A guide to your first Reiki session

reiki, gaia's light reiki, Evie McRaeMany people ask me what to expect at their first Reiki session. The two most common questions are, “do I have to take my clothes off?” and “do you place your hands on my body?”

These are fair questions as your comfort and ease throughout your Reiki session should be your practitioner’s priority.

There is no need to remove clothing to receive treatment, so you can heave a sigh of relief on that point. Of course you should wear something you are comfortable in – loose fitting garments are ideal. In terms of hands on or hands off, I personally work best with my hands hovering over the body as this allows me to be more in tune with the ‘drawing’ sensation. From time to time there may be a sense that hands on is required and most practitioners will vary in this regard. What you should know, however, is that there are a series of predefined hand placement areas to work through and none of those hand placements should make you feel embarrassed or awkward. An ethical practitioner will always check in advance for permission to lay their hands on you.

When you first arrive for your treatment your practitioner will welcome you. It’s important you feel happy with your chosen practitioner so you can just relax and enjoy the treatment. Your practitioner will also take some notes about you, your general health, any concerns you have, and some will ask why you have come for a treatment. People come to Reiki for a range of reasons. Some people might just want to ‘try it’, others see it as a wonderful way to relax and unwind. All answers are personal to you and perfectly fine.

Reiki is non-diagnostic and non-manipulative. This means your Reiki practitioner is not going to frighten you by diagnosing illness, nor will they try to manipulate that sore back. However, the nature of Reiki means it is an ideal complimentary therapy to orthodox treatment. So if you are already receiving treatment for a diagnosed illness, Reiki is perfectly safe and encouraged.

You can receive Reiki sitting on a chair or lying on a treatment couch, similar to a massage table. I have to confess I even gave a treatment to one of my clients when she was laid out on a dining room table. I should point out she was a good friend and so it was hilariously funny, but the treatment was just as effective. The point being, Reiki can be given anywhere.

Now in terms of length of treatment, this can vary. A typical treatment will last 30 minutes, though in some cases there may be a need to extend it to 60 minutes.

Many practitioners will dim the lights slightly, or ensure there is no light shining directly above your eyes to enable you to relax. Feel free to close your eyes and listen to the gentle music in the background.

I follow the traditional form of Usui Reiki so I work through a series of hand placements around the head, neck and body, front and back. Once I have completed the hand placements on one side, I will place my hands gently on your shoulders before asking you to turn over so you can begin receiving treatment on the other side.

As you turn your attention to what you feel within your body, you may notice sensations of heat or cold, tingling or pulsing. These are all indications that Reiki is at work. Some people do not feel anything at all.

If you turn your attention to what you feel in your body, you may notice sensations of e.g. heat, or cold, or tingling or pulsing – all indications or Reiki at work. Some people feel nothing, and this is not unusual, but the experienced Reiki practitioner will sense the flow of energy and will be able to confirm you are actively receiving treatment.

Once your treatment is complete, you will be offered a glass of water, and left for a few moments to come to. You should feel a sense of peace and calm as you leave and don’t be surprised if you get an extremely deep sleep that night.


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