What is distance Reiki treatment?

Reiki is a form of energy transfer therapy that works on the body holistically – on physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels. In my previous article, I dove deep into what Reiki is, the basics of how it works and the ethics of my practice.

What is a distance Reiki treatment?

It is Reiki energy healing that is sent via distance, when practitioner and receiver are not located at the same rooms, cities or even continents.

Some of the most emblematic items of distance energy work, are, perhaps, voodoo dolls, that are dramatically pierced and pricked with needles in multiple movies, causing great discomfort to protagonists. While this strong magical practice, voodoo, is not often depicted to be used for the benefit of the receiver, we probably have sensationalist filmmakers to blame for such inaccurate perception and false attribution of atrocious practices to voudon religion. Voodoo (voudon) is a rich, complex animistic spiritual practice that calls on many gods and spirits to help heal and promote wellbeing, and it is not limited to stuffed figurines and pins. Speaking of dolls and needles, as an acupuncturist, I would love to one day get access to an MRI machine, some volunteer patients and test out how well distance acupuncture can work! After all, as acupuncturists we also manipulate energy running in the body’s meridians.

People who come to my Reiki and gong sessions often unknowingly point to meridians described by TCM, when they recall electric sensations running through their bodies. Distance Reiki treatments are just as effective as hands-on therapy, since the energy field has no boundaries. Just like radio waves and WiFi connect while staying invisible, Reiki sent over distance heals, and while it does remain invisible, the sensations of both therapist and receiver can be very vivid and obvious.

The skill of sending Reiki via distance is usually taught during the second level of Reiki practitioner course. It includes three sacred distance symbols and a proxy – a stuffed toy, pillow or folded blanket that be used as a stand-in and help visualise the areas of the body. The practitioner energetically connects to the person they are treating, and administers the treatment in the same way a hands-on session would go – gently moving hands along the areas corresponding with major chakras, noticing if any messages arrive or particular areas feel different. Both the sender and the recipient may feel the effects of energy transfer: heat, cold, tingling or vibration, seeing colors, or not much at all.

 For a beginner, it can be challenging to calm down the rational mind, the intellect, as our mental body tends to question everything: how is it possible? Is it working? Are my hands placed on the teddy bear’s liver now?? It is the skeptical part of us that is crucial for discernment, but can be a weak spot when we deal with delicate energy matters.  

Strong mental bodies are what drives research – including MRI studies of distance energetic treatments – but they also sometimes limit our perception of things that can’t be measured, at least not just yet. This meta-study of Reiki shows […there may be a scientific explanation for Reiki therapy to be found in quantum physics, a branch of physics studies extremely small particles and attempts to describe the interactions of energy and matter. Not only can these very tiny particles be in more than one place at once, some theorists say they have to be in more than one place at the same time (Rosenblum & Kuttner, 2006) … Biofield energy may be gathered and directed by the practitioner to the recipient as explained by quantum physics, e.g., thought produces change in how the particles work (Rosenblum & Kuttner, 2006). Distance healing may be explained by energy particles being simultaneously present at the location and time of the Reiki practitioner and the location and time of the recipient through the intention of the Reiki practitioner.

Not all Reiki practitioners are quantum physicists, and beginners often have to go on pure faith, at least until they amass multiple evidence of accuracy of their readings. A proxy, toy or pillow, allows to direct the awareness to a tangible object and helps the beginner to connect. Even when no specific information arrives during those first practice rounds, people on the receiving end who gave their permission to be treated almost always have visions or sensations of energy running through. 

I, too, had to clock in hours with a stuffed toy, airplane pillows and yoga bolsters to learn to trust my intuition and psychic skill. I still use them now, but for a different reason – they are a nice platform for crystals when those are used for treatment, a great hand-warmer and just an overall comforter to allow me to drop quickly and deeply into theta state to channel Reiki.

Later in my Reiki development, I trained in weeklong, full-time DPA meditation course, Developing Psychic Awareness, and learned to send treatments without use of a stand-in, and those are just as effective. Over time, the more treatments practitioner gives, the stronger and more clear intuition becomes. Each practitioner has a set of skills that one way or another contributes to their treatment structure and clarity of information they receive, regardless if they see someone in person or over distance. Some people see auras and spirits since childhood, some are born with mediumship abilities, some utilize intellectual knowledge they consciously acquired. My training in co-active coaching helps during post-treatment chats when we dive into information and see what this may mean to a person and how to move forward. There are many MDs, acupuncturists, osteopaths, nurses, massage therapists, counselors and psychologists who practice Reiki and benefit from having several healing skillsets.  

