How to Stop Feeling your Clients Pain


Article by Nicholas Harris

In my years of teaching Reiki, the most common problem that my students face is taking on their client’s problem. This may occur on a physical, emotional or mental level – often manifesting as the experience of feeling a client’s pain or walking away from a session feeling energetically exhausted.

Personally experiencing the symptoms that the client feels can be quite frightening and leads many people to abandon their pursuit of Reiki and the healing arts.

Is there a way to safely practice Reiki and not be effected in a negative way? Proper practice of the Reiki structure is the answer!

Channel healing rather than “give” healing

In my opinion, one of the most important teachings within the Usui Reiki System of Natural Healing is that we are not healers. Reiki students should be taught how to channel healing energy – in place of “giving healing”.

Consider the possibility that the mind is a mechanism of moving energy. Energy follows consciousness (or energy goes where attention flows) and every thought in the mind moves energy – whether we mean to or not.

If I set my intention to “give healing”, then that is exactly what I would do – give my energy to the client. The result is that not only will I feel drained after the session (and possibly take on the client’s problems), but also the vibration of energy that I channel will be severely limited.

By having a clear intention to channel healing energy, this problem is avoided. In my Reiki lineage this intention is trained through the prayer structure which is followed at the beginning and the end of every Reiki session (please see below).

Live a balanced life

It is extremely important for any person working within the healing arts to live a balanced life. Establish the rituals and practices that you need in order to create balance between your working life and other commitments.

Reiki Energy

Following your own spiritual practice is essential, as is taking time for yourself alongside fulfilling commitments of family and relationships. Remember, the purpose of our healing is to assist in the healing of others. The better the place that you come from, the deeper your ability will be to assist in the life path of others.

Practice the Reiki prayer structure and psychic self defence

Opening prayers

At the beginning of a Reiki session, close your eyes and pray in inner space (every prayer is repeated slowly three times):

“Only the best energies are coming to me.” x3
“I am a clear open channel for Reiki for the benefit of everyone.” x3
“I am divinely guided, protected and supported.” x3

Alongside the final prayer, the Reiki 1 practitioner is taught to imagine themselves surrounded by a protective bubble of bright, white light. Reiki 2 practitioners are taught to imagine themselves surrounded by a box of the protection symbol, while Reiki Master practitioners may choose to use the Master symbol in it’s place.

In this way, at the start of every session the Reiki practitioner sets their intention to be a protected, channel for healing energy. This will be of great assistance in minimising absorption of the client’s energy into your own personal field.

You may develop the psychic self protection step in any way that feels good to you (i.e. anyway that is in keeping with your personal belief system). Example meditations include the addiction of a grounding cord, or the famous “Violet Flame” exercise.

Closing prayers

The closing prayers are intended at the end of the Reiki treatment, before awakening the client.

“I thank the Reiki energy for channelling through me.” x3
“I thank the client for receiving this healing channelled through me.” x3
“I thank the Reiki energy for continuing to work with this person for as long as is necessary for the highest levels of their being.” x3
“I dedicate the fruits of this healing to the universe. Please accept.” x3

Finally, at the end of the session always remember to wash your hands with cold water.

Prayer as ritual strengthening the intention to channel

The prayer structure acts as a reminder to the intention to be a channel for the Reiki energy. Without it, many people become trapped in the illusion of being the healer and suffer the limitations in their practice that arise as a result.

In my experience, the energy that I have “given away” in the dedication step of the closing prayer instantly returns to me at the moment I intend the opening prayer at my following session.

If you truly channel healing energy, you will never “pickup” the problems of your clients. You are safe to develop in relationship to the energy.

Nicholas Harris

Nicholas Harris

Nicholas Harris is an 8th Generation Reiki / Master Teacher who facilitates treatments and classes in Chiang Mai, Thailand.


  1. This is excellent advice. While it may not seem like a terribly important distinction, I have personally found that it is very important to set the intention to be an open channel, rather than “sending” . I still practice shifting out of the habit of speaking of it as sending. Thank you for pointing this out.

  2. Thank you for your comment Annie! I also have to continually remind myself…. and watching one’s speak is an excellent way to do it. Everything we say is a reflection of what is being thought – and thought moves energy. Have you read about Conscious Languaging by Bob Stevens. There is an excellent integration here. With blessings! NICK

  3. As Annie said, this is very important advice indeed. I like to use the analogy of jumper cables, whose job is to make a secure connection to both the strong battery (Source) and the weak battery (client), and then serve as a clear, low-resistance channel between the two.

  4. Thanks for this article! I’m pinning it to my Reiki board on Pinterest! Also, I think it’s helpful to end a session with a prayer that all energies are returned to their rightful place for the Highest Good of all…that way, if the client or practitioner exchanged or “gave away” any of their personal energy, it will go where is is supposed to. Someone gave me that tip at a Reiki Share once, and I found it really helpful!!

  5. The other important thing to remember as a Reiki practitioner is that if you do inadvertently take on another’s energy you need to release it. I like to say something like “What’s mine is mine, What’s yours is yours. I visualize the other’s energy passing down to the earth and also say “I release any energy that is not mine or is not serving me. Let this be returned to it’s rightful place for the highest good of all”.

  6. Thank you! This is SO what I needed. I have always known that I am a channel f Source energy but something was missing. When I work specifically as a channel, I seem to be fine. For example, I have worked on a 7 year old with a rare form of brain cancer and an elderly woman who had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Both are doing well as am I. However, I also still work in the business world. About 3 months ago, my co-workers started going through stress related health issues. I was focusing on how they could heal themselves because I knew how to do it. But my mindset wasn’t on channelling. It was on me and how I would deal with their issues. (Does that make sense?) One week, I noticed that I felt like I was having a heart attack. It took a while to realize that it was one of them suffering an anxiety attack. I then ended up in urgent care when I had severe abdominal pain. This was from another co-worker having bowel issues he suffered from when he was born. There were other things too. I even regurgitated an entire conversation someone had in their head and hadn’t spoken out loud! I can see the difference in my mindset for when I channel and when I simply take over. It’s no wonder I haven’t stepped into being a full time ‘healer’. I would soon be too sick to do anything. I am thankful for these lessons. I am thankful for your message. <3 Wendy

    • We always come across the very thing we needed at the exact time we’re meant to find it! This is exactly what I needed as well. I rarely comment on the interweb, but this article and the writing style of the author really hit my ” yaaaaaasss” button. It’s both exciting and a relief to find something that resonates so deeply that you know it was meant for you to find. This will completely change my treatment methods in the best possible way, simply by changing up my intention and rituals. Gratitude, gratitude, GRATITUDE! ~ Jo

  7. @ NH,

    Beautiful, I wish to add to this.
    There is a 2nd alternative, try just channelling the energy directly from universal source to the client.

    In this case we just become the programmer and the energy that come in contact with us become negligible.

    I have been using this system for long with greater results.
    Do try
    Divine blessing to all.

  8. Thanks for sharing ..I owe you. I am a Empath and healer used to carry lots of negative vibes from clients..I will use these methods in future.

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