Reiki is a form of alternative medicine that uses energy therapy to bring healing to the physical, emotional, and mental bodies. This ancient Tibetan discipline was discovered by Japanese Buddhist Usui Mikao in 1922, who reintroduced it to the world. Reiki therapy channels Life Force energy (i.e. Prana, or Chi) into and through the body using a technique known as hands-on-healing. The name itself is derived from the Japanese word Rei, meaning “God’s wisdom” or “higher power” and Ki, which is the Japanese pronunciation of Chi.
If you need Reiki healing, a session typically lasts 45 minutes to an hour and a half and starts with you lying prone or relaxing in a chair. Reiki healing can be done on oneself, for those who are Reiki attuned, but this technique is generally received at the hands of another. The therapist should be a certified Reiki practitioner attuned to any of the four levels of Reiki mastery. This person uses their hands to move and manipulate prana to certain focal points of your body. The Reiki healer’s fingers should be held together on each hand to keep the flow of energy concentrated, and their hands can be touching your body or hovering about one inch above your body, depending on your preference.
It is said that the true healing of Reiki comes from its own wisdom (or God’s wisdom, as implied by the name). No matter where the practitioner places their hands, the Life Force energy will know where to go and what to treat in the body.
The Four Levels of Reiki Attunement
To become a Reiki practitioner and offer this energetic healing technique, you must be attuned at Levels 1 through 3, or First Degree through Third Degree. There is also a Master Teacher Level (called Level 4 by some). Only at this fourth level are you gifted with the ability and wisdom to teach others in the ways of Reiki by offering Reiki attunement.
First Degree Reiki: To become a Level 1 Reiki practitioner, the Master Teacher transfers their healing power to you, the student, through attunement, much like a treatment session. This attunement opens the Third Eye Chakra and increases psychic awareness. Once you are attuned, you are attuned for life. This is the baseline for performing this therapy in the present moment, in person.
Second Degree Reiki: To become a Level 2 Reiki practitioner, you are attuned at the next level, which involves a three-part initiation process. You are also taught three Japanese Reiki symbols – how to read, write, and speak them. They are Cho Ku Rei (physical healing), Sei Hei Ki (emotional healing), and Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (distance, space/time healing). These symbols unlock even greater healing power, and enable you to perform distance healing, across both space and time. This means you do not have to be physically present with the person you are healing.
Third Degree Reiki: First you must qualify for this level, which means you need to have practiced Reiki for at least six months, and you must be able to draw the three Level 2 symbols from memory. Then, to become a Level 3 Reiki practitioner, which is considered a “non-attuning Master,” you are further attuned by your teacher and taught additional symbols. The most important symbol taught at this level is the Master empowerment symbol, Dai Ko Myo, which expands and deepens your power as a conduit of Life Force energy.
Fourth Degree: To become a Level 4 Reiki practitioner (i.e. Reiki Master or Master Teacher), your energy is raised through a fire and water attunement. It consists of only one critical initiation, which enables you to teach and attune new practitioners, and to help others empower themselves through Reiki.
Above all, the most essential thing to understand about Reiki at any level is that it’s all about the intention of the practitioner, and the flow of energy from his or her sacred healing intention.