Category Archives: distant healing

Reiki, Spiritual Healing & Christian Prayer

reiki distant healing cupped hands method

Someone the other day asked me how to explain the difference between Reiki healing, Spiritual healing, and Christian prayer, and whether there was actually a difference between any of these things. So this is what I came up with.

Christian prayer

Christian prayer of course depends on a belief in the Christian God, and involves and individual making a request to that deity to intercede in some way in the life of another person, whether that be to eliminate a disease or symptoms or make some improvement in the life of the intended recipient. There will be no thought of an ‘energy’ providing the mechanism behind such changes, and the person offering up the prayer is essentially powerless in the situation, unable to influence the outcome beyond asking or pleading with the deity to intercede.

So there are important differences when compared to Reiki.

The practice of Reiki does not depend on a belief in any diety or pantheon and does not require any sort of religious or spiritual beliefs, so it should be acceptable to people of any, or no, religion. And because there are no Gods in Reiki, there is no-one there to ask for help in a particular situation. That’s not to say that some Reiki practitioners don’t bring their personal spiritual or religious beliefs into their practice, though, so it wouldn’t be unheard of for a Christian, say, to practise Reiki, or practise their Reiki healing, in the name of Jesus Christ, and some Reiki practitioners might call on the ‘Ascended Masters’ or Spirit Guides when treating or attuning someone, but that is their personal choice and is not something that is an essential, or necessary, part of the system.

The Reiki practice that comes closest to Christian prayer would be distant healing, I suppose, where one sits quietly, perhaps clasping one’s hands together, enters a gentle meditative state, and allows the energy to flow to the recipient. We are neutral in the process, of course, not ‘pushing’ for a particular end result, just allowing the energy to do what it does, and we tend to have in mind that the healing is for the ‘highest good’ of the recipient.

But Reiki practiitoners do not necessarily frame that ‘highest good’ in terms of a deity that decides what is right for the recipient: we are merely framing the energy transmission in such a way that we are not pushing the recipient to receive a particular result, or even receive or benefit from the energy: we are ‘offering it up’ for the recipient to receive or not receive, as is appropriate. And as to who or what determines what is appropriate for the individual… that is left vague.

So the ways in which Reiki is not the same as Christian prayer boil down to our not requesting a particular end result (we stay neutral and offer up the energy when practising distant healing, certainly) and in not requiring the existence or intervention of some deity in the process.

Spiritual healing

To the casual onlooker, Reiki healing would appear to be much the same as Spiritual Healing, where energy is channelled from a higher source, through your hands, into the recipient. But there are some major differences, and that is what I want to describe here. Spiritual Healing and Reiki are not the same. In the end I see all forms of energy healing as working with the same sort of stuff, so the differences are in how you connect to the energy and what you do with it when you’re connected. I am in no way an expert on spiritual healing in all its forms, but from my point of view the differences between spiritual healing and Reiki are as follows:

  • Origins
  • Ways of connecting to the energy
  • Beliefs
  • Ways of treating
  • Self-treatments
  • The use of Symbols


Spiritual healing grew up through Victorian Spiritualist Churches, with their table-thumping séances, and has thus had a sort of Christian origin which has continued to a greater or a lesser degree. Reiki is Japanese and has more in common with Tai Chi, QiGong, Shiatsu and Acupuncture, Mystical Buddhism, Shintoism etc. Having said that, the NFSH (National Federation of Spiritual Healers) in the UK is non-denominational, but I see the *origins* of spiritual healing as being connected to Christianity, and spiritual healing is offered at some churches.

Ways of connecting to the energy

Spiritual healers learn through practice to connect to and draw down the energy. Reiki practitioners go through a ‘connection ritual’ that gives them a strong and consistent connection to the source right from day one, which I imagine seems to be a nonsense for spiritual healers, who have to work hard and long to do this.

Though some spiritual healers would see themselves as ‘attuning’ to the energy just before they treat someone, the word ‘attunement’ has a special meaning within Reiki, and does not refer to an individual’s ‘preparation to give a treatment’. ‘Attunement’ within Reiki is a special connection ritual that is carried out on a Reiki student when they attend a Reiki course.

Once ‘attuned’ on a Reiki course, the Reiki student is able to channel chi strongly from day 1. It seems to give a strong consistent connection to the source, according to spiritual healers to whom I have taught Reiki. Students can then carry out daily energy exercises (similar to QiGong exercises) to help make them a stronger channel for the energy.


Spiritual healers believe that they can be vulnerable to astral plane entities when they open themselves to the energy, so they take steps to protect themselves by visualising bubbles of light around them, and close themselves down – closing down their chakras – at the end of a treatment session. I have heard of some spiritual healers having someone on hand ‘to stand guard’ as they treat. Reiki people do not have such beliefs, they do not generally take those steps, and the energy seems to be inherently protective.

If you believe that you need to protect yourself then your underlying belief is that you are vulnerable, and that becomes your reality. It you believe that you are safe then you are too!

Protection is also seen as needed to prevent a practitioner from ‘picking up’ problems from the person they are working on. I have met people – particularly hands-on therapists (reflexology, aromatherapy etc.) – who have experienced this problem. Reiki however seems to prevent this from happening. I have taught many therapists who found that attunement to Reiki both prevented them from ‘picking up things’ from their clients, but also stopped them from feeling ‘drained’ at the end of a session. Reiki seems to have the ‘protection’ built in, without having to do anything to achieve this.

