Does Reiki energy beam from the hands?

Q: Does Reiki energy beam from the hands?

Note: I am going to give my own opinion here, so before I answer, I would like to say that my opinion is not the mainstream answer in this case. My answer is based on my own intuitive sense of how the energy seems to flow and my own experience of that process as I work with Reiki energy. I invite you to explore your own practice with an open mind and consider my answer in comparison to your own experiences. I do invite your comments.

A: No. Reiki energy is directed via the intention of the practitioner. Our thoughts direct the energy. Our hands serve as “computer monitors” that help us sense where the energy is flowing. We set the energy in motion with our intention, and then our hands and intuition help us witness and observe where the energy is flowing the strongest for our recipient as it is flowing.

If someone’s shoulder hurts and I direct Reiki to relieve pain in the shoulder and send healing energy there, I may place my hands on or over the person’s shoulder. My hands help in two ways: 1) the recipient places his attention on his shoulder and my hands and presence there. In that way, he is open and receptive to the Reiki energy working on his shoulder. 2) The sensations in my hands indicate for me that the energy is being received, and I am able to discern by the change in the strength of the sensations I experience when there is relief from the pain. Simply, for me, the tingles slow down and decrease in intensity when the energy has brought about a shift.

So I don’t feel as if I’m zapping energy out of my hands. My hands do sometimes heat up, but I accept that as another way for me to understand that energy is flowing.

One of the reasons I believe that the energy can be given without the hands is that I have, on many occasions, sent Reiki healing using only my thoughts. I simply connect with the Reiki energy, intend for the recipient to receive the healing that is needed, and it goes there. If I choose to use my hands, I can feel how strongly and where in the person’s body or energy the Reiki is being received.

Another reason I believe my hands are for me to intuit the way the energy is being received is that sometimes when I’m giving a Reiki healing, and I have my hands on the person’s head, she may feel the energy moving in her heart, or other places in her body or energy. If hands were the way the energy had to be directed, she would only feel it where my hands were placed.

I do believe that something is happening between my hands and the energy. But it’s more of a dialogue than a stream of beaming energy flow. I know that hands of a Reiki practitioner have been measured on certain aura cameras and energy monitors of sorts and changes have been detected. But to me, that means the hands are “activated,” in a connection with the energy – plugged in, if you allow the metaphor to continue.

If you practice Reiki, think about this difference. Our hands are not for “putting” the energy here or there. Instead, they are a way of involving us in the process, including us in the dialogue, and showing us the effect that the energy is having.

Some people are visual, and see colors or images when Reiki is flowing. For them, though, the hands are still similar to a monitor but the screen is in the practitioner’s inner vision. The hands then are more like a computer mouse – pointing at the area the practitioner wishes to observe.

I welcome your thoughts and experiences.


About Reiki Awakening

Alice Langholt is a parent, author and teacher with Master level training in several Reiki modalities. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Reiki Awakening Academy School of Intuitive Development ( Alice is the author of the new Reiki resource, Practical Reiki TM: for balance, well-being, and vibrant health. A guide to a simple, revolutionary energy healing method, which won second place for Best Reiki Book in the 2012 Reader’s Choice Awards. Alice maintains a local Reiki practice as an Associate at Insight Learning and Wellness Center in the Cleveland, Ohio area. In addition, she has authored eBooks in Distance Healing and Energetic Protection, as well as specific curricula in Reiki for Parents, Reiki for Nurses and Caregivers (approved by the Ohio Board of Nurses for continuing education units), and more. Alice spent a year volunteering at The Cleveland Clinic offering Reiki to patients and staff, and is a Group Leader with The Distance Healing Network ( She will teach Practical Reiki in Lily Dale, NY (August 2013), and gives workshops at holistic expos around the US. Alice is rated the #1 most influential person on Twitter under the category Reiki by Her husband, Evan, and their four kids know and use Reiki. As a teacher, Alice believes that close guidance and mentoring are essential elements for learning energy healing. She provides this support to each student, getting to know each and assist him or her in growing intuition and becoming confident practitioners. Receive Reiki, order pendulums, energy charged stones, and more by visiting Alice at
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18 Responses to Does Reiki energy beam from the hands?

  1. This is interesting, Alice. I’ve often given Reiki with my thoughts as well, and I’ve thought about this a lot. One thing I always come back to – what if someone didn’t have the use of his/her arms and hands. Would that person still be able to practice Reiki? The answer that I feel with my whole being is, yes. Of course.
    Thanks for this. Well said.

  2. Frances says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, Alice. I used to think that Reiki beamed from the hands until I started my reiki training. It’s amazing how much energy one can me receiving and passing as well without even putting your hands on the person on subject. I have done reiki sessions where I hardly touch the person; I just set the intention and direct the energy.
    It’s amazing how the energy just flows! Even me right now talking about this I feel energized!

    Thank you Alice!

    • Hi Frances,
      Thank you for the comment! It’s good to know that others are experiencing the same thing, and that we’re not all just accepting the way some of us have been taught – Reiki comes from the hands. Maybe instead, it comes from the heart. Love and light, Alice

  3. Brent Conley says:

    Fantastic and thought provoking article, Alice. I work as a crisis counselor in emergency rooms(not the most conducive to doing a Reiki treatment). However, I often intend for the Reiki energy to flow to the clients that I interact with (without physical touch). Most of the time I just position my hand in their general direction. Even if they cannot “feel” it, I can sense that they are receiving exactly what they need at the time, if that makes sense.
    Again, thank you for the wonderful article.
    Have a great day!

