Reiki De-Mystified – Guest Post Katy Standen

Firstly, I would like to thank Michelle for inviting me to write an article for the Ignite Health blog. I have a great deal of respect for her and her passion for sharing paths to better health with the community at large. I am excited to see how Ignite Health unfolds in the coming weeks! As for me, my passion is for sharing Reiki, and I am thrilled to be able to tell you a little bit about it today.

If you type the word “Reiki” into a search engine, you will find millions of results. To the complete neophyte, that alone is overwhelming and enough to put you off doing any further research. When I first began looking into Reiki as a possible complement to the medical care I was receiving at the time, the information I found left me with more questions than answers. I realised I probably was not alone in this situation and wondered how many other people had been turned off by websites that seemed more esoteric than informative. When explaining Reiki to others, I believe it is just as important to explain what it is not.

In writing this article, I discovered that answering the question what is Reiki? is not as easy as it first appears. In a nutshell, Reiki is a Japanese technique to promote relaxation and stress reduction. From a holistic point of view, when the body is completely relaxed it can then begin to engage its own natural healing abilities. Healing can take on many forms, and it’s important to note that healing is not synonymous with curing.

Reiki is also an energy healing modality. I think this is where some people start to get nervous, although there really is nothing to be afraid of. Reiki is actually painless and harmless, so the fear stems from a lack of understanding. I feel that describing how Reiki works is probably where most practitioners start to unwittingly scare away potential clients. Being an energy modality, practitioners of Reiki generally subscribe to the Eastern understanding that the human body also contains “life-force energy,” and that when this energy becomes compromised in some way, we start to feel unwell. This life-force energy is also commonly known as qi (pronounced like the “chee” part of the word cheese) for those familiar with Traditional Chinese Medicine or martial arts. Incidentally, the kipart of the word Reiki is merely the Japanese pronunciation of the same Chinese character representing qi. The rei part of the word signifies that the ki, or energy, is being drawn from a connection to the Universe or Higher Power, which is to say not directly from the practitioner him/herself.

This is where it is important for me to stress that Reiki is not a religion, although it does encourage its practitioners to embrace spiritual practices such as meditation and treating all living things with kindness and respect. Reiki is harmless so, even by just trying it once, you cannot hurt yourself; at worst you will walk away from the treatment feeling the same way as when it began. Reiki is not massage therapy; there is no manipulation of tissue and this also means that you do not have to disrobe in order to receive a treatment. Most importantly, Reiki is not a replacement for medical attention, but it is an excellent complement to any care or treatment you may be receiving at the time.

So what happens during a treatment? Basically, a practitioner who has been attuned to Reiki energy will draw it into their body and direct it through their hands towards the recipient. Treatments can be given either hands-on or hands-just-above the body, and a good practitioner will always ask permission to touch you at the beginning of each appointment. Either way, because Reiki is an intelligent energy, it will still travel to where it is needed most. A treatment can be given with the recipient laying down or sitting, whichever they prefer, but I find most people are able to relax more if they lay down. It really is about ensuring the comfort of the recipient, first and foremost. During the treatment, the practitioner will place their hands in a series of positions along the recipient’s body. Some people are actually able to feel the Reiki traveling around their body.  I have heard it described as a warm, tingly sensation. Many people don’t feel anything other than a sense of peace and relaxation. Most people fall asleep, especially if they are lying down!

As for who can benefit from Reiki, it truly can be beneficial to anybody who is open to trying it. Personally, Reiki has aided me in dealing with grief and depression, managing symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), overcoming trichotillomania, and losing weight. Most importantly, it has allowed me to regain work-life balance, which is something I never believed in until I realised I no longer had it. Even if you do not feel you have something to “heal” from, everyone deserves to take a little time for themselves to relax and unwind, and Reiki is the perfect vehicle.

Katy Standen is a Reiki practitioner and member of the Canadian Reiki Association. She practises Reiki from her office located in the Wortley Village area of London, Ontario. For more information please visit her website at


One thought on “Reiki De-Mystified – Guest Post Katy Standen

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