How Do I Know if I Am Doing Reiki Correctly?


Article by Angie Webster

By far the most frequently asked questions I receive have to do with people who are not confident in their ability to practice Reiki, sometimes even on themselves. There are people who are afraid for a great many reasons, like fear of harming another by practicing Reiki, fear of placing their hands in the wrong positions, not being able to feel Reiki flowing or not having intuitive insights. Unfortunately, many times, these fears lead to the person not practicing Reiki, or to restrict their practice.

There is no wrong way to do Reiki, because you are not truly doing Reiki. It is more that you are opening to allow Reiki to go where it needs to, through you. You are offering to be a clear passageway by simply being willing. Reiki energy flows from the Divine Life Force, the same life force that supports all life. There is no wrong way for it to flow through you. It is intelligent energy. This energy flows naturally wherever it is needed, as long as it is not restricted. By receiving an attunement, you are inviting the Reiki energy to clear out any restrictions you may have that impede its natural flow into and through you. Once you are attuned, Reiki will simply flow when and where it is needed. You only need to place your hands on yourself or someone else for it to be fully received. It really is that simple.

Our logical minds want many steps to each process. Sometimes we want to see how something works by understanding each step and what function it performs. But since Reiki simply flows where it is needed, there aren’t a lot of steps for us to remember. We can place one or both hands on or above the body and then simply allow Reiki to do what it needs to do. This is why remembering all of the hand positions or a particular order to do them in is not very important. The most important thing is that you continue practicing Reiki. Over time, this practice will help you recognize where to place your hands, in what order and how long to leave them there. You may feel most comfortable using specific hand placements, particularly in the beginning while you are learning to trust the Reiki and your intuition to guide you. But if you forget some of these, recognize that they are more to help you feel comfortable than to make Reiki work properly.

How Do I Know if I Am Doing Reiki Correctly

Because Reiki is an intelligent energy that supports life, it will not do damage to life. There are times when Reiki can feel very intense or uncomfortable as it heals an area very quickly or removes an energy blockage. If this discomfort becomes too much or the energy feels too overwhelming at any time, by you or a client, then simply stop and the discomfort will leave. This discomfort is not from harm or damage, but from strong healing or energy balancing. It will stop the moment you remove your hands. Never force a person to receive Reiki if they don’t want it or if they ask you to stop, no matter what their reason is. While the Reiki won’t cause damage, it is harmful to do something to a person when they don’t want you to.

While many people feel tingling or warmth in their hands after they receive their first attunement and most times they channel Reiki, there are also many who don’t. Some feel nothing at all in their hands the majority of the times they perform a Reiki treatment. Others feel it when they are first attuned but then the sensation goes away as they adjust to it. Everyone’s experience with Reiki and with the attunements is completely unique and very special, no matter what they do or don’t experience.

Continue to practice daily self-Reiki, even after the 21 day clearing process. Make it a goal to create a habit of doing at least 10 minutes of self-Reiki every day, no matter what. Make it just as important as bathing, eating and sleeping. It is ideal if you make the space in your day to set aside this time to devote just to Reiki practice. However, remember you can also do self-Reiki as you read, watch TV or a movie or any time you can place one or both hands on yourself. Your understanding of Reiki will grow as you continue to practice each day and your connection to it will increase. In this process, you will come to notice you are recognizing ways your intuition expresses itself, more and more. Your own healing will continue, as well. It may seem as if it is going far too slowly in the beginning, but remember—you are unique and special. Every one of us has our own pace for healing and growth and our own way of experiencing the world. There is nothing wrong with you or with the way Reiki flows through you.

If you still feel uncomfortable and would like personal reassurance, consult your Reiki Master. He or she may be able to help you feel better or answer your questions. If it has been a long time since you practiced Reiki and you feel as if you want to brush up on your knowledge, some Reiki Masters are now offering a Reiki Refresher course to help you do just that. These usually come with a booster attunement to help boost your confidence and refine the flow of Reiki energy.

