What Exactly is this thing called Reiki, by Patty Wisniewski

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

There is so much depth to Reiki that it is difficult to sum up in words, especially if you've never experienced a Reiki session or heard of Reiki.

What is Reiki? (Pronounced Ray-Key) Reiki is a meditative, spiritual practice that supports wellness and personal development. It is a simple and safe method of bringing awareness of the Universal life force energy that flows through us, enabling us to connect to our true essence. It is simple, natural and safe. Reiki is not a religion. It is spiritual in nature and often enhances one's personal religious beliefs. How is a Reiki treatment given? Reiki is administered through the hands with the client lying fully clothed on a massage table or sitting in a chair. A Reiki practitioner's hands are lightly touching or slightly away from the body. Tissue is not manipulated. A Reiki session usually lasts 45-60 minutes. Although, some sessions may last longer.

Reiki enables mind, body, and spiritual wellness, as well as self-improvement. Each session allows a wonderful feeling of glowing radiance to flow through the client, enabling the wellness process. This produces a peaceful and relaxing way of achieving a sense of well-being.

What should I wear for a Reiki Session? Wear comfortable clothing. Nothing too restricting or binding. Do I stop seeing my regular doctor or psychologist? Reiki does not replace conventional medicine. Please continue to see your healthcare professional for any medical condition. Reiki works in harmony with all other forms of healing, including drugs, surgery, psychological care, or any other method of alternative care. What does a Reiki treatment feel like? It is difficult to describe the sensations since they vary from person to person and each session is different as well. However, feelings of deep relaxation and well-being are usually described by most people. Many clients feel a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through them. Some people may drift off to sleep. Others may have an out-of-body experience. Usually, one will leave a Reiki session feeling refreshed, renewed, grounded, centered, and filled with inner-peace and well-being.

Who can receive Reiki?

Everyone can receive a Reiki treatment—young and old, pregnant women, the disabled, the terminally ill, and even babies! Anyone who is looking for relief from physical and psychological ailments can receive a Reiki treatment. There are no contraindications with Reiki. Reiki helps to promote wellness from within and enabling one to let go of anything that no longer serves us.

One must experience the wonders of a Reiki session to truly understand what Reiki is and does. Schedule a Reiki session for yourself or loved one today.


Patty Wisniewski is a Certified Reiki Practitioner and Teacher - Patty is dedicated to continual self-development and research. Patty attends yearly classes and retreats offered by her teacher and mentor, Frans Steine of the International House of Reiki. Frans is a world-renowned senior Master Reiki teacher/practitioner and has written and co-authored many books on Reiki.

I’ve also included an article that Frans Steine wrote on what Reiki is. This article explains Reiki with another, brighter perspective on the system of Reiki.

Many people ask the question "What is Reiki?", by Frans Steine

There are two ways of looking at this question. From one angle Reiki means "spiritual energy"; our own innate brightness, our true nature, our essence or whatever words you want to use to express this. This innate brightness is often covered with layers of worry, fear, anger and attachments. So much so, that we cannot see its brightness anymore--it is completely hidden. And if we can't see our own innate brightness, then it will be very hard for others to see it within us as well. This covering up results in us not remembering our connection with who we are and therefore getting quickly angry or worried, fearful, unhappy, distracted, and unloving.

Nevertheless, even with our innate brightness concealed, our true nature continues to shine. Think of it as a light bulb that is covered by a lampshade, no matter how many lampshades you place over the bulb, the light is still the same brightness, it's just that we can't see it!

To remove the layers of worry, fear and attachments that cover our brightness, we practice "the system of Reiki"--which is the other angle of the "What is Reiki?" question. The system of Reiki has five very specific elements; precepts, meditations, hands on healing, symbols/mantras and the attunement/reiju. These elements help the practitioner to slowly remove the layers so that our innate brightness can shine in all its beauty once more.

The more layers we remove, the more our innate brightness casts further afield, eventual resembling a bulb with the lampshade removed. Suddenly, the room is filled with light. YOU. When our innate brightness becomes more visible to ourselves we start to feel kinder, less worried or angry and more compassionate. This in turn has a healing effect, not just on ourselves, but also on those we come into contact with in our daily lives; our family, the shopkeeper, people at work, random people at an airport, you name it. When we feel brighter, our world becomes brighter.

Opening to our innate brightness also affects our hands-on healing work with others. The more we connect to our brightness (ie. to Reiki) as a Reiki practitioner, the better we can facilitate healing for others. Never forget that we are not the healers, we merely facilitate the healing while the client works on his or her own healing. If, however, my brightness is covered with clouds of anger, worry and fear then there is only a little bit of light that clients can use to guide them through their healing, but if we have removed the clouds and our innate brightness shines like the sun and moon conjoined then there is much more potential for healing to take place.

Therefore the simple answer to "What is Reiki?" is this: The system of Reiki helps us to re-discover that we are Reiki in the first place.

So, start practicing and re-discover your own inner brightness; shine, be happy and act with compassion.


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