For me, another quantum leap in quality of readings after DPA happened when I started medical school and learned detailed, clinical human anatomy and physiology plus TCM meridians and points maps. I started seeing bodies as if on colored 3D X-ray/MRI combo, with organs and systems highlighted differently when there are physical health issues, emotional congestions, old injuries or pain, with energy meridians sparkling and guiding me to the source of discomfort.  This does not mean I will be listing every busted knee someone had since the age they started climbing trees, but deep, fibrotic scar tissue conducts energy poorly compared to healthy tissues, and over time can contribute to gaps in body’s electromagnetic field and nutrient delivery and tissue detox surrounding the area.

From my experience, people often report sensations of intense, but not unpleasant heat, in the area of damage. When scar involves joints, they often feel improved mobility after the treatment. 

Who opts for distance treatments?

Anyone and everyone who has no ability to be physically present have opted for distance treatments. 

Some people have been coming regularly, but moved away and want to continue the work. 

Some prefer privacy and comfort of their own homes, when they can receive treatment and roll into bed straight after, instead of a long commute. 

Some are not physically well with acute illness or a flare-up of chronic ailment, and want an extra boost to their healing.

Some have relatives and friends who come to see me “offline” regularly and trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than searching for a practitioner in the area. 

Some have temporary difficulty scheduling their regular hands-on session in, and so we schedule our meetings for their airplane or commute time.

In the same way, if I am traveling, we find the way to work over distance. I have the luxury of access to some of the best Reiki healers in Shanghai and use their “offline” services, and I still receive regular distant treatments. Over time not just Reiki, but a relationship with the therapist contributes to sessions, and if we got to know each other well and trust each other deeply while living in the same place, there is no reason why we can’t continue sessions over distance. We laugh about old triggers resurfacing, marvel at similarities and parallels in our lives, empathize the transitions and refer our own wellness team members – therapists, coaches, other professionals. When the going gets rough, I’ll take all the help I can – hands-on and over energy WiFi. 

Reasons to choose distance Reiki sessions are many, but healing is always deep. I am based in Shanghai, China, and I travel regularly, but this doesn’t prevent Reiki I send from reaching across the world. I worked with a criminal lawyer in Europe who was going through a particularly rough case and wanted to get neutrality and peacefulness for the proceedings.

I sent healing to a young mother-to-be in the United States who was getting anxious before delivery.

I saw a relative in another continent through a prolonged illness.

I sent healing to people’s dying relatives all over the world, to ease their pain and suffering.

I treat a few people with autoimmune conditions, both during flare-ups when they are hospitalized and cannot be present in person, and during quiet times.

I continue working with former Shanghai residents who moved, but have had Reiki on their roster for years and find a lot of healing and personal growth.

I try to help rescuers with sick or missing rescue animals. Together with other healers, we support people (and even their pets) from our tribe when they go through life’s difficult transitions, illnesses and losses.  

What comes through in distance Reiki session?

Short answer: the same information that would surface in a hands-on session. I offer free distance group treatments on auspicious days like new moons and full moons, which does not include a personal reading, but very specific personal messages do seep through for those who really need to hear them at the moment, and they are always accurate.

A woman once enrolled, with their permission, two relatives into a distance full moon session. I have not seen their pictures, was not told what ailed them (not because I wanted a double-blind study, but it’s hard to collect personal stories from 50+ people that usually enroll into distance treatments), just knew their names. I still remember now (and I am sharing this with their permission), one of three ladies had a very tight jaw and wound in the mouth that energy was healing, another one had severe constipation and the third one had a small energetic congestion in her ovary, all visible in my “3D Reiki anatomical body scanner”. Very clear information came through for them personally, which I forwarded and went to bed – we had a huge time difference. 

The next morning message came – one lady bit her lip in unfortunate way and the flap in her mouth was very painful, but it disappeared overnight after distance Reiki. The second one usually needed coffee before she could eliminate in the morning – and she woke up that day and headed to the bathroom before she could even take a sip of water. The third was in menopause for 9 years by then, but felt some movement in her lower abdomen and discovered she bled for a few hours, which was painless and resolved on the same day. From my knowledge, her health checkups were up-to-date and she had no gynecological issues. Of course, Reiki is not a panacea and definitely not a replacement for medical care, even if administered by an MD – so I always urge people to monitor their health and assemble their personal wellness team, so everything is covered, from allopathic to naturopathic. 

Receiving distance Reiki

Receiving the distance treatment is most effective when people take time and care to receive it – not enroll themselves into the list or book a private session and forget about it. I encourage to lie down and rest, to meditate or receive in your sleep (works well when time zones separate us). Several times, I have messaged with personal information that came through in the group treatment, for people to admit they forgot about it, were doing something else “to be productive” or “not feeling much” as they were out and about. This never happened when people booked 1:1 treatments, but occured during group sessions. How we do anything is how we do everything – if we hope to get benefits, there is the giving part and the receiving part, the yang and the yin, the respect toward the energy and the practitioner who offers their time and effort without asking for payment (some people want to contribute to charity as gratitude for free group treatment – I am eternally grateful to those who have been doing that over the years!). Energy is a subtle force, and feeling and receiving it requires a bit of quiet concentration. 