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Angie Webster
Angie Webster

Angie Webster is a Reiki Master Teacher and author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She also teaches classes and workshops about Reiki and spiritual growth. She works often with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Infinite Reiki, Infinite Healing: How Energy Medicine Healed my Life and What It Can do for Yours. Reiki and a healthy lifestyle contributed to her healing after a 20-year struggle with neurological and chronic pain issues. She comes out the other side with a new perspective on life and now seeks to empower others, guiding them back to their own innate healing abilities. You can follow her at:,,


    • Cindy, I understand. Keep practicing every day and you will feel less distracted. However, remember that even if you get distracted, Reiki is still flowing, so there is no need to worry about it. In addition to my morning self Reiki, I often give myself Reiki while I watch a movie with my husband. I am totally tuned in to the movie, but Reiki still flows!

  1. Thank you for your reassuring words. I find myself so hesitate to work on my reiki. I hope having read you article that I will just take the time & give myself the healing power of reiki. Thank you.

  2. Do you always have to draw the symbols on your hands to give reiki? Or, can you just repeat the symbol names to yourself and send reiki/practice reiki? I am a reiki master but never had a lesson on how to attune others, though I have on my own attempted to attune a few people who wanted an attainment. Thanks Missy

  3. Angie, thank you so much for this particular article. It is both reassuring and validating. Sometimes I tend to make the process too complicated and I try to strive for that (dreadful) perfectionism, which in turn, results in discouragement. That discouragement results in my not using Reiki. Your article is a great reminder for me to just be easy with the process of Reiki and allow. My intention for the New Year is to do the 10 minutes of self-Reiki each day. Love & Light!

  4. WOnderful Words and just when needed! I have often felt so Sure when doing it,…like it’s truly just Natural…part of who and what we are. Just feels as though allowing other not having the same view.. seems to catch you on a stumbling stone,..eve though it’s something I’ve been doing since childhood just never had a name 🙂 But like you say practice practice practice…Thank you again for your time, Laura

  5. What a refreshing article.There is so much marketing “clutter” out there around Reiki these days – Holy Fire, Heart/Mind, chanting, meditating… you summed it up beautifully – “You only need to place your hands on yourself or someone else for it to be fully received. It really is that simple”! Thank you.

  6. Thank you for this helpful article and all the comments, questions and answers. This is most helpful as I have been very lax with my self reiki and had started to doubt myself when working on others. My inclinations have been to work more on animals, especially dogs and cats and your advice has motivated me to do more. Blessings from Wendy

  7. You read my mind. I learned the practice years ago and have been to scared to practice on others. I was unsure and wondered if I even was doing anything or was it all in my head. Ive incorporated it into my skincare business and I have been getting so much positive reaction. I thank you for this article and look forward to reading your book.

  8. A feeling of relief has washed over me after reading this! I’ve always felt the my reiki practice was not as thorough or deep because I don’t have any psychic visions to offer after the reiki is completed.
    Can I just ask how or in what way you keep yourself ‘protected’? I was taught a prayer during my training but seems so lengthy and during a recent charity event where I had 20 min slots, next person being ready long before previous person finished..I left out this prayer because I was under time constraints. Are there any quick ways to protect yourself? Thank you Angie

    • Hi Calaham. First I would like to say that I completely understand what you mean about feeling lacking when there are no psychic visions. There has an awful lot of expectation to report visions and impressions after a session, to the extent that some talk of it as if it has come to be expected as part of the session. It is not actually part of Reiki and is not at all required that you be especially psychic to be a Reiki practitioner. There are times that even those who are intuitive simply don’t pick anything especially psychic up during a session, or nothing of great consequence. Please don’t let it concern you if you don’t receive anything psychically! You are still doing Reiki, as they are not the same thing.

      Concerning protection, the best way to be protected is to be grounded. This means really being in your body and connected to the Earth. Frequent sips of water between sessions can help, but it is really a mental visualization, accompanied by the visceral feeling of being in your body. Ground before each session and again afterwards. Doing Reiki can lead to a feeling of being so relaxed that you feel as if you are floating or lifting out of the body. Be aware of this and when you notice it, re-ground yourself.

      Here’s another exercise that you can practice before doing Reiki. You can do it prior to any session or sessions, so if you were to do it before an event like the one you mentioned, you would be protected throughout. No need to do it before each session. Imagine a clear flow of light energy flowing up your spine, out the top of your head like a fountain and cascading all around you, then back up into the bottoms of your feet. See the flow of light continuing in a cycle for several rounds, making your own energy field strong and clearing out stagnant energy.

