Karen Harrison

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Friday, Mar. 20th 2020

What Can You Do with Reiki Energy?

What Can You Do with Reiki Energy?

by Karen K. Harrison, LCPC, LCMFT, AASECT

First published in Reiki News Magazine Spring 2020

WhatCanYouDo – click here to download the article

Over the years, my students have asked me many questions about how to use Reiki energy, including, “Do I need to turn Reiki off, and how do I do that?” “What is the best way to turn on Reiki?” “How do I send Reiki to X thing or situation?” “Do I need to concentrate the whole time that I am giving Reiki? What happens if my mind wanders?” “What do those Japanese names mean?” I have also thought about how I might explain Reiki in simple terms. I tell students that the basic things you can do with Reiki energy are to start, stop, push, pull, allow, scan, meditate, and send. By classifying the concepts into easy-to-understand language, they become less challenging. Reiki The Healing Touch: First and Second Degree Manual, by William Lee Rand, covers these ideas.

Starting the Energy

Turning on Reiki is easy. Place your hands on yourself or another intending to heal.1 Coming from a place of love and compassion will always serve the client best. We can turn on Reiki energy through many means. For example, we can say or think any of the following—Reiki on; Reiki be with me; Reiki Fire or Holy Fire® or Reiki power; Go Reiki go or Flow Reiki flow.

Sometimes I suggest students think about or visualize turning on a hose that represents Reiki. I tell students that Reiki works like a soaker hose. It flows through you to your client, leaving some Reiki behind in you. With Reiki II and beyond, you can draw the symbols in the air, over the client, or on your hands. You can visualize the symbols on your hands or the client. You can say the name of the symbol out loud if you are alone or to yourself if you are with others not at the attunement level of the Reiki symbols you are using.

Stopping the Energy

To turn off Reiki energy, intend that it turn off. Now, why would you need to do this? Usually, it will turn off by itself when you are no longer thinking about it for some time or when you remove your hands from the body. Many people enjoy the sensation of Reiki flowing through them even when they are not actively giving Reiki to someone. However, one of my students said that when the Reiki energy was flowing, he felt too energized and couldn’t sleep. If you have any trouble turning off Reiki, you can place your hands against a wall or on the ground.

Allowing the Energy

Allowing the energy to flow is what we do most often with the Reiki energy. Imagine turning on a hose and then observing the water flowing. The Reiki will flow according to the client’s ability to receive. However, if you place your hands on a blockage, it may take a while to get the energy flowing in that area. When the client is a good receiver, the energy will flow more strongly. You may sense this in your hands through increased warmth, pulsation, or tingling. Sometimes I find that when people receive Reiki for the first time or when their mind is overactive, the energy doesn’t flow as well as I would like. To increase the flow of Reiki, you can ask your client to intend to soak up the Reiki energy, knowing that there is a connection to an unlimited supply, and she can have as much as she wants. Sometimes I jokingly like to say the catchphrase, “Suck it up, buttercup.” When I do so, I almost always feel the flow of Reiki increases.

Also, I tell them that as the practitioner does Reiki, besides the client receiving a session, the practitioner gets one too! Sometimes clients seem reluctant to accept energy because they fear draining the practitioner. Reiki takes care of this by giving to both the giver and receiver and is a manifestation of the Bible verse, “As you give, so shall you receive.”2 My favorite quote about allowing Reiki comes from William Lee Rand, “Trust in the flow of life and allow life to flow through you to others. This is the way of Reiki. It will heal you in every way, bringing deeply felt happiness, peace, and real freedom.”3

Regarding whether one needs to concentrate when giving Reiki, the answer is no. “It is unnecessary to meditate or concentrate or go into an altered state to use Reiki. Reiki flows so easily that just thinking or talking about it turns it on.”4 As you give Reiki, you may feel peaceful, loving, and merging with the consciousness of Reiki. As other thoughts arise, brush them aside and return to Reiki.5 Doing so gets easier with practice. It is helpful to intend to come from love, compassion, and kindness or to bless the part of the body where your hands are.

It is natural for your mind to wander, and this is all right too. However, I tell my students to refocus if their minds wander to their problems. When I think about my problems when giving Reiki, the energy changes and is not of as high quality. And if the practitioner talks about her problems, it takes the focus off the Reiki client and put it onto the practitioner. As a receiver, I have noticed that I can feel an energy difference when this occurs, and the energy doesn’t feel good.

Pushing the Energy

We have a Reiki technique called Koki Ho, where we breathe or blow on the client.6 A good general approach is to find an area that needs healing first. Place your hands flat on the body with your index fingers and thumbs touching to form a triangle around the area. Take a deep belly breath while inhaling and then use your tongue to draw the Power symbol on the roof of your mouth. Blow between your fingers into the area allowing Reiki energy to flow with your breath into the client. This action will help release any blockage that may be present and fill the space with Reiki energy. We use this technique just one to a few times during a Reiki session and not the entire time. Use it early in the session before the client drifts off to sleep. It is also essential to describe the technique and ask permission before doing it.

In my experience, when someone is giving me Reiki and trying too hard, it feels like the practitioner is pushing the energy into me. It feels uncomfortable and like pressure in the area rather than a gentle flow. Instead, I ask the person to allow the energy to flow rather than trying so hard. And when a person is pushing with the energy, they are more likely to give some of their energy, which won’t be the best for the client and can also leave the giver feeling drained.

