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Dear Candy Q & A: Reiki

I've had a few requests for more information on Reiki. You will find basic information below on what it is, how it works, and the benefits.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a technique for healing and stress reduction that was discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui in the early 1900’s. It is administered through the use of touch, a technique that has been practiced for thousands of years. Reiki is a simple yet powerful energy based modality that supports the body in healing itself. Reiki produces measurable results and clients often keep returning to experience the feelings of relaxation and well being that result from a Reiki treatment. Reiki is practiced in many hospital, hospices & long term care settings throughout North America. Reiki is considered complementary care and it can improve the outcomes of current treatments & medications.

How does Reiki work?

In eastern medicine, it is believed that life force energy, or ki flows through us, keeping us alive. It is the free and balanced flow of this energy that creates health and well-being by nourishing our organs and cells of the body, helping them perform their vital functions. When the flow of energy is disrupted, our functioning is diminished and illness results. Thoughts and feelings also affect our energy flow. Serious disruptions in our energy occur when we consciously or unconsciously accept negative thoughts and feelings about ourselves.

When a person receives Reiki, they are receiving energy to help restore their energy flow and remove energetic blockages in the body. Once the energy is free flowing, the physical organs and tissues are then able to complete their healing processes. In this way, Reiki directly addresses the source of illness, rather than the symptoms.

From the perspective of quantum physics, Nobel Prize winning physicists have proven that everything that makes up our physical world, from a grain of sand to every cell of our body, is one large physical sea of energy. It can neither be created nor destroyed and we see only a fraction of it based on the limitations of our five senses. These energy particles, that science tells us are infinitely beyond our sphere of perception, are bouncing around at an incredible frequency and vibration, creating our own biomagnetic field. Like all energy, our biomagnetic field can be interacted with and transformed. This allows us to create fundamental changes on an energetic level that can positively influence our health and wellbeing.

Who would benefit from a Reiki session?

Since Reiki restores and enhances the flow of energy in the body, and regulates the central nervous system, sessions are beneficial to everyone. Many people use Reiki for pain management, stress relief, to help heal physical injuries, or aid in the recovery of common or chronic illnesses. Others are seeking to find their sense of purpose and meaning in life, or to overcome mental and emotional roadblocks. Some people use Reiki simply to relax, de-stress, and increase their overall well-being.

What are the benefits of Reiki?

Medical research shows that Reiki can influence the autonomic nervous system, reducing blood pressure and heart rates and assisting the body to return to homeostasis, or a state of calm well-being. Reiki is widely used to reduce pain, decrease stress, foster relaxation, and to stimulate the body’s healing response, decreasing the time it takes to heal itself. Other reported benefits include: increased creativity, more vitality, sharpened awareness, ease of movement, a deepened awareness of spiritual connection, greater emotional stability, an increased ability to fall asleep quickly and sleeping more restfully. Case studies and exploratory research suggest that Reiki is effective in decreasing both chronic & acute pain and that Reiki improves pain control, decreases nausea & vomiting, and increases quality of life in cancer patients.

What happens during a session?

During a session the client lays, fully clothed, on a treatment table. The Reiki practitioner’s hands remain in a stationary position for a period of time, lightly touching or slightly above the body. The practitioner moves through several hand positions, generally from head to toe, front to back. Reiki is not a massage; there is no manipulation of the skin or tissue. Sometimes people become so relaxed they fall asleep during the session. If someone cannot comfortably lie on a massage table, sessions can be done while sitting in a chair instead.

What can I expect after a session?

Right after a Reiki session, someone may be so relaxed that they feel spaced-out. It is recommended that to sit for a few minutes while drinking a glass of water before getting up and leaving. Spending a few minutes breathing fresh air or going for a short walk before going home can also help.

Over the next few days some people find that their body begins to de-toxify. This does not happen to everyone. Detoxifying may result in spending more time in the washroom or mild flu-like symptoms. It is important to increase water intake to assist the body in flushing out toxins and reduce the symptoms (a minimum of 8 to 10 glasses of water daily). An epsom salts baths can also assist this process (2 cups of salts per bath, soak for 20 minutes), or if a bath is not an option, soaking feet in salt water can also help. Take more time to rest. Once the toxins have been removed, people notice a dramatic increase in energy.

Most people notice an immediate improvement in their level of pain, and a sense of enhanced overall well-being. Energy and alertness continue to increase in the days following treatment.

Will Reiki interfere with my medications or other treatments?

No. In fact case studies have shown that Reiki can improve the results of medical treatments by reducing negative side effects. It shortens healing time, reduces or eliminates pain, decreases stress and promotes optimism and overall well-being. Reiki has also been used in conjunction with psychotherapy to promote mental and emotional healing. Psychological benefits can include improved memory, greater self-esteem, and feeling less lonely or isolated.

How many sessions will I need?

That depends on what you are working on. It is generally recommended that clients get 3 sessions in a period of ten days to two weeks to remove blocks in the body’s energy system, then once a week or every two weeks until the issue is resolved. Clients generally do not exceed 5 to 6 sessions in total, except in the case of chronic pain management and terminal illness. In these cases, more frequent sessions over a longer period of time may be useful.

More Information

If you wish to learn more about Reiki, the following websites and books are recommended:

A Modern Reiki Method for Healing (2014, Revised Edition) by Hiroshi Doi

Essential Reiki: A complete guide to an ancient healing art. Written by Diane Stein.

Until next time!

If you have a question, please email me at


Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at

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