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Reiki: Why Feeling Can Be Better Than Seeing

Amy Jirsa
RYT 500 By Amy Jirsa
RYT 500
Amy Jirsa, LMT, is a master herbalist, E-RYT 500 yoga teacher, forager, and writer from Maine. She is the author of Herbal Goddess: Discover the Amazing Spirit of 12 Healing Herbs with Teas, Potions, Salves, Food, Yoga, and More and the founder of Quiet Earth Yoga.

William Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Man, don’t I know it? And Reiki is definitely one of those things not dreamt of in most people’s philosophies. However, in my experience, Reiki is a viable, verifiable, overwhelmingly successful and totally groovy means of energy healing.

Okay, let’s take a moment to define Reiki. Reiki (pronounced “ray-key”) is translated from the Japanese as universal life energy (“rei”=spiritual wisdom; “ki”=the life force). What does this mean? Well, as we learned in earth science all those years ago, everything vibrates—rocks, atoms, air, fluids, even people. A Reiki practitioner is someone who has had their own vibration raised by a Reiki Master so that he or she can feel other people’s subtle energy vibrations. With the ability to feel these vibrations comes the ability to move energy around the body.

When someone is injured physically or suffering mentally, this energy often either pools in the affected areas or avoids them altogether (most often these pools or blockages occur in the Chakras, or centers of concentrated energy in the body). A Reiki practitioner can feel these areas and, using her hands, move the energy toward or away from them, depending on the individual’s needs. The Reiki practitioner is a conduit through which energy flows (hence “universal life energy”). Because the practitioner is merely a channel, he or she is not willing the energy in any way, so Reiki is never dangerous (i.e. you don’t need to worry about the practitioner sending you her energy; that’s just creepy).

So. That’s the nuts and bolts of Reiki. Pretty crazy, right? Every single time I do a Reiki session with a client, I always wonder if it’s going to work, if this time we’ll all realize I’m making it up and imagining the results. But you know what? That never happens. Ever. I’ve never had a client who has not had an experience on the Reiki table. Either she/he feels heat or vibration, hears sounds, sees visions or colors, or experiences a great welling of emotion, relaxation or well-being. I always tell my clients to go home and settle in for a couple of days before scheduling further sessions—I want to make sure they feel the results for themselves before they go on with the treatment; most return for multiple sessions.

Still skeptical? I don’t blame you. But I urge you, if you’re at all curious, to try a Reiki session with a practitioner. Just as a little inspirational kick in the pants, here are a few other crazy invisible things that we accept as true:

1. Wind

Okay. You don’t really need much explanation here—you can’t see it, but you can feel it. You can see the wind’s presence in how it affects solid objects such as trees, clothing, laundry on a line, etc. Think about how you would describe wind to someone who had never experienced it: “So, yeah. There’s this invisible force that you can’t see or touch but can, if strong enough, knock you over…” Sounds just as out there as Reiki when you put it that way.

2. Music

Music can be heard and felt, but it cannot be seen. We can be moved to tears or to laughter by a series of sounds, but it’s almost impossible to put into words exactly what it was that moved us. Again—do the thought experiment. Explain how a series of sounds can calm or excite you just by the pressure of the vibration against your eardrum.

3. Fragrance

Same story—the scent of cookies baking can take us back to childhood; scent can move us like no other sense. How is it that this invisible force is so deftly and drastically connected to memory and emotion? I’m not talking about the science here, necessarily. I’m talking about the sheer coolness of the experience of passing by a bakery and suddenly being transported to a day when you were eight and stayed the night at your grandparents’ house, gorging yourself on warm chocolate-chip cookies (for example).

4. Subatomic Particles

This one is way out of my league, but I know that scientists believe in these things without being able to see them. They can see effects of collisions of these particles, but not the particles themselves (so I understand). Google is probably a better resource here…nonetheless. Invisible! Belief!

5. Love

Any emotion falls under the invisible belief umbrella. We know when we feel, but how hard is it to describe accurately that specific emotion to another person? (Hey—if it were easy, we wouldn’t need poetry.) If you’ve ever been in love, you’ll know how insufficient the word “love” is. The emotion is just so much more than love, right? We can’t ever perfectly describe it, but we know this love to be true—after all, we make major life decisions based on this invisible, indescribable phenomena.


So, there you have it. Five invisible things we know to be true, we feel to be true. Every one of those invisible phenomena exists because of vibration; Reiki is just another manifestation of the same thing. You’ve felt this vibration countless times—a first kiss, for example, is not so dissimilar to Reiki. As soon as that body connection is made, you feel that vibration zinging through your system, right? The other person has inspired that vibration, heightened it. This is exactly what a Reiki practitioner does. Well, okay—admittedly with less romance, a bit less intimacy and, hey, you never need to worry about what you’re going to wear.

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