Before we discuss the why, let’s discuss the what. What is Reiki? Simply put, Reiki is energy healing through the hands. It was created by Dr. Mikao Usui and has been around since the early 20th century. The loving, healing energy of Reiki is truly available to anyone. That being said, to practice Reiki and provide this service to others, you should become a certified Reiki Practitioner. I am a Master Reiki. This means I’ve completed Reiki Certifications 1 and 2 first, applied the practice for some time, and then went back and had a Reiki Attunement to become a Master Reiki. Access to reiki energy is passed down from Reiki practitioners to others through attunement and via ancient symbolism. The idea is the healing energy of reiki stimulates the body’s natural ability to heal. There is existing research to support the therapeutic benefits of Reiki and it is being used in hospitals now across the US.
Now we can dive into the why. As a Nutrition Dynamic Registered Dietitian and Health Coach, a big part of the work I do with clients is on decreasing stress and tapping into the parasympathetic state. Reiki is an EXCELLENT therapy to bring into your regular self-care routine. Here are some reasons you may want to consider a reiki session.
- Because it feels REALLY GOOD: Honestly, you do not need a reason to receive reiki. It feels REALLY good to receive healing energy and may enhance quality of life. Sometimes it can cause side effects, such as, lethargy or melancholy. This is because it can be a sort of detoxification. After reiki you may be doing some releasing of things no longer meant for you to carry. However, reiki sessions tend to be very relaxing and allow you space to tap into those theta brain waves you experience right before sleep. Theta brainwaves are connected to creativity, intuition and fantasy and are often accessed during activities such as meditation, breathwork and prayer.
- Stress, Anxiety, Mood Disorders, Depression, PTSD and Sleep Disorders: As mentioned in point 1, receiving reiki can be very relaxing and therapeutic. You may even find sleep during a reiki session and that’s perfectly okay because your body and consciousness will still absorb the benefits. During this time, you will calm the central nervous system and the anti-anxiety effects may linger long after the session.
- Pain: Physical or emotional pain can be “worked on” by the reiki practitioner during a session. If you have an injury, let’s say knee pain, the reiki practitioner can send additional healing support to that area. Or if you’re carrying some emotional pain, reiki can be used to release that pain and invite more healing vibrations in. However, even if you don’t share that info with your practitioner, you may still experience healing benefits to that ailment due to the holistic effect of the practice.
- A Scary Diagnosis or Prognosis: Cancer. Heart Disease. Infertility. Hospice. These are some examples of instances where Western Medicine is beginning to invite in Eastern Medicine practices, such as reiki. Hospitals across the country are offering reiki for some patients dealing with these conditions. There is more and more research coming out regarding the powerful impact our emotions and mental health have on our physical condition. Some associations have been found between those who BELIEVE they are healing and have a practice to visualize their healing with having better outcomes. In these cases and others, reiki may be used alongside standard treatment or as a last resort therapy.
- To Realign Your Chakras or Energy Fields of Your Body: Chakras are energetic fields within the body. Due to it’s holistic healing nature, reiki energy can help to center and realign any fields that may be out of balance. When chakras or energy fields are out of balance, it is thought that this can prevent us from healing and result in some unwanted health conditions. In other words, reiki is a great way to get your vibes up!
Reiki can be done in person or via virtual sessions. Distance reiki has been around since long before current social distancing conditions and offers the same benefits as in person reiki. Sessions are typically 20-90 minutes long. It is important to be very comfortable during your session, so wear loose and comfy clothing. Make sure to have enough clothing to be warm or even use a blanket. Make your environment vibey. This means light meditative music, incense or essential oils and crystals are all welcome. After your session make sure to rest and drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol, stimulants or physical activity following the session to allow the healing effects to settle. You may feel energized, peaceful or even tired. Any of that is normal.
Bowden D, et al. (2011). A randomised controlled single-blind trial of the efficacy of reiki at benefitting mood and well-being. DOI:
- Demir M, et al. (2015). Effects of distant reiki on pain, anxiety and fatigue in oncology patients in Turkey: A pilot study [Abstract].
Richeson NE, et al. (2010). Effects of reiki on anxiety, depression, pain, and physiological factors in community-dwelling older adults [Abstract]. DOI:
Kirshbaum MN, et al. (2016). An exploratory study of reiki experiences in women who have cancer [Abstract]. DOI: