When I treat, do I need to keep at least one hand touching the body at all times?


Keep touching or you’ll lose the ‘connection’?

In some lineages, students are taught that they always need to keep at least one hand resting on the body at all times because, if they do not, they will ‘lose their connection’ with the client, and then have to go through a ritual again in order to regain that lost connection.

But is this really necessary?

Do we have to have to touch the body every second, like a sort of Reiki tag-team, for fear of disconnecting, and is the Reiki ‘connection’ so fragile?

What’s the difference between hands-on and hands-off?

I believe that there is no difference between a Reiki treatment carried out when hands are resting on the body, and treatments where hands hover over the body.

Reiki is generally carried out as a ‘hands-on’ therapy and I think that this is a good idea: there is something very special and healing about human touch, with or without the addition of Reiki, and that closeness or connection that comes through making physical contact with another person is an important part of the Reiki experience.

Of course there are times – and hand positions – where it is better for the sake of propriety and respect to keep your hands off the body, particularly when working intuitively, when hands can end up wanting to go goodness-knows-where, and it’s not always wise to always put your hands down where they want to come to rest!

Basically Reiki is a hands-on practice

Viewing Reiki as a hands-on practice, though, does not mean that we have to keep our hands on the body at all times. We can mix-and-match, resting on the body sometimes and hovering over the body at other times during the course of a treatment, and we can do both at the same time: resting one hand on the body while allowing the other hand to hover.

If we are always keeping a hand on the body for fear of losing our ‘connection’, I wonder what we think that connection is all about.

Distant healing is a standard part of Reiki practice, where you can send the energy to the other side of the planet if we like, just by focusing our attention on the recipient. If we can do that then why would we believe that, at the same time, we can’t send Reiki to a person on a treatment couch in front of us – just inches away from us – unless we’ve made physical contact with them?

It makes no sense at all. 1,000 miles away and sending Reiki’s no problem… six inches away and we lose our connection if we’re not touching the body.

How can that be?

How are we connected?

So what is our Reiki ‘connection’ to the recipient?

I believe our ‘connection’ to them is based on our state of mind: by focusing our attention on the recipient we connect to them.

If we think about the Buddhist origins of Reiki and the concept of oneness, there is no ‘us’ and there is no ‘them’ anyway: this is illusion! We are already ‘connected’ to them because in reality we were never separated from them.

We are them.

So, in practice, by being with a client in the same room for the purposes of giving and receiving Reiki, we merge with them, we begin to become one with them. It is our intention that underlies our connection and the energy flows to where our attention is directed, whether our hands are on the body or not.

Over to you

Were you taught that you need to have at least one hand on your client at all times for fear of losing your connection? If so, what has happened in practice? Have you experimented with both-hands-on, one-hand-on and no-hands on?

What feedback have you received from clients where you didn’t follow the rules that you were given?

And what do you think about your ‘connection’ to your client? Do you think it depends on physical contact with them?

Post a message below to let me know what you think.

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





14 thoughts on “When I treat, do I need to keep at least one hand touching the body at all times?

  1. I have reiki 1 and 2 but have trouble knowing the right thing to do at times. I know i need to get into it more but i have had some years of sickness and just do it ono myself.

    1. It becomes a way of life. Just intend and trust and it will flow. It’s good that you do it on yourself. That’s what it was intended for originally. Worry not and get into the habit of doing it daily. It will become effortless. Namaste

  2. My own experience has been that full contact at all times is not necessary, and it certainly isn’t necessary to maintain the connection between sender and recipient. However, to suddenly not feel your touch can be very jarring for the recipient. For this reason once I have begun a treatment I try to keep my presence if not directly touching with at least 1 hand, the very close to their body.

    And it doesn’t have to be via the hands either. I have successfully sent Reiki to my husband at night through my feet – touching his legs, to 2 of my children via breast milk while they were feeding and via the psychic umbilical cord until that naturally dissipated around 4 or 5 years of age, and even to others via my belly – it happened to be touching their feet while I was working on knees and as I wanted to maintain that flow was a natural extension. Just ask @Kay Gillard about my “Tummy Reiki”.

    Pat – if you’re doing it and it’s working, it’s the right thing to do.

  3. I started my practice at Okuden level by using the hands on the physical body. Then I found that, when my hands were away from the body, those treated said they ‘felt warmth’ or ‘tingling’, so now I only use the hands on the shoulders at the beginning and end of the treatment. Sometimes, my instinct tells me to place my hand on the physical body, but not often. It seems absurd to me that this should be dictated by some forms of ‘Western’ Reiki. After all, if there are other ‘bodies’ such as the etheric, the spiritual and the energetic, a preoccupation with the physical body is misguided. What I respect most about the Evolution method is the understanding that the practitioner will find their own best ways of treating individuals. For that much thanks…..

    1. Hi Linda, I think the best approach is not to have a routine in terms of being hands on or hands off, though Reiki is usually practised as a hands-on therapy and there is something very comforting and beneficial about compassionate human touch. I think that people who are treated entirely hands-off are missing out on something beneficial, you know. The energy doesn’t flow more intensely when your hands are away from the body, and you clients are probably noticing the heat/tingling more when you are hands off because they do not have the sensations of pressure and touch etc competing with the Reiki sensations in that area. And touching the body does not mean that you are only dealing with the physical body; in Traditional Chinese Medicine, for example, states of mind are emotions are held in different internal organs, so whether you touch, or don’t touch, the energy is giving the recipient what they need on multiple levels. But Reiji ho is definitely the way to go, being neutral and empty, with no expectations, and just let the energy flow 😉

  4. I don’t need my hands to move .I just use power of thought and the use of my Sat plexus to send the energy.
    Usually my guides come through if the energy needs to be intensified. Sometimes it’s massive and other times I hardly feel the energy.

  5. I do a mixture of both and never lose the connection. Sometimes I blow the Reiki too, I just do what feels right at the time and the energy flow remains strong throughout.

  6. It’s like another issue. Do I get my client to turn over onto their front or do I leave them on their back.
    It helps the insurance companies if you leave a client in deep relaxation on their backs as they could fall off the table and make a claim. This happened to a friend of mine, she was absolutely deverstated and her premiums rose by nearly 75%, the following year.
    I work on the premise that if the ki energy cannot penetrate through the body then the energy would seem weak in people’s minds.
    For some clients I slip my hands underneath areas of the body and send and receive Ki through the body. I work intuitively so I go where the energy wants to go. (If for instance the Reiki energy is that weak then why do we bother at all.)
    We as practitioners and teachers know the power of Reiki.

  7. Hi when I first got Reiki from a lovely lady called Kathleen it was hands hoovering over me but I could feel the heat every time. Now I’m on these course and read about hands on I was a bit confused. I’m now going to try both and see what happens. Unfortunately I can’t have anyone in the house, apart from my husband, so I’ll try it on him. Thanks Taggart love these extra notes.

    1. Hi Heather, the thing I wanted to get across was that your ‘connection’ with the recipient does not depend on being physically in contact with them throughout the treatment; your connection is based on your intent, your state of mind, where your focus is directed. And while I don’t think that “all hands off” is a good approach, because there is something very healing about human compassionate touch, even without the Reiki added in, there are some areas where it is not appropriate or comfortable to have hands plastered all over you. For example, it’s not very cofortable, or it’s a bit claustrophobic, to have hands plastered over your face/nose/eyes and you don’t need to touch there for Reiki to flow there. If you’re hovering your hands over someone’s forehead, for example, often it feels to them like there’s an electric bar heater just above them! They will still receive the Reiki.

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