Hands-on healing, Exhaustion and More

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 10 Comments


A common complaint that many Reiki practitioners have is that they appear to have side effects from performing hands-on healing treatments. This includes feeling exhausted afterwards, or nauseated throughout the treatment. You’ll find these complaints often voiced on Reiki Forums or at gatherings. Why is this?

There are numerous reasons as to why this is so. Let’s look at a few of them here.

First of all, many teachers do not teach this: to be able to perform hands on healing on others well, you must first work on yourself. The Japanese system of Reiki indicates this by initially teaching the Reiki precepts (see the japanese precepts in the image above) and then the technique, Joshin Kokyu Ho.

Meditating on the precepts we begin to let go of our issues and become a more stable vehicle for the hands-on healing session to take place. For example, a practitioner might worry during a session: “Am I doing this okay?”, “Is my client feeling something?”, “I hope my client gets better”, “Are my hands in the right position?”, “Am I going to pick up my clients negative energy?”, and so on… Through our worries we become an unstable vehicle, possibly resulting in exhaustion, feeling nauseated, or other side effects.

Joshin Kokyu Ho is a Japanese Reiki meditation which focuses on the hara/tanden. This is a few inches below the navel and is the centre of our body/being. The more we practice this meditation, the more centred we become which aids in facilitating a more stable foundation for our hands on healing treatment. 

By practicing the Reiki meditations daily we strengthen our inner energy system through which the energy flows when we perform a hands on healing treatment. In the beginning our energy system is not that strong or well developed. It is like a muscle that needs its regular gym workout to make it stronger. The stronger and clearer our inner energy system becomes, the easier it is to maintain a healthy state during and after a hands-on healing session. With lots of personal practice you might even be able to perform 8 one-hour hands-on healing sessions a day and leave, at the end of the day, strong and refreshed.

Imagine an old electrical wire which lights a 40 watt light bulb. One day the light bulb breaks and you buy a new one. You buy a 100 watt light bulb as you’ve always wanted more light to read by. What starts to happen to the old wire soon after you have replaced it with the brand new stronger bulb? It begins to melt. The old wire is burning as too much energy is being drawn through it. It isn’t strong enough to deal with the amount of energy that the new bulb requires. 

This is the same when we perform a hands-on healing treatment on others. We are not used to being a vehicle for the energy to flow through, like the old wire, so we need to make sure that our own inner wiring is refreshed, strong, and open. If not, we leave ourselves vulnerable to exhaustion, dizziness or nausea.

So, if you are interested in helping others, make sure that you have a solid daily practice that includes the Reiki basics; meditating on the Reiki precepts and the practice of Joshin Kokyu Ho.

Comments 10

  1. Avatar of Kris Azzarello

    Great article, Frans!  So true about daily practice being crucial.  I know in talking to some others that there seems to be some resistance to having a personal practice.  I’ve found that for me, I can see the difference if for some reason I don’t have my usual daily practice; a bit unsettled. I also find that since having committed to a daily set practice (for several years now) I feel MORE energized after hands on healing sessions with others and my work at the wildlife refuge.  Even when there are serious injuries at the wildlife refuge and the animal is tense and stressed, after offering Reiki (not hands on) I feel energized and peaceful, as if I’ve just had a Reiki treatment!  And I do I believe I have a Reiki treatment each time I offer Reiki treatments, to people or animals, hands on or hands off.  The energy so rocks!

  2. Avatar of Claire Schwartz

    I couldn’t agree more, Frans – I get this all the time. It shows the difference between the Western and Traditional approaches to Reiki. People are taught that they are GIVING rather than sharing Reiki and have the misunderstanding that this means the practitioner is being depleted. In fact I also feel invigorated when I do Reiki. How can I give you something you already have? And how does that lessen me? I also find a bit of a martyr’s streak in some folks – I gave SO MUCH, look how exhausted I am, aren’t I sacrificing and giving? It makes the focus be the practitioner, not the client. As soon as we realize it is not about us, but about the person we treating, we can truly be of service. Namaste.

  3. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Kris,
    Yes a daily practice is so important, it is like cleaning our teeth, eating etc..
    We need to clean our mind daily.
    True too, if we practice daily and have the right mindset than we feel like we are getting a treatment at the same time when we perform a hands on healing session.

  4. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Claire,

    Yes true compassion is of being of service to the other, not about ego.
    As you say, as soon as we think we give something, there is a subtle element in our mind that we think we have given away something.
    This is why we need to change our mindset to Being Reiki rather than giving reiki.

  5. Avatar of Elly

    I was taught that when I put my hands down in a Reiki session, I become a conduit through which the other person (or creature or plant or whatever) draws Reiki energy, so that I receive the blessing of the healing energy as it flows on its way to them. I find Reiki sessions incredibly soothing and renewing (except in acute cases, when my hands catch fire, but fortunately, a quick break and a plunge into ice water cools them down nicely), and have always felt relaxed and refreshed after, never depleted. But to the point all of you are making, I think daily practice and daily self-healing are absolutely essential here: If you are not a clear channel, if your own energy pathway is full of byosen “knots,” then how is the energy supposed to even flow through you, much less reach the person who is trying to draw it? “Physician, heal thyself” was never truer than in this case. The more clear our own channel, the faster and stronger the energy will be to the one in need.

  6. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Elly,
    I always use this imagery in class. Imagine yourself as a garden hose, if there are lots of knots and kinks in the garden hose then if we switch on the tap only a little bit of water comes out.  These knots and kinks are our worries, anger, fear, attachments you name it, so if we undo these knots and kinks and then turn on the tap do we have more or less water coming out? More of course.
    It sounds simple yet so hard to do for many people, I think we all want an easy way out, just receive an initiation/reiju/attunement and there you go. But that doesn’t really work.

    By the way love your posts on your own blogs as well.

  7. Avatar of Elly
  8. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Elly,
    I think when we talk in easy to understand metaphors the student will really get what we are trying to say.

    Love your article about Sex and focus on your blog 🙂 So true.
    And I love this quote from your blog as well:

    “At midnight I abruptly awakened. At first my mind was foggy… Then all at once I was struck as though by lightning, and the next instant heaven and earth crumbled and disappeared. Instantaneously, like surging waves, a tremendous delight welled up in me, a veritable hurricane of delight, as I laughed loudly and wildly, ‘There’s no reasoning here, no reasoning at all! Ha! Ha! Ha!’ The empty sky split in two, then opened its enormous mouth and began to laugh uproariously: ‘Ha! Ha! Ha!’”
    Koun Yamada

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. Avatar of Elly

    Thanks, Frans! I knew you’d love that quote. It’s one of the most amazing things I ever read. And you’re so right, simple and memorable is by far the best teaching technique. All great teachers make their lessons both easy to grasp and unforgettable, so the lesson stays with the student and continues to deepen (or ripen, if you will) in them.

  10. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Elly,
    I think we can learn so much from the real teachers of old, simple and direct to the point. This is why we need to respect our heritage. Usui-san’s teachers are simple and yet profound, no need to make it all complicated like modern Reiki.

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