Answers to your frequently asked questions about Reiki
If you’re new to Reiki, then you probably have some questions about it. (I know I did at first.) You'll find a lot of information out there on the interwebs, but not all of it is accurate, and I know that some of it can be pretty confusing. My goal is to help clear up any confusion you may have and give you honest, researched answers to your questions about Reiki. Read on to learn more, including what to expect during a Reiki session with me. Just click on the questions below to reveal their answers. Don't see your questions answered here? Submit them using the form at the bottom of the page.
Can Reiki help me?
Yes. Reiki can help anyone — as long as you’re willing to try it and you’re open to healing.
What does Reiki mean?
You may have read or heard that the word "Reiki" is derived from two Japanese words: rei, or universal, and ki, or life energy. I’ll stop you right there. An English translation can’t really reflect the full meaning of Reiki because it doesn’t account for the nuances of the Japanese language. And can anyone really explain what “life energy” means — without getting into major “woo-woo” territory? Instead of trying to give you a formal definition, I'll share a description of Reiki from an experienced practitioner and teacher, Pamela Miles, because it really resonates with me and is true to my experience with Reiki. In her book, “Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide,” Miles wrote, “Reiki is not like a radio that can be out of range. It’s the omnipresent, dimensionless, unified field in which everything exists.” You can also read a description of Reiki and its benefits on my Learn About Reiki page.
The BIG one: How does Reiki actually work?
The short answer: 42.
The long answer: I don’t know. Nobody really knows. There are so many mysteries in life, and for now, how Reiki works is one of them. There are some medical studies on the effects of Reiki, but that’s about it. We can’t apply the scientific method to Reiki because it’s not a science. Maybe as Reiki rises in popularity, we can dedicate more resources to investigating and studying it to find an explanation.
Wait. Why are you a Reiki practitioner if you don’t know how it works?
I asked myself that very question for a little while. I struggled with it until I decided to let go of the need to know the answer. That felt pretty good. I can’t deny that it would be pretty cool to find out how it works in my lifetime. But for now, I don’t really need to know how it works because I’ve seen enough evidence that it works.
What can I expect during an in-person Reiki session?
Although Reiki sessions are similar in nature, each practitioner has their own style. Here’s what you can expect for a private session with me: New clients must fill out a simple intake form online after booking a session. We’ll take a few minutes after you arrive to go over some important info from that form, including any concerns you may have, special needs or preferences, and whether or not you’re okay with light touches during the session. It will be a shorter discussion if you’re a returning client. Next, you’ll lie fully clothed on your back on a massage table and, if you’re okay with it, I’ll place a small pillow over your eyes. You can also sit in a chair and close your eyes if that better suits your needs. When you’re settled and comfy, I’ll begin to place my hands gently on or above your body, starting at your head and working my way down to your feet. I’ll then revisit certain placements as needed. What you feel during a session can differ for each person, but generally, my clients feel a deep sense of relaxation and sometimes fall asleep or into a dreamlike state. If you need anything during a session then you can let me know at any time. This is your session, and I want you to be as comfortable as possible. When I’m done with the session I’ll sometimes burn sage (if you’re not sensitive to it) and then gently remove your eye pillow. When you’re ready, you’ll sit up and drink some water as we discuss how you feel and what you experienced, if you choose to discuss it. I’ll also answer any questions that come up as a result of the session. Hopefully, you’ll leave feeling better than you did when you came in.
What can I expect during a remote Reiki session?
Remote sessions can be just as effective as in-person sessions. At the beginning of your session we’ll talk using an agreed upon method (phone or video chat). I’ll address any questions or concerns you may have, and if you’re a new client, we’ll go over the information on your intake form. I’ll then ask you to get a glass of water ready for after the session and find a comfortable spot to relax — your bed, couch, comfy chair, etc. We’ll hang up for the actual session, during which you’ll close your eyes and relax while I do Reiki from afar. You can use an eye mask or eye pillow if you have one. Just like during an in-person session, what happens during a remote session differs for everyone. Generally, people feel a deep sense of relaxation and sometimes fall asleep or into a dreamlike state. I’ll follow up via email or phone at a later time so you can continue to relax when the session’s over. When you’re ready, you’ll drink some water and hopefully feel better than you did before the session began.
How long does it take to see results from Reiki?
People often begin to feel better in some way during their first session. Keep in mind that every person is different, so the way you feel or notice results can vary. Results can also manifest in different ways and range from subtle to dramatic. Also remember that Reiki helps your body regain balance and heal in the way that you need it most at the time, and sometimes what you think you need is different from what you truly need.
How many Reiki sessions should I have?
That depends on your individual situation and needs. Every person is different. It’s likely for you to feel some improvement after just one session, but you may benefit even more when you have multiple sessions (I know that I do). Many practitioners have found that three or four sessions close together work well for first timers or people who are hoping to address a difficult issue. If you’re complementing medical treatment for physical or mental health with Reiki, then it makes sense for you to have Reiki sessions periodically throughout your treatment.
Is Reiki a form of massage?
No. Although they can both result in deep relaxation and are usually done lying down on a massage table, Reiki and massage are two different things. Massage involves muscle manipulation, and Reiki does not. People who for medical reasons cannot have a massage can safely receive Reiki. Some massage therapists are also trained in Reiki, and they may offer you Reiki during a massage session. However, they should only do that with your consent.
Is it possible to have too much Reiki?
No. You can have too much tuna, but there's no such thing as too much Reiki.
Is Reiki safe?
Yes, it’s safe. There are no known medical contraindications. Reiki is not invasive, and it’s practiced with light touch or no touch at all. Although Reiki itself can’t hurt you, an unprofessional or manipulative practitioner can. Take the time to research Reiki practitioners, and don’t be afraid to ask questions and search until you find someone that suits your needs. During a Reiki session, speak up If you feel at all uncomfortable. The practitioner should immediately address your concerns. If this doesn’t happen or if you feel unsafe for any reason, then leave and/or reach out for help if possible. Remember that you never need to remove any of your clothing for a Reiki session, and that a practitioner should never touch a sensitive or private area of your body — or touch you at all if that’s what you prefer.
I'm a skeptic. Why should I try Reiki?
Cool. I’m generally a skeptic, too. I was very skeptical about Reiki until I tried it myself, and it changed my life. If you’re a skeptic with an open mind, then I suggest you just give Reiki a try. I’m not saying it will definitely be life-changing, but you’ll likely experience some sort of benefit. So far, all of my clients say they’ve had positive experiences with Reiki. (Read some testimonials from Reiki Healing Works clients.) At the very least, you’ll get a chance to relax for a bit.
Does Reiki have anything to do with religion?
No. Reiki is not affiliated with any religion or dogma. People of any religious background and atheists can benefit from a Reiki treatment.
Can I learn how to practice Reiki?
Yes. Its accessibility is one of the things I love about Reiki. Anyone can learn to do it for themselves and others through a qualified Reiki teacher. If you’re interested in learning and you’re in the New York City area, I highly recommend my teacher, Kristin Reed at Healing Reiki Brooklyn, or Pamela Miles, who wrote, “Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide.” I will eventually become a teacher, but I’m not there yet.
Should I tip after a Reiki session?
I don’t expect tips for Reiki sessions, but I do welcome them. I know, I know — that’s not a super clear answer. The bottom line is that it’s okay if you don’t tip after a Reiki session. It’s not considered rude.
Ready to try Reiki?
Do you still have questions?
Submit your questions below, and I’ll do my best to answer them quickly. Also read more on my blog, Reiki, the Universe and Everything.