of sensation, as continuing Reiki practice can be a profound support to you. This article and the others on my blog about practicing Reiki with people suffering dementia indicate how beneficial it can be. Search dementia.

      This is also a situation in which you might want to reach for other support as well. I’m not saying anyone has a cure for Alzheimer’s, but rather that getting more support might help slow disease progression. The support I refer to is generally only available outside the parameters of conventional medicine but doesn’t interfere with conventional medical care.

      I wish you all the best.

    2. Dear Pamela,
      Thank you for your in debt answer.
      It brings up another question. How do you feel about sending Reiki to a situation or a person and talk through it in your mind how you might want it to go or be?
      Like “the operation goes very well and everyone involved in it does everything well and right” “you recover well and quickly” or ” the trip will be safe and secure in every way” or “you will remember everything that you have studied and do very well on the test” “you feel good”
      and so on?
      I have few healing prayers from Mary McFadyen, and “you feel good” is included in one of them.
      In doing this you are trying to affect the situation. I have actually done this for years.

      1. Ása,

        First of all, to clarify my perspective, I personally don’t think we “send Reiki” during distant practice. However, your question is relevant regardless our individual perspective, and I thank you for it.

        In order for our practice to survive into the future, and for it to lead us continually into subtle exploration and discovery, it’s vital we maintain clear boundaries around our practice and separate it from whatever each of us finds meaningful to add, such as prayer or statement of intention.

        To all my research, while both prayer and intention are valuable in their own right, they are not, strictly speaking, Reiki practice.

        As another check, I ran this by Reiki master and Takata student Susan Mitchell, who confirmed what I was taught (we are in the same lineage). Susan never heard Takata teach prayers and intention as you described. Further, Takata repeatedly stressed being detached from the outcome of Reiki practice.

        When my students ask questions such as yours, I encourage them to contemplate why they feel the need to add to the practice. That self-inquiry is on-going, not a once-and-done. Mindful, continual self-inquiry helps us keep deepening our practice and supports our steady happiness (that’s what the Reiki Precepts are about).

        Reiki practice is big picture balancing. There is a point at which we either practice humbly in service, or we impose our values. That distinction is very subtle at times, so it’s helpful to monitor our state, remembering Reiki is a spiritual practice in which both the practitioner and the receiver benefit.

        These articles about the Reiki Precepts might be helpful:
        Today Only
        Manhattan Reiki

  15. Pamela, thank you so much for taking the time and answer our questions. My question is regarding a recurring experience I have had practicing reiki on others. During the practice, several different individuals have vocalized a discomfort around their head.

    I recognize it’s not my job to try interpret an individuals’ experience of reiki as it’s unique to each individual; but, seeing it has happened a couple times, could you offer guidance on navigating responding to their vocalization of this occurrence? Especially, as reiki practice is commonly described as relaxing and centering; it is an unexpected experience that I haven’t figured out how to respond to. Thank you, as always, for your insight.

    1. Andrea,

      Here’s the short response: If someone voices discomfort where my hands are, I lighten my touch (which is light to begin with). I also offer to move my hands, acknowledging that sometimes there’s temporary discomfort as the body sorts itself out. It’s important to be reassuring without being dismissive of the person’s experience, and to put them in control.

      Before I launch into a longer response to address the larger picture, I want to say how much I appreciate your understanding that it’s not for us to interpret other people’s experiences.

      It’s important we respect boundaries and empower people to recognize what something means to them, if it means anything at all. Some experiences are just part of our balancing, self-healing response to Reiki practice and we don’t get to know what’s behind them, nor is it necessary to know.

      Reiki is a spiritual practice and spirituality is the realm of mystery, uncertainty, exploration and discovery. Each person’s spiritual experience is unique. It’s where we discover our own values and meaning. Supporting people in doing that, if they are so inclined, is a tremendous service.

      Too often Reiki practitioners go the way of performing. Many times they offer information that is specious at best and sometimes causes the client distress. I’ve found that out by the number of people who have contacted me frightened by what a Reiki practitioner told them.

      Even well-meaning Reiki practitioners can feel that a question is a void to be filled. I encourage them to challenge that assumption and explore why they feel a need to know? We don’t help people when we give them our pet theory as a replacement for knowledge we don’t have.

      Rather, why not be honest and acknowledge that you don’t know?

      If this comes up at the end of a session, redirect their attention to their post-treatment state. Or you might want to bring it up at the end, checking in to see if the discomfort persists and supporting people in getting whatever medical care they feel warranted. That’s their choice and it doesn’t involve the Reiki practitioner.

