Reiki: In Layman's Terms

by Tish Niedzwiecki

What is Reiki? Is it for you?

In short, Reiki is a Japanese healing art. Although, it really is so much more!


Each and every one of us - all things - are made of energy. 

Reiki, as most of us know it in the West, is a form of a Japanese healing system. Reiki (pronounced ray-kee) is defined as universal life force energy. Rei means 'universal', ki means 'life force energy'. You may have heard the words chi or prana to refer to the same energy. 


Most people don't stop and think about the energy flowing through their body. We just go through life day after day never knowing or realizing how much our energy is affected by others and whether or not our energy is flowing freely and aligned. 

Of course we wouldn't stop to think about it. Why would we? This is not something taught in school. Mystics have known about this for millennia, but in today's society it's considered woo-woo or part of the New Age movement. 

Reiki is something that flows through all living things. So, whether you consider yourself a mystic or everyday person, Reiki is and always will be part of you. It's simply energy - life force energy. 

Some people are skeptical of Reiki because we cannot see it. We cannot see energy moving through our walls either, but when we turn on the lights we know it's there. With Reiki, you cannot see it but most often you can feel the energy moving during a session. You don't have to be a 'believer' to experience the benefits of Reiki because there's nothing to 'believe' in. Again, it's simply energy. 

So, what is Reiki? It's the energy that runs through each and every one of us. 

Reiki as a Treatment

There are many different Reiki methods being used today; though most stem from Usui Reiki. Usui Reiki was developed in the early 1900s in Japan by Mikao Usui. 

How do you know which is right for you? Ask. If you know someone who has received a Reiki treatment, ask them what their experience was like. If they didn't like their practitioner, find another one. If a practitioner doesn't offer reviews on their website, ask for referrals. 

Call and speak directly with the practitioner or ask if you can stop by to meet them before you schedule your appointment. Since we are talking about energy here, you will be able to tell if your energy resonates with that of the practitioner. How many times have we said, "There was something about that person that I really did/didn't like"? That's your energy, and intuition, advising you to work with the practitioner or to find another one.

If your first experience isn't a great one, I would suggest trying another practitioner. Just because you didn't resonate with one person doesn't mean you won't with the next. The benefits can be so wonderful that it would be unfortunate to end it after one try. 

In short, ask your friends for a referral or check out the practitioner's reviews. 

A certified Reiki practitioner uses their training and experience to help the energy in a person's body to flow more easily. We help to align their energy. 

How does a person know if their body's energy is out of alignment? When a person is dealing with any sort of chronic pain, it's a good sign that their energy is out of alignment. When we experience things on the mental and emotional levels, they often manifest into physical pain and discomfort. When someone says they haven't been feeling well or have been experiencing a form of pain but the doctors are unable to diagnose what's wrong, that can also be a sign that their energy may be out of alignment. 

For those currently under a physician's care, Reiki can be administered along with their regular medical care. Reiki is not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent an illness or disease. Reiki is used in conjunction with conventional medicine. Many hospitals offer Reiki to their patients as a form of integrative medicine. 

Hands On or Hands Off?

Some practitioners use a hands on approach, some work slightly above the body (hands off), while others use a combination. This is the preference of the practitioner and often depends on how they were trained and what feels right for them. If they use hands on, practitioners are taught to avoid personal areas such as the breasts and genitalia. Practitioners generally ask if the client is comfortable with light touch during the Reiki session.

Most practitioners recognize that some people do not like, nor want, to be touched. If this is the case for you, I suggest finding a practitioner that is comfortable with the hands off approach.

Many pictures on the internet relating to Reiki often show a person presumably unclothed under a sheet, as if they were receiving a massage. That is very misleading. Reiki is done with the client fully clothed. Be prepared, however, to remove your shoes and eyeglasses during a session. If a practitioner tells you to undress, I suggest you find another practitioner.

What Can Reiki Do for You?

Reiki can help reduce tension, relieve stress, and promotes healing on many levels. It's wonderful as part of a self-care regimen to keep your energy flowing and aligned. Many chemotherapy patients use it to help with side effects. Those under a physician's care for anxiety or depression may find Reiki very helpful too. 

Reiki is a great way to benefit the mind, body, and spirit. If you're interested in trying it out, you can contact a local practitioner to see if they're running any specials. 

There are so many benefits to Reiki. There are plenty of websites dedicated to Reiki. If I've interested you so far, I ask that you continue to research it until you're comfortable enough to try it. 

Can Reiki Do Any Harm?

No. Reiki does not. During a Reiki session, your body is not being manipulated in any way. We are working with your energy to help you physically or otherwise. It is, however, important to find an experienced and certified Reiki practitioner. 

Are Reiki practitioners psychic?

Some people think Reiki practitioners are psychic. Some are, but not all. It is not uncommon for a Reiki practitioner to develop their psychic senses while practicing Reiki since we are working with energy. See my post below "Reiki and the "Clairs" to read more. If a practitioner claims to be intuitive or psychic, this is oftentimes a way of letting you know that they may offer more to the experience than the standard Reiki session itself.

I've had some people not want to tell me where their pain is to see if I pick up on it. Again, we're not here to be psychics during a Reiki session. Therefore, I would suggest that a person tell their Reiki practitioner where their pain is so their session can be more effective and beneficial.

Is Reiki a Religion?

No. Reiki is not a religion. Reiki practitioners come from all different walks of life, religions, races, etc. Broadly speaking, Reiki practitioners simply want to help others heal.

Are Reiki Practitioners Healers?

