REIKI 101 | What is Reiki, How Does It Work, and How To Be Your Own Energy Healer

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Hello magical souls and welcome back to another episode of The Soul’s Human Experience Podcast. 

Thanks for being here. This week I’m bringing you one of my favorite topics: Reiki, what it is, how it works, and even how you can start practicing energy healing. I’m going to walk you through a simple practice that you can try out today.

If you’ve never heard of Reiki or you have but you aren’t sure what it is, the practice of Reiki is a type of energy channeling for the purpose of improving the mind, body, and spirit. The word Reiki, can be split into Rei and Ki. Rei means spirit or universe, and ki means life force energy, similar to chi or prana. So together, Reiki literally means spiritual or universal life force energy. So the Reiki practitioner channels this spiritual life force energy into their heart space, usually through the crown of the head, down to the heart, and then out through the palms. And then wherever they place their palms, receives this healing, high frequency, energy of the universe. And what is the energy of the universe? It’s love. So you’re harnessing the energy of love which I think is so beautiful. That’s one of the great things about Reiki, is because it’s the pure energy of love, it can do no harm. Reiki never harms, it only helps. And because of that you really can’t screw it up when you’re using it. It’s pretty foolproof. It is super gentle yet very powerful. 

My journey with Reiki started kind of by accident. I had heard of it and was interested in it but I didn’t know much about it or where to begin. When I was living in Chicago, I heard about a meditation center that had just opened and I was like oh I’m definitely going to go to one of their group meditation classes. So i went to book a spot and saw that they also had Reiki services. Something was pulling me to that instead so I signed up for an in person reiki session instead of meditation. It was an interesting experience because I had no idea what to expect and when the practitioner put her hands on my foot which is where she started the session, there was this wild electricity like sensation going from her hand into my foot and up my leg. I just thought it was the coolest thing ever and because of that I actually had kind of hard time relaxing because I was thinking whoa what is happening this is wild. When I left the session I didn’t feel like my life changed or something earth shattering had occurred, but I did feel pulled even more to Reiki. I knew immediately that I wanted to deep dive into learning all I could about it so I found a local Reiki I class and the rest is history. 

And let’s talk about why would you want to use Reiki energy. What is it good for? So So So many things. Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, pretty much you name it and you can send Reiki to it to improve it. I actually can’t even think of anything that you wouldn’t or couldn’t send Reiki to, because again, it’s a positive energy so it can only help. Basically, It allows your energy to flow in its most optimal state. Because your energy can get out of whack from certain emotions or experiences, and when you have unprocessed emotions in the body, that can become stuck energy. When your energy is blocked, there’s an imbalance in the flow. Over time that can lead to problems like illness or pain. When your energy is clear and flowing in its natural alignment, then the body is free to self-healing easily. Because your body knows exactly how to heal itself, and Reiki is one way to give it the freedom to do so. 

It can help with sleep, anxiety, pain, trauma, lack of direction, manifestation, the list goes on and on forever. I’ll give you some examples of what I personally use it for. Physically I use Reiki on my whole body focusing on any parts that might need attention like I tend to spend extra time on my shoulders because I have chronic shoulder pain. I also Reiki my food and drink when I remember to before I put it in my body. Mentally or emotionally if I’m struggling with something I will send Reiki to that issue. Working with energy is so awesome because energy isn’t limited by time or space, so you can send Reiki to the past or future, healing your inner child, your past self, and also your future self. That also means you can send it at a distance, which is how I would conduct my sessions in the past. The person you’re sending energy to can be on the other side of the world and it doesn’t matter. And when I receive Reiki I prefer distance sessions myself, one because there’s no need to be in the same room as the practitioner, and two I think the person receiving is naturally going to be more comfortable and relaxed in their own space versus someone else’s space. 

It’s good to know where the Reiki energy came from. This is my favorite part to teach because it’s such a fascinating story. The quick version of the history is that in 1923 a Japanese man named Mikao Usui was searching for a special type of enlightenment that would tell you your life’s purpose and exactly how to go about executing it. He studied with a zen master for three years trying to find it. After three years his zen master said to him maybe he could only reach it if he was prepared to die for it. So he climbed a mountain in Japan called Mount Karama, to meditate and fast and try to reach this enlightenment. He was on the mountain meditating and fasting for 21 days when an intense flash of energy entered through the top of his head and knocked him unconscious. When he came to, he realized he was enlightened. He was so excited and he wanted to immediately tell his zen master what happened so he started making his way down the mountain. On the way down, he tripped on a tree root and stubbed his toe. So he put his hands on his toe as a normal reaction might be, and when he did that he felt energy coming from his hands that made the pain in his toe go away. He realized he had been given healing abilities. And ultimately he went on to give healings and train others to heal as well. One of Usui’s students trained a Hawaiian women and that’s how Reiki found it’s way to the western world. 

