Don’t know how, but it works

It was a regular day at the hospital, and I was visiting in-patients following my list of requests for a Reiki session. As I entered the room, the caregiver said to the patient: “Oh look, it’s the lady with the warm hands. The session you really enjoyed last week.”

This is my favorite testimonial amongst all the ones I have collected in my 18 years as a Reiki practitioner.

I love it because it encompasses the main characteristics of Reiki practice: its simplicity and its versatility. It points to the fact that there is no need to have specific beliefs to enjoy the benefits of a Reiki session and confirms that Reiki practice is a very personal experience.

Reiki is a non- invasive practice that, through very light touch, can facilitate a sense of deep relaxation and help restore balance. It can promote a sense of wellbeing that often lingers after the session is over. Reiki practice does not require any diagnosis and never addresses a specific issue. Reiki practice is always for the whole person.

During a Reiki session the recipient is laying or sitting, fully clothed. The practitioner follows a protocol of hands placements with a very light touch. This protocol is very flexible and adaptable and when the situation requires it, instead of touching, the hands can hover a few inches from the body. The recipients often notice a sensation of tingling or warmth where the hands are placed.

Reiki touch is mindful, comforting and dispassionate.

Since there is no manipulation, nothing is ingested and nothing is applied on the skin, the practice of Reiki is considered safe. For this very reason Reiki sessions can be offered in an hospital setting: from a medical perspective there is nothing happening that could be dangerous for the recipient.

The session can take place anywhere and while a regular session generally lasts between 30’ and 1 hour, just a few minutes of Reiki practice can be beneficial.


Just a few minutes into the Reiki session we can start noticing some or all the following physiological responses: there is a change in the breathing pattern of the recipient, the muscles relax, the stomach gently rumbles. Often the recipient starts snoring. After the session recipients commonly report a general sense of relaxation and well being, calm and centeredness.

Several researches on Reiki point towards the same results: recipients generally report less discomfort and pain, improved digestion and better sleep.

These responses to a Reiki session, are all signs of a system that moved from a state of stress and tension towards a more relaxed and balanced state.

Stress has been called the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century” by the World Health Organization and numerous studies document the negative consequences of chronic stress on our health.

When our system is under constant stress, it is busy coping with the challenges, it does not have time to rest and restore.

Reiki practice can elicit responses of relaxation, calm and centeredness, helping to restore balance within the system.

When we are calmer and more centred, we feel better and we also tend to make better choices for ourselves, we are more creative in our thinking and more willing to participate in maintaining our state of wellbeing.


Science has yet to understand the mechanism of action of Reiki practice. The various explanations that exist on the workings of Reiki are for the time being, considered speculative theories.

As human beings, we generally need to understand new information intellectually before we can validate an experience and accept it. This approach is not always helpful when we try to understand Reiki practice.

But if we tune in to our sensations and notice what is going on in our body during a Reiki session, the mind tends to quiet down and there is less of a drive to question and understand rationally. We become an observer and register the experience for how it feels and what it is.


Published by Madi

Artist, Reiki practitioner, constantly wondering why we do thing the way we do.

One thought on “Don’t know how, but it works

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