Reiki – energy transfer therapy

Reiki is a Japanese word for “universal life energy”, which can also be called prana, qi, or even, for Star Wars appreciators among us, “the force”. Reiki is a healing art that is believed to have originated thousands of years ago and carried different names, with the current name originating after a Japanese man named Mikao Usui has re-discovered it again. There are definitely a lot of opinions about what Reiki healing is, ranging between “a bunch of woowoo” to “I don’t know how, but it worked” to “no more pills or surgery for me”, so as a practitioner I want to answer some very frequently asked questions.

A trained Reiki practitioner acts as a channel for the energy and transfers it into the recipients’ body by placing palms over clothed areas that correspond with major 7 chakras in an energetic body. This energy transfer relaxes the nervous system, and the most common results that people report after Reiki treatments are calmness, reduced anxiety, improved sleep quality, digestion and elimination; quickened repair and recovery of wounds and physical trauma, and feeling of lightness and wellbeing. During the session a practitioner may come across congestions that are connected with specific dates, events and people, scan the physical body and check organ functions, and recommend lifestyle modifications or further steps to alleviate pain and continue healing after the treatment.

How is it possible to heal with energy?

Cyndi Dale writes in “The subtle body”: “Everything is made of energy: molecules, pathogens, medicine and even emotions and thoughts. Each one of our cells has electric pulsation, and our tissues, organs and whole bodies are not just physical, but electromagnetic”. Diffusion processes between the cells and capillaries of all the bodies happen due to charge differences in ions – we have electrically charged particles inside of us that are responsible for vital processes. All disease has energetic component – a blood clot in an artery is as much a palpable mass, as it is an energetic mass that blocks the flow of electromagnetic energy. Even the word “physical”, which we typically apply to tangible items, comes from “physics”, the science that studies not just matter but its smallest particles, their behavior and effects of energy (!) and force.

As Bruce Lipton, pioneer of epigenetics, writes in his book “Biology of Belief”, “[cellular] receptor “antennas” can read vibrational energy fields such as light, sound, and radio frequencies. The antennas on these “energy” receptors vibrate like tuning forks. If an energy vibration in the environment resonates with a receptor’s antenna, it will alter the protein’s charge, causing the receptor to change shape […] because receptors can read energy fields, the notion that only physical molecules can impact cell physiology is outmoded. Biological behaviour can be controlled by invisible forces, including thought […]”. This may also explain why Reiki treatments are effective and precise over distance, when the practitioner and receiver are continents apart. I have regular treatments from someone who lives in Europe while I am in Shanghai, I swap treatments with a friend while we travel on airplanes, treat family members on the other side of the world and offer free distance group sessions over full moons. The precision of information that comes after treatments is astonishing. We are all able to connect to universal energy field to channel Reiki and to individual energy fields of willing recipients to scan and offer information and healing. Just like satellite and Wi-Fi allow us to transmit information across space, energy treatments have no boundaries and are not confined to a healing room.

The ethics

Accuracy of information from both hands-on and distance Reiki capabilities sometimes brings up fears from people who do not want to disclose any personal details about themselves and are afraid to be read like an open book. It is true that some people are able to “read” others and deliver very precise information, even when their advice is unsolicited. I have been stopped on the streets several times by “mediums” who have read something in my field. Whether information was true or false was irrelevant, it felt like invasion of privacy. As a practitioner I abide by the rule that a person needs to give me a permission by asking to receive a treatment – booking time for hands-on or distance treatment or enroll their name into a group list.

Diane Stein, a famous Reiki teacher and practitioner, writes in her book “Essential Reiki” that permission is of vital importance as we cannot violate anyone’s free will, but that permission may not only be given on a physical plane. When a practitioner meditates and visualizes the person that may need healing, they ask for permission and depending on whether it is granted or not either proceed with healing or withdraw from offering one, with love and non-judgement. People often ask for healing for their friends and relatives in critical health situations – it is a good idea to check with receiver if they wish to accept the energy.

In the same manner, people often ask if they would receive “bad energy” from the practitioner. The answer is that if a practitioner is properly trained and accepts Reiki as a way of life, they must keep strict personal energy hygiene. Daily meditation and regular self-treatments are our way of life, as well as regular cleansing of the healing space and any tools, both energetically and physically. Another detail is that a practitioner does not transfer their own energy – they channel Reiki from universal field, which means that they are the first “patient” on the way of energy, receiving a healing and at the same time being a clean channel for Reiki.

Reiki treatment is performed with receiver fully clothed, and hand positions are respectful of personal boundaries. In case of open wounds, skin issues, breast cancer, or diseases of urogenital area where Reiki treatment is sought after specifically to help these conditions, Reiki healers hold their hands above the skin, without touching sensitive areas. There are modalities like “Reiki massage” that I came across, where licensed massage therapist performs massage and Reiki energy is flowing, but typically the main focus is on massage therapy, although I would recommend that a client clearly asks the practitioner about what a session entails.