That’s not to say that some Reiki people aren’t taught to protect themselves, and visualise protective bubbles etc., but this is usually something that is passed on by Reiki teachers who started out in spiritual healing. They have brought their ‘spiritual healing’ beliefs with them, and applied those rules to the practice of Reiki.

Ways of treating

Spiritual healers tend to treat people seated in a chair, and work in the aura. Reiki people tend to treat people who are lying down on a treatment couch and tend to use a hands-on rather than a hands-off approach.


There seems to be more of an emphasis on self-treating within Reiki, an essential part of the system. I don’t get the impression that this is the same with all spiritual healing.

The use of Symbols

In the way that Reiki is taught and practiced in the West, symbols are an integral part of the system, used both in the connection rituals (‘attunements’), and used when treating others. The symbols give the Reiki practitioner more conscious control of the energy they are working with, though ideally the symbols should be used intuitively rather than being imposed in a calculated academic fashion. Spiritual healing does not use symbols.


Now the above are generalisations, and I am sure that there are many, many spiritual healers out there who will disagree with what I have just said, but as I understand it, those are the main differences between spiritual healing and Reiki.

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Liberate Your Reiki!

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This book is suitable for people at all Reiki levels: beginners, those who are developing their Reiki, and Reiki Masters/Master Teachers. You will find advice about self-treatment meditations, energy exercises to build your ability as a channel, you will discover how to work with your intuition and embrace the power of intent.

Explore different distant healing methods and discover the beauty of Reiki’s original Japanese form. Learn how to use creativity and visualisation to enhance your self-treatments and treatment of others, and ditch all the silly rules and regulations that stifle the practice of Western Reiki in many lineages.

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Photo credit: Irina Gheorghita

Energopsychogram for HSZSN (Distant healing)

energopsychogram hszsn hon sha ze sho nen honshazeshonen

So this is my third post in a series, which started with What are energopsychograms?

I have talked about these special images and how they can be meditated upon to elicit a particular energy, just like meditating on a symbol or a sound can frame the energy in a particular way, or produce a particular Reiki frequency that you can experience in a distinctive way.

Energopsychogram meditations

To meditate on an energopsychogram, just sit calmly with the image in front of you. Stare at the image. let it wash over you, defocus your eyes.

Notice the quality of the energy that is being elicited within you. What is the nature of the energy? Where do you feel it? How does it feel. Bathe in the energy fo the image.

HSZSN energopsychogram

The image that you can find at the head of this page represents that which is elicited by HSZSN, often referred to as the distant healing symbol. The symbol does not so much produce a particular energy (like the earth ki and heavenly ki that are elicited by CKR or SHK) but introduces a state of oneness, a merging or disappearing that helps us to focus and send distant Reiki.

Why not carry out a distant healing session by starting with a meditation on the image above. Bathe in its essence for a while and then send Reiki to your intended recipient(s).

Over to you

What do you notice when you use the HSZSN energopsychogram?

How does it differ from distant healing mediated via the corresponding symbol, or the connection kotodama, if at all?

Post your experiences below so we can all see how things went..




Guest blog: “Champ”, the rescued Jindo

I thought you might be interested to read this blog, written by Valerie Mann, from Maryland…


“I have been a Reiki Master/Teacher in Fruitland, Maryland for about six years. It has been my pleasure to see any number of positive results with Reiki. However, when something which seems almost miraculous happens, I still feel a sense of wonder. This was the case with Champ, the rescued Jindo dog in Texas. This breed is not very well known in this country, as they are from Korea and many of them live on the West Coast. However, my good friend Jim Harvey of Flower Mound, Texas, who had one of the biggest hearts in the whole world when it came to animals, fostered Champ. Jim also had two of his own Jindo dogs as well as several others that he fostered and a total of seven cats. Champ had had a very rough start in life. He was originally found chained to a tree at the end of a dirt road in east Texas. All in all, there were over 60 dogs on the property, all living in appalling conditions with very little if any food, water or shelter.


“A regional dog rescue group stepped up and got all the dogs out of there and Champ ended up in Salt Lake City, Utah. That was just a temporary arrangement and he was soon back in Texas living with Jim, who was very protective of Champ, due to the fact that he had had such a terrible life to date. Needless to say, he was devastated when he found a tumor on Champ’s chest. It just seemed to be too much bad luck for any one dog. Fortunately, the vet said that the tumor was not malignant but that it would never go way.


“Jim and I talked on the phone several times about Champ’s condition. I could tell he was still worried and mentioned my Reiki background and how I seen and heard about some dramatic healings. In fact, a friend of mine actually was able to use Reiki to remove a tumor from her own dog. So I told Jim that I would give it a try. I set in place distant Reiki, but also put the request in my master crystal grid that the tumor would shrink. I could tell that Jim, a former Marine and construction supervisor, was open to the idea, believe it or not.


“Lo and behold, Jim called me within two days and said that it had shrunk to about half of its size. It had originally been about the size of a very large walnut and was now the size of a relatively small grape. We had a jubilant telephone conversation about this and really rejoiced. Keep in mind Champ was receiving no treatment whatsoever for this tumor. Another two days went by and the tumor had shrunk to the size of a pea. Jim is now beside himself. I think that between the two of us we developed some substantial positive healing energy which really amplified the Reiki and made it much more active than it would otherwise have been.


