The Reiki Hand Positions - Necessary in All
Cases, or Training Wheels to Guide?
The Reiki hand positions are very handy (pardon the pun), but don't let
them limit you.
First, let me ask you a few questions:
What is the purpose of physical location for
non-physical energy work?
How can you work healing if you're bound to
a rigid structure that ignores intuition?
How can you heal if you don't have a plan of
action or prepared method?
Right there is the core of the problem. Going all the way back to the
1880s, back when Dr. Usui was teaching, Reiki was very formalized and
heavily structured, which made sense given the culture at that place
To this day, every student gets taught the Reiki hand positions as part
of the initial training. I remember studying the positions for Reiki
work on oneself, as well as for others. The first time I gave Reiki
it was to my instructor as part of the lessons. I was so nervous about
remembering where and when that I needed to step back and remember that
I was the conduit, not the source.
There's a great quote which illustrates this perfectly:
"Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the
artist does the better." -- Andre Gide
Eventually, as I learned to trust more, I found that I
intuitively knew what areas needed the attention. Sometimes they would
almost magnetically draw my hands to them. Sometimes I'd get a taste
of what the recipient was feeling and sometimes I just knew.
Intuition works differently for everyone, and so your intuition may not
work the same way as mine. This is why learning the language of feeling
is so important.
At the end of the day, it's all about healing. Don't let your doubts
stand in the way of being there to help. My Reiki teacher, Nanette,
told me that while she's non-traditional in practice, she teaches the
traditional style (including the traditional Reiki hand positions) to
her students. When I teach Reiki, I will do the same. Why? Training
wheels. Learn the forms, then become formless.
Reiki Hand Positions to Use
If you study Reiki, you'll get this info anyway, but for those just
curious, here's some info on the Reiki hand positions. First, a few
Reiki is given from the hands. In many
cases, the hands are barely in contact with the body. In sensitive
areas, or depending on the preferences of the parties involved, there
may be no contact at all.
The Reiki practitioner (depending on
training) will use Reiki
symbols before actually beginning. This increases the connection
and the healing power.
When receiving Reiki, the most important
thing you can do is to relax and accept. Let go. Don't even move your
body, let the practitioner do that for you (depending on cirsumstances).
The locations for giving Reiki are fundamentally the same regardless of
giving it to yourself or to someone else, but the actual Reiki hand
positions will be (obviously) a little different depending on the circumstances.
Reiki Hand Positions for Self Healing
First, put your hands up to your face, with
fingers pointed up and the palms covering the eyes and upper cheeks.
Keep the fingers pointed up, but rotate the
hands around and up slightly to cover the temples.
Now, move the hands back behind the head,
and point the fingers to the side, one hand above the other, with the
lower hand just above the neck
Bring the hands down and place the heels of
the hands together at the front of the neck, with the fingers wrapped
around the neck going back.
Bring your hands down to your chest, and
point them over to the side, one hand above the other, with the top
hand just under the collarbone.
Move the hands down to the ribs, fingertips
pointing towards each other.
Keep the hands in the same orientation, and
move them down to the abdomen.
Now move your hands to the lower abdomen,
with the hands pointed down.
Now, we're going to go down to the thighs.
Place your hands at the top, with the fingers pointed towards the knees.
Move forward to the top of the knees, with
the fingers going over the edge, and down along the lower half of the
Move forward a little more and put your
palms on the kneecaps, fingers still pointed down.
Slide down a little further, so the palms
are on the upper shin, fingers still pointed towards the feet.
Now, we move forward again and place the
palms just above the ankles with the fingertips touching the top of the
Now, take your arms and cross them over your
chest, placing the heel of the palms on the collarbone, fingers
pointing backwards, going over the muscles.
We now uncross our arms, and bring our hands
down to the lower back, fingertips pointing toward the glutes.
Now let's move down to the gluteus muscles,
hands slightly to the side, fingers pointing towards to the legs.
