What is Reiki?

I have often been asked this question, and I have always had difficulty answering concisely. It’s articulating something so un-academic that I find difficult, as far as I am aware no research has been carried out to prove that Reiki even exists.



I discovered Reiki while in London visiting an aunt, after relating to her how depressed I felt. She recommended her friend to me, a Reiki therapist. This my first experience of Reiki, was transformatively effective. The treatment relaxed me more than I had ever felt, the practitioners hands were warm and with my eyes closed I saw beautiful swirling clolours, and I had a feeling of floating, alongside the beautiful sounds of fiddle music playing gently in the background….did I say Reiki was hard to explain..? When I left to return to my aunt’s house, I felt like I was walking on air, very lighthearted and chirpy even. It was a total revelation to me. I was inspired to become attuned to Reiki, to be able to treat myself primarily; I had been depressed for some time. I contacted Sarah Barker on the Isle of Wight, who is a Reiki Master, and directly traceable from the original discoverer of Reiki, Dr Mikao Usui and his Lineage. Dr Usui discovered the symbols that activate Reiki. There is a wealth of information on the internet about him if anyone would care to research his name.

I was soon attuned too, and completed Reiki levels one and two with other students.
We practised on ourselves at first, progressing onto learning to scan the body, and treat each other. On one occasion I even managed with no effort from me, to pinpoint accurately the very place of illness in a fellow student, and was absolutely delighted with my success. These results amazed me, and looking back they still do.
I rushed home and bumped into friends, “try this try this!” I said excitedly.
(Obviously over the years I have learned to contain my excitement and act more professionally.)
During my training, I was taught not to worry about questioning or examining different schools of Reiki, because they all amounted to the same pure thing, so I put my trust completely in Reiki, and carried on with my treatments. When people started to ask me to explain what Reiki was, I became flummoxed, I designed a poster loosely explaining what might happen during a treatment mainly to cover my lack of knowledge of energy theory, and being something for clients to read before a treatment:

An Ancient Japanese relaxing and healing technique for the mind body and spirit…Reiki, pronounced Ray – kee, is a method whereby the practitioner holds their hand above the clients body, to rebalance energy…
Many Physical aches and pains can be eased, from bumps and bruised to more deep seated issues such as depression.
It is deeply relaxing.
The client may feel a lovely soothing warm sensation, and will often lave the treatment feeling a great sense of peace.
Treatments may be given to the client laying on a comfortable massage couch, or sitting down if preferred.
As it is non invasive and gentle, it is suitable for children and animals.

I also suggested they try it, they had nothing to lose, it wouldn’t do them any harm, it couldn’t work like that. Plenty took me up on the challenge, and afterwards when I asked them how it felt, I received some amazing answers.

I decided that if I kept their most revealing insights in a comments book, I would have something to show prospective clients, and that might help in explaining how it worked. Incidentally I have just realized that I have never shown the comments to one single prospective client so far. I was amazed by what I read, after the clients had left. I had no idea about the experiences my clients were having, after all I was and am still learning about how Reiki works, it seems as if what my teacher told me was true, its works in a way that individually suits each client.

Here are some of the comments, all genuine, names withheld due to confidentiality.

Absolutely amazing, the feelings of tension just washed away. I was taken on a spiritual journey. I could see energy all around me. Feelings of total peace.My emotions over flowed. I felt so much peace and tranquillity. Nothing I have ever felt before-amazing. Thank you so much.

Absolutely brilliant, never felt anything like it before. Feeling so much better and calmer.

A gorgeous relaxing healing experience-connection to self, the earth and the spirit-ease of pain, left feeling even more relaxed!

Reiki was absolutely amazing! Completely recharges, relaxes and de-stresses.

So, to reiterate..What is Reiki?

Reiki is energy. Everything is energy; everything. Energy moves, and can be moved…….its a huge subject and is explained under the heading of quantum physics…which is beyond the scope of my literacy and this short article. Emotions are energy, negative emotions are negative energy. Negative collected, built up energy, is dense; its compaction in the body blocks the flow of Chi or Life force causing illness and dis-ease……. I did say Reiki was hard to explain…

I did read an excellent scientific book eventually, and I would recommend it.
The Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert explains beautifully the concept of even thought being energy, and how we can affect energy by our thoughts…she explains it all much so much better than I could ever hope to.

I recommend reading all the books about Reiki that you are interested in, but still stand by my view of not knocking something, until you try it.

I hope to meet you soon.


Written by Reiki Master and practitioner, Sandra O’Toole 2014. For further information please call – 07891674637