“At this point, I remembered that I had put in the Reiki grid the request that the tumor shrink. Intuitively, I knew that I would have to change what I had written on the grid in order for the tumor to completely disappear. I therefore changed the description on the grid to say Champ’s tumor would completely disappear. The very next day, it did disappear. This sold Jim on Reiki. He asked me on a more or less regular basis to send Reiki to various pets that needed it. I remember once sending Reiki energy to his back and having him call me asking if I was sending Reiki at that time because he was feeling beautiful warmth in his back.


“Sadly, Jim died suddenly at home in June of this year. He had no family or close friends in the area so his body was not found for about two weeks. All of the animals survived, except for the oldest cat who died several days after she got to the shelter. She just refused to eat.  Champ eventually was adopted by a wonderful family in Tennessee and has the most wonderful life now. If anybody deserves it, it is he. I wanted to tell this story to keep it alive because it was a watershed moment in the life of my friend as well as myself. I know Jim would have been very happy to see Champ finally settled and completely healthy.”


Valerie Mann


Report on the 2012 National Gathering

Well, that was quite an event. October 6th saw 140+ Reiki people from all over the country descending on Baden Powell House (right next to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington) for a day of fun, learning new things and making new friends. We had workshops and distant healing and Reiki shares, Reiju empowerments for all, and kotodama chanting. The venue was nice, light and airy, with a lovely atmosphere, and as the day progressed the place just buzzed with energy.

A few highlights of the day for me were seeing every one of the ‘Reiju’ seats occupied, with a queue of people waiting for their turn for a dose of blissfulness, or seeing everyone basically ‘take over’ the on-site café and turning it into a Reiki café, chatting on comfy sofas over tea or coffee, or maybe that experience of oneness at the close of the day, after that fantastic chanting!

It was great for me to get to meet and spend time with so many lovely Reiki people, and to publicly show my appreciation to my team of fantastic teachers.

What we did

Workshops featured Tina Shaw (“Discover your intuitive self”), Martine Moorby (“EFT for personal transformation”), Irene Forsyth (“Seeing auras”) and Marilyn Harvey (“Reiki meditations”). We were also lucky enough to have two separate QiGong sessions, the first hosted by Rhonda Bailey and the second hosted by Thalbert Allen and Maggie Tarling from the College of Elemental Chi Kung.

Attendees joined in Reiki sharing sessions and there were Reiju empowerments for anyone who wanted one (lots of people wanted one!), given by our team of lovely teachers. We held a couple of ‘chat to a Reiki teacher’ sessions and we had ‘en masse’ sessions in the Main Hall where we sent distant healing and chanted a sacred sound which elicits a state of oneness.

Useful links

Tina is now running special courses in Developing intuition and using a pendulum, which you can read about here: Special courses.

Martine teaches Emotional Freedom Technique in North Yorkshire and can be contacted here: Martine Moorby.

Rhonda teaches Tai Chi, QiGong and meditation in Kent, and you can find her here: Rhonda Bailey.

I particularly wanted to thank Thalbert for coming to our gathering to run a session for us. Thalbert Allen is co-founder and Director of the College of Elemental Chi Kung in Finsbury Park, and you can read more about the College here: Elemental Chi Kung.

Next year’s gathering

Very shortly I am going to be announcing the venue and the date for the 2013 National Gathering, and I look forward to seeing many familiar faces there next year; it can’t come quickly enough as far as I’m concerned!

Here’s a photo of me with 15 of my team of teachers:

New Distant Healing meditations on MP3


I have been beavering away with my recording equipment lately, and I have put together a collection of distant healing meditations that you might like to try out. At Reiki Evolution we like to give our students choices when it comes to things like distant healing, so they can experiment and find the approach that works best for them, so I thought it might be useful to put together a series of guided meditations to make it a bit easier to get into the groove of a particular approach.

These are the approaches that I recorded for you:

(1) Simple distant healing – just about the simplest approach you can take!
(2) Distant healing using the ‘cupped hands’ method
(3) Distant healing using a ‘prop’ like a teddy bear or a pillow
(4) Distant healing using a DH book or box
(5) Sending DH to heal your past
(6) Sending DH to a future event

You can order these tracks in an MP3 collection now and be using them in minutes if you like.

Click here to order your meditations now. I hope you find them useful.

Best wishes,





Feng shui your Reiki

Many of you will be familiar with Feng Shui, the Oriental art of placement, where you arrange your living environment to allow smooth flow of chi through your home, eliminating areas where chi will stagnate, and slowing down the speed of fast-rushing chi. So what has that to do with Reiki? Well they both deal with chi, but what I am really thinking of is applying the basic principles of Feng Shui to our practice of Reiki. This may seem a little strange, but please bear with me.

The basic principle of Feng Shui, the first thing you have to do before you do anything else, is to get rid of your clutter, because a cluttered environment leads to a cluttered life. Only once you have rid yourself of your unnecessary bits and pieces should you move in to apply the other more specific principles of placement. So could we de-clutter our practice of Reiki, what would that be like, and how could we achieve that? Is our Reiki cluttered now? How could we pare it down to the essentials and leave the unnecessary stuff behind?

