BASIC HAND POSITIONS
One of the most basic things someone new to reiki will learn are hand positions used in treatment to pass and give reiki to someone. First, one will learn a sequence of hand positions but quickly will find out that others may use different hand positions or sequence of hand positions. This is inevitable considering the many different traditions and lineages of reiki. "Why," one may ask, "do they not standardize the hand positions?" One reason for this is because there is not one organization that provides a set standard of practice for reiki. There are many organizations including the Reiki Alliance and Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, both mentioned elsewhere on my website. There remains to this day no one single regulating body of reiki. (I personally think there should not be, as reiki should and is free for everyone to use.) The other, probably most, important reason for not standardizing the hand positions is that Usui never created a standard sequence of hand positions. Recall that Usui was likely a Buddhist who had incredible intuition. Because of his marked intuition, it is likely Usui never found a need to use a sequence of hand positions in his treatments. He just applied reiki where it was needed! Thus, when he initially taught reiki, he did not specify the hand positions and likely expected people to develop their intuition. Indeed, this is what was learned when some practitioners contacted Japanese reiki teachers. Usui taught what is called Byosen which means scanning. He taught students to scan the body for indications where reiki is needed. As Usui was Buddhist, he also taught his students meditation. In short, Usui was focused on teaching people how to be healers and to develop their skills individually rather than strict, rigid standards of healing practice. In time, he provided hand positions in his manual as recommendations for students who were not as quick to pick up the Byosen technique. It should be noted here that students would not pass on to the second level of reiki training until they developed the Byosen technique (i.e., a certain level of intuition needed to be developed).
The above being said about standard hand positions does not mean that a set of hand positions should done away with. A whole body treatment using any sequence of hand positions would still be an effective reiki treatment. In fact, it is still a very good way to maintain health and provide relaxation on a regular basis. Below is a list of the hand positions I generally use for a whole body treatment. I find it is generally ideal to know in advance if a person wants a full body treatment or just treatment for specific parts of the body or for specific ailments.
Hand Positions (non-standard)
(Please note there are different ways of placing the hands for many of the positions below. There are plenty of books and websites with pictures of hand positions that will let you know how to place the hands. Everyone has their preference and people should use what they feel most comfortable with when treating a client.)
Start with the front of the body
4. Back of head
5. Neck (throat chakra, hands just above the neck, not touching as most people find it uncomfortable)
6. Heart chakra (middle of chest)
7. Solar plexus chakra (just below the sternum or the lower ribcage area, covers the stomach and liver)
8. Upper abdominal
9. Sacral chakra (belly button area)
10. Lower abdominal
11. Groin area (place hands above the area, do not touch)
13. Ankles and feet
Back of the body
14. Shoulders and scapulae
15. Upper back
16. Middle back (covers the kidneys)
17. Lower back
18. Hip area
20. Back of neck and one hand
21. Ankles and feet
Afterwards, one should "tee-off" (i.e., break the connection to the client). I like to shake my hands a bit. I often do a quick aura sweep before the tee-off. It is a nice way to end the treatment.
If someone wants treatment for a specific body part or ailment along with a full treatment, it can be done at any point during the treatment. There should not be any hard and fast rules when it comes to giving treatment. Remember, it is hard to mess up a reiki treatment!
Copyright C.J. Chow November 2004