      This is a moment when you can educate a client by telling them their response to Reiki practice is unique to them and comes from the intelligence of their system. Your body knows how to heal, and in a sense Reiki treatment green-lights that process. We don’t know what the body needs to go through as it reorganizes in the direction of greater balance. It’s somewhat like shaking out a sheet before it can lie flat and smooth. If you take a snapshot of the sheet mid-air, it looks chaotic, but then it settles quite nicely.

      What really matters is how the person feels after their treatment, and how they can nurture that state. I tell my clients, “Your treatment is finished, but the self-healing response from deep within your core continues, and we don’t know for how long.” I ask if they can sense it, as if their system is purring in the background, and tell them how the state they’re in now makes it possible for the self-healing to continue.

      You might find How Reiki Helps useful. You can send clients the link in a follow-up email.

      You can also print the article, add your contact information, and use it for outreach.

      I hope there’s something helpful here!

      1. Pamela, thank you for your response and for the link and article you provided as well. It will be well used. I was wondering if you could answer a follow-up question that came up for me as I read your response.

        You stated: “Too often Reiki practitioners go the way of performing.” My question is not with regards to interpreting what was felt or answering clients’ questions with our interpretations; but more so in situations where a client comes in with a specific ailment. What do you think is the best way to practice separating our wish to address their ailment, from surrendering to the intelligence of reiki? I can see how clear communication of expectations are important, but wondering if you had any additional insight on that from practice point of view as well; ie, spending more time in a specific hand placement.
        Thank you!

      2. Andrea,

        I’m honestly not sure I understand your question but here’s what I can offer.

        First, I’ve seen this happen frequently to those who haven’t given themselves (and their clients) the benefit of a long enough transition from personal Reiki practice to professional Reiki practice.

        There is a depth of conviction in one’s practice that only comes with experience. Lots of experience. The professionals I’ve trained and to whom I refer with confidence, did an excess of 100 hours of supervised treatment in my Reiki internship program on the general surgery floor of a NYC hospital.

        It’s also helpful to contemplate why you are drawn to “address” (or do you mean “fix?”) the ailment.

        I don’t know what you mean by “surrendering to the intelligence of Reiki.” When I practice, my understanding is that the receiver’s system responds by moving toward balance, which optimizes the body’s self-healing mechanisms. The human body knows how to heal; through an unknown mechanism (medspeak for we don’t understand how/why this happens), Reiki practice seems to support the body’s self-healing.

        I follow my hands as I am able to given time constraints. I let my hands linger where I notice sensation.

  16. Hi, Pamela —

    I have a question. As a Reiki practitioner, if I’m having some unacknowledged stress or something, can my energy affect what a recipient may receive through me in a Reiki session? Could they “pick up” what may be troubling me, the practitioner? (Like infecting somebody else with my flu symptoms, for instance?)

    1. David,

      You wrote, “…infecting somebody else with my flu symptoms…” Do we infect people with our symptoms, or are you referring to the possibility of microbial infection, sharing the virus that causes flu?

      And what is the difference between infecting someone and someone picking something up from us? That’s an important question to contemplate regarding immunity.

      Let’s look at this from another angle. We are all like radio stations broadcasting our state. The difference is we’re not usually so aware of what’s happening.

      But surely you’ve felt uplifted after running into someone, and noticed your mood had plummeted after spending time with someone else. It happens. We each have our presence, and we want to be responsible for our state. That’s why we have a spiritual practice like Reiki, and why daily self practice is so important, especially if we are practicing on others.

      When we are practicing Reiki, we are still human beings have the usual human experience, but there is something else happening. The person we are practicing on is responding to the practice, moving into a more balanced state.

      Although immunity is a complex function, generally speaking, the more balanced we are, the less susceptible we are to “picking up” things from someone else on either subtle or physical levels. Even in times of plague, not everyone gets sick.

      There is another aspect to this question. When you practice on someone, your own system also responds to the practice, moving toward balance.

      Have you ever found it challenging to stay present for your client because you were becoming so in-drawn yourself? Or your response could be more subtle. But overall, don’t you feel better when you finish offering a Reiki treatment to someone? Hasn’t any stress you might have been experiencing melted away, or at least moved into perspective?

      If you don’t feel better after offering a treatment, I encourage you to contemplate what else is happening besides Reiki practice. For example, are you placing your hands mindfully and with detachment, or are you stressing the session trying to achieve a certain outcome?

      Many Reiki practitioners get confused by plugging Reiki practice into the paradigm of conventional medicine, but speaking in terms of “energy” rather than “bugs.” But the paradigm of Reiki practice is the paradigm of balance. We don’t have to fight others off; we simply become (over time of course) more reliably, and more profoundly, ourselves.