We do seem to have a tendency in the West to make things endlessly complicated, almost on the basis that if it’s more complicated then it’s better. We like to introduce rules and regulations and restrictions and dogma, maybe because rules make us feel supported and safe, or maybe because we just can’t leave a simple thing alone! Yet the system that Usui Sensei taught to his surviving students wasn’t complicated. It wasn’t cluttered. It was simple and elegant and profound, and I think that we’ve drifted away from that in many ways. We’ve introduced rules and restrictions and dogma into many aspects of Reiki practice: connecting to the energy, treating someone, hand positions, distant healing methods, situations where you ‘should not treat’. This is all clutter and we can do without it. Freeing ourselves from this burden of technique and method and limitation would be a great and beneficial clear-out. We don’t need it. It holds us back. Let’s look at a few examples of unnecessary clutter.

A while ago I was contacted by a poor girl who had been taught that she needed to go through a fifteen-stage ritual in order to ‘connect’ to Reiki. She and the other students on the course were quite worried, obviously concerned that if they didn’t get all the stages right then the energy wouldn’t come through properly and their treatments would be ineffective. Naturally they wanted to do the very best they could for the people they were working on, and they were focusing hard on getting all the necessary stages right.

Yet ‘connection’ with Reiki is simply a state of mind; you connect when you intend to connect. Some people will hold their hands in a particular position (hands above them with palms uppermost to the sky, hands to the sides with palms face up, hands in the prayer position, hands in their lap with palms up, hands folded over the Dantien). Maybe they will say a set form of words, but all these are optional. Bring the energy through your crown to your Dantien and bathe in the light, flood the energy through your body, be still; you are connected when you intend to be. It is a matter of focus, a matter of where your attention lies.

Some people are taught that they must always keep one of their hands in contact with the recipient when they treat, based on the idea that if you take both hands off then you have lost your connection to the recipient and the energy will not flow properly. But your connection to the recipient is a state of mind too: you focus your attention on them, you merge with them and become one with them, and that is sufficient no matter what you are doing with your hands. In fact your treatment starts as soon as you are standing by the table with your attention directed towards the person. Your treatment has already started when you are scanning, or feeling the energy field. Reiki works just as well when you have your hands off the body, though Reiki is basically practised as a hands-on method.

Some Reiki people are taught rigid ‘standard’ hand positions that have to be used every time you treat, and there is the view that if you are not using ‘the’ hand positions then you haven’t been taught properly. Some even have a rigid time limit that has to be followed, so you can only keep your hands in each position for so many minutes… you can buy Reiki CDs which make a little ‘ping’ sound every three minutes (or whatever), and everyone changes hand positions like a robot. Yet what if your hands are going like crazy, what if there energy needs to flood into a particular area for a long time and you need to keep your hands there for 5 minutes or 10 minutes or 15 minutes? The answer would seem to be that you follow the system rigidly and ignore your hands. How sad.

Now standard hand positions are useful when you first learn Reiki: it’s reassuring to have some sort of system to follow. But we can move beyond those standard hand positions in a couple of ways. When we ‘scan’ the body we night discover areas that are drawing lots of Reiki, but they aren’t covered by the ‘standard’ hand positions… we can alter our hand positions accordingly, or add extra positions, to make sure we’re directing the energy into the areas that are drawing the most Reiki. We can use intuition, too, to control our hand positioning, and this has great benefits for the recipient because we are directing the energy into just the right combination of positions for each person we are working on. We might feel inexplicably ‘drawn’ to a particular area, we might just ‘know’ that we ought to be treating a particular area, or we might be practicing “Reiji Ho” from Japan, where our hands are drawn by ‘invisible magnets’ to the right areas to treat. Again we are leaving the rigid standard positions to one side and going with the flow. That was Usui’s way: there were no real standard positions. You simply put your hands where they wanted to go.

Distant healing is another area where lots of rules and regulations have crept in over time. Some people are taught quite complicated rituals that they have to carry out when they perform distant healing, with a set form of words that ‘have’ to be used in a particular way, and with various required visualisations. Yet the bare bones of distant healing are to know where the energy is to go – to set a firm intent – to use the distant healing symbol maybe, and to merge with the recipient, allowing the energy to flow. Anything beyond that is optional. People have different styles: some like to actively visualise and develop a detailed ritual, and that’s fine, but it’s not actually necessary. Others like to keep it simple, and that works just as well. Even the use of the distant healing symbol is optional, though it does help us to focus on merging with the recipient, a way of experiencing ‘oneness’ with the person you’re sending the energy to. Distant healing is perfectly possible at First Degree level, too: it’s simple a matter of intent, of focusing your attention in a particular way. The energy follows your thoughts, it follows your focus.

The final area where we could give our Reiki a big ‘clear out’ is in the rules and restrictions that can control who we should and should not treat. Some people are given a long list of ‘contraindications’: situations where you should not give Reiki because it might be dangerous. Some contraindications that I have come across include: pregnant women, babies, people with pacemakers, diabetics*, people undergoing an anaesthetic, people wearing contact lenses, people with cancer, people suffering from stress, people with broken bones, people taking homoeopathic remedies, people undergoing chemotherapy, people with a torn muscle. There will be many more examples taught in different lineages. These restrictions are nonsense, they have no basis: there is no proper evidence – even anecdotes – to back up the restrictions that are taught in some lineages. Reiki is safe, the person’s body draws it to the right areas to treat, and Reiki is seen as divinely inspired, intelligent, it is seen as pure unconditional love. That view hardly sits too well with the suggestion that you can hurt someone using Reiki. We think too much, we worry too much, and we create problems where there are none.

