Standard Hand Positions or Freestyle?
One of my favourite topics when I’m teaching my Reiki First Degree students is the subject of ‘standard hand positions’ or ‘freestyle’ treatment techniques. By this I mean whether to work on a client with the 12 standard hand positions taught on most Reiki courses, (often, it seems as the be all and end all of conducting a Reiki treatment), or whether to go with the energetic flow of the treatment and flow through an intuitive, ‘freestyle’ session. I have seen therapy centre and health spa websites which describe Reiki as a treatment whereby the practitioner channels Reiki into the client in 12 different positions… fair enough, if that’s the system their Reiki practitioners choose to work with. But… guess which style of treating I prefer? I’m a person who doesn’t cope too well with the grind of a dictated routine; I’m creative and intuitive, and I’m afraid that I have a relatively low boredom threshold. Some or all of these qualities probably apply to you as well, so perhaps you can see where I’m going with this. Following 12 standard hand positions is great. To begin with. While you’re learning Reiki it’s a really sound idea to give some standardised treatments, it truly is. You really should know what they are and get comfortable with them. The hand positions are pretty convenient, they work well on clients on a treatment couch, and they are the basics that you ought to know. Definitely. But don’t feel that is all there is, please! Those hand positions can start to feel mighty restrictive when everything in your head, or indeed your hands, or heart, is telling you that the Reiki needs to flow to a different area from those standard positions.
Far more fun is there to be had, far more opportunities for amazement and challenge and ultimately learning, are to be gained by going where the energy guides you. I love the feeling of exploring the client’s energy system and supporting it by providing the Reiki as I feel it flow more strongly. I love not knowing where I will be lead for that period of time. Trust me, you have the ability to feel the flow of Reiki, to notice the varying qualities of what you are feeling in your hands. I’ve seen it hundreds of times on my Reiki courses; students are regularly startled by what they find they notice, even on day one of working with Reiki. They very quickly learn to be guided in this way. I really hope that, if you’re a Reiki person, you’ve had this experience as well.
My favourite way of working on clients is by what I call ‘listening with my hands’. I always advocate for my students to listen to their intuition because, yes, that’s what is directing you, along with being merged with the energy of the person before you. Now there are so many ways that intuition can manifest itself that I can feel another blog, or even a book coming on! But hey, you don’t have to call yourself clairvoyant, be a medium or read the tea leaves to be able to pick up intuitive information from the person you’re treating with Reiki. I have had a lifelong a passion for psychic work and have had a wonderful range of formal and informal teachers over many years, but I still maintain that anyone can learn to listen to their intuition during a Reiki treatment, with none of this kind of experience, training, or background whatsoever. And through my experience of working with my students, this has been born out over and over again. The approach is really very simple when you’re starting out: where your hands feel busy with energy, that’s where the client is drawing more Reiki through you, so stay there longer. Where your hands feel nothing much, move on and scan somewhere else until you find a busy area. Go with your gut instinct. With practice, this simple method alone will grow and evolve into a more sophisticated, intuitively informed treatment approach. And your approach will quite possibly be unique to you once you’ve learned to listen to the language through which your intuition is communicating. Keep an open mind, and explore what happens when you go with your instinct.
The vast subject of working with intuition is something I’d like to tackle in subsequent blogs, so please watch this space. In the meantime, (if you don’t already,) please, listen with your hands as a starting point for developing your own freestyle Reiki treatments. If you’ve never tried it before, you have an exciting journey ahead of you! Just get your hands on some folks and put in some regular work. You’ll teach yourself so quickly, and in any case, the Reiki will flow to support your learning. And you’ll always find giving a Reiki treatment an adventure. Trust the intuitive process and enjoy the ride!
Louise Heseltine is one of the Reiki Evolution team of teachers, running courses in Melton Mowbray (Leicestershire) and Dartford (Kent). Louise began teaching Reiki in 2005 and has worked as a complementary therapist, offering Reiki, aromatherapy (Tisserand trained), reflexology and Indian head massage. Louise also runs Reiki Retreats and has taken Reiki people to Egypt and run regular retreats to Spain to develop their healing skills. Her upcoming retreat venture for October 2011 is the Reiki Evolution Reiki Masters Gathering at Chalice Well Gardens, Glastonbury.
Her website can be found here: www.silvermoon.org.uk.