What Reiki hand positions should I use?

reiki hand positions

Are there hand positions that you should always use?

In some Reiki lineages, students are taught ‘the’ hand positions that they need to use, ‘the’ twelve hand positions, as if it were set in stone.

But do Reiki treatments really need to follow a set format, no matter what the energy needs of the client? Does every client have to be treated in exactly the same way?

I believe that having a set of hand positions to follow when you are starting out on your Reiki journey is very useful: you have some basic instructions to follow, you don’t need to worry, and you can concentrate on getting used to working with the energy, becoming comfortable with being with people in a treatment setting.

You are firing the energy from lots of different directions to make sure it has the best chance to get to where it needs to.

But this ‘one size fits all’ approach is a bit limiting. Not everyone is the same, so why would we apply the same hand positions to everybody we treat?

So how might we start to adjust or alter where we are resting our hands?

Varying your hand positions for each client

There are two ways to adjust the hand positions that you use: through scanning and through intuition.
Scanning is taught on most Reiki course and it is a way of finding out where the energy is flowing to on the client’s body in the greatest amounts. Energy flowing strongly gives people a variety of sensations, and common feelings might be heat in your hands, or warmth, fizzing, tingling, buzzing, throbbing, heaviness, a magnetic feeling etc.

You hover your hands a few inches away from the client, drift your hand from one place to another, or sweep from one area to another, and focus your attention on the sensations that you are getting on your hand/fingers.

When doing this, you may notice that there are areas of need that don’t tie in with the standard hand positions that you are taught, and you could add an extra hand position when you get that part of the body during your treatment, or alter the hand positions away from the standard ones, to accommodate this area of need.

Intuition is another approach that can be used to gear your treatment more towards the energy needs of the person that you are working on.

Intuition can express itself in a person in different ways: a general ‘impression’, a feeling of being ‘drawn’ to an area of the body, an ‘inner knowing’, or you may find that your hands are drifting apparently of their own accord to some area. This latter approach is something that we teach on our Reiki courses, in the form of “Reiji ho”, an intuitive approach that derives from Japanese Reiki.

So after starting off your treatment in whatever way you do that, you could then simply follow your impressions about where to rest your hands, and go with the flow.

Want to find out more about Intuitive working?

reiki book second degree manualsA big part of our Second Degree course involves helping people to work intuitively, so that the energy guides your hands to the right place to treat for each client.

In the Reiki Evolution 110-page Reiki Evolution Second Degree manual you can find step-by-step instructions to help you move beyond standard hand positions.

This manual 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



9 thoughts on “What Reiki hand positions should I use?

  1. Thank you Taggart, another very interesting article…. and what a lovely surprise to find a picture of myself doing Reiki……
    I definitely feel that intuition plays a very big part in a Reiki treatment…… it helps you to “get out of your own way”

    Intuition was so skilfully presented by Tina Shaw at the Reiki Gathering on Saturday and her guided meditation was fabulous…..


  2. I have been attuned to reiki but found your site much later but I never get fed up of reading you very informative words thank you and I look forward to the nexed

  3. I totally agree with an intuitive approach to Reiki treatments, Stay clear of any one telling you have to follow a set series of hand positions for every treatment. Although when I first started out as Reiki 2 I tended to follow the standard hand positions. The Reiki energy teaches you to Liston to your intuition,so now every treatment is geared to the individual. Thank you Targgart King for your insights about the wotld of energy healing.


  4. Thanks for your insights as ever, Taggart. I love sharing them on my Reiki FB page. I totally agree with you about working with Reiki intuitively and I have been finding, over the years, that this can change in emphasis too. When I had moved away from set positions I found myself working through physical feelings in my hands that I thought must be connected to Byosen, though they didn’t seem to entirely fit the description. Later I began to be guided by feeling sensations such as buzzing or pain in my own body that guided me as to where to work next. After a course using pendulums, I became interested in the relationships between Byosen and the feedback from my pendulum. Latterly I just wait to see which of these approaches seems to be appropriate for a given client. Still moving forward in my path with Reiki.

    1. I think the thing is that intuition can work for people in different ways. For some, well, for a lot of people, it can come thorugh by way of muscle movements where your hands drift with the energy (Reiji ho), but for others it can be an image or a ‘knowing’, or a feeling of being ‘drawn’ in terms of their attantion, to a particular area. The important thing is to be open to intuition, to allow it to happen, and to then see what happens. 🙂

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