So a practice of Reiki that follows the first principle of Feng Shui will be a simple practice, free from rules, restrictions and self-imposed limitations. Feng Shui’d Reiki will be free from dogma, and free from rituals that you ‘must’ follow for Reiki to work effectively. It will be a practice that is based on simple intent and intuition, where you merge with the recipient, where you become one with them, and where you let the energy guide you. Let’s get rid of all that clutter and free up our practice, and just let the energy flow.

[ * There appears to be some anecdotal evidence that some diabetics may experience a short term alteration in blood sugar levels following a Reiki treatment. They should be made aware of this possibility and monitor their sugar levels accordingly. In theory a course of Reiki treatments could alter a diabetic’s blood sugar levels long-term, and thus their insulin requirements, and again they should be aware of this and monitor their blood sugar levels accordingly. However, this does not mean that you should not treat diabetics using Reiki, as is suggested in some quarters. It just means that diabetics should keep an eye on their blood sugar levels following a Reiki treatment or a course of Reiki treatments, which is what they should be doing routinely, anyway.]

Back to basics: Reiki Second Degree

People learn Reiki for many reasons and come from an amazing variety of backgrounds, all attending for their own personal reasons. Reiki courses in the UK present a whole variety of approaches, some “traditional” Western-style, some more Japanese in content, some wildly different and almost unrecognisable, some free and intuitive, others dogmatic and based on rules about what you should always do and not do. Reiki is taught in so many ways, and students will tend to imagine that the way that they were taught is the way that Reiki is taught and practised by most other Reiki people.

What I have tried to do in this article is to present a simple guide to what in my view is the essence of Second Degree: what it’s all about and what we should be doing and thinking about to get the most out of our experience of Reiki at this level. My words are addressed to anyone at Second Degree level, or anyone who would like to review the essence of Second Degree.

The first thing I want to say is that there should usually be an interval of a couple of months or so between First and Second Degree if you want to get the most out of your Reiki experience, and that it is unwise to take both Degrees back-to-back over a weekend. We would not take an advanced driving test the day after passing our basic driving test, so why would we believe that moving on to a more ‘advanced’ level with Reiki would be an effective way to learn when we have had no opportunity to get the hang of the basics of First Degree? Can we get the most out of Second Degree when we have had no opportunity to get used to working with and sensing and experiencing energy, when we have had no opportunity to enhance our effectiveness as a channel and our sensitivity to Reiki through regular practice, when we have had no opportunity to become familiar with a standard treatment routine and have had no opportunity to feel comfortable and confident in treating other people? Reiki is not a race, and we need to be familiar with the basics before moving on.

Second Degree is all about:

1. reinforcing or enhancing your connection to the energy 2. learning some symbols which you can use routinely when working on yourself or treating others 3. enhancing your self-healing 4. learning how to effect a strong distant connection (distant healing)

And ideally it is also about opening yourself up to your intuitive side so that you throw away the basic Reiki ‘rule book’ and go freestyle, gearing any treatments towards the individual needs of the recipient.

There are many approaches to doing these things, and I wanted below to touch on each one and to dispel some myths that may have been passed on.

Enhancing your Connection to the energy

On your Second Degree course you will have received some attunements or some empowerments. Attunements are not standard rituals within the world of Reiki and take many forms, some simpler and some more complex. They have evolved and changed greatly during their journey from teacher to teacher in the West. There is no “right way” to carry out an attunement and the individual details of a ritual do not matter a great deal. They all work. Equally, there is no “correct” number of attunements that have to be carried out at Second Degree level. Whether you receive one, two, or three attunements on your course, that is fine.

On your course you may have received some “empowerments” rather than attunements, though these are less common. The word “empowerment”, or “Reiju empowerment”, refers to a connection ritual that has come to us from some Japanese sources, and is closer in essence to the empowerment that Mikao Usui conveyed to his students. If you are receiving empowerments rather than attunements then you really need to have received three of them at least.

What we experience when receiving an attunement or an empowerment will vary a lot. Some people have fireworks and bells and whistles and that’s nice for them; other people notice a lot less, or very little, or even nothing, and that’s fine too. What we feel when we have an attunement is not a guide to how well it has worked for us. Attunements work, and sometimes we will have a strong experience, but it’s not compulsory! Whether we have noticed a lot, or very little, the attunement will have given us what we need.

Since in Mikao Usui’s system you would have received empowerments from him again and again, it would be nice if you could echo this practice by receiving further empowerments (or attunements) and perhaps these might be available at your teacher’s Reiki shares or get-togethers, if they hold them. But it is possible to receive distant Reiju empowerments and various teachers make them freely available as a regular ‘broadcast’. This is not essential, and your connection to Reiki once given does not fizzle out, but it would be a beneficial practice if you could receive regular empowerments from someone.

Being “attuned” to a symbol

For many years within the world of Reiki, people believed that the symbols would not work for you, that they were essentially useless, until you had been “attuned” to the symbol: then it would work for you. Unfortunately the only connection rituals available in the West were ‘attunements’ which involved attuning you to a symbol, so no-one knew how to carry out a ‘symbol-free’ attunement to see if you really needed to be attuned to a symbol for it to work for you.

