WTF is Reiki? Definition & Benefits

Whenever I mention Reiki, I tend to get the same sort of reaction from people. Some have never heard of it before and some have, but only have a vague idea of what it is. Of course, they politely ask “What is Reiki?”, unless they’re a friend, in which case, the additional expletive tends to come into play. So let’s break down what it is and how one can benefit from Reiki.


So, just what is Reiki?

Well, the word itself is Japanese, as is the healing art. Though a literal translation from Japanese to English is difficult, there are a few accepted definitions. The word has two parts: Rei and Ki. Rei can be defined as the Higher Intelligence that guides the creation and functioning of the universe. Rei is a subtle wisdom that permeates everything, both animate and inanimate. Ki is the non-physical energy that animates all living things. Ki is flowing in everything that is alive including plants, animals and humans.

Reiki, then, can be defined as a non-physical ‘life’ energy that is guided by Higher Intelligence, or spiritually guided life force energy. Those who practice Reiki tend to agree with this definition as this energy appears to have an intelligence of its own, flowing where it is needed in the client and creating the healing conditions necessary for the individuals needs. It cannot be guided by the mind, therefore it is not limited by the experience or ability of the practitioner. Nether can it be misused as it always creates a healing effect.

And that means..?

Definitions aside, what you really want to know is what it does.. am I right? What will this ‘spiritually guided life-force energy’ do for you? The answer varies depending on who you ask, as each experience with Reiki is unique to that situation and dependent upon each persons perception. There are a few benefits that most agree upon however, and they are as follows:

  • Mental Clarity. Reiki helps you connect to your intuition, or Higher Self. This is especially important at times when you feel lost or confused about your path in this life. It can give you a sense of direction when faced with a large decision or challenging issue.
  • Emotional Cleanse. Our minds are sometimes loaded with emotional baggage. Stress, anxiety, hurt, depression, and past trauma can haunt our every thought. Reiki can help you release negative feelings and emotions, as well as allow you to let go of the past and move forward with your life. Most experience an immense sense of calm during and following a Reiki session.
  • Energetic Balance. The Reiki hand positions focus on sending energy to the body’s chakra energy centers and along its meridians. Think of it like recharging your batteries. It clears out any blockages and negative energy, bringing balance to your chakras and recharging your reserves.
  • Physical Health. The body is amazing at healing itself but it needs the space to do so. Stress and anxiety can wreak havoc on your system, either being the source of dis-ease in your body, or agitating something bigger. Releasing the mental effects of stress and anxiety also release their effects on the body, promoting relaxation and a sense of well-being.


Reiki will always act for your greatest good. It will help bring about whatever you really need in that moment. Reiki practitioners are not healers in that they are not the ones doing the healing. They are merely conduits for the energy to flow through. Reiki is considered a healing technique because it works holistically—on mind, emotions, spirit and the physical body—to harmonize and balance the whole person, allowing space for the body and mind to heal.

Is Reiki for me?

I suppose you won’t know until you try. Most who’ve tried it, swear by its effects. I was certainly won over. Enough so to go and get my certifications and attunements so I could make it a part of my everyday life. You may not like it that much, but who couldn’t use a little relaxation and positive vibes sent their way?

If you want to start with something small, I offer Reiki charged candles in my shop, each with a specific intention. These focus on a single chakra or specific energy blockage to inspire an intentional shift. My personal favorites are Royal and Love.

I’d love to hear about anyone else’s experiences with Reiki. As I said earlier, everyone has different experiences and it fascinates me to hear the variations. If you’ve got a story to share, or want to share what Reiki means to you, please do so in the comments below!

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