Reiki is not all fluffy bunnies

reiki is a powerful system

When Reiki shifts up a gear

We know what Reiki tends to do for people, don’t we? People end up chilled, calm, serene, content, better able to cope, more positive.

Reiki brings balance, perspective, and if you add in a regular focus on the Reiki precepts, and the practise of mindfulness, then you have a really powerful system for positive change.

But it’s not all happy bunnies and smiles: Reiki can produce powerful effects and elicit powerful shifts in a person.

When someone comes for a Reiki treatment, they will usually have a wonderful experience. They will feel more relaxed than they have for a very long time, they will drift, or float, or sink, they will bliss out on those boiling hot hands, they might have rainbow light shows, or tingles, a lovely experience.

But it’s not like that for everyone.

Sometimes a person can just feel generally ‘unsettled’ during a treatment. They don’t relax, they don’t necessarily experience anything powerful, but they’re not calm and relaxed and peaceful, as most people are. So what is going on here?

Well, they are having a definite experience, the energy is doing something for them, and what it is doing is coming through as that sense of being unsettled.

The energy will provide the recipient with a variety of sensations or feelings, and they are just what that person needs to experience to best shift what they need to shift to move on, a side-effect, in a way, of the energetic work that is going on within them.

Often it’s a lovely experience, but not always.

Emotional shifts

Sometimes Reiki can produce powerful emotional effects in a short space of time, as people release what they need to release to move on with their lives.

It’s as if all this deeply-embedded stuff is bubbling to the surface to be released.

So I have had people literally wailing on the treatment table, and it’s not uncommon to see a silent tear or two pass from someone’s eye as they’re treated.

And although it’s not nice to see someone in distress, it seems that these emotions, although powerful at times, are experienced in a positive way by the client, where there is a sense of relief that they are just letting go, moving on from what they are experiencing on the treatment table.

So don’t worry if someone becomes emotional when you treat them. This is common. It shows that things are moving, shifting, and that’s what you and your client want.

By the end of the session, everything will have calmed down and your client will feel much better. The treatment will have come like a breath fo fresh air, like a cleansing breath that has flushed out accumulated gunk.

And while your client may sometimes feel a bit shell-shocked by what they experienced, they will have left stuff behind and moved on in some positive fashion.

Physical shifts

While the ’emotional release’ is probably more common than its physical counterpart, sometimes a client will experience more physical sensations, for example pain. It’s not uncommon for someone with arthritis, for example, to experience a short-term intensification of those joint pains, while they are receiving their treatment, though the pains then subside and often improve subsequently.

I have treated people with metal plates inserted into their bones, where the area has ached during a treatment, for example.


A Reiki treatment is rather like dropping a pebble into a pond: while there is the initial splash, during the treatment – an intensification of things – the energy will also produce ripples that carry on, with peaks and troughs. So it’s not uncommon for a client to experience some emotional ups and downs in the days after a treatment, with physical effects like better sleep, or disturbed sleep, aches and pains, feeling full of energy, or feeling tired and wanting to change gear and slow down for a while.

These things are all side-effects of the energy working to bring things into balance for that person, giving them the opportunity to re-balance, to reinterpret, to reconsider, to achieve a new state of wellness.

Over to you

What powerful effects have you or witnessed when giving a Reiki treatment? What did your client experience and how did that help them to improve things subsequently?

What have you experienced for yourself when receiving a Reiki treatment that would consider to be a powerful experience, and how has that helped you?

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Photo credit: Orin Zebest

17 thoughts on “Reiki is not all fluffy bunnies

  1. I have experienced everything you have said even the physical pain, which I experienced whilst receiving my Reiki II attunement. I have also had one or two of my clients experience laughter, it started as a smile and slowly developed into silent laughter, client was full of apologies but I assured her it was perfectly ok and that she was experiencing a release of something and to just enjoy it.

  2. Thank you for this. I once treated a lady who had years of back and shoulder pain as well as some neurological problems that she wasn’t able to specify. She had seen countless doctors, neurologists, psychologists, had acupuncture etc, but was very unwell for years. I suggested some Reiki which she willingly accepted, but she felt extremely hot and uncomfortable during the treatment and was very ill that night (throwing up etc.). The next day she told me Reiki wasn’t for her and she said it made her worse and didn’t work. I tried to reassure her, but of course she had made up her mind to the point of making me doubt whether I should have suggested the treatment for her. I also doubted if the Reiki treatment had worked for her (of course it did!). I now understand her reaction as two years down the line she is a completely different woman who is pain free, able to work and just looks very well. Thank you for helping me understand.