But in 1999, from Japan, emerged Reiju empowerments, a representation of the empowerments that Usui conferred, and these empowerments do not use symbols. Finally we were able to see if you really needed to be attuned to a symbol for it to work for you. Lo and behold we discovered that the symbols work fine for people who are connected to the energy using Reiju; they work fine for people who are connected to Reiki but who have not been ‘attuned’ to the symbols. It seems that once you are connected to Reiki – and now we know how to achieve this without symbols entering into the process – the symbols will work for you, and in fact any symbol seems to push the energy in a particular direction without you having to be specifically ‘attuned’ to it (whatever that means). The Reiki symbols are simply graphical representations of different aspects of the energy, a way of representing and emphasising what is already there.

“Sacred Symbols”

In some lineages students are not allowed to keep copies of the symbols and have to reproduce them from memory, based on what they learned on their Second Degree course. There is the suggestion that the symbols are sacred and not only sacred but secret, and should not be shown to people who are not involved in Reiki, or people who are at First Degree level. Where this idea came from in the Western Reiki system is not clear, since certainly Dr Hayashi had his students copy out his notes by way of preparing their own manuals, including copying down the symbols.

For me, the Reiki symbols are simply graphical representations of different aspects of the energy, useful tools to assist us in experiencing or becoming consciously aware of different aspects of what we already have, and what is special or sacred is our connection to the source, not the squiggles we might put on a piece of paper.

Because of the ‘Chinese whispers’ that have resulted from students not being allowed to take home hard copies of the Reiki symbols, there are many different versions of the symbols in existence, but they are mainly variations on a theme and they all seem to work in practice. Do remember, though, that the original CKR had an anticlockwise spiral, and to use a version of CKR with a clockwise spiral is to use a symbol that is not part of the Usui/Hayashi/Takata system.

Using Symbols in practice

Some students are taught there is one ‘correct’ way that symbols have to be used. Reiki is not so finicky. The important thing when using a Reiki symbol is to focus your attention on the symbol in some way, so whether you are drawing the symbol with your fingers hovering over the back of your hand as you treat someone, whether you are drawing out the symbol using eye movements, or nose movements, or in your mind’s eye, all approaches will work. You do not need to visualise the symbols in a particular colour and if you can see the symbol in your mind’s eye in its entirety – this takes practice – you can ‘flash’ the whole symbol rather than drawing it out stroke by stroke.

Just because we have been taught some symbols does not mean that we are now obliged to use them all the time when we treat or when we work on ourselves. They can be used to emphasise different aspects of the energy, but this is optional. Use of symbols does seem to boost the flow of energy, so we can use them when it feels appropriate. This is the key: to bring a symbol into a particular part of a treatment when we have a strong feeling that we ought to, to work intuitively rather than following a set method.

I have written in other articles below about the issue of simplicity within Reiki practice, and the complicated way that people have ended up using the Reiki symbols, for example mixing symbols together or using complicated symbol sandwiches. Remember that the simple approach is usually the most effective, and that there is no hard and fast way that you ‘have’ to work with the symbols you have been shown.

By the way, if you have been taught that you have to draw the three Second Degree symbols over your palm each day or else they will stop working for you, you can safely ignore these instructions. The symbols will work for you no matter what you do or don’t do with your palms!

Why the symbols are there

At Second Degree, the prime focus of Reiki is still your self-healing, and the first two symbols are there to help you get to grips with two important energies that will further or deepen your self-healing. Putting the ‘distant healing’ symbol to one side, the other two symbols represent the energies of earth ki and heavenly ki, and we need to fully assimilate these two energies to enhance our self-healing and self-development. If we are going to use these energies when we treat other people, it makes sense to be thoroughly familiar with these energies, to have spent time ‘becoming’ these energies. We can do this by carrying out regular symbol meditations.

Making ‘distant’ connections

The third Reiki symbol that you are introduced to on a Second Degree course is commonly called the ‘distant healing symbol’. We should remember that distant healing is perfectly possible at First Degree level and that we do not need to use a symbol in order to send Reiki to another person: intent is enough. But using this symbol can help us to learn to better ‘click’ into a nice strong merged state.

There is no set form of ritual that ‘has’ to be used in distant healing, there is not set form of words that has to be recited, no established sequence which needs to be reproduced in order for distant healing to be effective, so we can find our own comfortable approach, different from other people’s but equally valid. The details of the ritual that we use are not important. All we need to do is to focus our attention on the recipient and maybe use the symbol in some way, merge with the energy, merge with the recipient, and allow the energy to flow.

Intuitive working

Ideally, Second Degree should be the stage where you start to leave the basic ‘rulebook’ behind and go ‘freestyle’, gearing your treatment towards the recipient’s individual energy needs, so that each treatment will be different, as the recipient’s energy needs change from one treatment session to another. Some students will already be modifying the basic treatment routine by the time that they arrive on their Second Degree course.

Set hand positions and a prescribed scheme to follow are useful things to have at First Degree, and allow the student to feel confident in treating others, but sequences of hand positions can be left behind when we open to intuition. Intuitive treatments seem to do something special for the recipient: when you direct the energy into just the right combination of positions for that person on that occasion you allow the energy to penetrate deeply and this seems to lead to a more profound experience for the recipient. Treatments using intuitively guided hand positions may involve much fewer hand positions being held, and each combination being held for much longer, than in a ‘standard’ treatment.

