How to Tell if Reiki Energy is Flowing

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UPDATE: I wrote this post before I had awareness of the terms “Reiki” and “Reiki energy.” Reiki, when broken down, essentially means “spiritual” (Rei) “energy” (Ki). When we use the term “Reiki energy” what we are really saying is “Reiki energy energy”, which is redundant. However, I will not change it in the title here because this post has become one of the top searched for topics and most pinned or saved posts of all time on my blog and I don’t want to change the settings – thus making it hard for people to return to the information written below… and now… onto the post:

Have you ever had the experience of not being able to feel the Reiki flowing through your hands after becoming Reiki attuned? Do you wonder or worry that it isn’t working? Do you wonder or worry that you do not feel the Reiki flowing through your hands? Do you wonder if you are somehow not a good conductor for Reiki, or if you are doing something wrong?

Well, don’t worry! With consistent practice and time, you will begin to notice changes that signify for you that the Reiki is flowing!

Here are some considerations to remember while you practice:

1. Did you receive reiju (an attunement) during your Reiki learning?  Although Reiki is inherently present in the world and we can access it at any time, often it is helpful to go through an attunement process, or receive reiju, during a class to open a space of awareness about the system of Reiki so we can understand how to work with it.

UPDATE (based on a reader question about the attunement process) Attunement works like this:

Reiki is the same Reiki – no matter how many levels you learn. I directly quote Arjava Sensei here as he writes about Hayashi Sensei discussing how receiving Reiki works in the body. The same analogy can be applied to when we receive attunement:

Hayashi Sensei “used a beautiful analogy, which his students called “The muddy stream”. He said that if you look at a stream, it looks clear and beautiful. But if you disturb the water (giving a Reiki treatment) the mud from the bottom comes up to the surface, making all the water appear dirty (healing- crisis, the toxins have entered the body’s liquids). If you then keep cleaning the water of the impurities that have come up (more Reiki), it becomes cleaner and cleaner until the whole stream is reborn… The client has come back to his natural equilibrium once more, as some of the muck sinks down to the bottom again.”

Ask your teacher for the history of her lineage. Ask her to share what her attunement experience was like. She should have a clearly outlined story to share about that experience. For many attunement processes there is a lovely ritual created around the process. If your master teacher cannot tell you who her master teacher was, and the lineage of teachers before her, or is vague about her attunement experience, or does not offer an attunement as part of your learning… count that as a red flag and find another Reiki master who can be specific with you.

2. Be patient with the experience. Reiki flows and fluctuates at many different levels of heat, from cold to burning hot. Sometimes you need to lay your hands on a body part for several minutes before you begin to notice temperature changes. Sometimes these changes are subtle, sometimes they grow gently like a wave of heat. It can take up to 20 minutes for the heat to peak to its warmest level under your hands. (This is what we call Byosen in Japanese Reiki systems.)

3. Give it time and get feedback. I once had a Reiki student who took Levels One through Master and only started feeling the Reiki flowing through her hands after she completed Mastership. She had to learn to trust herself that the Reiki was flowing at first. The way she did this was to get feedback from whomever she placed her hands on. People would tell her how relaxed they felt, or how warm her hands were, and although she could not feel it at first, she acknowledged the feedback as truth and slowly began to experience things over time in her own hands.

4. Practice on yourself, every day. This will help you become intimately connected with the understanding of how the Reiki flows through you. Maybe you feel calm at the end of your self-treatment. Maybe you feel peace. Maybe you begin to notice energy flowing through different parts of your body while you place your Reiki hands on yourself. It may take a while before you notice how the Reiki flows for you. This is okay. Learn to trust and have patience. This is a great gift that Reiki brings us- trust and patience.

5. Receive reiju again, as often as possible. It has been widely reported by my master teachers (and my own personal experience) that receiving reiju multiple times helps to connect the body deeply with Reiki. For example, when I learned Jikiden Reiki, I was already a Western Usui Reiki Master with the Reiki flowing strongly through my hands. Each day in my five-day Jikiden seminar, we received reiju from four different masters for a total of 20 attunements! It was amazing to feel the Reiki entering my head and hands each time someone gave me reiju. If you cannot take a class again (I strongly encourage people to re-take classes – it is always worth re-learning information) find a Reiki Share in your area that offers attunements to already attuned folks. In this way you can experience the energy again and again and again.

6. Trust yourself. The mind, specifically the ego, likes to place doubt in our heads. We worry that we aren’t placing our hands correctly or that we aren’t holding them in the right spot or we aren’t holding them long enough. Tell your thoughts to be quiet for a while and simply listen to the sensations, however slight, in your hands. Don’t criticize yourself if they aren’t strong at first, or even if you feel nothing at all. Simply focus on breathing in and out, relax your body- and place your hands. Trust that the Reiki is flowing.

Namaste, Laura



About the Author:

Laura West is an International Spiritual Leader, doTERRA Wellness Leader and Channel for the Council of Light. She offers classes and client sessions to help people find their authenticity and power through Reiki, Spiritual Counseling and Herbalism. Her full bio can be read here. As a special bonus, get your FREE meditation here!


  1. Cehrin January 11, 2018 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura,

    Loved your article. Thank you.
    I was giving reiki to a friend last night and to my surprise the energy was flowing out and not the other way. This was very surprising as my friend could feel the energy being taken out and felt a little weak after.

    This has never happened and my head was heavy after.

    I’m seeking an answer for this

    Thank you

    • Laura West January 12, 2018 at 3:37 pm - Reply

      Hi Cehrin, So lovely of you to stop by and ask a thoughtful question. Energy knows no space and time boundaries and can travel in all directions. It’s common for Reiki to not only infuse into wherever we are placing our hands, but also shift out stuck “stuff” (for lack of a better word to describe it). Reiki coming and going happens all the time during my client sessions!

  2. Wynne July 10, 2017 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Awesome article. Thank you. I am attuned to Reiki II. My main reason for that was so I could do distance healing. I do feel the heat in my hands, and hope I am helping innhealing. I have a friend that asks me to do distance healing onnjer animals. But I also find that now I want to do more self healing. We must take care of ourselves before we take care of others.

    I’m a bit confused though. I was to understand hat there are basically 3 levels then Reiki Master. I got my second attinemenr from a Reiki III Master as he calls himself. I eel I have gotten that attinemenrt but question his level I suppose.

    I’m also so Qigong, which I believe helps increase my energy vibration.


    • