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Doing Reiki on yourself versus receiving it from someone else…

Many people who come to me for Reiki aren’t aware that you can learn it to use on yourself, or that in fact pretty much anyone can learn it! Before I delve more into the benefits of these two ways to receive Reiki, I will take a few steps back and briefly explain what Reiki is, in case you’re new to it!

What is Reiki?
Reiki is a particular vibration of healing energy, of which there are many, that we can learn to use on ourselves or on other people. It exists in the world around us and is natural to our planet, not unlike water or oxygen. It isn’t a spiritual practice or a type of meditation but more something we can think of as a type of energy medicine. Following what we call an attunement, the student of Reiki is able to place their hands on their own or someone else’s body and allow the Reiki energy to flow through.

What are the benefits of Reiki?*
Reiki provides a number of benefits to humans. Perhaps the most commonly experienced and talked about is that it helps us to deeply and naturally relax. It is amazing how many people struggle to ever really, properly relax, often despite their best efforts. It is also striking how important this seemingly simple thing is to optimal health and wellbeing. With perhaps one or two exceptions, pretty much everything works better the more relaxed we are.

As we go about our daily lives our energy systems and our bodies experience wear and tear as a result of environmental influences that are outside our control. An example of this that you will be familiar with is the effect of weather: strong sun, fierce wind, cold and heat all affect us to varying degrees. If we are able to choose the clothes we wear or when we go outside we may be able to manage the impact of these influences but we can’t stop the weather happening or affecting us to a degree. As a good moisturiser and drinking plenty of water will help repair our skin from day-to-day environmental damage, so Reiki provides a wonderful remedy to the impact of the energies in the world around us. Ultimately, we will still age but we are likely to look, feel and function better if we take regular and good care of ourselves. We may also still occasionally experience illness, injury, trauma or just ‘life events’ but we are likely to be able to navigate these and heal from them a little easier if we generally look after ourselves well.
In addition to providing this remedy and repair and helping us to relax, Reiki also helps us to feel more in balance. As a result of all these things, there are many positive ways that Reiki impacts positively on our lives, health and wellbeing. These can include sleeping and digesting better and generally feeling calmer and more in control.

Why bother learning Reiki if you can get a treatment from someone else?
If someone only has enough money for just a few sessions of Reiki I would always recommend that they would do better to spend that money on a class to learn Reiki for themselves. An occasional session, as enjoyable and beneficial as that might be, will not lead to the kind of impact on our lives that practicing Reiki on ourselves consistently can bring.

The reason for this is that Reiki works at its best, and provides the most benefit, when used regularly in a ‘little and often’ manner. In this way it can be likened to the way we might keep ourselves hydrated. You can’t drink three litres of water and then not think about water for the next three days. You will still get some fluid from your food but you won’t be functioning at your best and your body will begin to show signs of dehydration, putting extra stress on your body and mind. You will keep yourself much more effectively hydrated if you drink water frequently and regularly in smaller amounts through the day, every day. In this way, even if you had a few sessions of Reiki each month for the rest of your life you would still get more benefit from being able to do a little on yourself each day.

One other thing that you might not know about Reiki is that you can easily do it while you are doing other things. Whilst you will probably always get the maximum relaxation benefit if you set some time aside to just enjoy your Reiki practice, you will still get plenty of benefit from fitting it in around and alongside other things, which makes it wonderfully accessible.

If you have been attuned to Reiki and can do it on yourself is there any benefit from having a session with someone else?
When someone receives a Reiki Attunement the Reiki energy that comes out their hands will be the same whoever they are and whoever the Reiki Master/Teacher was who did their attunement. Whilst there are many healing energies that we can use, Reiki does not vary according to who is doing it. For sure there may be some people you feel more comfortable receiving Reiki from and it is likely to be a more relaxing experience the more relaxed and confident the practitioner is, as well as the more Reiki they do on themselves. But the Reiki itself will be the same, and get to work doing the same thing, regardless of whether it comes from the hands of a newly attuned level one student or a seasoned Reiki Master who has diligently been practicing on themselves most days for years. We can think of this as being a little like water having a hydrating effect on our body whatever we drink it from. Some vessels will provide a nicer drinking experience but the water will still get busy hydrating our cells.

Why then might we still sometimes like to have some Reiki from someone else? Well, in the exchange of the energy that we call Reiki there is essentially always an active and a passive participant. The person giving the Reiki takes the active role and the person receiving the Reiki the passive. When we practice on ourselves, we take on both of these roles simultaneously. Sometimes it is good to simply be able to relax and receive. We can enjoy this whilst still knowing that should we wake in the night, or wish to benefit from all that Reiki can give us whilst we or our Reiki practitioner are on holiday, our hands are always with us and we can keep ourselves topped up whenever we feel like it.

If you would like to know more about learning Reiki visit my Reiki Attunements page or you can watch a video with me talking about learning Reiki over on my Facebook page.

*This explanation of Reiki comes largely from the study and training I have done with Chyna Honey. For a more in-depth explanation of what Reiki is, (including what it isn’t), and how it helps us you can read her first book: “Understanding Reiki: From self-care to energy medicine”.
© Dr Karen Janes, April 2022


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Dr Karen Janes

Dr Karen Janes is the owner and founder of Natural Healing Energy, which she set up in 2005. She is an experienced practitioner of energy healing and has a background in psychology, which informs the counselling aspect of her work. She is a Reiki Master and Teacher and a Master Teacher Member of the UK Reiki Federation.

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