We recommend that the Japanese “Reiji ho” approach is used to help Second Degree students to open to their intuitive side, since the approach is so simple and seems to work for most people even within a few minutes of practice. The resulting strong belief that the student is “intuitive” is a hugely empowering state and opens many doors.


Reiki has the potential to make an amazing, positive difference to you and the people around you. Remember that Reiki is simplicity itself, and by taking some steps to work on yourself regularly, and share Reiki with the people close to you, you are embarking on a very special journey. How far you travel on that journey is governed by how many steps you take. Carry on with your Hatsurei and self-treatments, get to grips with the energies of CKR and SHK through regular meditation, find your own comfortable approach to carrying out distant healing, and open yourself to intuitive working. And have fun!

Reiki Distant healing, Oneness and Usui’s system

oneness reiki distant healing

Distant healing in Usui’s time

Distant healing is an essential part of Reiki in the West. People on Second Degree courses are taught the ‘distant healing’ symbol and they learn how to ‘send’ Reiki to other people, in a way that transcends time and space.

But how was this done in Mikao Usui’s time?

Well, it seems that distant healing was not practised by Usui Sensei’s students, not in the way that we understand it, though they would have realised that such a thing was possible. And although we in the West are taught a ‘distant healing symbol’, these Reiki symbols were only introduced towards the end of Usui’s life, for the benefit of the Imperial Officers who trained with him, and thus most of the people Usui trained were not give symbols to use.

Most of his students used either Buddhist-style meditations or chanted Shinto mantras called ‘kotodama’ to get to grips with certain energies and states, and the work that they were doing was all about their own spiritual development and self-healing; treating others was not focused on or emphasised in the original system for example, and neither was distant healing.

So if the original students weren’t given HSZSN (the ‘distant healing symbol’) to use, and if they didn’t practise distant healing, what did they do that ties in with the idea of distant healing?

Reiki and Oneness

It’s all about Oneness, and this is a Buddhist idea: the concept that what we experience as reality is actually illusion, the idea that we are individuals, separate and distinct from other people is illusion, and that the true reality is that of oneness.

In Usui Sensei’s original system, some Second Degree practitioners who had worked for up to 18 months with the energies of earth ki and heavenly ki were given the opportunity to meditate on and chant kotodama that elicited a state of oneness, one of the goals of the original system.

For me, practising distant healing is a good way to experience a state of oneness because in distant healing you are becoming one with the recipient, you merge with them and the energy and you lose that distinction between the sender and receiver, subject and object.

It’s interesting that when we ‘send’ distant healing we are not sending and the receiver isn’t receiving: the idea is that there is no us and there is no them, and that’s why it’s possible.

A lovely conundrum!

Over to you

When you practise distant healing, what do you notice about the state that you experience?

Do you find that you’re in a space where you seem to transcend time and space?

What is your experience of oneness?

Post a message below to let me know what it feels like for you.

Want to find out more about Distant Healing?

reiki book second degree manualsA whole collection of distant healing methods are contained in the 110-page Reiki Evolution Second Degree manual. This isn’t just available to Reiki Evolution students: anyone can work with our manuals.

You can order a professionally-printed copy, or you can download your manual right now.

Here are the links that you need:

Reiki Second Degree manual

Reiki Second Degree eBook





Picture Credit: Alice Popkorn


New Distant Healing meditations for you


To help Reiki people who are experimenting with distant healing, and looking for a method that suits them best, I have put together a collection of six distant healing meditations that you can use, and they are suitable for Reiki people at all levels, including First Degree. You can download the meditations straight away, as MP3 files, and listen to them as you carry out your distant healing.

I have been writing a series of blog posts on the subject of distant healing and if you have read them then you will know that I don’t believe there is any ‘set’ method that has to be used: people can find their own comfortable way of working with the energy and don’t need to follow a checklist set down by someone else. If you’r einterested in trying out a few different distant healing methods to see what seems to work best for you, then why not use these meditations and see how you get on with them.

Here are the meditations that I have put together for you:

(1) Simple distant healing session: no symbols, no props, no complications
(2) Connecting through cupping your hands
(3) Using a prop, like a teddy bear, pillow or even your leg
(4) Distant healing using a book or box
(5) Healing your past, healing past events
(6) Sending Reiki to the future

All the meditations are about 10-11 minutes long and so can be carried out any time you have a few minutes to spare, and the soft background music, and gentle commentary, will help you to enter a lovely, deep, merged state.

Distant Healing meditations as MP3 downloads

Reiki meditation CD, Reiki MP3
Six distant healing methods including sending to the past and future.

Price: £11.98

To order by PayPal, use this button

To order by NOCHEX, use this button
I accept payment using Nochex

And once you’ve been using the meditations, please post a message below to let me know how you got on with them.




Sending Reiki to the future

sending reiki distant healing to the future

Using distant healing creatively

I suppose that most people who send practise healing will send the energy to a friend or a family member, but the energy can be used more creatively too and, since Reiki doesn’t seem greatly constrained by either time or space, some people will send Reiki to their future.

So how might this be done?

Well, imagine that you have a public speaking engagement or a job interview, or a musical performance or an exam, any event where you could do with a bit of Reiki contentment sparkling over you. What you do is to imagine yourself in that future event, in whatever way feels comfortable, and imagine that Reiki is flooding into that event or situation, flooding into the room maybe, surrounding and engulfing you and any other people who might be there.