      As long as you take reasonable precautions against microbial infection, such as washing your hands between clients, it is unlikely your clients are picking things up.

      At least that’s been my experience practicing professionally since 1986.

      1. Thank you, Pamela. My original intention in using a flu example was just as metaphor — not that I had an actual concern about a biological infection (though, of course, that’s certainly important); I just meant, for instance, was if I’m in a sad place for whatever reason and I offer Reiki to a recipient on the table, could I unwittingly “inflect” them with my sad energy — could my internal weather ever affect the energy passing through me in a Reiki session? And yes, I think you did answer that question, I do feel better after providing a session. If the recipient is sad or is feeling something strongly following a session, it’s their own energy re-balancing because they (on whatever level) accepted the Reiki and opened themselves to that energy. Would you concur?

      2. David, I don’t concur with your entire statement: “If the recipient is sad or is feeling something strongly following a session, it’s their own energy re-balancing because they (on whatever level) accepted the Reiki and opened themselves to that energy.”

        This is how I understand it–

        To me, Reiki is a practice rather than an energy.

        Reiki practice is balancing in that the receiver responds to Reiki touch by reorganizing from within toward a more balanced state. We don’t know why that happens, but both observable evidence and emerging research data support that statement.

        We cannot predict the path an individual will take as he/she moves toward a more balanced state, nor does the Reiki practitioner impact that process.

        In my experience, occasionally–actually rarely–a client has an emotional moment on the table. I encourage the client to simply feel the emotion and let it pass, rather than trying to understand it.

        Does that address your question?

  17. Dear Pamela,

    My clients find my Reiki treatments very powerful and helpful. They experience that my hands are very warm but unfortunately I do not know what is going on in them. I met a few energy intuitive Reiki therapists who could “read me” after a Reiki session.
    Many times my clients ask me: “What did you “see”?”
    And I saw nothing. I kind of feel embarrassed that I cannot answer their question.

    Thank you very much for the opportunity.

    With love and respect,

    1. Klaudia,

      Sometimes clients come to us with odd expectations. It’s understandable, in that there are no standards for Reiki practice or training, and many people think a psychic reading is part of the package.

      That’s an expectation that has arisen since Westerners wrapped Reiki practice in New Age language and context. Giving a reading is not part of traditional Reiki practice.

      As professionals, it’s up to us to inform our clients’ expectations. I rarely am asked “What did you see?” and I think it’s because of the way I describe Reiki practice on my website (which is how most people find me).

      But if a client asks a question like that, I redirect them gently to how they feel right then, right after their treatment. I suggest they take an inner snapshot of their state and check-in with themselves periodically to see if they’re still in that state. If they’re not, I encourage them to take a moment to remember how this state feels and recreate it from their imagination and memory.

      The state we are in after a Reiki treatment is a state of well-being in which our bodies are able to self-heal optimally. The treatment has ended, but the self-healing process that has been engaged within us continues. Maintaining a balanced state enables the self-healing to continue so we can receive the greatest possible benefit. We were made to function in that state, not in the stressed state we too often find ourselves in.

      You have no reason to feel embarrassed that you’re a Reiki practitioner rather than a psychic, assuming Reiki treatment is the service you’ve promoted.

      Why don’t you take a look at your website and promotional materials to see how you can express the value of Reiki practice in terms of balance and self-healing. The people who are interested in that will be drawn to you, and those seeking phenomena will go elsewhere.

      If you want help with communicating what you do so you can attract more clients who want what you offer, scroll to the bottom of the page to the column Free Resources. There are also paid trainings under the Online column, such as the Reiki Pro Academy.

      1. Thank you Pamela very much for your thorough answer, it was really helpful.
        I will have a look at the “Free Resources” and the “Reiki Pro Academy” on your website. I wish I could be a student of yours sometime in the future 🙂
        With best wishes,

  18. Dear Pamela,
    Thank-you for the opportunity to ask a question I have wondered about since I started my reiki practice. Sometimes while on a chakra or on another part of my clients body, I will start to get so hot & start to sweat so bad. Which can be challenging for the 3 minutes I am holding this position. Sometimes the client is feeling intense heat as well, sometimes they don’t. Just curious to have you share your insight! Thank-you for all you do!

    1. You’re very welcome, Brenda. I hope I can help with this.

      Do you practice hands-on daily self Reiki? If not, try practicing around 30 minutes a day for a month and see if that makes a difference in how often you have this experience, or how intense it is. If you need help with self practice, read How to Practice Reiki Self Treatment.