Once again, if you feel pain or problems in a specific area, go ahead
and put your hands on the spot. Remember, the Reiki hand positions are
a tool, not the result.
of giving Reiki to oneself, is that you don't have to worry about
sensitive areas; you can use the Reiki hand positions as they are and
just focus on the issue at hand. With Reiki hand positions for healing
others, you have to (of course) be attentive to people's space and
sensitive areas. Naturally, you will want to straighten that out right
at the start before it can become a problem!
With no further ado, here are...
The Reiki Hand Positions for Healing Others
These Reiki hand positions are set with the idea that the recipient is
lying on their back. Note that when moving any part of the recipient's
body (if applicable) be as gentle as possible. Gentle is the key. The
recipient should always feel supported.
We start with the palms over the eyes, with
the fingers pointed down the body.
This can actually be pretty scary. Give
the mouth and nose some room so that the person can breathe easily.
As with before, we rotate the hands around
and place the palms over the temples, with the fingers pointed toward
Bring the hands around behind the head,
gently moving it to the side. Cradle the head, with the palms on the
bulge on the back of the head, with the fingers pointed towards the
neck. If this is a non-touch session, this will probably be done
with the person sitting up straight, with the hands pointed up.
Gently letting the head rest back, move the
hands so the "knife-edge" of the hands and pinkie fingers touch along
the collar bones, with the tips of the fingers touching where the
collar joins, palms pointing towards the neck.
Now, we're going to place one hand across
the upper chest, with the second hand below, pointed upwards, so that
the fingertips are touching the thumb of the hand placed across the
If you're working on a female, here is a
classic example of a place where you'd move a few inches away from the
body. This isn't set in stone, as the recipient might want contact,
particularly if the practitioner is female as well, and/or if the
recipient is dealing with breast cancer. More than the Reiki hand
positions, the will and needs of the recipient will show the right way to go.
Place the recipient's hand atop yours, both
hands flat. Place the other hand on the shoulder.
Move the hand on the shoulder down to cradle
the elbow. Keep the other hand right where it is.
Now we bring the hand on the elbow down atop
the hand being held, so that it is sandwiched between yours.
Now we move our hands down to the ribs and
abdomen, both hands on the same side, with fingers pointing towards the
front of the body.
Move your hands to the other side, with your
fingers pointed towards the side/back.
Now, we move our hands back to our side and
place them over the abdomen and upper hip on our side.
We move our hands to the other side to cover
the abdomen and upper hip there as well.
Now we cover the lower hips. One hand on the
front of each hip, slightly to the side, where the joint is.
Now we move to the thighs, Both hands
together on the near thigh, fingers pointed toward the other leg, palms
on the front of the thigh. Then simply move forward to the other thigh,
in the same position, with your fingers still pointed to your front.
On to the knees. Place your palms over the
kneecaps, one hand on each.
Now the lower legs. Same as with the thighs,
both hands on one,
then move forward to the next.
Next, the ankles. Place one hand over each,
on the front side of the recipient.
Now, we move down and position ourselves at
the feet of the recipient. Take one foot, and cradle the heel with the
hand on the same side. Take your other hand and place it on the sole of
the foot, with the fingers pointed up towards the toes.
Take the hand on the sole of the foot, place
it on the top side of the foot.
Now, we repeat the process with the other
Now we come up and repeat the process with
the arm and shoulder on the other side.
At this point, I will move my hands about
a foot or so away from the body, scanning for any spots which want
attention. If I find any, I'll go back and cover them again.
If the recipient is face-down, this opens up
the back up for work, using the same basic Reiki hand positions as the
front, except again you may need to exercise caution around the hips
and glutes. If they're experiencing back pain of any kind, this is the
way to go.
Once again, trust in yourself and in the Source to provide and guide
you. From a traditional standpoint the Reiki hand positions are
important, but don't let them limit your healing.
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