Get Started with the Actual Treatment

Getting technical

Before we get started with the actual treatment, we need to make some preparations. This is my suggested ‘to do’ list:

Find a place

A treatment can be given anywhere: on a bench in the park, on a towel on the beach. Basically, wherever you are. But in most cases you would look for somewhere quiet and sheltered. I tend to find that the best place for this is home – either yours or the client’s. There’s no need for a separate treatment room. When I started my practice,

If you aren’t comfortable inviting potential strangers into your home, you may want to make sure that a family member is also present in the house. Or you could rent a therapy room. In many complementary therapy clinics, rooms can be hired by the hour – just shop around to get a good deal.

Prepare the space

Now you need a place for the client to lie down comfortably. This can be on an armchair, sofa, bed, sturdy dining table or even yoga mat on the floor. Some clients might prefer to sit. That’s also fine. Just make sure that you are comfortable, too. You may have the best of intentions, but leaning over in an awkward position or kneeling down on a hard floor isn’t ideal. By the end of the treatment you will find yourself in need of Reiki too. So make sure that you have something to sit on (maybe a cushion on the floor) and check your posture. If you happen to find that you are uncomfortable at any time during the treatment, you can always lift your hands for a moment, adjust your position and then put them back again.

If you give treatments regularly, you may want to consider investing in a treatment couch. Most of them fold away and are light enough to carry. There are many surprisingly cheap offers available. Any therapy couch will be fine, but if you go for a dedicated Reiki couch you will have the benefit of no crossing bar at the head and foot end, which allows you to sit slightly closer to the client. Some even come with a stool.

Finally, make sure to switch off all phones and any other noise-making devices you may use. Although not a disaster, it tends to be a bit disconcerting when a phone rings in the middle of a treatment.

Prepare yourself

It’s a good idea not to chew on a raw garlic bulb just before the treatment. However healthy this may be, leave it for afterwards. Pouring a bottle of perfume over yourself is also a bit much. Just washing your hands will be perfectly fine.

What you wear is entirely up to you – there’s no need for any special clothing. The practical aspects are more important: you want your clothes to be comfortable. Also, you may get warm or cold after a while, so dress in layers and have a cardigan handy.

Prepare the client

A first-time client is often rather nervous. They don’t know what to expect and may have had unpleasant experiences with other therapies. But even if they’ve had Reiki before, it’s still good to remind them of the basics:


  • The client stays completely clothed throughout the treatment (but of course can take off heavy items of clothing and shoes).
  • Chunky jewellery should be taken off (we don’t want the client to strangle themselves), as well as spectacles, watches and hearing aids. If they prefer to keep any of these on, it won’t be a problem, though – just adjust your hand positions to avoid touching these items.
  • Ask the client if they have any particular issues or areas they would like to be treated.


  • Let them know what they may experience: localized hot or cold sensations; signs of release, such as sudden body movements, coughing or feeling emotional; flashbacks, images or film-like scenes. They may also experience very little and the results may not be immediate.
  • Reassure them that there’s nothing to worry about. Reiki is entirely safe and they should just relax and close their eyes.
  • Also ask them to let you know if they want you to move or lift your hands at any time – and don’t panic if they actually do! It will only happen very rarely and is just a sign that they are feeling something quite intensely.

On or off

Finally, make sure to ask before the treatment whether the client would like you to place your hands on their body or keep them slightly away.

With regards to physical touch, the following considerations apply:


  • Hands-on or -off treatments are equally valid and effective (you should give and receive at least one hands-off treatment yourself to see how it feels).
  • The majority of people will be fine with a hands-on treatment.
  • If someone prefers your hands to be kept away, don’t make this an issue! There may be a variety of reasons for it: they’ve had a traumatic experience in the past; they feel it’s too personal; they simply don’t like it; they’ve just been to the hairdresser’s and don’t want the result messed up. In every case, they’ll be embarrassed to tell you, and there’s no need to ask.
  • Never place your hands where it might be deemed inappropriate. There is absolutely no need ever to place them on any private areas. You can always hold them slightly above these areas or place them on the sides of the body or an adequate distance from the area in need of Reiki.
  • When you place your hands on the body, be neither too light with your touch nor apply pressure (Reiki is not a massage). When the hands barely touch, they tend to shake and the client will feel insecure. If you apply pressure, you are manipulating the body, and this isn’t accepted as part of a contemporary Reiki treatment. Simply rest your hands on the body, just as you would on the delicate arm of a sofa.