      Here’s another thought: Would you consider letting your hands linger in a placement where this happens?

      I know it is common for Reiki practitioners to speak about chakras, but do you know they are an American addition? Reiki practice comes from Japan, and chakras are part of the Indian Vedic system. Also, given that they are subtle and not physical, we cannot put our hands on a chakra.

  19. Hello Pamela. My question is more historical. Is it true that Morihei Ueshiba attended Usuis’ dojos, and had an epiphany which led to his invention of Aikido? Reiki on and many blessings.

    1. I love historical questions, Antonios, so thank you!

      I didn’t have the facts needed to respond, so I asked Reiki master Paul Mitchell, Head of Discipline in the Office of the Grandmaster and longtime Aikido practitioner. Paul responded to my email from Russia, where he is teaching his Way To Harmony workshop that is based on Aikido principles.

      Paul wrote, “I have a little book with me by John Stevens entitled ‘The Art of Peace.’ In the intro he talks about the three mystical/spiritual experiences that Ueshiba had that formed the basis and development of the art. No evidence in them that they had anything to do with Usui.”

      Might I trouble you to ask the person who told you that story and see if there is any documentation from Ueshiba or perhaps a student of his to verify it? It would be a service to both communities.

      1. Thanks Pamela. I will do my best to find and attach an old picture from my collection, that amongst others, Usui and Hayashi feature in; and a man who’s appearance (I thought) looks to be Ueshiba. I showed my Reiki teacher at the time and he made it clear that judging by the appearance alone, he could only speculate that it may be him; and, ever since I’ve been on the quest to find out. It will be interesting if Aikido and Reiki were connected in this way. Reiki on and many blessings.

      2. Antonios, I appreciate the care you are bringing to this.

        Is the photograph dated or are there any original notes about it? Even if you are able to document that it is Ueshiba in the picture, what would that prove?

        Given that they were contemporaries, Ueshiba and Usui were shaped by the culture in which they both lived and the spiritual and philosophical streams in that culture. I am not knowledgeable about Ueshiba, but I discussed the impact of Taoism, Shintoism and Buddhism on Usui’s practice in my book REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide.

  20. Pamela, thank you so much for soliciting questions!

    My question is:
    Must hands on the body during Reiki treatment always be apart or is it still effective if hands are on top of each other in the same spot? I fall asleep at night with my hands side by side on my chest, but I always wake up later with my hands crossed on my chest. Has the Reiki treatment continued with hands crossed on each other?

    Thank you again and blessings to you!

    1. Great question, Lisa, thank you for asking. I’ve heard variations of it many times before.

      And it falls squarely in the questions-we-can’t-make-a-rule-about category.

      Here’s what we do know, at least according to my understanding–You can continue to practice Reiki even when you are asleep.

      Often students in my First degree training have this experience, even on their first night of home practice (I know because they report it when we meet the next day for the second of three sessions).

      They fall asleep at some point during their practice, sometimes even at the first placement, and become aware enough to move their hands to the next placement without disturbing their sleep. This can happen once or many times in the night. One student reported feeling that she had practiced self Reiki for the entire 8 hours she slept (and felt GREAT the next morning).

      Reiki practice is carried by our hands through the grace of the initiations. Our mind are useful to remind us it’s time to practice. Otherwise they aren’t needed for First degree practice.

      It totally doesn’t matter if you cross your arms while practicing hands-on Reiki.

      Given that First degree Reiki practice is mediated by touch (with just off the body being an alternate when contact is ill-advised, such as in the case of burns), if you stack your hands, one hand is practicing on your body and the other hand is practicing on the first hand. Make sense?

      But does any of the above mean that you are practicing Reiki any time you are asleep with a hand on your body? I don’t think so.

      But we can check up inside and recognize whether we have been practicing at any given time, if we know how to contemplate and not jump to conclusions the mind is always so willing to offer.

  21. Hi Pamela,
    I studied Reiki 1 and 2 with 2 different Usui Reiki masters. My first teacher taught us to start a Reiki session with the head positions. My second teacher taught us to start with the abdomen. She said that Takata originally taught to begin with the hand placements at the head but later on changed it and started with the abdomen. She didn’t know why. Do you know ? I always thought it made more sense to start at the head since energy moves down the body coming in thru the crown chakra. Thanks for offering this opportunity to ask questions.

    1. Debi, I was also taught to start at the head and only learned much later that Takata sometimes started at the abdomen.

