Reiki Healing for Beginners
Written by: the Editors of goop
Published on: May 31, 2018
Updated on: July 26, 2022
Reiki, the healing therapy created by a Japanese Buddhist named Mikao Usui over a hundred years ago, is based on a simple spiritual principle: We’re all guided by the same invisible life force, and it controls our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. When the energy flows freely, we can tap into unknown reserves of power. When it runs into blockages (often said to be caused by negative thinking, unhealed trauma, or stress overload), we function at a suboptimal level.
While this may sound like voodoo magic to some, even nonbelievers who have spent an hour with a skilled Reiki master (as they’re called) have felt a positive shift of some sort. Many describe Reiki sessions—a combination of light touch and above-the-body energy sweeping—as calming or grounding. And for others, it feels more like an emotional realignment.
Reiki masters, like Kelsey Patel, train for years to understand and navigate subtle energy shifts, but Patel says anyone can learn (quickly) to work with energy, and impact the flow of others.
Healing Tools from a Reiki Master
First Step: Receiving Energy
To begin any Reiki practice, you must activate the energy within yourself. Close your eyes and take a few rounds of deep breaths. Imagine the crown of your head opening and a stream of healing white light flowing from the top of your head, into your heart, and out through your arms and hands. Ask to be filled up where you need healing most. This way, if you’re going to offer Reiki to a loved one, you won’t be giving to them from an empty cup.
As you feel the flow of energy, continue to breathe, and if you find your mind gets busy or starts to question whether this is working, come back to your breath. Envision yourself as a vessel for healing. Then set an intention or prayer to receive healing of the highest good.
Reiki for Sleep
To give a sleep-focused Reiki session to a friend or family member, ask the recipient to lie down while you position yourself near their head. Imagine a steady stream of healing light going from your hands into the back of their head and clearing the mind of any pain or discomfort experienced that day.
Ask your loved one to take several rounds of deep breaths and slowly count an inhale of three seconds and an exhale of three to five seconds.
Ask them to slowly see their whole day one memory at a time and to thank each memory before letting it go with their breath.
Allow them to drift off as you continue to channel the energy through your palms and send the healing light into their entire body. Imagine the body becoming healed, relaxed, and heavy for a peaceful night’s sleep. You can offer this Reiki for as long as you want, but between fifteen and thirty minutes is usually enough for them to feel relaxed and peaceful.
Reiki for Stress
Often when people have anxiety and stress, they are not breathing properly, and the shortness of breath can cause more stress. In this Reiki session, you want to channel energy down the recipient’s shoulders and into their body. Place your hands on their shoulders for ten to fifteen minutes. Focus on sending energy into their whole body and breathing deeply with them. This can naturally bring some of the intense mental energy down and get them back into their body. If your person is lying down, you can place your hands behind their head, too, to help them calm down.
I recommend remaining in the same spot for fifteen to twenty minutes for ultimate relaxation.
Last Step: Sealing Off Energy
It’s important to offer gratitude, cleanse yourself, and close the energy once you’ve completed a healing session. It can be as simple as stepping back, wiping your hands of any excess energy, and placing them in prayer to thank yourself, the energy, and the recipient for the exchange. You can also draw a large circle, crossing the arms in front of the body to signify the close of your two energies, and ending with hands in prayer.