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Does Reiki Have Any Impact When Used During Massage?

Article by Isabela do Val Santana

As a Reiki Master and bodyworker I have always been told by my clients during massage treatments that my hands feel very hot and that they can feel a healing warmth and tingling sensations when I touched them, even when I was not deliberately channelling Reiki in the treatments. So I have always been aware that since being attuned to Reiki, it has had an effect in my other bodywork modalities, whether I wanted to or not. It is not surprising if you consider the Reiki principle that states that Reiki flows to where it is needed and the practitioner is simply a channel through which it flows. If that is the case, it makes sense that if when I am connecting with my clients during a massage they need Reiki, that it would automatically flow through me without my direct intention to channel it. Those frequent comments from my clients did not surprise me but begged the question that if Reiki flows and affects my massage treatments when I am not intending it, as the intelligent energy that it is, how would the experience of massage differ if I intended it and deliberately used Reiki in my massage treatments? Would the outcome and benefits of the treatment be measurably different if Reiki was intentionally applied during the session?

When I was doing my MSc Complementary Therapy at University of Westminster in London UK back in 2001, I decided to look further into these questions, which lead me to my final dissertation question:

“How Does the Experience of Massage Differ When Reiki Techniques Are Deliberately Used or not Used?”

To answer that question I chose Reflexive Action Research for my study design as it suited the financial and time restrictions imposed by lack of funding and academic deadline. This design is also appropriate to answer developmental and practice-based questions, so it was the best choice for me. The project took place in my private practice over the period of 12 weeks. Seven of my private clients received two massage treatments, one with incorporated Reiki techniques and one without. They were interviewed immediately after each treatment and once again within one week after the second treatment. A semi- structured interview was used to capture clients’ experiences of the treatment.

Although the study itself was over a short period of time and number of participants was small, the data collected and conclusion I reached has been reproduced over the years up to today within my practice. My clients’ point of view, although vastly rich and unique as is each and every Reiki session, pointed towards an enhanced sense of both physical and mental experience when Reiki techniques were applied. Mental references such as ‘being in the moment, meditative state, drifting, flowing, being asleep but not really, random memories being in the zone, seeing colours’, were more prominent and intense in massages with Reiki, as were physical references such as energy movements, twinges, twitches, buzzing, magnetic pull, altered spatial awareness (floating, sinking, feeling upside down, being somewhere else, flying, etc). Although both massages felt therapeutic and relaxing, it appears that when Reiki was deliberately used participants felt that they had a deeper, more complete mind- body experience and rated the overall experience as more wholistic. The study also suggests that when Reiki was applied during a massage, emotional and mental changes were more evident following the treatment, and participants felt noticeable relief from worry and anxiety for a longer period after the session. Also, muscular tension and pain release were successful without post- massage pain or discomfort due to tissue trauma.

From my point of view, I find that when I intentionally channel Reiki during a massage, I can see and feel tension and muscle release throughout the clients body, without the need to very deep pressure. I find I get much deeper shifts and releases with Reiki and gradual pressure than with forceful, aggressive deep tissue techniques. It almost feels as if with Reiki, my hands can communicate with and reassure the tissues I am massaging that it is OK to relax and that the body is not under the attack or danger it perceives to be. Reiki makes the whole process safe, gentle and nurturing, allowing for further relaxation than pure physical touch can do in the same space of time. I also experience being more in the moment during the treatment and have a feeling of more connection and fulfilling interaction with my clients.

In summary, in my experience I find that Reiki enhances and enriches the experience of massage as well as maximizes the outcome of the treatment. It makes it a more complete and fulfilling experience for both client and practitioner. Reiki is a wonderful and simple healing tool that can be blended with most if not all modalities and boost the experience of whatever you apply it to. What is your experience?