      I asked Reiki master Susan Mitchell, a close student of Takata who has written guest posts here. Susan replied, “All the classes I saw Takata teach, she started on the abdomen. At the time I assumed that was what you always did. So I had no reason to ask why. I only learned in conversation with others that Takata’s approach varied.”

      So there we have it!

    1. I’m sorry, Ása, I don’t know anything about Holy Fire Reiki other than that the initiations are not Usui-based. This is a question to ask that lineage.

      1. Dear Pamela,
        Thank you for your reply.
        I asked this question in that lineage and the answer I got from them was.”Attunements are given at Soul level but Placements at Spirit level.” I have to admit that I do not understand this statement and that is why I asked you if you knew anything about this.
        Thank you.

    1. Ása,

      Please keep in mind that I can only speak from my own perspective. You might do better to ask the “some” that you refer to what their concerns are.

      As a traditional Takata Reiki master, I don’t think in terms of attunements, a term which came into use after Takata’s death in December 1980 and which generally seems to be connected to a belief that we are attuned to a certain frequency Reiki energy, which is not my understanding.

      My perspective is that Reiki master teachers initiate students into a practice, empowering them to practice and sharing the blessings of the initiation lineage that dates back to Reiki founder Mikao Usui. If the Reiki master carries that lineage.

      Many have made changes to the initiation process and we don’t know if or at what point that breaks the lineage. Given how many people have come to me disappointed that their “attunements” didn’t work, that they have no experience of Reiki practice after their usually abbreviated training, it seems there is a point of no return.

      It has been the situation for a while now that any Reiki education needs to be given careful consideration by prospective students to see if it is comprehensive and credible.

      So Reiki education was already on shaky ground when people started pushing the boundaries by offering abbreviated pre-recorded trainings with distant initiation.

      As I see it, the question is really what is the best environment for students to learn to practice Reiki, gain confidence in themselves and in Reiki practice, and be inspired and motivated to actually practice? It seems self evident that the response to that question is a group in-person class with an experienced Reiki master teacher who understands the difference between giving information and teaching. For example, students need to practice together in class and at home on their own in order to gain confidence.

      That’s the best scenario. Then the question is, how far do we go to accommodate people who don’t have access to the best scenario?

      I have many online recorded trainings, but they are all continuing education for people who are already Reiki trained.

      For people who cannot get to an in-person class and for those who want to deepen their existing Reiki practice, I offer live, interactive Reiki Self Care teleconference training. I do not call this First Degree training because we are not able to practice on one another as we would when we are together in a room. However, people do get a solid foundation in daily self Reiki practice.

      In summary, for me the relevant questions are:
      1. is the teacher part of the living Reiki initiation lineage and
      2. which situation best supports students learning to practice while being accessible to them?
      The matter of distant initiation doesn’t pose a quandary.

      BTW initiations aren’t given on the internet or the phone. Technology doesn’t carry initiation. It happens in the inner subtle realms.

  22. Hi Pamela,
    I am curious to know if it is safe to practice Reiki during pregnancy, both on oneself and others? Would you use a traditional sequence and positions or are there special positions designed to help the mother connect with the baby?
    Thank you,

    1. Dorothy,

      I was pregnant when I received my first Reiki treatment and learned to practice shortly thereafter. That was back in 1986 and all has gone well since then.

      Additionally, Reiki practice is offered to pregnant and laboring mothers in some hospitals. I wrote about one in my book, which you can find in the index.

      Just remember Reiki practice is non-invasive and balancing and you’ll know that while it might not be the only support someone needs, it’s safe and a good place to start.

      I am a traditional Takata master so I always use the same protocol and follow my hands regarding how long to linger in any placement.

      I don’t think one needs a special protocol to connect the mother and baby; they’re very connected already. What is needed is the self-healing response that Reiki treatment encourages so that the mother calms down if she is anxious or tense. When a pregnant woman is centered, she will likely experience her pregnancy more profoundly and with greater joy. That helps the baby.

      My understanding is that we don’t offer a Reiki treatment for a specific outcome, no matter how benign that might be. We simply offer our hands and the person’s system responds from their own innate wisdom. The body knows best how to self-heal. Reiki practice supports that natural process.

  23. Pamela, thanks for helping educate us and the public about Reiki. Here’s my question: How do you explain distant Reiki in layman’s terms without sounding woo woo? I’m pretty comfortable explaining doing Reiki hands on or with hands slightly above a person, but when I mention you can also send Reiki energy over distance, I admit I am not as comfortable. I want to say something like “You know how prayer is an intention that travels through distance, or how you can be thinking of someone and they call you? Well, those are examples of energy traveling through space, so having an intention to send Reiki energy to someone to support their most benevolent outcome is also possible.” I shy away from any discussion about sending Reiki to different times (past or future).

