Is it necessary to go through all the hand positions during Reiki self-treatment? This is one of the main questions I receive from my apprentices when we discuss the basic needs of a new Reiki practitioner. In my opinion: no. The energy will flow where it’s needed the most. This is an intuitive journey, this is what my intuition says…
Reiki self-treatment is intended to be performed to improve health, eliminate unhealthy habits, achieve a state of relaxation, doubled by an inner peace and access to latent energy abilities. Reiki is not learned, Reiki is felt, practiced. Practicing daily for just a few minutes can accomplish much more than reading for hours.
If this self-treatment is done daily, for a longer period, it will bring the practitioner a series of benefits: she/he will become more balanced, with a clear thinking, will see the essentials in a problem, will discover new solutions that, until then, perhaps, no one approached or considered – all this in conjunction with improving health or even curing diseases. Through self-treatment, less known parts and information of one’s own person are accessed, intuition develops, the feeling when a certain person lies or tells the truth. This is only the first step, which is done only through personal effort.
After the self-treatment, the metabolism will be regulated, the practitioner will unconsciously choose only those actions that are for his or her Higher Good, will be more rested, with a better inner vitality, and the immune system will be stimulated.
Self-treatment is not mandatory but recommended. The hand positions are not mandatory but recommended. We all agree that Reiki flows where it’s needed, it’s a very intelligent and intuitive energy. However, I have noticed that Reiki is not always able to cross over from one area to another when there is a blockage somewhere in-between. I spent 3 years doing self-treatment every single day after my first attunement, 12 years ago, and the results were amazing – I was able to grow my relationship with Reiki and open my intuition – then it became part of my life. For the first 21 days after each of my Reiki attunements, since I started doing Reiki again 6 years ago, I did self-Reiki with the learned hand positions. After that special time spent doing self-treatment, I have modified the hand positions into a sequence and placements that feel right for me. I will sometimes give more attention to chakras or areas that seem blocked, following my intuition. I do it as a self-care measure today.
It is known that sensei Usui used 5 positions of the hands. Sensei Hayashi took over the 5 positions of the hands, but also frequently used the 7 positions of the hands known in traditional Chinese medicine. However, when he passed on the Reiki system to Mrs. Takata, he showed her 12 hand positions, still considered traditional in Usui Reiki (practiced in the West). To these 12 positions in time were added 2 more positions in the modern Reiki system.
I think in the beginning it is good practice as during self-treatment you learn what energy feels like in different areas and in different situations and blockages, but eventually we are all guided by spirit and intuition as to where our hands are required I believe. If just starting out, I recommend doing all hand positions so that you become familiar with what they feel in each area. Practice is of the utmost importance, then go with your intuition.
I, for example, also do on both sides of the Crown chakra simultaneously to balance the right and left side of my brain – it’s great for helping fall asleep, but also leaves me with a light fresh and clear feel all around my head. I rarely use the formal hand positions. Other Reiki Masters also told me that the hand positions get in the way of their own intuition and makes them feel overly concerned with doing it right or wrong, and seems to create a weird ego-power-over-control dynamic where the practitioner is trying to “control/direct” the Reiki energy, but Reiki sure is infinitely wiser and more omnipotent than we are. The energy knows what to do and where to go and will show us the way. All we have to do is surrender the will and receive.
There are always two things: learn the forms and structures and learn to trust your intuition… so I always tell my students: learn the sequences by heart, put them in practice, and practice until they feel embodied, after which make your own. Only after you know what energy feels for you, how energy works for you, you start to trust your intuition and the wonderful and magnificent quality of Reiki itself.
In conclusion, it is best to treat all points on the body or at least all the major chakras. First preference should always be to systematically treat all body positions. If not, treat all the major and minor chakras. If that too is not possible, cover all the seven major chakras. If not even that, treat the whole head in one go, the whole front of the body as the second position, the whole backside of the body as the third position, then spend some extra time on the area where there is a problem. You could also scale down further to treat the whole body in one go followed by problem areas. Everything depends on how much time you can spare. Best is to treat all the positions as taught. The rest are all shortcuts meant to be used once in a while when there is a real time constraint. When each position is attended to thoroughly, it becomes easier to intuitively sense where more time needs to be spent. Reiki guides, surely. Let’s not make self-treatment any harder than it needs be!
- Try to hit all the positions if you’re in one of the post attunement 21-day adjustment periods OR re-establishing a practice after a break, since it’s a “traditional recipe” and gets you used to how your personal intuition works
- 30 seconds to 1 minute per position is better than 0 seconds
- Reiki knows where it goes, so it’s ok if you don’t get to all of it (for example if you fall asleep doing Reiki before bed)
- Experiment: if something is bothering you, feel free to go there even if it’s not a traditional position
Article by Patricia Lidia
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Patricia Lidia is a corporate engineer, writer, blogger, and coach on creativity and emotional balance. She is passionate about reading and writing, alternative therapies, and spirituality. She is a Reiki master teacher with over ten years of experience. Her aim is to help women find their emotional balance and create the life they’ve always wanted.
She resides in Timisoara, Romania. You can find her at patricialidia.ro/ or patricialidiaemotionalhealing