Reiki means universal energy and is a Japanese energy healing method to promote overall well-being and relaxation. During a session, a practitioner puts their hands on or above your body and you may feel heat or tingling coming from their hands.

The predominant form of Reiki practiced worldwide today, also known as Usui reiki, was created by Dr. Mikao Usui in the early 20th century.

Reiki is a complementary or alternative health approach. It does not directly cure diseases or illnesses. Instead, it’s used to manage and improve general well-being.

During a Reiki session, the practitioner places their hands directly on you or above you to bring about healing. The belief is that the practitioner can stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities.

Read on to learn more about the benefits and side effects of Reiki and what to expect from a Reiki session.

5 Health benefits of Reiki

1. Relieves pain, anxiety, and fatigue

According to a review of randomized trials, Reiki may help to reduce pain and anxiety, though more research is needed. It may also help to reduce fatigue.

A 2015 study found that people being treated for cancer who received distant Reiki in addition to regular medical care had lower levels of pain, anxiety, and fatigue. These levels were significantly lower than those of the control group, who only received medical care. Participants had 30-minute sessions of distant Reiki for 5 days.

In another 2015 study, researchers looked at the effects of Reiki on women following cesarean delivery. They found that Reiki significantly reduced pain, anxiety, and the breathing rate in women 1-2 days after having a cesarean delivery. The need for and number of analgesic painkillers was also reduced. Reiki didn’t affect blood pressure or pulse rate.

A 2018 study compared the use of Reiki to physiotherapy for relieving lower back pain in people with herniated disks. Both treatments were equally effective at reducing pain, but Reiki was more cost-effective and, in some cases, resulted in faster treatment.

2. Treats depression

Reiki treatments may be used as part of a treatment plan to help relieve depression. In a small 2010 study, researchers looked at the effects of Reiki on older adults experiencing pain, depression, or anxiety. The participants reported an improved mood and well-being. They also reported feelings of relaxation, increased curiosity, and enhanced levels of self-care.

Larger, more in-depth studies are required to expand upon these findings.

3. Enhances quality of life

The positive benefits of Reiki can enhance your overall well-being. Researchers in a small 2016 study found that Reiki helped improve the quality of life for women with cancer. Women who had Reiki showed improvements in their sleep patterns, self-confidence, and depression levels. They noted a sense of calm, inner peace, and relaxation.

More extensive studies are needed to expand on these findings.

4. Boosts mood

Reiki may help to improve your mood by relieving anxiety and depression. According to results from a 2011 study, people who had Reiki felt greater mood benefits compared to people who didn’t have Reiki. The study participants who had six 30-minute sessions over 2-8 weeks showed improvements in their mood.

5. May improve some symptoms and conditions

Reiki may also be used to manage:

  • headaches
  • tension
  • insomnia
  • nausea

The relaxation response that happens with Reiki may benefit these symptoms. However, specific research is needed to determine the efficacy of Reiki for the treatment of these symptoms and conditions.

Are there risks or side effects?

Reiki is noninvasive and thought to be safe. It doesn’t have any known harmful side effects. For those with a past trauma, lying quietly in a dim room with someone close to you might be uncomfortable.

Reiki is not intended to replace any doctor-approved treatment plan.

What happens during a reiki session?

A typical Reiki session lasts between 20 and 90 minutes. At your first appointment, you’ll meet with your Reiki practitioner. You’ll have a short introduction or chat about the process and your expectations.

Let your practitioner know about any symptoms you want to be addressed or if there are places in the body on which you’d like them to focus. Also, let the practitioner know if you have any injuries or areas that are sensitive to touch.

You’ll be instructed to lie down on a treatment table or mat. They will cover you with a blanket. Usually, soft, relaxing music will be playing in the background. For the most part there won’t be, any talking during the session, but you can feel free to let your practitioner know if there’s something you need to feel more comfortable.

The practitioner will move their hands around your body. They may touch you lightly or have their hands just above your body.

You may experience sensations in the body such as heat or tingling. Some people report seeing visualizations such as colors or pictures or having memoies appear. Try to allow whatever arises to pass without aching too much meaning to it. Your experiences may become more profound the more you continue with Reiki.

How to prepare for your appointment

Wear clean, loose-fitting, comfortable clothing. You may wish to wear natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, or silk. Remove your shoes, jewelry, and glasses before your session, and keep your phone switched off or leave it behind.

What to expect after your appointment

Drink plenty of water after your session. Some people feel calm, peaceful, or energized. You may also feel tired.

How much does a Reiki session cost?

The cost of a Reiki session will vary based on where you live and the duration of the session. In general, you can expect to pay around $50-$100 per session. This treatment is generally not covered by health insurance.

If there’s a Reiki training center in your area, you may be able to receive a discounted treatment from a student. You may also be able to find a community Reiki center that offers low-fee sessions.

Are crystals used during Reiki?

Your practitioner may use crystals during your Reiki session. Crystals are thought to add an extra element of healing to the treatment by helping to release emotional, mental, or spiritual blocks.

Crystals may be placed on or around your body, or you may be asked to hold a crystal. No research supports the use of crystals for healing. However, some people claim they can have a calming effect and help with their healing.

Examples of crystals that may be used include:

  • rose quartz
  • amethyst
  • moonstone
  • topaz
  • tourmaline
  • aquamarine

How to find a Reiki practitioner

You can find a Reiki practitioner in your area by searching online. In some cases, you may be able to get a recommendation from your doctor.

You can also get a recommendation from a yoga studio or massage clinic. Make sure your practitioner is someone with whom you feel comfortable since it’s essential that you feel relaxed during your sessions.

Learning to do Reiki

If you want to get trained in Reiki, you’ll need to do an attunement process with a Reiki master.

A Reiki master is someone who has been attuned to the highest level of Reiki. The attunement process opens your body so that you’re able to channel energy, and lasts for your entire life.

You can take a course to learn Reiki levels 1, 2, and 3. The course will usually be at least 8 hours long. After the third level, you will be a Reiki master.

It would be best if you allowed some time in between each level. This gives you time to get some experience. You can perform Reiki on other people, plants, and animals. You can also do Reiki on yourself.


Overall, Reiki has the potential to bring about many positive benefits to your overall well-being. Some minor research studies show promising results, but more research is needed to determine the benefits of Reiki.

Always speak to your doctor if you use Reiki to help with any medical condition. Remember that Reiki is a complementary therapy and should be used alongside a conventional treatment plan. You may also use it alongside complementary treatments such as acupuncture, massage, or counseling.