    1. I’m happy to help, Sharon. I’m so grateful for practitioners such as yourself who care about making a credible Reiki presentation that is meaningful to the mainstream audience and not just the New Age community.

      The short answer is: I never try to explain Reiki practice. It’s a spiritual practice, and spirituality is the realm of mystery, where we can continually explore and discover previously uncharted territory. The spiritual journey is one each person has to make for herself; no one else can do it for you (hence the importance of daily self practice).

      Reiki practitioners stumble when they try to explain that which cannot be explained. We don’t even know how hands-on practice works, and I am the first to admit that whether presenting Reiki to an individual or to an audience (medical or otherwise).

      You build credibility when we admit the limits of your knowledge. And in this case, it’s not really your knowledge; it’s simply not known. I’ll say to a medical audience something like, “Science doesn’t yet know the mechanism of action for Reiki practice.” That puts the ball squarely in their court.

      My focus is always on the practice and the response to the practice. Personally, I don’t subscribe to the “Reiki energy coming through” model. It’s not plausible and honestly I don’t think it’s accurate. I have no experience that there is a distinct “Reiki energy.” But that’s another question. ??

  24. I have a question please. I am attuned to Reiki level 2 and loved practicing on myself, friends and family. However I’m afraid I dropped off the bandwagon three or four years ago.
    My question is what is the best way to get back into Reiki and does the flow of energy change following a long period of no use? I have a voice that constantly nudges me to get back to self Reiki and I know I must do that, but would I benefit from another attunement or will the flow of energy return as before?

    Thank you Pamela

    1. Thanks for a great question, Jeannette. It’s one that comes up often.

      We are initiated into Reiki practice. If you don’t practice for a period of time, the benefits of initiation don’t disappear. What you’ve lost is whatever benefit you would have created had you been practicing consistently.

      So no worries, just get your hands back on yourself. Like right now! ?

      Sometimes people feel they need something more to be confident in their practice. If that’s the case for you, getting a hands-on treatment from someone else, either a professional or a friend, is usually just what the (Reiki) doctor ordered. Just choose that person carefully.

      There are no agreed-upon standards for Reiki training or practice and it’s most helpful to connect with someone who has a similar perspective. You might find it confusing at this juncture to get a treatment from someone with a very different approach.

  25. I have a question regarding practicing reiki on someone with heartbeat problems. I was told by one of my reiki teachers to avoid doing reiki anywhere near a client’s pacemaker as reiki energy could disrupt the electrical impulses. Is that true? If so, how about folks who have, knowingly or unknowingly, heart fibrillation problems?
    Thanks for all you are doing for all of us reiki practitioners out there! I often feel pretty alone with my practice and enjoy your welcoming website & newsletters. Thank you!

    1. Karen,

      I appreciate your skepticism about this imagined concern. I’ve also heard it, but it doesn’t make sense to me, nor have I seen any evidence of it. If I saw evidence of it, I’d look into it more.

      I’ve worked with many cardiac patients, in my private practice and in hospital, including during open-heart surgeries, many of which were performed by Dr. Oz. Nothing has ever gone awry during a Reiki treatment. When practicing outside the OR, I place my hand right over the heart as I was taught to.

      When I was teaching Reiki practice at Yale medical school, we did a research study on patients at Yale-New Haven Hospital who were recovering from a heart attack within the past 72 hours. Those patients who received a short 20-minute Reiki treatment showed improvement in heart rate variability (HRV) comparable to beta-blockers.

      Improving HRV is critical to cardiac recovery (and actually very important even for people who haven’t had a heart attack). The study was published in the prestigious peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

      Again, I really appreciate that you’re thinking this through, neither going down the “Reiki can do no harm” belief path nor buying into the scare-mongering.

      Someone’s belief system might be enough for them, but when practicing Reiki on others, whether professionally or in our homes, it’s important to understand that Reiki practice is non-invasive (light touch or non-touch, no manipulation of tissue and no ingestion of substance) and balancing. People deserve solid information about safety so they can make informed choices for themselves.

      My Mainstreaming Reiki audio series includes an in-depth discussion Is Reiki Safe?

  26. Hey Pamela,
    I’m wondering what I should think about during a Reiki session?
    How should I focus my thoughts (or should I stay in a present state of non-thought), and what should my state of being be?
    What are your thoughts and focus when you give Reiki?
    Thanks for your help!

    1. There really is no need to do anything special with your mind when practicing Reiki, Jessica.

      Being able to practice regardless your state of mind is one of Reiki practice’s greatest advantages. That means that even if you’re ill or someone you care about is injured or very sick, you can place your hands to practice. The practice is carried in your hands.

