The Reiki healing process takes many forms.
In addition to physical healing, the healing process may bring about realizations that can be deeply emotional for the client. It may awaken the client to the need for life-style changes. It may cause the client to embrace values long suppressed. It may result in significant changes in all areas of life as the client progresses on his or her healing journey.
Whatever its path, the healing process may be presaged by an event variously called, a Healing Reaction, Healing Catharsis, or a Healing Crisis. A Healing Reaction (the term I prefer) is the occurrence of physical symptoms following a Reiki treatment or attunement. Reactions can manifest as headache, nausea, cold or flu-like symptoms, gastrointestinal upset, mental or emotional upset, or a temporary intensification of the symptoms of a chronic condition or illness. A Healing Reaction indicates that the body is detoxifying in preparation for healing.
Symptoms are more likely to manifest if the client (or student):
- has not received healing treatments previously.
- suffers from a chronic condition, or a condition that has existed for more than three weeks.
- experiences a chronic high level of stress.
- suffers from post-traumatic stress.
Generally, healing reactions do not last more than a few days but can continue for a week or longer.
My personal experience with Healing Reactions
I experienced a weeklong reaction following my Master attunement. It manifested as extreme fatigue, feeling scattered mentally, and tumultuous emotions. The resulting healing was so profound that a friend remarked I was a “different person” after the Master training. I had gained confidence in my practice of Reiki, and I felt a calm certainty about my purpose and my path as a healer. A similar reaction occurred following my Karuna Reiki® training, bringing about an even deeper healing.
What Mrs. Takata said about Healing Reactions
Takata expected Healing Reactions and welcomed them. She herself experienced severe gastrointestinal upset during her initial weeks of treatment at Dr. Hayashi’s clinic.
Reactions were probably more frequent in Takata’s clients because fewer people had experienced energy work in her time and because she worked with many seriously ill clients. She remarked of one client that he was so ill she had had to give him three treatments before a healing reaction ensued. In one instance she treated a person incapacitated by untreatable epileptic seizures. The seizures became more frequent and more severe for a time after Reiki treatments began; however, Takata reported that the client was ultimately cured after months of receiving Reiki treatments at frequent intervals.*
What I tell clients about Healing Reactions:
Healing reactions occur infrequently in my practice of Reiki; however, I always make clients aware of the possibility. I include the following statement in a self-care handout I provide clients following their initial treatment:
Note: After a Reiki treatment you may experience symptoms such as headache, nausea, fatigue, or emotional upset. This is sometimes called a Healing Reaction and is usually an indication that the body is detoxifying itself in preparation for healing. It is also an indication that more Reiki is needed. Should a reaction occur, drink plenty of water, get lots of rest, and generally be kind to yourself. Such symptoms happen infrequently and typically dissipate within a few days. Please call me if you have questions or concerns.
Within 24 hours of an initial treatment, I followup with a call or email to the client. This gives the client an opportunity to express concerns and me the opportunity to address them.
*Reiki is not a substitute for medical or psychological treatment.
© 2007, 2014 Marianne Streich, Reiki for Living. All rights reserved. An earlier version of this article, “Healing Reactions” appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of Reiki News Magazine. For re-posting permission, contact Marianne.
Marianne is a Puget Sound-based Reiki teacher and practitioner. She is a former editor, contributor, and columnist for Reiki News Magazine (2004-2010) and the author of Reiki, A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II, which has been called “one of the best Reiki books out there” by other Reiki Masters. See her current class schedule. To make an appointment for a hands-on or distant Reiki session, click here.