Surely you’ve heard of reiki, right? And all the benefits it can have for our mental health and well-being? Don’t worry, it’s fairly new to me too!
Reiki has become wildly popular alongside other ‘new age’ healing techniques such as yoga, acupuncture and meditation. While Reiki only became known to western culture in the late twentieth century, it was first established in Japan in nineteen-twenty by Buddhist Monk, Mikao Usui. Suffice to say, while it’s still reasonably new to those of us in the US and Europe, there’s nothing ‘new’ about it!
Reiki aims to provide physical, mental and emotional healing through a variety of tools. And the best thing? Many of us are already familiar with these and use them on a daily basis. But there are some additional steps that make Reiki stand out from the others, namely the use of mantras, and the natural flow of energy.
My own experience with Reiki.
I first discovered reiki late last year. After a particularly difficult time in our lives, I was left feeling burnt out and close to relapse. I’d decided to re-enter therapy, largely due to increasing anxiety and what I now know was serotonin syndrome. But, even while choosing to go private, I was told it would take up to three months before I was seen regularly. Yoga wasn’t cutting it anymore, meditation was out the window, and even gratitude left me feeling bitter.
I’d heard about reiki from a local practitioner many months ago and decided that it might be the answer I was looking for. And if not, what had I got to lose?
Laying on my practitioner’s table gave me time to switch off, relax and, apparently, sleep. I didn’t have to contend with my notifications, excessive noise or any screens. It was just me, the music, and my practitioner. While she did speak on occasion, it was both soft and sparingly. For the most part, I was left with just the music, which gave me time to decompress and come to terms with the previous few weeks.
During my first session, I felt my energy shift, specifically when my throat chakra was opened. After the session was completed, not only did I tear up but I couldn’t stop coughing. I now know this was due in part to my ‘energy’ being cleared. While I couldn’t physically see it, I could certainly feel it.
I’ve since been back twice for a ‘top-up’ when things begin to feel hard. Despite all the self-care I can manage, there will always be occasions when I need additional help to ‘unblock’ what’s standing in my way.
How to prepare to practice Reiki at home.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that Reiki isn’t meant to replace traditional management strategies such as medication or therapy. If you’re using Reiki as a way to manage anxiety, depression or stress, it’s important to also seek professional treatment and advice.
While you can’t technically practice Reiki on yourself without formal training, you can use various healing techniques used within Reiki to boost your energies. Please note that, as expected with any transformative too, growth happens over time. Consistency is key if you really want to reap the benefits!
With that being said, if you plan to practice at home, here’s some advice on how to get started.
Prepare your space.
Before you begin reiki you need to prepare an adequate space. This should be somewhere that’s quiet and comfortable for you. The perfect location would be somewhere you won’t be disrupted by kids, other family members, your pet or outside stimuli. But we don’t all have that luxury! In that case, do your best to create an environment fit for relaxation! Use pillows or a yoga mat to support yourself if you’re sitting on the floor, or a soft seat where you can recline back. You can lay down or sit upright, it’s up to you. But be aware that you’ll be in this position for a few moments, so choose something comfortable!
Wear comfortable clothing.
There’s nothing worse than getting into a comfortable position only to realise your jeans are poking into your back. Or that your shirt is too stiff and causing you to itch! When you plan to practice at home reiki, remember to think about what you’re wearing! Pick clothing that’s loose fitting or elasticated to prevent pulling in places you really don’t want them to pull. If it’s cold out, pick something warm and cosy, and the opposite if it’s warm!
There are various types of grounding that are used to bring ourselves back into the present moment. But we’re only going to talk about basic grounding, which is a quick, simple and effective way to prepare yourself for reiki.
No matter how we choose to ground ourselves, it allows us to focus on the following.
- Slowing down
- Being aware of sensory stimulation (what do I see, hear, taste, smell?)
- Asking yourself grounding questions (who am I, where am I, what day is it?)
- Connecting to your body, the earth, and the moment
- Finding calm, self-acceptance, and inner peace
- Regulating your breathing
- Practicing gratitude and self-awareness
Here is just one simple way to easily ground yourself before your daily reiki practice. You can also use this if you’re in the office, the break room or simply taking five minutes to yourself in the morning.
Set your intentions.
Setting intentions should be done before you start into the core of your reiki practice. This is all about clearing your mind and focusing on what you want for yourself throughout your session. No matter the length of time you plan to spend self-healing, intentions should always be set and repeated throughout.
Not sure what intentions to set? Here are just a few that I’ve used in the past. You can adapt these to suit yourself and what you need most from your reiki practice.
- I release resistance to help and healing.
- May I receive healing, compassion and love.
- I ask for health, and to be free from suffering.
- May I release all tension and stress.
Remember to focus on your breath.
No matter what technique you follow or intentions you set, don’t for get to focus on your breath throughout. Your breath is there to guide you throughout the session.
Start your self-led Reiki.
You should begin by putting your hands gently on different parts of your body. Start with your head and work your way down to your feet. Allow your hands to take a moment to rest in each area and visualise the energy flowing through your body. This might sound ‘weird‘ but I like to think of it like a stream or a river flowing from limb to limb.
At the end of your session it’s important that you give thanks. To who, you might ask? Yourself and the energy you’ve moved through your body. You can even give thanks to a higher power if you’re so inclined and speak to them throughout.
Why practice reiki at home?
It can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
If you’ve taken away anything from this post it should be that reiki is a powerful tool to help manage stress and anxiety. Why? Because it allows your mind time to decompress from an otherwise busy and ‘switched on‘ lifestyle that we’ve all come to be apart of. A lifestyle that rarely promotes the moments of peace and calm that is offer through reiki.
It can help improve sleep.
This goes without saying. The fact that I always end up asleep within the first ten minutes of my treatment proves this. And I always tend to sleep like a baby for the following nights after treatment. Don’t believe me? Give it a go!
It can promote pain relief.
While I haven’t experienced this personally, I have heard stories from other users of my reiki practitioner. It’s all about the relaxation and how that helps our mind and body to reduce tension.
It promote emotional healing.
Reiki has been a powerful tool for me to manage instances of difficult emotions. The first time I attended reiki I was in a dark place brought on by various life events. By the end of the session I was coughing and even crying, something which I find very difficult to do. But it was something my body clearly needed as a way of release.