All About Reiki – What is Reiki and What is Not Reiki

Elaine Grundy is a Reiki Master. In this article, she talks what is Reiki, what Reiki is not, and how she teaches and shares Reiki.

Last month I had a woman with a slightly scared look on her face, “do I have to become a vegetarian and mediate two hours a day before I join your class?” “No” I answered, a bit confused.

“How about prayer, do I need to pray before Reiki and do I need to wrap myself in white light to protect my energy?” she whispered.

“Uhh, no. Who told you all this?”

“My last Reiki Master…


And so it is! Let me start by saying all the above is perfectly fine. I have nothing against vegetarianism, meditating, praying, white lighters, so please don’t send me hate mail. But let’s make it clear, this is only packaging. It has absolutely nothing to do with Reiki.

Reiki is Japanese for Universal Life Force or Life Energy. It is a practice of energy healing that requires no prerequisites, no diets, no beliefs, no prayer. Of course the Reiki Master you choose will come with his or her own baggage, beliefs, and packaging, so simply choose the one you like and have fun!

At its most basic level, a Reiki class should equip you with the ability to leave the class feeling confident that you can a) talk about Reiki sensibly and b) give a decent Reiki Treatment. Of course it should also activate the Reiki in your hands through a series of attunements (also called initiations or activations) which can vary quite substantially.

So how do you ensure your Class choice is the best for you?

Well, it is similar to choosing a Reiki Master. The chances are, if you like them, you’ll like their class. However, one problem may arise if the Reiki Master you choose has been taught in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, or your comfort zone. The nicest Reiki Master in the world may still teach Reiki ineffectively if they themselves have been taught ineffectively. And please let me make it clear that Reiki in itself is not ‘taught’ it is ‘activated’ so in that respect the Reiki will come out your hands no matter who you choose (assuming you choose a Reiki Master, not a charleton!)

However, what is taught is all the other stuff – how to use Reiki, how to treat yourself, how to treat others, the background and history of Reiki, some tips and pointers as to how to extend your Reiki practice, and other techniques that may be useful to your overall experience of Reiki. For some Masters, this means adding crystals, chakra cleansing, bells, prayer, coaching modules, additional rituals etc etc. This is totally fine and no doubt will enhance the teaching in some way; however for the layman, it is sometimes useful to know what is Reiki and what is “packaging”.

What is Reiki

Here are a few home truths about Reiki to bear in mind when interviewing prospective Masters.

Reiki Acts as a Harmonic.

This means that when Reiki enters the body, the ‘disharmony’ within the body becomes neutralized. There is nothing to release from the body and as a result there is no ‘bad’ energy to get rid of – it is simply neutral, no need for protection or other forms of cleansing rituals.

Reiki Switches on Automatically.

No need to consciously alert Reiki to start or to request it to start – Reiki just flows when it is needed and doesn’t when its not.

Frankly, it aint up to you!

Reiki Does Not Run Out.

No need to re-attune yourself or meditate or strengthen chi or any other rejuvenation techniques. There is no need to do anything to keep your Reiki levels ‘up’. It will not ‘deactivate’ if you do anything ‘bad’ like drink, smoke, eat cake, have bad thoughts etc.

Anyone Can Be Initiated to Reiki.

Even carnivores! Old, young, handicapped, children, animals, plants, people in coma. Reiki is not dependant on you at all and once activated will flow through any living thing.

Reiki Is Not a Belief System.

You do not need to believe Reikiworks or have a certain faith. Reiki is energy, not religion.

There Are No Harmful Side Effects from Reiki.

You cannot do any harm with Reiki. You cannot trigger anything that the body is not ready for.

Of course there is a code of conduct as it can trigger a healing curve or detoxification which may be uncomfortable for a time. So from that viewpoint it is important to use Reiki with respect and to follow certain guidelines when treating others.

What Reiki Classes May Look LIke

For myself, I “package” my classes with discussion around energy and the science of health, as this is my personal interest. A typical class for me would look like this:

→ An Introduction to Energy

I love talking about energy and how it works in the body. I introduce concepts around the bioenergetics of the human body, ie what is seen (physical body) and what is not (the different subtle energy bodies) and how that influences Reiki to work at all the different levels.

→ Conventional versus Holistic Medicine

There has long been a divide between these two streams of medicine and they stem primarily from the shift in the scientific world towards Newtonian versus Einsteinian philosophy. The body as a machine versus an interplay of three different dimensions (mind, body and spirit). We discuss the differences as well as the consequences of following either stream too narrowly.

→ Introduction to Reiki

I extend on the theory of how Reiki works and its dynamics. Primarily I am focusing on giving a plausible model of how Reiki flows through the body and how it managed to achieve such incredible results so simply.

→ Chakras and Reiki Attunements

We do touch on the Chakra system because my attunement process utilizes the Chakra system as the avenue of flow through the body. This segment looks at Chakras from the Reiki perspective and how the different level of Chakra energy effectiveness can affect the overall body/mind.

→ Self Treatment

This is pretty simply really and involves more a discussion of why you should be treating yourself and the kinds of impact you can expect. It also teaches the simple 12 body positions and variations of it.

→ Treatment of Others

Treating others is very easy with Reiki. There is no need to diagnose and no need to actually understand what is wrong with your ‘client’. My teaching is more around the code of conduct while treating someone else and some simple guidelines to equip my students to deal effectively with healing curves and the frequently asked questions around Reiki.

→ General Uses – Animals and Plants etc

Here we discuss any other uses of Reiki, of which there are many! Plants and animals respond excellently to Reiki and I have trained several Vets who will attest to this!

→ History

The History of Reiki is interesting, and research on the internet will show several variations. I go through the traditional story and the more contemporary version and allow you to make up your own mind. I also point you in the direction of good research sources should you be interested to find out more.

→ Usui Principles

Dr Usui, the founder of Reiki, left us with 5 key principles. They are really principles for life as well as Reiki and bear mentioning and discussing.

→ Levels of Reiki

In different systems there are different levels. In the Reiki Network, of which I am a member, there are 4 different levels which we discuss in some detail. The key, however, is that Level One is the full activation of Reiki and there is no need for any student to then do the other levels.

Once Level One is complete, you have all the tools you require to be extremely effective with Reiki and your ability to heal others. The other Levels offer more ‘bells and whistles’ to add to your Reiki Toolbox as well as begin to unlock some of the secrets of Reiki which can be very appealing to many dedicated Reiki practitioners. I teach all levels, including the Master Teacher final level.

Once my students have participated in the entire weekend they tend to go away with 2 things:

a) a feeling of the Reiki energy in their hands
b) a grounded and thorough understanding of what Reiki is. To be fair, not all my students feel the Reiki energy at the end of the course, but what tends to happen is they get their proof sometime in the following weeks. They will either begin to feel sensations, or they will treat someone who feels sensations, or they simply start to feel results.

We also run an aftercare program which involves a monthly Reiki share group after my free talk where past students can come and reconnect and share Reiki. Of course I also produce a monthly newsletter which keeps us all connected and up to date.

So in summary, the Reiki Master needs to be someone you connect with, and their course structure and philosophy need to be something you connect with. It is not crucial of course as Reiki is Reiki and will come out of your hands irregardless of the teaching around it, but it sure makes for a more enjoyable and enlightening weekend!

On a final note…what about the Charlatans? Well, in my experience, these types of people do not last long in the industry as most Reiki Masters survive through word of mouth. So as long as the Master has been in practice for some time, can introduce you to happy students, and seems to have a ‘good vibe’ about them, I think you can rest assured they are the real deal.

Article written by Elaine Grundy, Reiki Master, Reiki Centre