I received a great question recently from my community and I thought it deserved a bit of explanation for everyone:
“Does Reiki always need to be done with the whole sequence
of hand positions to be effective, or can you just
place your hands on another person’s or animal’s body
without the full protocol?”
One of my favorite sayings from Hayawo Takata, the Grand Master who brought Reiki from Japan to the West, is “some Reiki better than no Reiki.” Often I found myself giving Reiki in odd places, with limited time or ability to move around or do many positions, so I would just touch where I could — like holding a foot in hospital bed with machines blocking much access to the body, or even beaming it in the room or stall if an animal was fidgety and moving around.
Takata developed the hand positions that I teach, as a guide to the practitioner, to cover the whole body — making sure we address major organs and the chakras or energy centers. Dr. Usui also has many more hand positions from his journal, which is reprinted in The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui: The Traditional Usui Reiki Ryoho Treatment Positions and Numerous Reiki Techniques for Health and Well-Being.
The hand positions were NOT intended to limit Reiki or your use of it, which by its nature is unlimited life force energy, but to guide the practitioner. The positions create a system whereby the entire body is treated, as the causal level of the illness or imbalance may respond to Reiki applied in a full treatment better than randomly applied or minimally to the symptomatic area alone.
One Handed Reiki in Emergency Rooms
One of my favorite examples of the ability of Reiki to work on the deepest healing levels with little more than a one-handed application to a toe or hand is depicted in the book Reiki and Medicine. Reiki Master Nancy Eos, M.D., is an emergency room physician who often saw amazing healings happening while a patient was wheeled into the ER and she only had contact with one hand to check a pulse.
“I can’t imagine practicing medicine without Reiki,” Eos says. “With Reiki all I have to do is touch a person. Things happen that don’t usually happen. Pain lessens in intensity. Rashes fade. Wheezing gives way to breathing clearly. Angry people begin to joke with me.”
In her book, Reiki and Medicine, she includes descriptions of using Reiki (often one-handed and very briefly) to treat trauma, heart attack, respiratory problems, CPR, child abuse, allergic reactions and other emergency-room situations. I had a similar experience with a very short treatment where I only focused on a man’s ears for under 5 minutes, and his hearing improved dramatically.
Richard Keefer wrote:
“At age 30 I lost all the hearing in my left ear and was fitted with a hearing aid in the right ear. Without the hearing aid I am deaf. At the time of your Reiki demonstration all the background noises in the gym were very loud and garbled… I could not hear the lady who was watching us. After you did some hand motions, I could feel the energy flowing through my body. All at once the noises quieted down and I could hear the television set across the room. And I could hear and understand the lady next to us… I became so emotional I cried because I could hear so well!”
Can Reiki Work with No Hands On?
In Reiki Level II, you learn how to send a treatment at a distance, or in absentia, without physical presence. Through the application of symbols and recitation of their mantras, you “direct” or guide the energy to a specific person by envisioning their form and sending the treatment through your hands as if they were right in front of you. For some people that is a huge stretch, yet there is substantial research validating the effectiveness of remote healing.
In the article, “The Science Behind Distant Healing“, Larry Dossey, MD is quoted that there is significant research supporting what he terms “nonlocal medicine.” Dr. Dossey postulates that “some part of our mind or consciousness can escape the confines of the brain and body and act anywhere, regardless of distance. The medical implications of this are profound.”
Having said this, if possible, I still would encourage a practitioner to continue with two hands and the full body treatment (about an hour) whenever possible! I find that many students in class tend to be a bit too quick when starting out. In our fast-paced society, they think it is super long to hold a quiet stillness for more than 15 minutes!
Reiki, Hand Positions and Animals
However, treating animals is a bit different.
I find once they have a chance to try Reiki, they are more directive of the body part they want treated and will move around and place themselves in my hands as I go. They also will move around the room when offered Reiki yet I don’t take that as a sign that they are complete necessarily. I keep beaming Reiki to them at a bit of distance and often they will come back closer again and move around a bit as the energy is addressing different areas. They are very sensitive to the shifts, though often not fully understanding the sensations they are feeling.
As a general rule, children and small animals tend to need much less Reiki as they seem to shift their energy more quickly. My own dog rarely even wanted it, as she was in my healing room so often during the sessions. That is, until she hurt herself, and then she would immediately come over and hold out her booboo foot for some Reiki!
When in doubt, Reiki ON!