What Does It All Mean?


When we treat someone, and when we receive a Reiki treatment, for that matter, we are going to notice different things. There will be physical sensations, maybe images or colours, there may be emotions or states of mind that arise while we treat or receive a treatment.

And it’s natural to wonder what all these sensations mean. Why do I have that sensation? Why am I seeing that colour? What does this change in sensation mean? Should I be worried about that feeling I’m getting?

If only there was some guidebook that I could go to, look down a list, and find out what it all means.

Well, Reiki doesn’t really work that way, but I hope below to say some things that will be helpful and reassuring to you.

Clients asking questions

It is quite commonplace for Reiki clients to ask you at the end of a session, “what did you pick up?”. We are used to going to see a therapist or some sort of a specialist and to be told what’s wrong with us, to have a ‘label’ given to us that describes in some way the things that we are experiencing. You go to see your doctor and they tell you that everything’s fine – nothing to worry about – or they tell you that you have a problem called “x” and that it will go away on its own, or that you have problem “y” and here’s what we can do to treat that.

So it’s not surprising that clients expect in some way a similar sort of response: you have treated me, you’ve worked on my energy system, so what’s wrong with me?

But we are not doctors. We do not have medical training. We have no ability nor right to diagnose anything nor to recommend any sort of medical treatment or warn against any sort of medical treatment. We just work with energy: we merge with the client, we become neutral and empty, we ‘get out of the way’ and the energy flows. And as the energy flows, the client may have a particular sensation and we may have a particular sensation.

Those sensations are not diagnostic tools and should not be used as such.

All we can comment on, really, is that we noticed “a lot of energy” going into a particular part of the body. That may make perfect sense to our client, or it may be a bit of a mystery, and the client should not start to think that because there is a lot of energy going to a particular place, that there is some sort of medical probelm there.

More about that later.

Sometimes it can be fairly clear: they have a frozen shoulder or arthritic knee and we notice that there’s lots of energy going into the shoulder, or the client notices that their knee starts to ache during the treatment (and should improve subsequently). On other occasions it can be a mystery.

[See also: Talking to clients about strong reactions for further advice]

Reiki works at different levels

There is a reason why the flow of energy with a particular client can seem to be a bit of a mystery, and that is because Reiki works on different levels. Reiki may be dealing with a physical condition, or it may be supporting healing and repair, or a normal physical process (like digestion, say!), or it may be dealing with a state of mind or an emotion.

It may be dealing with something that is ‘on the brew’ and has not yet manifested as a physical problem or a future unhelpful emotion or state of mind… or it may be dealing with a ‘historical’ thing: a problem – on some level – that is in the past but where there is still a trace or an echo of that problem that needs to be resolved or smoothed over.

You don’t know.

And while you may be sensitive enough to the flow of energy to have a sense of whether the energy is resonating at a ‘phyical’ frequency or one that relates more to thoughts and emotions, you do not know specifically what is being dealth with, and you don’t need to know.

Chakras and Elements

Another way of looking at things is to consider the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) where thoughts and emotions are regarded as being held in different body organs. So the Liver is not just a physical organ but the home of anger (the emotion), and planning & decision-making (the mental state).

Energy going into the liver area does not mean that the client has cirrhosis necessarily, it could be because they are a particularly angry person, or maybe they are sitting on their anger, unable to express it, or perhaps the energy is dealing with echoes of the past, or something that has yet to – and may never – manifest itself, in relation to those mental and emotional states.

The chakra system is another way that we can view the human energy system, with each chakra having correspondences on different levels, so energy going into the area of the root chakra doesn’t have to mean that they recently landed on their coccyx!; it may relate to other aspects of human experience.

[See also: Reiki chakra meditation for you to follow]

Seeing colours

Seeing colours is something that will often happen when you give a Reiki treatment, or are on the receiving end of the energy. We can accept them as a lovely, interesting side-effect of the flow of energy, and the most common colours that people see would be white, lilac, violet, though random rainbow light-shows are possible, as well as just one or two colours predominating during a session.

What are we to make of this?

Well, if you insist on trying to puzzle out what is happening, you could think about the colour associations of the chakra system, where each colour relates to a particular colour, and you could assume that seeing a particular colour means that the energy might be focusing itself on that related chakra, and the colour you are seeing is an echo of that… but the Five Element system in TCM also includes associated colours.

What are we to think?

We don’t need to know

The bottom line is this: if you could work out that the energy flowing through your hands into a particular part of someone’s body *meant* a particular thing, whether that was a physical condition, or an emotion etc, how exactly would that change what you do?

It wouldn’t, would it?

You are not allowed to diagnose anything, or prescribe anything or offer medical advice, and Reiki isn’t a diagnostic practice anyway; you would still follow the flow of energy, spend as long in a particular hand positions as the energy wanted to spend, you would still work intuitively and allow the energy to guide your hands to the right places to treat for that person on that occasion.

Knowledge about “what does this mean?” would make no difference at all to what you did because Reiki does not function in terms of (1) diagnosing something, and then (2) doing something specific and different based on that diagnosis.

We stand aside and allow the energy to flow, no matter what that energy might be dealing with, and that keeps things nice and simple.

[For more about keeping things simple, visit Declutter your Treatment Rituals]


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Photo credit: anton petukhov



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