What Is Reiki And How Does It Work?

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Reiki is a complementary therapy, used today to help common conditions such as stress, anxiety, depression and much more.

Mikao Usui was an intensely spiritual man who lived in Japan and had tried many spiritual practices. In around 1922 he realised that combining some of the practices he had learned had lead to him discovering what we now call Reiki.

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What Is Reiki?

Reiki is a non contact practice of using universal energy to shift energy around the body and help with clearing any blockages.

The easiest way to describe Reiki is as follows:

We have 7 energy centres in our physical body, our energy flows around our bodies touching base with each energy centre regularly, the steady flow of energy allows us to think, behave, and action at the best levels possible.

Everything we do in life and every occurrence in life has an effect on our inner body. So if something bad happens to us externally, it will still affect our energy.

When we get stressed out or we’re worried, this too affects our energy. Every single event in life stays with us, and stays inside our bodies affecting our energy.

Our chakras (energy centres) are trying to deal with all this external drama, and all the internal turmoil. After a while, they can’t process it any more as it is too much.

We are then living trying to do our best, but with our chakras being blocked we are not reaching our optimal performance.

I’m sure you’ve woke up and thought ‘I can’t be bothered today’ or just felt something is a bit off but you can’t put your finger on what it is.

This could be a sign that your chakras are blocked. Many people are too busy in today’s world to even take notice of the little signs our body gives us. People are rushing around and building up all these internal and external factors which are ultimately ruining their energy flow.

How Does Reiki Work?

At a scientific level nobody can explain exactly how Reiki works. There have however, been many studies into Reiki proving that it may help lower blood pressure, lower heart rate, release stress, anxiety and depression among other benefits[1][2][3].

The worst thing that can happen at a session of Reiki is you will come out feeling calm and relaxed. A Reiki practitioner will ask you to lay down on a couch or bed. Some play calming meditation music in the background, others work in silence.

You remain fully clothed throughout the session, although it’s best to wear loose fitting clothing. Some Reiki practitioners will go straight into clearing energy.

Some practitioners will ask if they can place their hands on your body, this might be because they get a better sense of what is going on. This is a very normal practice.

However personally, I would suggest using a practitioner that is going to cleanse your aura first. This will allow better access to your chakras (energy centres). You can learn more about your aura’s in our Aura section.

Starting at your head, the practitioner will scan your body by moving their hands over your body. They will be able to feel any blockages or problems you may have.

Using universal energy the practitioner (who isn’t magic, they are only a vessel to channel energy through) will unblock and remove any bad energy from your body.

I am obligated to put the warning below. It’s been reported that people who suffer with diabetes can suddenly have a change in their sugar levels after Reiki, therefore when they take their normal dose of medication it can be potentially dangerous.


The 5 Principles of Reiki

In Reiki there are 5 main principles. These are not rules, they are more of a way to enhance your life and let Reiki work every day for you. If we follow the 5 principles then we can have a better quality of health and life.

The Reiki principles are also great if you are trying to become more mindful. You can read more about being mindful in our Mindfulness section. You might also notice that many of these principles also overlap with other aspects of spirituality – which we’ll link to as we get to them.

The 5 principles of Reiki are:


I personally adore the principles of Reiki. They are so simple yet have such deep meaning and are so effective. If we carry these principles with us daily and learn to live by them, our lives become more simple.

They fit in perfect with being mindful, but also reflect many of the ZEN lifestyle techniques too. They also teach us the old and favourite saying – take one day at a time.

Reiki Principle 1 – Just for Today Do Not Worry

People spend a great deal of their time worrying, whether it’s about the past or the future. Our ego has a lot to answer for, the ego makes up imaginary situations in the future, and reflects on the past at perhaps bad decisions and imagines different outcomes.

Do not worry about things we have no control over. Do not worry about what happened yesterday or might happen next week. Focus on the now, focus on living for this very moment. There are also many other spiritual effects of worrying that following this principle will help solve.

Reiki Principle 2 – Just for Today Do Not Anger

Of course we will get angry if someone crosses boundaries with us, however this is not so much about don’t get angry, but how we deal with anger. We have to let our emotions out, but there is a better way to do this than let it eat you up inside or by acting out our anger.

If we get angry, we should sit and think why we are angry, then unravel the reason to get to the trigger. Then we can deal with the trigger and move on. Even spiritual people can get angry, and there are spiritual ways to help you deal with it.

Reiki Principle 3 – Just for Today Be Humble

Again our ego is at work, when we succeed at something or achieve something of course we will feel great and want to share this with people.

However we can do this without showing off or boasting, don’t let your ego rule your mind. Be humble it’s a very attractive trait to have. Our post on the 6 stages of spiritual awakening goes into more details about how the ego wants to take you hostage and trip you up.

Reiki Principle 4 – Just for Today Be Honest

This is so important in life, maybe you don’t have a problem with being honest to people. However this about being honest with yourself as well as others.

Today there is so much peer pressure to fit in, to feel part of something and not feel weird or different. Well I’m here to tell you that being weird and different is awesome as long as you are being you and doing what makes you happy as long as you’re not hurting others in the process.

We don’t need to fit in, from experience I can say this ‘once you start living your own truth, you will attract all the right people into your life’. There are so many fake people around but we need to understand that this is not their fault, because they too are just trying to fit in and feel a part of something.

You are beautiful, you are worthy and you can achieve anything you want to in life, just be you.

Reiki Principle 5 – Just for Today Be Compassionate

This principle is basically to remind us we are human, to allow ourselves and others to make mistakes. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as we learn from them.

Don’t be too hard on yourselves, we can only do our best. Life is a learning process and we learn from the moment our body is born until the day our body dies. So give yourself a break, relax and learn from the mistake then move on.

We are all on our own unique journey and it’s inevitable we will make mistakes along the way.


Reiki is great whether you’re a practitioner or someone who receives it. I mentioned before the worst that could happen is feeling relaxed and calm. On the other end of the scale some of the results have been amazing.

Although many people say it’s the placebo effect, and perhaps to an extent it is possible, the results speak for themselves.

I have a friend who is a Reiki master, and she has witnessed the results first hand. From people not having to use their asthma inhaler for a week after their session to another person who stopped eating chocolate and managed to drop two dress sizes. Another has totally turned her life around by the sessions and being taught self love.

The possibilities are endless, however as above, please seek medical advice before receiving Reiki.

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Thanks for reading and we hoped this post has helped clear up some of the mystery around what Reiki is.


1: Dogan M., D. (2018). The effect of reiki on pain: A meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. Vol 31, May 2018, pp 384-387. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.02.020

2: McManus D., E. PhD. (2017). Reiki is Better Than Placebo and Has Broad Potential as a Complementary Health Therapy. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine. Vol 22(4), Oct 2017, pp 1051-1057. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177%2F2156587217728644

3: Bier D., PhD. (2016). Reiki Healing and Mental Health: What the Research Shows. PsychCentral Website. May 17, 2016. Fetched from https://psychcentral.com/lib/reiki-healing-and-mental-health-what-the-research-shows on April 20th 2022.

Featured Image by Jürgen Rübig from Pixabay