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Reiki - Healing and Harmony Through the Hands

by Tanmaya Honervogt(more info)

listed in reiki, originally published in issue 69 - October 2001

In the summer of 1983 I was on holiday in California. I was 29 years old and in the course of previous years had taken part in several meditation courses and self-experience groups – an inward journey that had brought me nearer to myself. In Germany I worked as a teacher, but did not find personal fulfilment. I felt drawn to learning to do some form of hands-on healing. My desire to learn to do something with my hands took me to various healing groups in Berkeley, California. I took part in a healing workshop that would have a strong impact upon my future.

Here I met a woman who had just completed a Reiki course. She described Reiki to me by saying, "You put your hands on the body and it gets very hot and it feels good." This was intriguing enough for me to train for the First Degree in Reiki. After the training, I gave myself a Reiki treatment every day for about three months. This is one beautiful aspect of Reiki – that you can treat yourself, which is how healing starts.

When I was treating myself, I went into such deep and strong inner spaces that I felt it was what I had been looking for, not just in terms of healing on the physical level, but also emotionally and spiritually. The Reiki experience is different for each individual, and it often has a powerful effect in many different and unexpected ways. When you receive Reiki you enter into a deep, relaxed space, where the unconscious can reveal messages to your conscious mind, often in pictures, colours, memories, or words.

A Japanese monk, Dr Mikao Usui, discovered Reiki at the end of the 19th century. Usui discovered symbols and a formula for healing – 'The key' – by studying ancient Buddhist scriptures, and on the final day of a 21-day fast and meditation retreat the meaning and the use of the symbols were suddenly understood by him. He was empowered by the symbols and the Usui System of Reiki Natural Healing was born.

Reiki has become increasingly popular as a form of healing and complementary treatment in recent years. A young Japanese-American woman, Hawayo Takata, brought Reiki to the West from Hawaii. Dr Hayashi, a student of Usui, initiated her as a Reiki Master in 1938. She trained just 22 Reiki Masters before her death in 1980. Today there are thousands of Reiki Masters throughout the world.

What is Reiki?

The Japanese word Rei-Ki (pronounced 'ray key') translated means 'universal life energy'. The syllable 'rei' describes the cosmic, universal aspect of this energy and 'ki' means the fundamental life force flowing and pulsating in all living things. Reiki is a natural and simple healing method, which allows you to absorb more life force energy.

The Reiki method vitalizes the life force and balances the energies in the body. This natural healing energy flows in a powerful and concentrated form through the hands of the Reiki giver. The laying on of hands directs the healing energy into the body of the receiver. The Reiki giver is used as a channel to conduct the universal life energy.

To learn Reiki you have to be open, possessing a desire to become a channel for healing energy to pass through you. Once you are a channel then the ability to use Reiki remains within you for the rest of your life.

There are different levels of learning, called 'Degrees'. The First Degree is the foundation course and teaches the basic hand positions to treat yourself and others. The Second Degree teaches mental healing and distant healing – an effective absentee healing technique, and students are shown and taught to use the three powerful Reiki symbols.

The technique of Reiki is based on a particular attunement process, which all practitioners have to go through. The attunements are transmissions of energy opening your inner healing channel, allowing more of the universal life energy to flow through you. You receive one or more attunements depending on which Reiki Degree you are training in. At each attunement a kind of cleansing takes place on a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual level. The attunements release blocks in you and toxins are set free.

What Does Reiki Do?

Reiki supports the body's natural ability to heal itself. It strengthens the immune system, and restores and balances energies in the body. Reiki usually helps healing of all kinds and relieves stress, pain and acute symptoms very quickly. Reiki affects each person differently, but it always acts where the receiver needs it the most. However, there are common effects that everyone experiences. Energy used up in everyday life is replaced, so that when you feel exhausted or drained, the resulting imbalance, which may adversely affect you physically, emotionally and mentally, can be put right. There are common negative stress symptoms that cause an imbalance in your energy system. If you suffer from stress you may react with physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches, frequent colds, kidney pains, and general digestive disorders. To relieve these symptoms your energy needs to be restored. For example, you may have a lowered immune system or a weak organ that is not functioning properly and which needs recharging with extra energy. Reiki balances the energy in the body, helping you to let go and relax, so reducing stress. At the same time, it promotes the development of positive reactions to stressful situations. In other words, the causes as well as the symptoms can be healed.

The Reiki Treatment

A full Reiki treatment takes about an hour, sometimes more. The practitioner's hands are placed in several positions over the whole body. The treatment starts on the head, where there are five basic positions, and continues on the front and then back of the body. At the very end of the treatment the knees and feet are also treated with Reiki to ground the person.

When you receive Reiki your emotions also may be affected. Emotional blocks are often released and you come into closer contact with feelings that you may have suppressed in the past – perhaps sadness or anger. These feelings are energies which transform themselves into creative forces as soon as you 'own' them and give them attention and expression.

Reiki helps you to become more aware of inner processes, both emotionally and mentally.

During a Reiki treatment, the mind and the process of thinking are relaxed. You will often feel clearer and might discover and dissolve negative beliefs about yourself and others that you have struggled with for many years. If you are facing questions or problems in your life, Reiki can help you to make the right changes and decisions in your life.