      That said, when we practice on someone professionally, there is a higher standard. We don’t have to focus but we do need to stay present in the room, eyes open, aware of the person we are practicing on.

      I don’t have a focus other than that when practicing Reiki. I’m simply present.

      1. Thanks for this answer, I had the same question about focus. I think I’ve been trying too hard in focusing on channeling reiki during treatment. I know in my heart it works but maybe my head is still looking for evidence? I’m a level 2 with limited experience beyond my daily hatsurei ho practice. I sometimes have surges of energy when working on myself or someone else but more often nothing. Does feeling the energy relate to the amount of reiki being channeled?
        I appreciate your time in answering questions, I’ve learned something from all of them.

      2. My understanding is that labeling your experience “surges of energy” is an assumption. Is it possible that what you feel is not “the energy,” but rather your own system reorganizing in the direction of balance? How would that change your understanding?

        It doesn’t matter whether you notice sensations or not. The best way to gauge the value of your practice is to notice the difference in your life.

        Personally, I do not find the channeling energy model to be useful or accurate. I think it is based on a misunderstanding/mistranslation. While I have the utmost respect for Hawayo Takata and am proud that my Reiki masters were either trained by her or their masters were trained by her, she gave us the translations that are commonly used today when she was just beginning. Remember, she was not Japanese; she was American. And she was trying to translate concepts that aren’t recognized in our culture.

  27. Where is the best place to learn Reiki outside the module I, II and III-master model of learning? The weekend-long intensives and Usui tradition, not so much for me (I took a Reiki 1 class in NYC with the “transfer of power” method and maybe I am just judgemental but I actually really resented that philosophy). I am enchanted with how Barbara Brennan explains things like Reiki, in scientific ways, that in all humans this power lay dormant. I am not sure which model you ascribe to and what you like best. I have your book actually, sitting in my room waiting to be read. Excited to start soon! Hopefully we are on a similar page about things. Maybe this is a political thing to write to you, yikes, hope not!

    Thanks for allowing a dialogue to be opened. Excited to hear from you! I currently live in Hawaii, by the way, if that helps any with explaining to me what my educational options are.

    Many blessings!

    1. Sara,

      When you say “to learn Reiki,” I’m assuming you mean to learn how to practice. My understanding is that Reiki training is to teach us how to practice, and motivate and inspire us to actually practice daily, which is how we develop as practitioners.

      I am a traditionalist. You can read about my approach to learning in depth on my website , or in my book, but the short version of my advice is to carefully research to find a teacher and class that meets your needs and standards. Reiki Classes: What’s Right for You will help.

      An in-person group class has many advantages and is well worth going out of your way for. I’ve had students come from outside New York City and from other continents to study with me because my approach appeals to them. I appreciate their dedication to their practice.

      I also appreciate that not everyone can do that, and so I offer live, interactive teleconference training to teach Reiki Self Care. It is not a full First Degree training because we are not able to practice on one another, but students get what they need to practice on themselves. In all my trainings, in-person or teleconference, we spend considerable time practicing together.

      My focus is always on practice, practice, practice. Daily hands-on self practice is the foundation, and the most important way in which we grow as practitioners.

      For most people, First Degree training is enough. I encourage students to simply practice, observe, contemplate, repeat.

  28. On some days, when I don’t have the time to sit down and send ten minutes or more of Reiki to someone, I’ll just think of that person and imagine them receiving Reiki from me. Sometimes I also say a short prayer for that person as I’m imagining them receiving Reiki from my heart chakra–not from my hands. (I’m talking about family members or friends who have asked me to send them Reiki whenever I have the time.) The thought will take up approximately 20 seconds of my time, and then I move on to whatever I need to do that day. Often, the person who I have imagined receiving Reiki contacts me to thank me for the Reiki that (they think) I sent them and says that they feel less pain, less anxiety, etc. from my having sent them Reiki that day. Is it possible that the mere thought of sending Reiki has actually helped that person? I always let the person know that I didn’t actually sit down and send them Reiki in the traditional way–that I only “sent” them a few seconds of Reiki.

    This has happened to me so many times that I actually believe it’s possible. What are your thoughts?

    1. Thanks for your question, Kathy. I appreciate the care you are putting into this.

      My understanding is that Reiki is a specific practice. Imagining you are practicing is not the same as practicing.

      But imagining you are practicing could be another way of offering blessings or healing, perhaps more akin to prayer or visualization than to Reiki practice itself. Make sense?

