How long should I spend in each hand position?

timing of reiki hand positions

Treat like clockwork?

In some Reiki lineages, students are taught to spend a set amount of time treating each hand position, no matter who they are working on, and some practitioners use audio CDs with little ‘bells’ that sound out every three minutes, say.

But isn’t this a bit mechanical, and everyone’s different, so why would we give essentially the same treatment to everyone that we work on?

Altering your treatments to suit the client

The energy needs of each person that we work on will be different, so it’s reasonable to expect each Reiki treatment that we give to be different, based on the individual energy needs of the client.

I don’t think we should treat everyone like a “Reiki robot”, changing hand position every time a bell pings, no matter what the client’s energy system needs on that occasion. In my last blog I spoke about moving beyond the standard hand positions that are taught in some lineages, and we can also move beyond the idea of treating for the same amount of time in each hand position.

Clients will have areas of the body that need Reiki more than others, so it makes sense to spend longer in these areas of need, and to spend less time in areas where there’s not such a great need for Reiki to flow.

How to know how long to take in one position

So how can we work out how long we should spend in each hand position? I would like to suggest two methods, one based on sensing the flow of energy, and one based on intuition.

Most Reiki people can feel the flow of energy through their hands, which often shows itself as heat, fizzing, tingling, buzzing, heaviness, a magnetic feeling or whatever, if you can feel the flow of energy through your hands then you will be able to tell whether the hand position you are using is drawing lots of energy.

Sometimes it’s completely clear, since your hands are absolutely ‘on fire’!

It would be a good idea to stay in that hand position for longer, and after a while you will start to notice that the flow of energy – and associates sensations – starts to reduce in intensity.

When things have calmed down, move onto your next hand position.

We can also allow our intuition to guide us in terms of how long we spend working on a particular part of the body. Everyone is intuitive, and our intuition can make itself known to us in different ways. We may feel ‘locked’ into a particular hand position, or have an ‘inner knowing’ that we should stay where we are for the time being.

One little trick that I have used in the past to tell whether I need to stay where I am or move on involves using a visualisation that connects to your inner knowing: when treating someone, and I’m wondering whether I should move on now, I have an imaginary hand appear in my mind’s eye, resting where my real hand is.

I imagine that this imaginary hand moves away from the body, as if on a piece of elastic, and if the imaginary hand wants to pull itself back to its original position, pulled by the elastic, then I should stay there for longer.

If the hand seems happy to drift away, in my mind’s eye, then I know it’s ok to move on to a new position… just a little visualisation that you can use to access intuitive knowledge.

Over to you

If these approaches are new to you, why not try them and see what happens, and let us know about your experiences by posting a message below.

Or maybe you started out doing treatments with standard timings, and now you don’t.

How did that happen, and what do you think about the quality of your treatments now that you’re working more freestyle?

Here’s lots of advice about giving treatments

reiki books first degree manualIf you’d like some guidance about giving Reiki treatments, I have a whole load of advice and suggestions for you in the Reiki Evolution First Degree course 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 First Degree manual

Reiki First Degree eBook





9 thoughts on “How long should I spend in each hand position?

  1. I very much agree with this – intuition is the key and the Reiki knows when and where. I rarely hear much discussion about this – good article.

  2. I use a combination of those ideas. I let the energy flow in each position for as long as it needs – until the intensity weakens and/or stops but, as I am doing it, I ask, ‘where next’. Invariably I get a mental image of my hands in a new position, usually just as the energy flow starts to reduce so I am ready to move on.
    When I move on I check it out just to make sure, and make any fine adjustments to the positions, guided by the intensity of the energy flow.
    I do not need to worry about where to go next because the image comes, and so I am otherwise just in the energy and can relax into it, switch my mind off and enjoy the session.
    It is wonderful stuff!!

  3. very much agree – it’s very personal what your signals and markers are. I also find that the energy flowing through me gives rise to a state which is either meditative or close to trance, and as the energy subsides I surface and know that it will soon be time to move on. It’s all following and experiencing rather than regulating in any case

  4. Thank you for the article, which I will definitely share. I have found myself varying timings and positions over time and with different clients, without really having DECIDED to do anything or without even having THOUGHT about it at all. I did wonder at a number of points what was going on, but decided to just experience ‘going with the flow’. Sometimes I find my hands just moving on their own or sometimes I use intuition or feedback as you describe. Recently I have found myself personally feeling sensations in my own body, which turn out to have been relevant to the client- coughing when they have reflux, having earache when they have a burst eardrum. These sensations dissipate as I treat the client- which is how I initially recognise they aren’t ‘mine’. What I find REALLY odd is when I get clients on the same day who all make ME have the same physical sensations and I find later that they are all relevant !

    1. Hi Linden. I think that’s a great approach – just going with the treatment without consciously deciding to do various things: just letting it happen. It’s interesting how your body can sometimes echo what’s going on in the recipient, isn’t it? Not the same as ‘picking up things’, as you say, since they dissipate when the treatment is over… more a case of your intuition working in a particular way.

  5. Hi Taggart, I find all of your articles very interesting. I was originally taught various hand positions and each one you stayed 5 minutes then move on. Over the years I work with my intuition and go to where I feel I need to, then stay in that position for as long as I feel I need to. This is great when giving Reiki to friends and family but when a paying client wants an hour of Reiki, then thats what they expect. Can you tell me your ideas on this please and how do you deal with it?

    I look forward to hearing your advise

    1. Hi Diana, I have never found that working intuitively was a problem when giving treatments to the public. I explain in general terms about teh sort of hand positions taht I might use during the treatment, start with the shoulders for a while, work on the head and then move on to the torso, all the while allowing the energy to go where it is needed. I do this in a leisurely fashion (e.g. 5-10 mins to start things off with the shoulders) and never found that I ended up with time to spare at the end of a session.

  6. Hi Taggart,
    Thank you for your advice, this is generally what I do. So I am pleased to hear I am doing the right thing. Its always nice to hear others point of view/ideas.

    I have to admit when giving or receiving Reiki time seems to have no meaning. An hour can feel like a few minutes. There are times when I have finished the session I have gone over the hour, which doesnt matter to me as I make sure I leave plenty of time between my client. But I just wanted to see what your views were if there ever came a time it didnt last the hour.

    Thanks again Taggart for your advice

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