What is Reiki?

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This page contains © Copyrighted excerpts from our manual, “Introduction to Energywork, Energy Healing, and Reiki” (ISBN 978-1-456-34256-2) and from our manual, “Reiki I: A Manual” (ISBN 978-1-456-31070-7), and may not be copied or used without our written permission. If you would like to use our material, please contact us using the contact page.

What is Energy (and Energywork)?

To know Reiki, we must understand what is Energywork and Energy itself.  Everything around us is energy – atoms, molecules, light, sound and color; all having measurable frequencies and density.  Because our bodies are made up of those same atoms and molecules, we also produce a type of energy that can be scientifically measured. Our brains, most especially, produce an electrical frequency that can be measured through electroencephalogram (EEG).  In sum, our thoughts, emotions, and physical actions produce energy and all forms of energy have vibrations or frequencies which can be scientifically measured.  This is basic physics and molecular science.

Energywork is a form of alternative or complementary healing. Energywork presents itself in a number of modalities and varies from one practitioner to another, and from one custom to another. The first recorded material on energywork came about 3000-4000 years ago in 18 volumes of the Neijing written in about 200 BCE.

At its most basic, energywork is the manipulation of the measurable energy fields within and around the body so as to promote healing on three levels of the individual: mental/emotional, physical, and spiritual.

There are many forms of Energywork including SHEN, Therapeutic TouchTM, Intuitive Energy Work, Reiki, and others.

It is here we feel we must strongly caution everyone to not view Energywork as some New Age hocus pocus that will solve all your problems.  Please make sure you conduct your own research and determine for yourself if energywork is something that will work for you. Most people use it as a relaxation technique akin to massage or meditation and in that light can receive healing just by allowing the body to do what it does naturally.

What, then, is Reiki?

Reiki is a modality that helps focus the mind and calm the body – as does meditation and quiet contemplation. Reiki practitioners claim they use the measurable energy (as described above) to help restore a sense of well-being and health to an individual. It is an ancient focusing method for the modern world.

Reiki originated as a complementary Japanese healing technique akin to meridian therapy or Ancient Chinese Medicine, which are other modalities of energywork and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

The word, Reiki, is derived from two Japanese words – Rei which means “Universal”, and Ki, which means “life force energy”. It is a simple, natural, and safe method of relaxation, healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It also has other beneficial side-effects, such as increased speed in health recovery and allowing the body to naturally heal itself. It works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery. At no time should it ever be used to replace a doctor’s visit or psychiatric services. It is a complementary method, not alternative!

While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. It has no dogma and there is nothing you must believe in order to learn and use Reiki. Many people find that using Reiki deepens their connection to their religion and for those who have no prescribed belief it can help them achieve their highest desired self.


Reiki is a hands-on and/or hands-off treatment used to help a person to feel better – more relaxed, less stressed, more energized or balanced, or help heal what needs healing. The healing can be physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, or any combination. The client sets their intention for the session and that intention then becomes paramount during the session. A client is fully clothed during a treatment, but may be asked to remove shoes, glasses, or heavy metal jewelry.

“A Reiki session will last exactly as long as it needs to, however a typical session will last about fifty minutes to one hour, though some sessions can be as short as ten minutes and as long as several hours. Treatments can be done seated or lying down. The practitioner may begin with some form of affirmation of the client’s intention. The session can either be hands on – a gentle placement of the hands in very specific positions – or hands off with the same hand positions.”

A Reiki treatment looks like a massage, however, there are two main differences.

  1. The client lies on the treatment table fully clothed.
  2. The practitioner does not manipulate skin tissue.

The practitioner’s hands rest gently on or above prescribed points on the body – at no time is massage performed unless the Reiki therapist is also a licensed massage professional and such has been agreed upon by the client.

Learning Reiki (Becoming a Practitioner)

Learning Reiki is not dependent on one’s intellectual capacity or spiritual development, and is therefore available to anyone and everyone. It has been successfully taught to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds.  An amazingly simple technique to learn, Reiki is taught in the usual sense by attending a class provided by a qualified Reiki teacher. In some traditions a Reiki Master has been attuned to the Teacher level, but not all Masters are Teachers.

There are several different classifications of Reiki practitioners which reflect the different bodies of an individual. Just as there are three different bodies, so too are there three different “Levels” or “Degrees”.

Some schools or traditions, including the master/teachers at Sacred Wandering, have broken out the Teacher level from the Reiki III/Master level to better instruct a student and give them an opportunity to adjust to the spiritual nature of the Reiki Master level. There is also a large difference between being a practitioner attuned to all three levels of Reiki, and teaching and performing the three attunement of the various levels. Ethically, it is wrong to include the teaching component with the spiritual component, though we respect others may not share our view.

If you would like more information about learning Reiki, please visit our Courses page.

Sacred Wandering
10134 N Port Washington Rd
Suite G
Mequon, WI. 53092

(877) 496-3569
(414) 433-9193