Isabela do Val Santana

Isabela do Val Santana

Isabela do Val Santana has been practising reiki since 2000. She is a Reiki Master teacher, Reflexologist, Aromatherapist , private Yoga instructor and Massage Practitioner in Vancouver, Canada. Her passion for complementary and alternative medicine led her to pursue a MSc Complementary Therapy: Bodywork at University of Westminster, London UK, which looked into ways of integrating complementary and alternative therapies into our current orthodox medicine for the greater benefit of public healthcare. Energy medicine is her primary focus and Reiki is part of her daily routine at home, at work and at every opportune moment. Isabela can be reached through her facebook page Reiki Yoga Integrated Bodyworks and email santanaisabela@rocketmail.com.

{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Athena July 24, 2013, 7:32 pm

    very nice article..!!! my experience is that every time I perform a shiatsu session, reiki works spontaniously… just from the intention to heal..!!!

    • Isabela Santana July 24, 2013, 11:00 pm

      Thank you Athena! It surely works spontaneously! And it seems that when deliberately blended in the massage treatment, reiki magnifies the healing taking place even further, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually! Have you tried intentionally channeling reiki with your shiatsu techniques? If so, what response did you get from the client? It is always so nice and inspiring to hear other people’s experiences. 🙂

  • Nadine July 25, 2013, 7:39 am

    A travers mes massages ayurvédiques, je sens exactement la même chose, plus de connexion et de meilleurs résultats.
    A quand la traduction de cette page en Français?
    Merci pour tout

    • Isabela Santana July 25, 2013, 4:46 pm

      Salut Nadine,
      Je suis heureux de vous apprĂ©ciĂ© cet article et que vous avez une expĂ©rience similaire avec votre travail ayurvĂ©dique. Merci de partager votre expĂ©rience aussi! Je ne parle pas français malheureusement, donc j’ai dĂ» taper dans google translate, alors pardonne les erreurs!

  • Tonia Patton, LMT July 28, 2013, 1:11 pm

    Wonderful article! I am only a level one practitioner but consider myself pretty connected/ intuitive. I feel the difference when I can connect with a client and channel healing thoughts and Reiki during their massage. Even without having the higher levels I believe that there are no “rules” to it and that intention is everything- but had questions which your article answered. Many clients have commented on the heat in my hands, tingling, etc- and I did not know that was a result of what I was channeling. You have inspired me to do what Ive been putting off- and reach for my masters as well as (Thanks to Athena) learn Shiatsu.

    Namaste, Tonia

    • Isabela Santana July 29, 2013, 4:57 pm

      Thank you Tonia! I am so glad to hear your experience at level one and that this article inspired you to go for your masters. You are right, there are no ‘rules’ and the beauty of reiki experience is noticeable at any level. Like you, I did not rush from level one to Masters, either, so don’t feel like you have put off! Enjoying your experience and discoveries in each level is part of the beautiful path that is reiki and you just know when the next step is right when you get an inspiration to move forward. I am very happy indeed this article awakened your motivation to do it!


  • Terrilynn June 5, 2014, 8:00 pm

    Excellent article! It really resonated with me. I have been doing Reiki treatments for 4 years and last year I became a Certified Foot Reflexologist. All my clients would comment on how the heat from my hands felt so warm and grounding when ending a Reiki session on their feet. I now combine Reiki/Reflexology treatments as most of my clients want BOTH. They love how the two modalities compliment each other. After a heavenly foot reflexology treatment, I follow-up with a 30 minute Reiki session. As reflexology is extremely relaxing to body, mind & spirit…I find the Reiki energy is absorbed at a deeper level when the client is balanced and ready to receive in a total calm state. Although I offer Reiki or Reflexology….I had to add ‘Combined Treatments’ to my menu and 95% of my clientele book the two together. They marry each other perfectly. P.S. My massage therapist always adds a touch of Reiki to the end of my session and that’s why I go to him!

    • Isabela Santana November 25, 2014, 3:52 am

      Hi Terrilynn,
      Thank you so much. I am very glad you enjoyed the article. I totally see where you are coming from, and reflexology is one of my favorite modalities too. I often blend it with reiki, and also find that the awesome benefits of reflexology is magnified and elevated with a touch of reiki. Keep on doing your wonderful work!