Being in the middle of a loud dinner and booking oneself for a Reiki healing session at the same time is just not the best choice. In the same manner, booking in friends or relatives whom people believe would benefit from the treatment, without asking their permission, is not the best idea. A person needs to fulfill their part of the deal, to show up to the rendezvous, to show respect to the energy and the healer’s time, to be mindful of their choices and requests, so energy can work with their aura. Sometimes, it is not an outward “Yes”, as people may be out of consciousness, and pets don’t often talk, but allowing space of quiet and asking the question from a meditative, not panicking mind, will always yield an answer. Of course, families request healing for those who may be in coma, out of consciousness due to trauma or post-surgically, but there is usually an understanding of Reiki and recepient’s general openness to Reiki.

In a few cases, people said they felt such overwhelming emotional feedback, they were glad to have allocated the time to be alone during their 1:1 and group healings and really RECEIVE, and have the space to break down and really feel everything out, sobbing, moving, shaking, being sad and overwhelmed with waves of emotion, but still feeling the healing. Truth is, healing is not about unicorns and rainbows and accepting an analgesic and instantly feeling better, sometimes healing means dismantling and destroying first: to build a better foundation on the ruins, to let the light in through the cracks. 

How to receive distance Reiki?

In the perfect world, people try to follow these recommendations, but if you have no choice but to be squeezed in the small airplane seat, take care of children, or wear a corseted gown and receive Reiki on your long limo ride to Nobel prize dinner – we take what we can! So, absolutely no judgement if these conditions are not aligned. A present, relaxed mind and nervous system intending to accept healing is a great start. But if you are ready to make a true ritual for yourself and allow the energy to soothe and rock you gently:

Wear comfortable clothes that don’t disturb lymphatic circulation. Remove tight jeans, elastic bands, belts, bras – they squeeze delicate layers of the skin and fascia, where many energy meridians run and prevent lymph from moving. Detox is all about lymphatic cleansing of waste. Every emotion has biochemical messenger molecule in the body, so we want the passageways to be unobstructed as we work on layers of the body with Reiki.

Allocate 90 minutes of your time and find the space where you won’t be interrupted or disturbed much. Young mothers, who don’t have extra pair of hands for childcare, often opt to nap with their little ones, or, when time zones are on our sides, schedule their sessions for nighttime. Some stay in bed, some lie down on the floor with comfy props in any of the restorative yoga poses – legs up the wall, extended yin forward fold, savasana, some prefer to sit in meditation on the floor, chair or sofa. Falling asleep is a great sign of nervous system relaxing! This is the reason I don’t recommend lighting a candle or incense if you are alone at home when you receive distance treatment. By all means, smudge your sacred space beforehand, but make sure to put the fires out before you lie down.

Reiki treatment lasts between 45-60 minutes, and then we choose one of the following: an email or text follow up, which is preferred when time zones differ drastically, or a 15-20 minute Skype call immediately, or later, to chat face to face and go over the information that came through. 

Try not to schedule strenuous activities, physical or social, after the session. Some feel lightness and ease, some need to have a good cry and stay alone – healing comes in all shapes and forms. Many say they are sleepy and ready for bed, some become so energized they can (and do) train for marathons. Nervous system receives a tremendous amount of electromagnetic energy during Reiki treatments, sometimes it needs time and care to recalibrate, but it is hard to predict what individual reaction will be before the session.

Drink a lot of water or herbal teas and avoid any stimulating foods and beverages – coffee, tea, adaptogens, cacao, sugar, for a day (or several) after. This applies to a lot of healing modalities – acupuncture, Reiki, sound healing and many more. Spending all this time and effort to bring the nervous system down into the state of parasympathetic bliss, about which I wrote beforeis quickly undone by injecting cortisol-stimulating substances. Water is the universal solvent that will help flush any dislodged molecules of emotion that are not necessary anymore.

But, again, if things don’t align perfectly, don’t let it stop you. I had some luxurious, long Reiki naps by the ocean, but I have also received Reiki on long subway and taxi rides on my way to airports and exams, hacking the noise with headphones that played gong recordings, and using my scarf or hat as impromptu eye mask. I get and give distance treatments like a pro on the planes – with my customs playlists, noise-cancelling headphones, smidge of essential oil and my favorite sleeping mask (I am always auditioning new favorites!), I am not bothered by loud hum of engines, blue screens, food smells and flight attendants.

If you are ready to receive Reiki, whether in person or through distance, connect with me through Wechat or email, WholisticTherapiesShanghai@gmail.com, to book a session. I hope whichever way healing comes to your life, your mind will be present and relaxed to receive it!


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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