The healing

Reiki works on several layers: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Depending on severity of congestions and how much energy is required to remove them, recipient may feel tingling, heat, swelling or nothing at all during the session. Old scars sometimes feel like they move in wavelike motion, and energy ziplines through arms and legs (as I study acupuncture I observe that it is often along the meridian lines). Many people fall asleep and snooze happily through the hour, some do not sleep, but go into the sweet theta brainwaves in-between state, not quite awake, yet not asleep. Often when nervous system is in overdrive and finally catches a break, receivers feel sleepy for the rest of the day, of even the next day. Some do a “detox” of emotions and physical body – with heightened awareness and a bit more sensitivity to noise and presence of others. These are typical, but not guaranteed sensations, and many don’t feel anything unusual during or after the treatment.

A very frequently asked question is “how many sessions will I need?”. Even after several years of experience and several hundred treatments my answer is “I don’t know”. I cannot know how different people will respond to energy, in the same way any allopathic medical professional will not be able to tell how long a particular patient will need medication for, except  they can suggest an opinion based on general guidelines, their experience and monitoring particular patient’s condition and blood work. As I mentioned, I get regular treatments, both self-healing and from other Reiki masters. I have met people who chose different approaches: some come every week when they are going through serious trauma, have an injury or difficult patch in life and once it gets better they move on, sometimes coming back a year later and sometimes not until another rough patch. Some choose monthly tune-up, or bi-monthly, or follow new or full moons, or gift themselves with a treatment every birthday, but there is not one-seze fits all.

Despite strong physical healing effects that clients often report, this subtle energy medicine does not substitute qualified medical care, but is rather a component of integrative medicine, a symbiosis of allopathic and traditional, or alternative, medicine. Neither is Reiki a panacea – receiving treatments may not cure chronic or life-threatening illness but may well serve palliative purpose and alleviate suffering and pain.

Famous fashion designer Donna Karan and her friends Colleen Saidman-Yee and Rodney Yee created Urban Zen Foundation, a wellness non-profit that uses yoga, Reiki, essential oil therapy and mindfulness exercises to provide more holistic care in hospitals. After Donna Karan lost her husband to lung cancer, and found solace in practicing “grief yoga”, she partnered up with the Yees, very experienced yoga teachers and Reiki practitioners, to first create a non-profit and then launch a training program to make Reiki and other holistic healing arts accessible to hospitals in the US. Reiki is becoming more widespread and accepted, and many people benefit from the gentle, soothing energy of a Reiki treatment.

How do I know a good practitioner?

Number 1: listen to yourself. Someone may recommend a practitioner they love who just doesn’t sit well with you. Trust that voice or feeling inside of you. People may be professional, courteous, very experienced, and have a lot of other health-related qualifications, but just not resonant with you.

Number 2: ask those who have received treatments about their experiences. There is, of course, the risk that someone may have had a wonderful treatment, but you have a different idea of “wonderful”. Check back with yourself – does the practitioner feel resonant?

Number 3: ask a practitioner about their certifications, training and practice level, teacher(s) and experience. Typically, you can trace their lineage back a few teachers and/or find full, relevant information about their practice. The world is a global village, so there is a chance, of course, that your practitioner’s teacher(s) lives abroad, but with current access to information it is not difficult to find the details.

Recently someone asked me about my training and certification – a request that I appreciate, respect and happy to respond to with full information, but I know many people feel uncomfortable with when they are in the shoes of receiver. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of when you want to check practitioner’s credentials. Teaching methods and training varies from teacher to teacher: some train to only use hands, and my training as a Reiki Master included so much more: crystal healing, pendulum diagnosis, Akashic records, psychic meditation. All of these are tools that I employ in a typical Reiki session. Being part of a global Reiki community, I have the privilege to know, study with and get treatments from the healers I fully trust, but if you don’t ask, how would you know? So please do not be shy to enquire.

I hope this answers some questions about Reiki. Whether or not you are ready to experience it, here are 5 Reiki principles that are applicable for anyone:

Just for today, do not anger.

Just for today, do not worry.

Just for today, be grateful.

Just for today, do your work honestly.

Just for today, be kind to every living being.

To book a hands-on or distance Reiki treatment with me, please email to

Many blessings your way!


Published by Valeria

Chaser of parasympathetic bliss and most decadent meals. Certified nutrition therapist. Co-active coach. Gong Master trained by Don Conreaux. Reiki Master and acupuncturist-in-the-making. Based in Shanghai, China, working with clients all over the world.

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