  • Dawn June 7, 2014, 1:31 pm

    Hi Isabela, what a beautiful surprise to find and read your article here! And as always perfectly timed.

    As you know I’ve been a Massage Therapist for many years now and always received the ‘my what hot hands you have’ comment.

    I had thought it was just increased circulation from performing many treatments. Having recently received Reiki One last month I now understand and had been wondering what the effects would be of intentionally channelling while doing massage treatments. Amazing of course! The added benefit as a therapist is that instead of being exhausted after a day of giving treatments I find that even after giving four full body massages I am more energised than when I started. Thank you so much for this beautiful article. Dawn Smith

    • Isabela Santana November 25, 2014, 3:42 am

      Hi Dawn,

      Only just saw your comment here! How wonderful to hear you’ve been doing massage and reiki as well! It all blends perfectly, for sure! And it blends perfectly with restaurative and yin yoga too… Have you used reiki in your yoga practice yet?

  • Marvin bugalu Smith November 25, 2014, 5:22 am

    I have been doing Reiki for 20 years with my Buddhist practice of 43 years with the SGI following Daisaku Ikeda
    and my Reiki treatment is wonderful indeed, it makes me very happy to help all people find joy in their lives I’m very good at distance healing, I do distance healing right here on face book, to all of my friends, then I have them write there experience,for all people on face book to see, So I be-leave that all people should try to learn this wonderful heal art of Reiki.

  • marvin smith November 25, 2014, 5:49 am

    I have been doing Reiki for 20 years, with my Buddhist practice of 43 years, with the SGI following Daisaku Ikeda
    and my Reiki treatment is wonderful indeed, it makes me very happy to help all people find joy in their lives I’m very good at distance healing, I do distance healing right here on face book, to all of my friends, then I have them write there experience,for all people on face book to see, So I be-leave that all people should try to learn this wonderful heal art of Reiki.

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  • A. Reid January 22, 2015, 5:19 pm

    Since learning Reiki I noticed I get larger tips from clients after combining Reiki with massage! So not only does Reiki help the clients heal, it helps me financially also!

  • Anne Tunney March 16, 2015, 9:16 am

    Hi Isabella. I always enjoy reading reiki rays. I am a beautician and when I do massage or facials i often get asked if u do reiki. My clients tell me they can feel Heat or energy from me but im not attuned to reiki yet i am going to get attuned to reiki 1 next week

    Anne xx

  • Irene Brouard November 1, 2017, 10:53 pm

    I love that I found Someone Else that incorporates Reiki with their Massages!!! I didn’t think I could be the only one. I wanted to sit down and write my story down to express how beneficial and game changing it has been to use Reiki in customized massage sessions…. But first I wanted to research and see for myself IF anyone else is doing the same… and how it is working for them. I have been a massage therapist for about 12 years now, and became attuned to Reiki 3 years ago. I have been a Reiki Master for a little over a year. I find that using “Spot Reiki” during my sessions helps me give my clients a very therapeutic massage without the necessary “recovery time” of a typical Deep Tissue massage, where they are Used To intense deep pressure to gain the same results of working through tough stubborn knots. The clients that I have tried it on always leave appreciative, shocked, very surprised, impressed and puzzled at how I was able to accomplish something that they have been carrying for such a long time- yet in one session, they feel such a freedom and so much looser than they have experienced for as long as they can remember.
    I love this practice, and Reiki has been a gift and a God send.

  • Holly Gilding February 14, 2020, 10:27 am

    I always massage my mothers sora calfs and legs only just now she asked why was my hands warm, and she said the warmth from.my hands was calming and nice, I wasn’t intentionally thinking of doing reiki but I wanted to help my mother with pain

  • Jaxdayspa April 5, 2020, 7:50 am

    Thank you for this! I have been thinking of adding reiki to some of the massage services we offer at my place of work.

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