Pulling the Energy

We have several techniques for pulling Reiki energy. One of them is activating Reiki energy and then using your fingers to pull gently or sweep blocked energy out of an area and down to the ground. This technique works well when the energy seems stuck and isn’t melting away as quickly as you would prefer using Reiki over the area. Scooping the energy with your hand away and down to the ground or up to God works great with headaches too. You can run your hand either palm toward the head, or palm away from the head, to grab the heavy, thick energy and disperse it.

A more vigorous technique is the Aura Clearing technique developed by William Lee Rand and described in the Usui/Tibetan Advanced Reiki Training and Reiki Master Manual.7 After Holy Fire® Reiki arrived, the Holy Fire® practitioners found they weren’t using the Aura Clearing technique very often anymore because the Holy Fire® energy took care of the blockages. The technique evolved into the Holy Fire® Healing Experience, in which Spirit, through the Holy Fire® energy, dissolves the blockage. The practitioner leads a guided experience in which the Holy Fire® energy shines directly on the blocked shape. The client meditates on the light for about 15 minutes. During this time, the giver can provide Reiki or sit quietly in their own space. Often the block disappears completely, but if not, it usually shrinks considerably, and the practitioner can follow with more Reiki.


You can discern blockages in the energy field through the technique of Byosen Scanning, in which we move our hand about four inches over the body to detect differences in the energy field.8 You can scan with your Reiki hand over the body, or you can feel sensations from the Reiki energy with your hands on the body. The practitioner may feel more sensations with hands on the body but scanning over the body is a quicker way to determine where to treat.

While the scanning process often intimidates students, I find that most quickly learn to scan, and all they need is more practice to gain confidence in themselves. During Reiki class, I go around to all my students and check what they found in their scanning. Most of them can find one or more areas that need treatment, and when I scan, I find the same things. I may be able to point out a few they didn’t notice, and when they scan over these areas, they feel the block too. I ask them to be patient with themselves, and even if they think what they are feeling is the wind blowing on their hand or their imagination, accept that this is the actual block because it usually is; then give the area Reiki.

Meditating with Reiki

It feels wonderful to meditate on Reiki energy. Simply think about Reiki, allowing it to flow, and you can also activate any symbol to which you feel guided, then steadily hold the image of the symbol in your mind. If other thoughts come up, it doesn’t mean you have made a mistake, just move the other thoughts away and come back to the image of the symbol. You can also follow the guidelines for the Holy Fire® Meditation described in the Usui/Holy Fire® III Reiki Master Manual, by William Lee Rand, and then relax while focusing on Reiki in some way.9 You can think about it, feel it, see it as light or color, or even hear it as some pleasurable sound. When my Holy Fire® Reiki is flowing, I sometimes hear tinkling bells. Other times I see flashes of bright white light or golden droplets.

Gassho meditation is what Usui Sensei taught his students to do morning and night. Place your palms together, and focus on the space between your palms, brushing aside any thoughts that may come up. Gassho opens the heart, clears the mind, and strengthens Reiki.10

Sending Reiki

Students often seem incredulous that sending Reiki works. I tell students that Reiki is like prayer, and you need not be physically present with someone for whom you pray. It is easy. Reiki is all about intention. Activate your Reiki energy and any symbols you choose and include the Distant symbol. Then intend to send Reiki to a person, a group of people, a situation or goal. You can do this by visualizing the person or goal in the palms of your hands. You can think about it, see it, intend it, or any other way of which you can imagine. Hold your hands together, on your body facing down, on your body facing up, or any other way that you want. Intend to send Reiki for any amount of time that you choose.11


Although Reiki is simple, sometimes it can seem overwhelming, and the Japanese names of techniques can add to the confusion. Thinking of Reiki techniques in easy terms such as start, stop, push, pull, allow, scan, meditate, and send makes it seem easier to do. These concepts are familiar and comfortable. It also helps to clarify the basic things one can do with Reiki. As a teacher, I want my students to gain confidence in their skills and use Reiki to bless themselves, their lives, and the world. Let’s enjoy the simplicity of Reiki.

Holy Fire® is the registered service mark of William Lee Rand.

Karen Harrison is a co-director of the ICRT Licensed Teacher Training Program and practices and teaches Reiki as a Holy Fire® III Licensed Reiki Master Teacher for the ICRT in Leawood, Kansas. She is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. Karen can be contacted by email at Karen@karenharrison.net or through her website at www.karenharrison.net.


1   William Lee Rand, Reiki, The Healing Touch First and Second Degree Manual (Southfield, MI: Vision Publications, February 2016), 6.

2   Luke 6:38.

3   William Lee Rand, Usui/Holy Fire® III Reiki Master Manual, (Southfield, MI: Vision Publications, May 2019 Revision), 146.

4   Reiki, The Healing Touch, 41.

5   Ibid., 41.

6   Ibid., 58.

7   William Lee Rand, Usui/Tibetan Advanced Reiki Training and Reiki Master Manual (Southfield, MI: Vision Publications).

8   William Lee Rand, Reiki, The Healing Touch First and Second Degree Manual (Southfield, MI: Vision Publications, February 2016), 35.

9   William Lee Rand, Usui/Holy Fire® III Reiki Master Manual, (Southfield, MI: Vision Publications, May 2019 Revision), 26.

10  Ibid., 54.

11 Ibid., 48-51.

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