Reiki: What It Is, and Why You Want to Know

An inside look at a remarkable yet misunderstood wellness practice for all.

My story

During the past year, when I experienced intense burnout and numerous health challenges, I started to tap into every wellness option in the book. Among my favourites was acupuncture. I wasn’t clear on how it worked at the time, but there was no denying that it was shifting my entire experience of health.

Then later in the year, after I had stepped away from the job, the city, the relationships, and the diluted version of myself that was left, I spent an entire season restoring my health.

This is when I found Reiki.

I was called to it. I had only experienced one brief session in the past and didn’t fully grasp what it was, since similar to acupuncture it worked with energy as opposed to manipulating the physical body or taking medication. But that fall, I kept hearing this little voice saying, “get your reiki certification”. After weeks of hearing this message, my curiosity was heightened. I already knew of an amazing teacher, and a few weeks later I was enrolled in my training course. I was going in without expectation and with an open mind and heart, which was the best toolkit to arrive with. I cannot express my experience from that weekend with words, but what I can say is that the level of support this modality brought me has opened up a new understanding of the human experience, and I feel so fortunate to be able to offer this to others. As a teacher, prior to recently stepping into my role as a wellness practitioner, I knew I wanted to introduce reiki to others around me and to help provide grounding in what this practice is. In the words ahead, I will start by doing just that.

So what is reiki, anyways?

Reiki is a healing modality that originated in Japan and has since grown further roots in Western society over the years. Similar to the Chinese modality of acupuncture in that it works with the energy flow (chi) of a living thing, reiki is a healing practice in which the practitioner interacts with their own or a client’s energy field to clear any blockages or trapped energy. When a person exhibits health and wellness, the energy or ki flows freely. But energy can also get trapped in various areas within or around the body, and when this happens, the energy becomes stagnant and continues to circuit there. Sometimes energy can be trapped for quite some time. Reiki is a practice of detecting where any energy is held or resisted, then channeling higher consciousness energy to the area to provide release, relief, and clearing. When energy is cleared in a session, it allows the ki to flow once again.

Sometimes we can experience mental, emotional, or physical symptoms that are due to energy misalignment, dis-ease, or off-balance. Depression, for example, often represents a lack of energy or that the energy is not flowing through the body and energy field. My favourite way to offer reiki sessions for others is with very little information to start. Sometimes we attach too much meaning to specific symptoms, or we over-identify with a symptom that we are experiencing. But the healing required will always present itself, and I channel reiki to that area. Often I am channeling to the root area where energy is not flowing and that is not always the direct location where you may experience a symptom. A symptom in one area may come from trapped energy elsewhere.

I love the sessions I am able to offer by distance due to the incredible healing that the most skeptical clients experience, and all without being directly in front of them. As Reiki is a practice where you receive healing through higher consciousness channeling, I do not need to see my clients in person. Some people prefer to start this way if possible simply because that is what we are used to in our Western world. Generally speaking, in non-indigenous Western societies, we identify highly with the physical body. However, in many other cultures around the world such as most indigenous cultures, there is a much more connected understanding of health, that integrates the physical body with the mind and spirit. (In this case, the spirit can also be exchanged with energy or ki).

You are energy

Everyone is an energetic being, made of matter. From a physics standpoint, every human, made up of energetic atoms, has an energetic biofield around them. This is also called an aura in spirituality. Humans can experience how their energetic being is impacted. An example to demonstrate the understanding of energy is if you walk into a room where two individuals are in conflict. The tension is thick, but no one said, “It is tense”. You feel that it is tense, and that is from the energetic aspect of your being.

Another example is if you engage in an experience where you push past your energy levels that day and deplete yourself; you are effectively draining your energy stores. Your physical body can feel this effect. The physical body and your spirit or your inner energy are connected.

Or perhaps you are in an environment that causes your nervous system to respond in fight or flight because you feel fear, and your stomach starts to tighten in anxiety. You keep pushing through the day, then you get home and experience problems with your digestion. This is not a coincidence. The anxious energy that you held in your stomach never passed through. It was never released. And so it continues to circuit in that area and it is not flowing freely. Let’s say you go back to work the next day, and you feel that same anxiety due to feeling fear based on your environmental circumstances, and as anxiety shows up as a pit in your stomach, you start holding energy there again. This cycle repeats, and if you are not doing something to help return to that feeling, that place in the body and that energy, and provide it a release, it continues to build and circuit in that area. This can create a real blockage of energy around the stomach if this pattern is repeated over time. The stuck energy can also attach to a nearby organ and/or tissues, ie. the stomach and intestines, which explains why you could be struggling with digestion. In a session, your reiki practitioner can detect a blockage at the stomach area through an energy scan. They send energy to both this region and the mid-low back and you start to feel relief after sessions because the trapped energy is being released and starting to flow again.

The purpose of a reiki session is therefore to assist in restoring or maintaining well-being. It typically feels very relaxing to receive reiki.

During a session

During a session, the client does not need to do anything. Simply being open to receiving healing and allowing yourself to relax is enough. I also mention to clients that at the start of the session, they can bring to their awareness anything that is not going well in their life at the present time or areas of dis-ease. This allows for it to come to the surface so that reiki can work on it.

It is also important to understand that reiki can do no harm. It is a supportive, high frequency of energy that only heals and supports. There are truly no downsides to trying it. There are no pinching needles, having to dress down, or even having to leave your own comfortable space. Most clients report feeling relaxation during or after a session; some may also feel temperature sensations, energy pulsations, or tingling.

If you are feeling at all curious about giving Reiki a go, check out my introductory offer here. I would also love to consult with you to discover if a reiki session would be supportive.

Here’s to your well-being!

Originally published at on March 2, 2022.



Writer, teacher, mindfulness facilitator, Reiki practitioner and embodiment & empowerment leader.

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Jessie Bri

Jessie Bri


Writer, teacher, mindfulness facilitator, Reiki practitioner and embodiment & empowerment leader.