No. Though some refer to themselves as such. We are healing facilitators. On this page, you may have read different references to healing and how Reiki can help you heal. A Reiki practitioner is simply a conduit, a facilitator. Yes, we work with people's energy. However, if a person is not ready to heal or if they are not open to receive, nothing will happen. Each person is responsible for their own healing. Any healing that takes place during a session is because the client allowed it to happen. 

Is Reiki For You?

You are the only person who can decide that. Through research and asking questions, you can make an informed decision. 

Reiki Treatment

Reiki and Spirituality

Though Reiki is not spiritual or religious, it can certainly enhance your spirituality; especially as a Reiki practitioner. 

Why? Many of us, during Reiki training, are taught to meditate before giving a Reiki treatment. We do this mainly to become centered, grounded, and focused. Whenever we allow time and space for meditation, it gives us an opportunity to quiet the mind and turn inward. Going within gets us deeper to our True and Authentic Self. If someone's intention in learning Reiki is to become more spiritual, meditation can really help. Many people say how difficult meditation is for them; however, the more Reiki sessions we have, the more we are meditating. By default, it helps to strengthen a practitioner's meditation practice.

Depending on the method that a Reiki a practitioner is taught, Reiki energy is brought down and into the practitioner from Source/God/One Consciousness. We do this to state the intention that we are not using our own energy, but that of Source. Each time the practitioner connects to Source, or God, they have the opportunity to feel that light and energy within them. This can be awe inspiring and very beautiful. 

The more a Reiki practitioner administers Reiki, the more likely they are to build their "clairs". (See my post below.) The more a practitioner experiences, it's not uncommon to feel even more connected to something greater than themselves.

When we allow ourselves to be in the God space, a deeper spiritual connection can be a lovely byproduct of practicing Reiki. As we become more aware of subtle energy, especially our own, Reiki can be a great catalyst for a spiritual awakening. 

Reiki and the "Clairs"

Many Reiki practitioners have noticed that their intuition gets stronger the more they practice Reiki. Some begin to notice that they can suddenly sense another person's pain or emotions. Some may even begin to notice they are hearing things, such as messages. And still others report they see things while giving a treatment. 

During the course of a treatment, when we are focused and intentions set on the client, we are more open to sense subtle energies. Though we may be familiar with our five physical senses, subtle energy focus can lead us to discover the psychic senses.

This can be a very fascinating and exciting time. I would recommend seeking out an experienced professional to help navigate these new skills. I have had students tell me they don't want to see dead people, for example. Generally speaking, parameters can be set so the practitioner can go at their own pace.

Reiki Training

There are many different Reiki methods and styles on the market today. Usui Reiki is the most common form in the West. It's what I was trained in and what I will comment on here.

You do not have to be perfect to be a Reiki practitioner. Some people believe that practitioners need to be vegan, clean eaters, cannot drink, etc. or that they must be perfectly or near-perfectly healthy on all levels. Though these things may help you feel like a more clear and open channel for Reiki, there are no bounds for who can learn it. Reiki is, after all, part of all of us.  

I believe taking a Reiki 1 class can be very informative and beneficial. I think the world would be a better place if everyone took a Reiki class. However, what's equally important is finding the right teacher for you. A Reiki 1 class (unless it's just an informative class) should be a minimum of 5 hours of  training. If someone teaches less than 5 hours, they are probably leaving you to read the class materials on your own. They are likely counting on you doing your own research.


I've heard of some teachers not having their students practice Reiki. Others will teach the hand positions and some Reiki basics, but not explain what it is and why it's important. It's ALL important!

I suggest finding a teacher who:

  • is certified and experienced as a Reiki Master and Teacher. Ask for their certificate. Some people have little training and experience, yet they call themselves a teacher. A good teacher will be happy to answer your questions and to show you their certificate.

  • offers a minimum of 5 hours of Reiki 1 training. Reiki 1 training is your foundation for Reiki. It takes time to understand what it is, where it originated, why it's beneficial, and how to use it. 

  • offers Reiki shares for continued practice to build your skill and confidence. Experienced teachers know that they can't teach all the nuances of Reiki in one day. With experience, you will gain better clarity and understanding of it and how you can use it for the greatest benefit. 

  • will make themselves available for follow up questions. Many students, understandably, have questions after taking a Reiki class. Teachers who make themselves available helps the student be more successful; which makes everyone more successful.

  • has used Reiki as part of their wellness journey. This means they not only teach Reiki, they use it for their own growth and healing. This shows they honor Reiki and truly understands the benefits.

  • has reviews of their classes. This will give you an idea of the experience of others. 


In short, call the teacher you're considering and ask questions. You have every right to ask questions before you spend your time, money, and energy learning Reiki.

Our Reiki Services and Training


I honor you for where you are today on your journey. When you come in for a session, you are treated with the utmost respect and understanding. There are no judgments here. 

For more information about our Reiki services, please click here. 



As a certified and experienced Reiki Master and Teacher, I enjoy teaching others how to use this beautiful healing art. You were born with this energy. It's part of who you are. Take a Reiki class and allow this innate gift work for you.

My classes are thorough, informative, and are designed for your greatest benefit. When you succeed, we all succeed. 

I offer Reiki training for all levels. Whether you're a novice, have already taken a class, or would like more training, I can help. 

  • Beginner's Reiki

  • Reiki 1 Certification - 1 Day Intensive 

  • Reiki 1 Certification - 2 Day Course 

  • Reiki 2  Certification Class

  • ART with Master/Teacher (level 3 with certification)

  • Healing Past Wounds for Reiki 2 Practitioners


You can find more detailed information here or feel free to contact me directly at 330-289-2141. You can also visit our Meetup page for more information on upcoming classes.


I offer Reiki mentoring for those who would like more study, experience, tips, and techniques to be an effective Reiki professional. This includes helping those who would like to start a Reiki business.