I received my first Reiki attunement over fifteen years ago. Since then I have no idea how many hundreds or possibly thousands of hours I have spent with my hands cupped over mine or someone else’s body letting that wonderful healing energy flow through them. Even with all that there are still moments, from time to time, where I don’t feel a huge amount happening in my hands. In this article I am going to talk a little about the reasons why this might be and also why it doesn’t matter. I will explain what can be more helpful to focus on to help you develop and deepen your Reiki practice.
Why don’t we always feel Reiki in our hands?
It is very common when we are new to Reiki to either not feel much happening in our hands or to feel very uncertain about sensations that we think might be Reiki. Whilst this is probably unsurprising for new practitioners it may appear a little more confusing if it occurs for more seasoned practitioners. Here are some of the reasons why this might be:
As students develop their practice and get to the point where they have been using Reiki regularly for some time some of the sensations and feelings of the Reiki flowing through our hands become our ‘new normal’; a sort of re-setting of the default for how our hands feel. In as sense, we ‘get used to’ how Reiki feels. Whilst this isn’t a problem at all, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the Reiki isn’t working, it can lead to people having a bit of a blip in their confidence. They may feel confused that, having built up a regular practice, they no longer feel so certain as to whether the Reiki is flowing.
There can be a natural variation in what we might call the rate of flow of Reiki. At different times, depending on factors such as how much Reiki we’ve been doing, how tense we’ve been feeling or how hectic our week has been, our bodies may absorb Reiki at different rates. Therefore, if the flow isn’t quite as strong we might feel less or find it harder to be aware of those sensations.
Most Reiki practitioners accept the premise that, theoretically at least, we could place our Reiki hands in just one place on ours or others bodies and, if we stay there long enough, the Reiki will eventually spread throughout the whole body. That said my observations of my own and my students’ experience is that there are differences in experiences of Reiki in different areas of the body. Some of these areas might change over time, for example if you temporarily injured your wrist that area of your body might seem to ‘appreciate’ the Reiki more than other areas whilst it is healing. However, people do seem to have certain areas of their body where the flow usually feels strong and there is a sense that the body particularly ‘likes it’ in that place. Some areas may optimise the experience of becoming more deeply relaxed more quickly. Getting to know these areas can be really useful when time is short.
Warmth in the hands is a common sensation that people feel when doing Reiki and they can come to rely on it as a guide for how well the Reiki is flowing. If our hands happen to be cold this, again, can be unreliable and knock our confidence.
Finally, when we are unwell it can feel harder to do Reiki on ourselves. We may generally feel a lot less going on at these times. This can be true at times of more significant emotional stress as well as when we are physically ill. We may question whether we’re capable of doing Reiki at these times. If you are unwell and you have someone who is able to give you some Reiki I would always recommend taking advantage of that. Whilst the Reiki energy is the same, I do think there are some additional benefits from simply receiving Reiki compared to doing Reiki on yourself. However, in between treatments from others or if you don’t have another Reiki practitioner handy I would always encourage you to do as much Reiki as you can on yourself at these times when you’re likely to most need it. Even if you don’t feel a lot happening it will be your ill health that is making it harder to feel rather than that it isn’t working.
So what can we look for instead?
Now we understand a little more about some of the reasons why we might not always feel a lot happening in our Reiki hands, is there anything we can do to help, or do instead, that can guide us and help us to continue to build our confidence in our Reiki?
Absolutely there is! In fact I consider that there are things that we can look for that are perhaps even more important and helpful in guiding us in our Reiki practice than the sensations in our hands. The answer here lies within how Reiki makes our bodies feel rather than any particular sensations in our hands.
As soon as we receive our first attunement we can begin taking the opportunity to become observers of how our bodies and our minds feel when we practice Reiki; a sort of mindfulness if you will. We can also notice things about our general health and wellbeing that result from the regular Reiki practice but may not be immediately apparent or be confined to the treatment session.
There may be sensations that we begin to discover we always, or nearly always feel, when we practice Reiki on ourselves. Common examples of this are feeling calmer and more relaxed, feeling less tension in our muscles and feeling our minds become quieter. Over time we may begin to notice all sorts of things that begin to change the more Reiki we do. These can include things like sleeping better, fewer headaches, improved digestion, more energy, less anxiety and a sense of feeling more in control of things. We may also notice particular symptoms either improve or disappear completely. If we practice Reiki regularly enough the return of certain feelings, such as anxiety or headaches, might even serve to remind us that we haven’t spent as much time doing Reiki on ourselves as usual.
Keep it simple
I always encourage my students to look out for what can be at times very small and subtle changes. A really good example of this was one of my early Reiki students. I shall call her Dominic. She had been having quite a few challenges in her life in the few years before she came to see me as a client and she had a job where she was on her feet a lot and had to do a lot of public speaking throughout the day. She found some Reiki sessions very beneficial and decided to do her first attunement.
With my Reiki lineage students are taught to practice some Reiki on themselves every day for the first twenty one days following an attunement. This is, in part, to help build experience and confidence and to establish a regular habit of using Reiki. I spoke to Dominic a little over a week after the class and she told me that after leaving the class she had begun her daily practice but for the whole first week she hadn’t felt a thing in her hands. She said she had persevered, as I had told her in class that this was important and she felt that that I wanted to give it a good chance having invested time and money. She said she was feeling very doubtful as to whether it was going to work for her but when she had got to Friday at the end of her working week she had noticed something unusual. She described how usually on a Friday she would feel exhausted and have a very croaky voice and a strained feeling in her throat from so much talking. She had suddenly realised that she didn’t have those feelings in the week following her attunement. She was certain that nothing else had changed so it could only be the Reiki.
With this noticing Dominic became very enthusiastic and excited about her Reiki practice and spent more and more time practicing Reiki and reaping the benefits. She later came and did her second attunement with me and Reiki had a firm place in her life including through a later recurrence of cancer treatment.
A very common question that a Reiki practitioner gets asked is what they feel when doing Reiki. Clearly this might be quite different depending on whether one is practicing on oneself or another. As self-practice is the fundamental cornerstone of Reiki I hope this article offers something to the novice in providing inspiration where doubt might occur as they develop this new skill. I also hope it provides some explanations for the more experienced practitioner as to how things can vary over time. In the meantime, if you have a spare hand, do some Reiki!