    • Thank you, Brent! I understand about the hospital environment, although I do give Reiki at The Cleveland Clinic, many times we have to keep the process as simple as possible. I trust that the energy is flowing, even if I’m encased from head to toe in a gown, mask and gloves. The point is to help, and I can feel that the energy is doing its work when I activate it. I appreciate your supportive and validating response! Thanks for taking the time and continue with your wonderful and blessed work. You are a shining light! ~ Alice

  4. Uma maheswari.k says:

    Hi alice, Thanks for providing a wonderful article. I do agree that more than the process (invocation, place hands in respective positions), intention is more important. As a learner, it would definitely help a person to understand the flow of reiki through touch. Healer’s hand position is focussed and they try to learn. Over a period of years and continuous experience people feel the moment they feel or think about sending reiki, intention triggers reiki & we can even feel the energy flow. I thank you once again for such a wonderful article.

    • Hi Uma,
      Thank you for your insightful response. I agree that most people need years of experience to move beyond hand positions and symbols. It all depends on the teacher, though, to help the student learn to sense the energy. Then the hand positions become what they were meant to be – ways to be in dialogue with the recipient as the energy flows through practitioner to recipient. Intention is everything. I’m glad you are reading, and thank you again for taking the time to leave a comment. Blessings, Alice

  5. Uma maheswari.k says:

    Thank you alice. I am happy to see your reply. I believe boundary exists only in the minds that accept it. Reiki is a wonderful blessing to this universe.

  6. Ernie Betz says:

    Sharing a line of thinking… To me our bodies and hands can be used as both sending and receiving instruments. With our intentions we can help guide energy out the hands while also receiving energenic impressions.

    We can also direct energy from each chakra center to augment the quality of the energy being sent. The hands and arms have been described to me as extentions of the heart center.

    Sometimes I like to be perched on the fence. In this case I can see both sides of the hands as receivers and senders with the heart being a major support center.

    • Hey there Ernie,
      I appreciate you taking the time to share your experiences. It doesn’t have to be one way or the other, and the discussion is really engaging! If your hands are senders and receivers both, do you use intention to switch them from sender to receiver mode, or are they always “two-way” conduits? For me, knowing that the energy is already flowing because I activated it then helps me place my attention on one thing – observing what the energy is doing.

      Keep doing the beautiful work you do, Ernie. You make a difference in the world.
      Love, Alice

      • Tina says:

        How do you know which hand is the receiver and which one sends? Is the receiver the one that feels hotter and the sender colder?

      • As I mentioned before, the hands are not beaming the energy. Therefore, one is not the designated sender or receiver. Reiki is passed by intention. The hands simply indicate where the energy is being received. Thanks for your question.

  7. As with you these are my “two cents” on the subject but I hope they serve as an interesting thought!

    For me I am Pagan and the idea of use of intention in energy work is not something that is new at all. In fact I found it “odd” when I went to my teacher for my training and she stressed the use of intention as if it would be foreign to me, which it’s not. I felt the concept to make sense, particularly since it was something I was familiar with and had experience with. I will not collectively speak for others of my general faith officially, but I do believe most would agree.

    Intention, no matter what you are doing, is always important. Not having one’s “heart” in one’s actions shows, so to speak.

    I think one of the primary reasons people – both clients and teachers – focus on the hands is partially through their symbology. There are chakras all over the body (if you use that system) where nadis (energetic lines) cross. The more nadis crossing the larger the chakra. Most folks are familiar with the “major 7” though there are several different schools of thought which focus on ones outside the physical body and into the aura and even the earth. There are also ones in the hands and feet. As with most people, the hands and feet (purely from a physiological standpoint) are often ignored or neglected despite our reliance on them. You can note this when you hurt yourself, it is instinctive to guard or grab at the affected area to reduce further harm and in some cases stabilize. We hug people for comfort (an extension of the use of one’s hands), as well as pat people or touch them on the shoulder to convey concern and support. Many people use their hands while they talk, using them to at times accentuate what they are saying or to convey a particular meaning. Without our hands many would be lost as the world around us focuses greatly on being able to use them, even if we aren’t especially mindful of that. So I believe that part of why there is such a focus on the energy supposedly “coming from our hands” is from all these uses and associations, even if they are all “automatic” to us as humans in general.

    I also greatly agree that while the hands are useful as a tool they are not integral to the process of healing. Many people however work more effectively when they have a physical intermediary to focus on rather than just trying to connect via visualization. I believe this is also a product of how many people’s minds are structured to work based on their prior learning and experience and that as they are exposed to other forms and modes of doing things this can change.

    • Big thanks, Sister, for your insightful and brilliant remarks. You make a great point about the use of hands in everyday life and their relative importance, yet they are not the focus of the energy as much as our thoughts and intentions.

      Thank you for sharing this well written comment! You enlighten my audience!
      xo, Alice

  8. Nicki Hughes says:

    How lovely to have stumbled over your tweet/blog tonight. Perfect for my students. Written so well, so true!
    I think that ‘newcomers’ to Reiki like to think of the energy coming through their hands especially if they are completely new to touching people. It is a natural soothing process. it also allows the recipient to feel you are working on the problem area they have told about, despite the Reiki flowing for ‘the highest good’ to wherever it is needed……I often send Reiki through my breath.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Thank you Nicki! You make an excellent point and have a beautiful understanding that the Reiki can flow as we intend it – through our breath, eyes, thoughts, or simply and most directly, just intending it to be so that the person receives it. It’s all valid. Knowing that we are not limited to our hands opens a world of possibilities. Blessings, Alice

  9. lunawolf6912 says:

    I am a reiki master and I feel the same. The intuition is MOST important. When I teach my students the heart is involved and added to the recipe”reiki” thus making the energies stronger. My inner focus is where I direct the flow.

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