  3. His complaint was anxiety since taking on a new position as a Nurse Anesthesist in a large hospital. I was holding acupressure points on his neck when he began to feel pain in his lower back. I felt the area and noted that it was exactly where the Kidney Shu was (Kidney Meridian imbalances can indicate fear). Then I noticed large beads of sweat on his forehead. He sat up for a few minutes, went to the bathroom and urinated, then returned. The pain was gone and we continued the session without incident. He and his wife reported that his anxiety was much relieved.

  4. A close friend experienced a Kundalini awakening which lead to extraordinary psychic abilities and direct vision “medical intuition” when she received Reiki initiation.

  5. My sister had terrible pain in her knee from osteoarthritis. The day following the session the pain intensified greatly such that she could not bear weight on the leg. Soon after, all the pain from the osteoarthritis vanished and she was pain-free for about a year.

  6. over the years all sorts of interesting experiences have transpired!

    When explaining about Reiki to clients I use the analogy of human beings being like a glass of water.

    The top three quarters of the glass can look fresh and clear and pure, but lurking at the bottom quarter can be a lot of sediment. ( the ‘stuff’ that we acquire as part of the human experience)

    Offering Reiki, is like pouring fresh water into the glass, but as it continues to flow, it starts to stir up and move the sediment lurking at the bottom of the glass. the Reiki can just keep flowing until all the sediment lurking at the bottom, rises to the surface, to be released, until eventually the glass becomes full and crystal clear.

    Unfortunately for some people, the sediment has been building and building for so long that having it brought to the surface can be uncomfortable.

    Last year a client had quite profound images and emotions come to the surface concerning her grief for her mother who had passed. She had buried her feelings very deeply and did not want to face her grief. The reiki session was like putting a mirror up to her heart. She also had lots and lots of images come to the surface relating to other areas of her life. But she found it too much. She just wasn’t ready to see herself in the mirror. I tried to encourage her to come for another session, but she was adamant that she wasn’t ready to deal with certain aspects of what she was seeing.
    It was the first time in 12 years of practise, a client had said they weren’t ready to deal with what was coming up. I’ll be honest I was a little hurt and knew things would have improved for her had she given the Reiki more time. But she made her decision and I had to honour that.

    I soon got over my initial ‘hurt’….afterall we want to make people feel better not worse! and we’ve spoken about a few things since.

    Another client had a beautiful experience during the session, but the day after he had a bit of an emotional melt down! Which again was just a releasing process, this too was related to grief he had buried. But the very quick and sudden release of strong emotion that he experienced shocked him.

    I love Reiki, it doesn’t mess about, it just gets to where it is needed and works its magic, sometimes it just works faster than people are prepared for! Most times Reiki works very gently, but occasionally Reiki just fires in all guns blazing…

    I just try my best to keep out of the way and let Reiki do it’s thing.

    1. Hi Sharon, I love the ‘sediment’ explanation! It explains things really well.

      It does happen sometimes that people just don’t feel ready, or aren’t able to trust that Reiki will make things better after an initial uncomfortable period. Sadly, we can’t tie people to the treatment table and force them, much as we might want to. 🙂

      As you say, Reiki doesn’t mess about and the best approach is to get out of the way and let Reiki do it’s thing.

  7. After my Second Degree initiation (ten years ago) I had flu-like symptoms for 1-2 weeks. When I am giving myself Reiki, I sometimes see vivid purple and green colours moving (out and in) in a circular way – and then they stop. Sometimes I would feel tearful after a treatment.

    Would it be safe to give a treatment to someone who has Arrhythmia?

  8. Occasionally I have clients ( always men, so far) who get to a certain point in a treatment where they suddenly feel overwhelmed, sick and maybe very hot. We finish the treatment at that point as they feel they have ‘ had enough’. I don’t know whether this happens because of a certain amount of ‘ resistance’ to the energy on their part or whether this is just Reiki doing what it does in the way it does it. Any ideas welcome !?

    1. Just had a client that had a physical jerk on the treatment couch this happened 3 times found out that she had a card reading and did not like what she was told so had another reading with someone else then come to me for the reiki then the medium gave her a message which was the same as the card readings it was down to some emotional blockages that she was not ready to deal with

      1. Often that physical jerk is just the thing that happens sometimes when you relax deeply; sometimes people are woken up in bed as they fall asleep because of it.

  9. I once had a lady who was violently sick straight after her Reiki session. She said she didn’t feel very well straight after and within 5 minutes ran straight to the toilet and was throwing up. She did say that she felt much better after she had been sick. I see her most weeks and she is very well balanced and happy.

    1. Such things don’t seem to happen very often, fortunately, but it wouldn’t surprise me, and good to hear that she wasn’t frightened off and is still coming to you for treatments!

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