Reiki supports you in your spiritual growth. People who open themselves to Reiki and practise it can get to know themselves better and can experience greater consciousness, intuition and self-awareness. The most frequent experience that arises during a treatment is the feeling of peace, relaxation and security.

Treating Others

Head Position

Lay both hands on the cap of the skull. This position is good for treating cerebral fissures and the capillary system. Use it for stress, headaches and balance disorders, and for centring. For multiple sclerosis, give regular and intense treatment.

Head Position

Head and Belly Position

Lay one hand on the forehead and the other on the belly (just below the navel). This position has a calming and centring effect. It promotes spiritual equilibrium, and relaxes those suffering from stress and shock.

Head and Belly Position

Treating Yourself

Sleep Help

Lay one hand on your forehead and the other on your stomach. Notice your stomach rising and falling while you breathe.

Stay in this position for about 5-10 minutes, or until you notice a feeling of deep relaxation, and you will soon fall asleep.

Sleep Help

Teaching Reiki

Over the past few years of teaching many hundreds of students, I have become aware that many students have a longing to connect with themselves on a deeper level and to get to know themselves better. I have developed further Reiki trainings, which I call 'Inner Reiki'. In these courses, students learn to bring meditation into their Reiki practice. This helps them to trust themselves more and the process enhances their intuition.

For more advanced students, I have developed 'Advanced Trainings' and 'Playing with the Reiki Symbols', in which students can deepen their healing skills through enhanced use of the Reiki symbols they have received.

Selected Quotes from Tanmaya's Reiki Students

1. "I especially loved the heart-to-heart exercise and the intuitive Reiki working with a partner. I was very touched by the first one – felt a real heart connection with my partner. I felt strongly connected to my intuition in the second one – I feel more trust in using Reiki intuitively now." (Helene, 54)
2. "Reiki is so very relaxing for mind and spirit, enabling one to go deeper into oneself." (David, 40)
3. "The training weekend was a truly marvellous and moving weekend. I found it enlightening and empowering. I give thanks to you for your support, love, light and peace." (Jo, 38)
4. "Reiki to me is a beautiful gift to others and to myself. The energy attunements have opened new gateways and brought magnificent change into my life on different levels." (Ingrid, 42)
5. "The Reiki First Degree gave me a great confidence, and a place in the world I had not known before. It empowers me. I feel it is showing me that there has been a deep and serious imbalance in my life which has always been with me… It shows the need and gives me the tools to put things right. It feels as if an even bigger change has been triggered, beginning to open me to receive love, attention, and care. To a new life. I find the style of training beautiful, kind, with a great depth of understanding I have not felt before. Understanding, soft, but firm and strong." (Sandra, 49)

Healing Reports

1. Susan, 56, had been suffering from Crohn's disease of the large intestine for many years, and was taking steroids continuously. Since having Reiki treatments with Tanmaya, she no longer needs steroids, and after a couple of treatments her pain was gone. Her medical specialist is delighted with her progress.
2. Yvonne, 34, had a slipped disc and a two-year-old injury to her lower back, plus sciatica, and her right leg felt numb. After receiving Reiki the stiffness and pain in her right leg disappeared. With each treatment she commented on the feeling and aliveness coming back to her leg, and she said she felt more refreshed and energized.
3. Ingrid, 70, suffered from chronic cystitis and kidney complaints, which became acute several times a year. She was treated when she was in great pain, and later that day reported that she felt much better.
4. Sam, 65, had bad circulation is his legs. After receiving Reiki his legs immediately felt better.
5. Sue, a Reiki trainee, connected 'mentally' with her partner, who was many miles away, during a distant healing process. She later found that a 'stuck' aspect of their relationship had shifted, renewing their sex life.
6. Baby Tobias was recuperating from meningitis, but could not lose his high temperature and the spots all over his body. The day after receiving a Reiki treatment he began to improve, his temperature dropped and within three days he had regained his usual energy. His parents also reported that he seemed to have a 'developmental spurt', making up for the time lost through illness.


Brown Fran. Living Reiki – Takata's Teaching. Life Rhythm. USA. ISBN 0-940795-10-8. 1992.
Honervogt Tanmaya. Reiki – Healing and Harmony through the Hands. Gaia Books. London. ISBN 1-85675-039-6. 1998.
Honervogt Tanmaya. Inner Reiki – A Practical Guide for Healing and Meditation. Gaia Books. London. 2001.
Mueller B and Guenther H. A Complete Book of Reiki-Healing. Life Rhythm. USA. ISBN 0-940795-16-7. 1995.

Rei – the cosmic, universal energy

The Reiki SymbolsThe Japanese word 'rei-ki' consists of two syllables: 'rei', which describes the cosmic universal aspect of this energy and 'ki', which means the fundamental life force flowing and pulsating in all living things

Ki – the fundamental life force


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About Tanmaya Honervogt

Tanmaya Honervogt lives in Devon and runs her trainings & treatments in Devon and all over the UK. She teaches all the three Degrees of the Usui System of Reiki Natural Healing and has been practising Reiki over the last fourteen years. Her Seminars are held throughout the year.

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