Most people in the world of Reiki tend to self-treat in a ‘standard’ fashion, either resting their hands on themselves in a set sequence of positions or, if they are following Mikao Usui’s original practices, carrying out a Reiki self-treatment meditation where they focus their attention on a number of specific locations, and allow the energy to flow.
But someone asked me the other day, “how do I know which bits of me I need to treat” so I thought I would put together a reply that may be helpful in some way, because there are few different ways that you can answer that question. Let’s go…
Trusting the energy
The first approach we can take is to trust that the energy is going to go where it needs to, so you don’t actually need to worry about what parts of you need treating, because the energy will go there anyway. When you do a hands-on self-treatment, you are firing the energy from lots of different locations to give it the best chance of getting to where it needs to go, and if you are self-treating in the original meditative fashion, then areas upon which you are focusing your attention on some level actually represent your entire body, and thus you are treating everything that needs to be treated.
So if you have a back ache or a sore knee or some bubbling frustration or mental angst, the energy will go to where it needs to go and do what it needs to do to resolve things, and you may actually be aware of that happening, thorough a feeling of heat or comfort or heaviness in the affected area, or through some aches and pains coming to the surface, or through a rush of emotion that gives you a tear or two as you work on yourself.
That’s all good.
Treating obvious areas
Another approach would be to treat any obvious areas of discomfort. You have twisted your knee and so you rest your hands above and below the knee and allow the energy to flow there. There is something very comforting about the having that feeling of Reiki “deep heat” emanating from your hands, and you certainly know that the energy is getting to an area that is going to need some attention.
If you feel that you need some emotional self-love, and to release some stress and tension, and you don’t facncy using my Releasing exercise, then by all means rest your hands on your heart and solar plexus and allow that lovely, comforting warmth to focus itself there.
There are limitations to this approach, of course, because you won’t be able to physically rest your hands on every part of your body, or certainly you will find that doing so is uncomfortable to hold for any period of time, and thus distracts you from that lovely, mindful, neutral and empty state that you can enter into when self-treating.
So what can you do instead? Well, we know that the energy follows your focus and focuses itself where your attention is directed, so if you want to treat your lower back, you can simply focus your attention there and allow the energy to travel there and become more intense in that place, like an invisible, energetic hot-water bottle. Or just rest your hand(s) in a comfortable-to-hold position reasonably near to the affected area that you would like to treat and imagine, visualise, feel, have in mind, know that the energy is flowing from where your hands are, to that area.[For an alternative approach to self-treatments, see: Reiki chakra meditation for you to follow]
Here’s a different approach: when you treat someone, often you will perform ‘scanning’, where you drift your hands from place to place, focusing your attention on the sensations in your fingers and palms and later spending more time treating the areas that seemed to be pulling the most energy: the ‘hotspots’ (which might instead be fizzy or buzzy, heavy, pulsing, cold etc).
You can do that with yourself to an extent, allowing your hand or hands to drift over your body and paying attention to the places that seem to be drawing more energy. Those are the areas that you will want to spend your time either hands-on self-treating, or focusing your attention on as you meditatively self-treat.
Now, you don’t have elastic arms like Reed Richards from the Fantastic Four, so you won’t be able to scan yourself completely, but here’s a cool trick: (1) Hold your hand still, hovering away from your body, (2) Focus your attention on the sensations in your fingers and palm, (3) Imagine, have in mind, know that an imaginary scanning-hand is moving slowly across different parts of your body, and notice how the sensations in your hand changes.
You can ‘scan’ with your intention, without physically moving your hand anywhere! That’s a bit like remote scanning, which is describe here: Scanning at a distance.
I think that’s so cool.[See also: Why don’t I feel so much when I self-treat? for further insights]
Using energy awareness
When you self-treat, you will often be aware of the flow of energy, or certainly know where the energy seems to be focusing itself, because you’ll feel heat somewhere, or tingling or fizzing, or pulsing, or heaviness, of whatever particular sensation or sensations tell you that Reiki is doing its wonders on a particular part of your body.
Well, you could follow that focusing of energy, which you became aware of, by resting your hands on or near that place, or allowing your attention to rest in that area. In doing so, you are allowing the energy to guide you, you are following it’s priorities, its sequence, and backing that up by focusing the energy there with hands or attention.
In the same way that you scan other people, and can scan yourself, you work intuitively with other people, and you can also work intuitively with yourself. I recommend the ‘Reiji ho’ method as a really good, solid, reliable approach to intuitive working, and you can read all about intuition in a series of blogs that I wrote, starting here.
So you can hover your hands near your body, empty your mind, merge with the energy and allow your hands to drift, which they will do to an extent. You are limited again, of course, by not being a member of The Fantastic Four, so the areas of your body over which your hands can drift and come to rest will always be limited.
That’s where you can bring in your handy visual constructs again and, just like when we scanned ourselves without moving our hands, we can also have imaginary hands drifting over our bodies, coming to rest in our mind’s eye over places of need.
What do we do with that intuitive information? Well, we can either rest our real hands on or near that place, or allow our attention to rest there for a while. In either case, the energy will be directed to that location, and when the energy seems to want to move on to somewhere else, we can bring out imaginary hands to see what the next part of the sequence will be.
Take your pick
So you can see that there are a whole range of approaches that you can take to deal with the question of “how do I know which bits of me I need to treat”. Whether you treat hands-on or meditatively (my favourite), whether you just allow the energy to do whatever it wants to do or treat obvious areas, whether you scan yourself or follow the energy’s own priorities in some way, the important thing is to make working on yourself a regular part of your routine.
Go with the flow and discover for yourself the most comfortable approach for you, or mix and match as seems appropriate.
The important thing is to self-treat. Do it today, if only for five minutes, and build that Reiki momentum!
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