The Reiki that you are sending gives you just what you need on that occasion, supporting, nourishing and healing in the way that you need it, working its magic on the relationship between the people that are going to be there perhaps.

Reiki your day

Some people send Reiki ‘to their day’ by imagining their day ahead (in a brief, truncated or speeded up fashion) and flooding their day with Reiki, imagining everything going well, smoothly, calmly.

I have heard of someone who sends Reiki to ‘their bed’ each day, with the intention that the Reiki hangs around, ready to deposit itself on that person when they get into bed.

You can be endlessly creative with this!

Over to you

If this idea is new to you, why not experiment and see what’s possible, and let us hear about your experience by posting a message below.

Want to find out more about Distant Healing?

reiki book second degree manualsA whole collection of distant healing methods are contained in the 110-page Reiki Evolution Second Degree manual. This isn’t just available to Reiki Evolution students: anyone can work with our manuals.

You can order a professionally-printed copy, or you can download your manual right now.

Here are the links that you need:

Reiki Second Degree manual

Reiki Second Degree eBook




Picture Credit: renatodantasc

Sending Reiki to the past


reiki distant healing the past

Getting creative with Reiki distant healing

I suppose that most people who send practise healing will send the energy to a friend or a family member, but the energy can be used more creatively too and, since Reiki doesn’t seem greatly constrained by either time or space, some people will send Reiki to ‘heal their past’.

They would do that by imagining a past situation or event which has had some ongoing effect on them in terms of what they believe about themselves, some event that has held them back in some way, preventing them from being the person they could be, and imagine that the energy is cradling or flooding that event, doing whatever needs to be done to bring healing and resolution.

Whether the energy actually flies back in time to flood that event with Reiki is a moot point I think, but since all we have to experience is the present in any case – we live in the now – what this practice does is to heal the ongoing effects that the earlier event has had on the way that we feel about ourselves and other people, for example; it calms the ‘ripples’ that the event has produced over the years, to remove the chains that are holding us back in some way.

Healing the ‘inner child’

Some people might send distant healing to themselves in the past, imagining themselves as a child, by way of healing the ‘inner child’, not imagining a particular event or situation, but a representation or composite of them in childhood.

And, interestingly, this seems almost to be a Reiki version of ‘Time Line’ work, which is a practice in NLP: clients are taken back to find early events that have had a deleterious effect on their self-esteem, for example, and insights are passed on to the younger them that have knock-on effects in terms of how that earlier situation has affected them.

Over to you

If this idea is new to you, why not experiment and see what’s possible, and let us hear about your experience by posting a message below.

Want to find out more about Distant Healing?

reiki book second degree manualsA whole collection of distant healing methods are contained in the 110-page Reiki Evolution Second Degree manual. This isn’t just available to Reiki Evolution students: anyone can work with our manuals.

You can order a professionally-printed copy, or you can download your manual right now.

Here are the links that you need:

Reiki Second Degree manual

Reiki Second Degree eBook


Picture Credit: thejbird


Scanning at a distance

reiki scanning teddy bear

Using props

In “How to send Reiki distant healing (Part IV)” I spoke about different ‘props’ that you can use when sending distant healing: sending Reiki into a teddy bear, or a pillow, or even into your upper leg.

All these props serve to represent the recipient’s body, helping you to focus your attention on the recipient and direct the energy into a particular part of their body at a distance. You are bolstering your intent by using the prop to make your intention ‘concrete’.

But in the same way that you are using the intermediate of the teddy bear, say, to help ‘transmit’ the energy, you can also receive information from the recipient about where the energy wants to go in greatest amounts, and we can do this by ‘scanning’ the teddy bear (or pillow).

Scanning a prop

Scanning, when used on a client on a treatment table in front of you, is a method where you hover your hand(s) over their body, a few inches away, and drift your hands from one place to another, paying attention to the sensations of heat, pulsing, fizzing, tingling, heaviness etc in your hands, by way of finding those areas that are drawing most energy, so that you can spend longer treating those areas.

Your hands can then guide you in terms of how long you treat in a particular area since you will notice that, after a while, the flow of energy subsides and you can then move on to another hand position.

And we can scan the teddy bear of pillow, who represents the recipient, and we can hover our hands, drifting our hand from one place to another, noticing the flow of energy through our hand into the prop, into the recipient.

An area of great need in the recipient will show itself by a more intense flow of energy into a particular part of the prop.

Just like in a live Reiki treatment, when you find an area on the prop that is drawing a lot of energy then you can treat that area for longer, until the flow of energy subsides.

So the distant connection to the recipient works two ways: as a way of directing Reiki to them, and also as a way of receiving information about where the energy needs to go.

Over to you

If you haven’t experimented with this sort of thing before, why not have a go and let us know what happened by posting a message below.

Want to find out more about Distant Healing?

reiki book second degree manualsA whole collection of distant healing methods are contained in the 110-page Reiki Evolution Second Degree manual. This isn’t just available to Reiki Evolution students: anyone can work with our manuals.

You can order a professionally-printed copy, or you can download your manual right now.

Here are the links that you need:

Reiki Second Degree manual

Reiki Second Degree eBook



Picture Credit: Horia Varlan