Article by Stephanie Drane
There is a lot of information out there about the topic of ‘touch’ in Reiki, some people feel it is very important and some feel it is not necessary at all and most lie somewhere between; there’s probably nearly as many views on the theme as there are Reiki practitioners. No one can tell another person what is right for them, we should use our intuition and work in a way that works for us and feels comfortable for our clients. I will share my ideas and experience here but it is by no means the only way.
In our modern age of communication we can communicate with people all day without meeting them face to face, not even making eye contact let alone physical contact and perhaps this is making us forget the power of touch and feel uncomfortable with it as it becomes less familiar.
Touch is such a basic part of being human; one of our precious senses that we use to experience and interact with the world. We do seem to automatically reach out to touch our fellow humans: when someone is upset, a reassuring pat or squeeze gives comfort and reassurance. We high five in celebration and shake hands as a formal greeting and we rub areas of pain to make them feel better. We understand that skin to skin contact between parent and baby is beneficial to both health and bonding. We instinctively hug our children, pat their heads, and rub their hurts. Children themselves are less inhibited than us and seem to have an innate understanding of the comfort and healing of touch.
However, as we get older and we gain inhibitions and taboos about touch and it can often have sexual or intimate connotations in people’s minds, creating an awkwardness and discomfort around the idea of being touched.
Obviously unwanted, inappropriate touching is totally unacceptable, and we must bear in mind that our clients might have had previous experiences that make them wary or nervous.
My approach to touch has changed as I have developed my practice. When I was taught Reiki I learned all of the hand positions and different variations and I practiced with these to find what worked for me. However, when I actually started giving treatments I quickly decided to only use touch on the head, shoulders, and feet. This was for several reasons:
- Because I also offer massage treatments and found this a way to distinguish between the two.
- Because I knew that some of the people who came to me for Reiki felt uncomfortable with touch, which is why they avoided massage.
- Because I felt that I could sense more working in the aura than on the physical body.
I was happy with this decision and it worked well for me and my clients until a client came in saying that she really felt like she needed a Reiki treatment but was tempted by a massage, saying ‘sometimes you just need to be touched’. So I offered her a ‘hands on’ Reiki treatment. She really benefited from this and I was reminded that not everyone has people in their lives who give them the human contact that they need. The comfort and reassurance that we feel when receiving well-intentioned healing touch is so beneficial for our wellbeing. This was when I decided to discuss touch with each client, giving them the opportunity to decide what they feel they need and are comfortable with, for some that varies with each visit. I find a discussion about this while carrying out the initial consultation gives myself and the client the chance to talk about any expectations or concerns. Establishing boundaries before the treatment begins puts both our minds at rest. This new flexible approach is giving my clients what they need from each treatment.
I love that this Reiki journey never ends, there’s always more to learn and space to grow into. I have discovered the honour that it is to be trusted by someone enough for them to allow you to touch them. That I can channel Reiki for them to feel relaxed, comforted and to heal through my touch is such a gift and one that I am so grateful for.
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Stephanie Drane is a Reiki Master, Holistic Therapist and Spiritual Artist in Suffolk, England. Stephanie’s mission is to provide her clients with a calm and serene space away from their busy lifestyles, where she encourages them to take control of their own wellbeing and to value and nurture themselves to bring about inner peace, balance, and happiness. As a Reiki Master Stephanie is thrilled to be able to teach and empower others: “It is so rewarding to watch people discover the positive power of Reiki and experience the benefits for themselves.” When Stephanie is not giving Reiki and other holistic treatments or enjoying time with her family and friends she recharges herself by swimming in rivers, walking barefoot outdoors and eating good food. Stephanie’s website is: www.angelichands.biz Check out Stephanie’s blog for her insights and wisdom on how to enjoy inner peace and a calmer life over at angelichands444.wordpress.com.