      If it feels valuable to you and your friends feel benefit, that’s important. Go for it.

      And I can appreciate that it’s easier to say you offered a distant treatment than to say what you actually did. It might not be advisable to burden people with the details.

      That said, as someone who values tradition, I would be careful when representing what you do to others. Please don’t call it a new kind of Reiki practice or teach it to your students.

      You’ve had a personal spiritual experience. Let others have their own.

      1. Thank you so much, Pamela, for your reply. Yes, what you said does make sense! It feels like a spiritual experience, kind of like prayer.

        I absolutely would never think of calling it a new kind of Reiki, or teaching this to my students. I think it’s of utmost importance to go strictly “by the book” when teaching Reiki.

        I am truly thankful for your thoughts on this, Pamela, and am so thankful for you and all the valuable information that you continue to provide to all of us Reiki practitioners over the years.

  29. Hi Pamela.
    I love your work. Thank you for all you do to help transform us one person at a time. I love your website and all the material you share.
    I have a question regarding reiki and epilepsy and would love your opinion on this. I was told to not do reiki on anyone with epilepsy as it could trigger an episode. I do not like operating from a place of fear and would love your opinion on this. Thank you for your time.
    Vancouver, Canada

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Stephanie.

      I agree with you about not wanting to function from a place of fear. I’m so glad you asked this question as it gives me a chance to dispel a common fear-based misunderstanding.

      A basic value of medicine is First, do no harm. This value is held by doctors, nurses and associated licensed healthcare providers. It is also shared by Reiki practitioners.

      Conventional medicine is a two-edged sword; in order to help, an intervention such as a pharmaceutical also has the power to hurt. It must be administered carefully to the appropriate patient, at the right time, and the correct dosage. There are lots of contraindications because conventional medical interventions force an outcome.

      Reiki practice is very different. It is not an intervention, but rather a spiritual practice that is balancing, gently reminding the body of its inherent power to self heal. Balance is never dangerous and nothing about traditional Reiki practice involves force.

      The concern you mention is not valid for traditional, non-invasive Reiki practice. Years ago, I presented Reiki practice at an epilepsy medical conference and have come across many patients who reported benefit from self Reiki practice or receiving Reiki treatment from someone else.

      I specify “traditional Reiki practice” because there have been so many unacknowledged changes to Reiki practice that we never know what someone is doing, thinking they are practicing Reiki. Some practices used under the umbrella of Reiki are actually quite invasive, and not Reiki practice at all.

      We always need to inquire carefully regarding what someone is actually practicing (rather than what they think they are practicing), but if it is traditional Reiki practice without alterations, our non-invasive practice is balancing and safe. These articles might be of interest:

      Spiritual Practice? Energy Medicine? What’s the Diff?
      Reiki: Spiritual Practice or Energy Medicine?

  30. What is the best way to develop a Reiki business. I have been doing Reiki on friends and family and really want to help more people. I live in a rural location. People say I should do a face book page but I really do not want to go in that direction. Any advice would be kindly received.

    1. Maire,

      There is no one best way to develop your Reiki business. You want to do so in alignment with your comfort and your values and ethics.

      But you do need to find a way to get the word out. If you don’t want to make a Facebook business page, what about letting people know on your personal page? You could offer your friends a freebie and if they enjoy it, ask them to refer a friend. That’s an extension of word-of-mouth referral, which is the strongest.

      Make sure you are ready for your business to grow. Assess your professional skills. The titles of the trainings in the Reiki Professional Academy will help you do that.

      Clarify your fee structure, get your treatment space in order, get business cards, etc. It’s like cleaning your home to welcome a guest who is coming.

      And think about places where people gather in your rural area. Maybe you could offer a Reiki intro at one of them.

      I always encourage Reiki practitioners to move slowly into professional practice and to have the support of the Reiki master who trained them, or another qualified mentor. There are more aspects to being a Reiki professional than most people realize. Daily hands-on self Reiki is an essential foundation.

      I wish you all the best!

  31. Hi Pam,
    I received Long distance ReikiTuesday night and I felt spinning stars on my person..

    what does this mean?

    1. What a beautiful experience, Kathleen! However, I have no idea what it means. I don’t think there is an outer authority for these experiences. I think spiritual experiences are by definition personal. Someone else having that experience might have a very different take on it.

      When I have a spiritual experience I don’t understand, I contemplate it and let the meaning reveal itself from within.

      Actually, I contemplate even those experiences I feel I have some understanding of and find there is always more to unfold. There are experiences I’ve come back to for years, a never-ending banquet, and one in which the taste of the dishes keeps improving! ?

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