  9. Brilliiant! Thank you so much I really appreciate your response and will give this a try! We are so lucky to have the internet in our world and have generous people like yourself within reach. With Love x

  10. Thank you for your article. May I ask a question? I have a client that is in a wheelchair (I’m a Personal Support Worker) and I would love to perform Reiki on her. How do I get around the wheelchair for a sitting treatment? She also wears quite a thick back brace. Does the Reiki energy pass through solid items such as a wheelchair and brace? Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

    • Yes, Reiki will travel through the wheel chair and the brace. Keep in mind that Reiki is not limited by time and space. It is within everything. With this is mind, you can offer Reiki from a few inches or feet away from the body, if the chair and the brace prevent you from making direct contact. It may be very helpful to her to receive direct Reiki on any areas that she can (perhaps her legs, hands, head, or arms). Treating the head or feet is also very useful, as these are major energy points and also bring deep relaxation.The loving, gentle touch that is typically part of a Reiki treatment can be very healing in itself. Reiki will bring balance to any areas that need it, even if you can’t directly treat them. Just holding her hand and sending Reiki is still sending Reiki and is very helpful. Do what you can and know that Reiki will do the rest.

  11. Love your article Angie it’s just reconfirmed my own thoughts and feeling about reiki. Sometimes I allow myself to get caught up in the symbols it’s good to get some reassurance. I absolutly love everything about reiki ????????

  12. Thank you so much for this article. I’m one of those who rarely feels like anything is happening when I give treatments. Like you said, it can really undermine the confidence. Namaste xxx

  13. Hello Angie. Nice article. I am sanu from India. i had done my 2nd degree reiki in 2012. since then, due to shifting of job n locations and various other reasons, i was not able to practice it. just a quick question… will the reiki flow be the same if i start practicing it again? whats the best way to start? is it the full 72 minutes or the 15 mins shortcut will also help? pls advice. Thanks and have a great weekend. Cheers 🙂

    • Do self Reiki each day, even if it is only for a few minutes. There is no need to do a 72 minute self Reiki session! Few of us have time for even 60 minutes on a daily basis. But if you can do even 5, 10 or 15 minutes a day, it will make a huge difference. Do 30 when you have extra time. It’s never too late to start practicing again!

  14. What a great article. thanks Angie. “You only need to place your hands on yourself or someone else for it to be fully received. It really is that simple”! I want to ask is there no need to offer consecration and the prayers before I start the flow of energy and gratitude and thanks and all. I get caught up in this process

    • I always suggest simplifying over creating complex rituals. Complex rituals bring us up into our minds, when it is really best to simply let go and allow the Reiki to do it’s work. Sure, have gratitude for the Reiki and for the person you are working on. Allow that to simply be part of your heartfelt intention as you let the energy flow. To me consecration comes from allowing the Reiki to work as it needs to, rather than trying to make it do something I think it needs to do. No ritual needed, only letting go and trust. The outcome and unfolding will demonstrate that it works beautifully this way.

  15. Great article! This should be required reading in every initial Reiki class. Reiki teachers should communicate tell their students that everyone experiences Reiki differently and that it’s OK if you don’t feel anything when you do it. The teachers I had made me feel like I was doing something wrong because I didn’t feel heat or tingles, or that it would happen as you got better at it. I’ve never felt anything so I assumed I was doing it wrong and/or the attunements don’t work.

  16. Hi Angie. Thanks for the great article. I originally received attunement several years ago, and subsequently received second and third level attunements in Usui Reiki. Even now, there are times when I can very strongly feel the energy flow while there are other times when I feel nothing. Interestingly, I have had times when I was working with a client and did not feel any energy flow, but the client remarked that the sensation was amazing. Conversely, there are times that I felt substantial energy flow and the client felt nothing. I simply explain before a session that the client may feel warmth or tingling or nothing at all, but they should be secure in knowing that Reiki will always do them good and will never harm them them – even though they may not feel that what they asked to be healed feels any different.

    Reiki is definitely mysterious and wonderful. It has helped me help others many times.

  17. Thank you for this wonderful post. My question is if you are giving self reiki and your mind gets distracted, when does it stop. If you don’t consciously stop it, will it flow the whole day ?

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