This page features some common questions and answers about Reiki.


Founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui

1. What is Reiki?

Reiki is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on method of energy transfer. Energy flows through the hands of the practitioner into the body of the person being treated. It harmonizes and optimizes body/mind processes.

Reiki is a simple technique developed early in the 20th century by Dr. Mikao Usui. While on a meditation retreat on Mt Kurama, a holy mountain in Japan, Dr Usui became aware of Reiki energy and discovered that it enhanced his healing abilities. The term comes from two Japanese words, “Rei,” meaning “universal,”, and “Ki,” meaning “life force energy.” Reiki can be loosely translated as “universal life-force energy.”

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2. How does Reiki work?

Reiki increases the “life force energy” that flows through us and around us and causes us to be alive. The life force is responsive to our thoughts or feelings, and can become disrupted and diminished by negative thoughts or feelings, especially about ourselves. If this energy is low we are at greater risk of becoming sick or stressed. If our life force energy is high we are more likely to be happy and healthy.

Reiki provides a positive boost of “ki,” which raises the energy field’s vibratory level in and around the negatively affected areas of the body, causing negative energy to dissipate and fall away. Thus, Reiki restores the healthy, natural flow of the life force.

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3. Why 4 sessions to get started?

For those completely new to Reiki, we request the opportunity to provide four sessions in a short time, such as a week to ten days, depending on our mutual availability. This will jump start your healing process.

Our problems, both physical and emotional, develop and worsen over time, and there is no magic wand to remove them. We must work together over several sessions until the body and mind start responding positively to the application of Reiki.

In the first session the body does not know what to expect, and often remains closed to the flow of energy. During the second treatment the body relaxes more deeply and begins to receive the flow of Reiki more freely. The third and fourth treatments are usually very strong and begin to provoke the healing reaction we want for each client.

After the first four sessions are completed, we ask clients to come once a week (if necessary) until they have achieved good results.

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4. How will I feel after a session?

The experience of Reiki treatment is unique for every individual. A feeling of deep relaxation is virtually universal. People receiving Reiki treatment feel a radiant glow that flows through and around them. Body, emotions, mind, and spirit are all affected, bringing about a sense of serenity, security, and well-being. Some people may have out-of-body or other mystical experiences. Paradoxical feelings of being relaxed and alert, detached while having enhanced clarity, and vulnerable yet safe are common.

Sometimes, toxins that have been stored in the body may be released to the bloodstream and circulate through the body before being removed through the liver or kidneys. This cleansing process may cause one to have a headache or stomach ache or feel weak within 24 hours of the session. Drinking more water, eating lighter meals, and getting plenty of rest can help reduce discomfort.

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5. How often should I be treated?

After the first four introductory sessions are complete, clients can decide how often they would like to return for treatment. For those who simply need to de-stress or get an emotional boost, sessions as-needed are appropriate. For those facing serious illness or anxiety, a weekly schedule of sessions is generally best to keep the healing process moving forward until the desired results are achieved. You can consult with your therapist for a recommendation about what would be most beneficial given the goals you have set for your treatment.

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6. Is Reiki a religious practice?

Reiki is not a religion. It is a philosophy of care that teaches practitioners to relate to a person’s core or essence rather than their personality; to listen without passing judgment, to be willing not to know or understand the “why’s” underlying a patient’s symptoms; and not to view a patient’s response to Reiki treatment as a personal achievement. The practitioner provides a conduit for the universal life-force energy but does not control the process.

Dr. Usui taught his students 5 precepts:

Just for today, do not worry.

Just for today, do not anger.

Honor your parents, teachers, and elders.

Earn your living honestly.

Show gratitude to every living thing.

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7. Does Reiki replace conventional medicine?

Reiki has been shown to help improve general well-being and can be beneficial in the treatment of virtually any medical or psychological problem, including headache, anxiety, heart disease, cancer, and epilepsy. Patients requiring treatment for medical or psychological conditions should work with licensed healthcare providers while they receive Reiki. Reiki treatment works in conjunction with conventional medicine, and has been shown to enhance the benefits of psychotherapy, surgery, and drugs.

Increasingly, Reiki is offered as a part of integrated care at hospitals and other healthcare facilities. For example, at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Reiki has been used successfully to help control disease symptoms and treatment side effects including pain, anxiety, nausea, and sleep disturbance. In addition, Reiki has helped long-term cancer survivors achieve a more positive self-image, and has helped patients with terminal disease to achieve serenity. Reiki has also helped relieve the stress and emotional burden experienced by those caring for seriously ill family members.

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Learning Reiki

1. How does one learn Reiki?

Anyone can learn to practice Reiki. No special skills, prior experience, or educational degrees are required. Reiki is not “taught,” but rather is transferred to the student during a Reiki class. Through a series of initiations administered by a Reiki master, the flow of Reiki energy within the student is enhanced, which allows the student to then facilitate the flow of Reiki energy to others.

2. What are the levels of Reiki?

In the lineage of Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki to the United States from Japan, Reiki training consists of three levels, designated Level 1, Level 2, and the Master/Instructor Level. The NYC Reiki Center strictly follows the teachings of Takata, as it is through her direct lineage that we were trained. Reiki Master Brian Brunius teaches our Reiki courses almost word-for-word as they were passed down to us through her lineage, following the oral tradition of Japan.

3. When are classes taught?

The NYC Reiki Center offers classes and workshops monthly throughout the year. Please check our class schedule page for a listing of upcoming classes and workshops.

3. Why are classes taught over two or more days?

Nowadays some teachers claim to make the student of Reiki a Master in a weekend. Remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Here is an explanation given by Reiki master Fran Brown, one of the 22 or more Masters made by Hawayo Takata in the 1970s:

“Each initiation fills each person with all the Reiki energy that the body can hold. And so they must take place on different days in order that there be room for that body to contain more of the energy. Have you ever been so filled with unconditional loving light energy that you thought you might explode or something? Initiates experience many different sensations at that time. And that is the main reason that Reiki classes are held for several hours each on at least three different days.”

“The other reason is that it takes time to integrate the message being presented, even though learning may come easily and quickly to those who come to class. Very deep spiritual, emotional, and physical changes are instigated by the initiations. The body needs time to adjust to these changes. One does not easily comprehend the depth and power that is produced at these times. Only after the initiate has given daily treatments for some time, can this be realized. This is the reason that Dr. Hayashi required each initiate to work in the Reiki Clinic at least a few hours each week for many months after taking the class.”

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