In order to channel the Reiki energy you have to be attuned to it. An attunement or also sometimes called a placement or ignition, is a sacred ceremony granted by a Reiki master to allow the student to be open to receiving the energy. And the Reiki master is really just the facilitator, the modern attunement or placement process is really done between the reiki energy and the student. Traditional attunements went through the Reiki master to the student, but some people think that that was almost dampening the energy transfer and that the student would pick up some of the Reiki master’s energy in the process. Kind of like the game telephone, where when something gets passed on and on through many people, at the end of the line it’s completely different than what it started out as. So the modern process is really between the Reiki directly to the student, because then it’s always coming directly from the source and not through a lineage of teachers. The practices that are taught and passed down are still taught through the lineages but the energy placement itself is now direct. And this will depend on the specific teacher you have and how they choose to do it. I have had both the traditional way and the new way. I personally prefer the new way and it’s the one I use for my students. And if you’re wondering why you would need an attunement if it’s life force energy, the energy of the universe, then shouldn’t that be free and available to anyone and everyone to use? Yes and no. Yes, the energy of the universe can be channeled and used and you can absolutely do that, however Reiki is a specific frequency of that energy. Just like on a radio there are many channels and a lot of static, the attunement process aligns you to the specific and very clear frequency that Reiki is. So you never have to go searching for it, it’s always there as a preset for life. Once you’re attuned it never goes away, unless you no longer wanted it for some reason although I’ve never heard of that. The other reason for the attunement or placement is the ceremonial aspect of it. It’s an agreement that you will respect the energy and uphold the sacred practices of it. It’s an energetic contract between you and the Reiki.

Some common misconceptions about Reiki and what Reiki is not: it’s not a religion, it’s open to anyone who wants to work with it. It’s not massage, or reflexology, or acupressure. All of those are completely different. Reiki is often done away from the body even in an in person session. Some practitioners do place their hands on the body but it’s very gentle so not like massage or reflexology or accupressure at all. Which is kind of where I think you need to be called to it to some extent. Because with the modalities I just mentioned, you have some amount of physical manipulation. And the human brain equates that manipultion with change. So your brain expects a change or a result as an effect of what was done. With Reiki, because there is no physical manipulation, aside from if you are sensitive enough to have some kind of physical sensation which is not required for it to work, then the brain might have a hard time equating that with a change occurring. And so those who need the connection made probably aren’t going to feel called to it. And that’s okay. I just think it’s an interesting point to talk about, the way we process things. People also often confuse the chakra system as part of Reiki. But it was never part of the traditional teachings. These two systems have found their way together and you will very often see the chakras used as part of a reiki session. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just personal preference whether or not to use them as a map of the energetic body, but it’s a common misconception that the chakras are part of reiki. Another common misconception is that reiki is just an energy healing system. It is an energy healing modality, but it’s so much more than that. It’s a spiritual guide. When you enter onto the path of using Reiki, you allow it to help guide you. And the more you work with it, the more it will work with you. When you receive the placement, it’s sort of like planting a seed. And as that seed starts to grow and sprout it pushes to the surface, things that need to be healed, as well as the energy itself. So if you think about it being planted at the subconscious level, then over time it works its way up and out to your conscious awareness, often bringing with it more joy, and compassion, and self-love, and inner peace. It’s a journey, and a very beautiful one at that if you feel called to it. 

There are different levels of Reiki. The most recognized system is where you have level one, level two, and level three, three being the master level. For each level, you receive an attunement or placement. Reiki one is focused on self-healing, Reiki two expands into healing others, distance healing, and the sacred symbols, and Reiki Master is the placement of the master symbol and learning how to teach others. I do have a Reiki one training which is linked in the show notes if you want to learn more about becoming a certified self-healer.

I want to leave you with a simple practice to try so that you can experience feeling life force energy for yourself. For this you’ll need to find a quiet place where you can close your eyes so you can come back to this episode later if you can’t do that right now. So if it’s safe for you to do so, go ahead and close your eyes and take a cleansing breath. Then bring your palms together and start rubbing them together just to generate some heat that will feel nice in the next step. After a couple seconds go ahead and slowly begin to pull your palms apart, just noticing what you feel as you do that. Possibly a resistance or a pull, maybe tingling or pulsing, just noticing without judgement. Then go ahead and bring your palms up over your eyes. Not applying any pressure but just resting over the eyes and letting the heat we generated a moment ago soothe and feel healing. Just sitting with that for a minute, you can stay here as long as you like, but when you’re ready, bring your palms down into your lap and open your eyes. That’s a small taste of what using Reiki is like. So if you liked that then I’d encourage you to book a Reiki session or find a class to dive deeper. I no longer offer 1 on 1 sessions because I’m much more interested in empowering people to do healing for themselves. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with receiving sessions, I still regularly get them myself, but I also know how to help myself at any moment without having to wait and rely on someone else to do it for me. The whole, feed someone a fish and they eat once, but teach them to fish and they eat forever, it’s like that. I’m more focused on giving you the tools to have at your disposal anytime anywhere. And if you are interested in that I do have a Reiki one training and certification which is linked in the show notes. 

I hope you enjoyed learning about Reiki. If you have any questions you can email me or send me a message on instagram. I hope you’re taking good care of yourself this week and I’ll see you in the next episode.