How do I pronounce “Reiki?”  What about “maitri?”

“RAY-key” and “MY-tree.”

Is Reiki based on religious beliefs?

No. While some practitioners believe in “higher” powers, deities or paranormal spiritual guides, not all of us do.

Is Reiki supernatural?

The workings of Reiki are consistent with quantum physics principles and findings. Ki (or chi, or prana) is a natural part of human existence. Reiki is scientifically observable – that is, we can experience it through the five senses (though our current scientific understanding of “touch” is likely too narrow for productive study of consciousness and energy work). I suspect that what seems to many like miraculous healing, bliss and joy can actually be understood by well-designed, open-minded scientific inquiry. I also suspect that our ancestors were likely much more familiar and comfortable with the use of consciousness, and that we have moved away from drawing on the power of human conscience as civilization has progressed.

Can Reiki cure diseases?

The Western perspective on what “disease” is not quite consistent with Reiki philosophy. Reiki helps the body be well. It is a healing practice, not a curing practice. This means that it works by “righting” the entire body (including the mind), so that it can heal itself more efficiently and become healthier, rather than targeting a specific symptom or illness.

Is Reiki safe? Can it cause harm?

Reiki is completely safe. It is an amplification and assistance of your own ki (or chi or prana), or life energy. It cannot cause harm or be used against you or for negative results. Reiki is not sorcery.

What, exactly, happens in a standard Reiki session?

In my practice, you arrive and we talk for a few minutes. If you are a new client, I explain what to expect in the session, and ask you to fill out paperwork. You remove your shoes, lie down on the Reiki table, face up and fully clothed. Normally people close their eyes, but this is not necessary. Throughout the session I place my hands on your body (or not; see below), usually beginning with your head and ending with your feet. There is quiet music playing in the background. At the end of the session, I provide water and we talk for a few minutes, if you are so inclined.

Do you have to touch me?

No. I can work several inches above the body with excellent results.

Does it hurt? What does it feel like?

Reiki absolutely does not hurt. (Occasionally, people feel minor spasms or pulsing as their energy opens up, particularly in areas where there are blockages.) Beyond that, it is different in every case. Some people feel nothing. Others see colors or images and experience a state of bliss or joy. Some people cry or laugh. Many fall sound asleep. Some people report feeling that they were floating, or as though they were not quite in their bodies.

How will I feel afterwards?

Immediately at the end of the session, most people describe themselves as feeling deeply relaxed, peaceful, or blissful. Shortly after the session, people generally feel rejuvenated, energized and clearer-headed. Over the next few days, you may find that you are calmer and more serene than usual, or that you feel balanced and happier. (You may also be thirstier than usual; drink a lot of water!)

How many sessions will I need?

This is impossible to predict. Most people notice the positive effects of Reiki immediately after one session. I emerged from my very first Reiki session, which I had at a particularly difficult point in my life and of which I was deeply skeptical, feeling like a completely new person. (In some ways, I was; I enrolled in my first Reiki course within a couple of weeks.) Depending on your situation, it may take several sessions to achieve your particular goals. Many people have Reiki sessions regularly, because it feels incredible and because it imparts a wonderful sense of wellness that carries through the rest of their lives.

How do I know whether my practitioner is qualified?

See here for a guide to choosing a practitioner.

What if I don’t live in Buffalo?

I know it seems incredible… but it doesn’t matter. See this page for information about distance reiki sessions.