Reiki 101: What Is Reiki and How Can It Benefit You?

What is Reiki

Reiki (pronounced "ray-key") is sort of a high-level concept to wrap your head around. The Japanese holistic therapy is a method of therapeutic touch, but isn't a massage, though you lie down on a massage table to receive it and can feel super relaxed afterwards; it isn't a religion, though there's certainly a spiritual aspect to it; and it isn't a meditation, though it can be meditative. Confused? So, what IS Reiki then?! 

In a nutshell: Reiki is energy healing. It can benefit anyone by opening up energy blockages within the body and mind. 

Intuitive Reiki Master Jessica Calderon of  The J Way

Intuitive Reiki Master Jessica Calderon of The J Way

I was introduced to Reiki several years ago by a close friend who was studying it. Interested in exploring it on a deeper level, I recently completed a Reiki I certification course.

I've found that many people have heard of it, are interested in it, but don't really know what the heck it is. Sound familiar? To help answer some Reiki frequently asked questions, my amazing teacher and Intuitive Reiki Master, Jessica Calderon of The J Way, provides some insights to all of your frequently asked questions below.

What is energy healing? 

To understand Reiki, you have to understand energy. Energy is everywhere. It is in living beings, from people to animals to plants. Physically, you use it to get up, go about your day, workout, do the dishes, have sex and more. But there also is energy beyond the physical, as we all know from feeling emotion. You know how when you walk into a room and you can feel the energy? How are you able to do that? It just happens, right? That's not physical energy you're feeling. In Reiki, this non-physical energy is called "Ki energy." 

"Ki energy is the primary energy of our emotions, thoughts and spiritual life force. The Ki flows through our bodies, and are connected to the health and optimal function of our bodily systems on a deeper level. When we have a free-flowing energy, we are balanced and healthy," Calderon explains. 

How does Reiki use energy to heal?

Reiki clears the energy cobwebs, so to speak. "Reiki heals, straightens and strengthens the pathways of energy, allowing healthy healing energy to flow to promote self healing, and negative energy to break off," Calderon says. "Reiki means universal (or spiritually guided) life-force energy. It is a particular thread of intelligent energy that moves through the Reiki practitioner and into the individual receiving the Reiki energy healing," says Calderon. 

What can Reiki help with?

Reiki benefits everything from stress to indecisiveness to pain. The energy of your mind plays a huge role in your physical being. "Reiki healing helps to engage the body's own self-healing physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually," Calderon says, and provides the following examples of how it benefits you: 

  • Helps to release stress, find an inner calm and create more of a peaceful relaxation within.
  • Clears pain and tension in the body.
  • Aids in a restful sleep.
  • Helps you focus and be decisive.
  • Creates an internal balance so that your body can function optimally.
  • Restores a more harmonious energy flow.

"When our energy is obstructed or congested, it can build up as tension, stress, pain, feeling tired and even sickness. Reiki helps to ground and center you," Calderon says.

What can I expect during the session? 

This may vary from practitioner to practitioner, but generally, here's how it works: You'll lie down face up on a treatment table with eyes closed and clothes on. You won't speak with the practitioner during the session. They will hover their hands over the different energy centers (called chakras) in your body, and may gently touch you in some areas, such as on the top of your head or on your feet. As the Reiki practitioner moves across your body, he or she is letting the universal Reiki energy flow through them and into you. They are so in tune to this "higher" energy level that they may feel blockages in your energy flow. At the end of your sesh, you'll chat about what both you and they experienced.

"I pick up messages throughout the session that I relay to each client at the end of the session to give them confirmation, direction and what they need to know, see or focus on until I see them again. Reiki is just like any healing…it is a wonderful approach to help aid in your self-healing capabilities, but you still need to do your work as well," Calderon advises.

What are some things I might feel during a session?

Everyone is unique in the way they respond to the Reiki energy. I've personally seen colors, been super relaxed, almost fallen asleep, felt a pulsing sensation and release in my stomach, felt a lightness in my head and have had very clear messages pop into my mind.

Calderon adds, "I have had people report they feel flowing movement, heat, cooling, twitching, tummy growls and colors or light and dark. Some have small movements with their arms, hands, legs and feet, tingling sensations, sometimes pain—which means that the person is releasing something and it is coming to the surface in order to be released. I have had people cry as a release of emotions as well. Most people have a sense of relaxation and peace. As energy breaks off negative feelings like tension or fear, people will often fall asleep."

Why do some people get so relaxed without any massage involved? 

"The Reiki energy is gentle and works with the subtle body energy. This puts people into an alpha state similar to that of a meditative state or just before sleep—they are able to relax and let go of tension in the body, which enables the Reiki to go deeper," Calderon says. 

What is an "aura"? 

The energy that surrounds your physical body is your aura. This ever-changing field of energy spans about 4 to 5 feet around your body. "I like to think of the aura as our soul shining through the body. It is created by all of our thoughts and feelings, both conscious and unconscious, along with the energies in the physical body. So, it is very important for our health to have more positive thoughts and feelings," Calderon says. 

What makes someone a Reiki Master? 

"A Reiki Master is someone who went through a deeper level of training. They are able to teach Reiki. You do not have to go through all Reiki certifications in order to practice Reiki. Reiki I is for self-healing. Reiki II is for healing other individuals," Calderon explains.

What's the best way to find a Reiki practitioner?

Just as I found my Reiki teachers/practitioners, I would go through recommendations. Also, go with your gut! If it feels right, do it…if you are not ready or not connecting with the practitioner, then continue your search. Keep in mind that you do not have to find a "Reiki Master" in order to experience a Reiki session. Reiki Level II can also perform sessions that are just as beneficial. Reiki III or Master Level practitioners just have more experience and training.

Is there anything I should do before, during or after a session? 

"Nothing specifically before. During a session, I always have the client take a few deep breaths to relax them and answer any questions they may have to make them feel more at ease. I also have them set an intention of what they would like to get out of the healing and they can say this to themselves to create a focus for the mind. After the session, I always encourage my clients to drink lots of water," Calderon says

How often should I do Reiki?

It really depends on the person, but typically, a weekly session is ideal to address any specific chronic issue or something like high anxiety. For those who want more of a maintenance plan for overall good energy, a monthly session is optimal. 

Questions? Let us know in the comments section below!

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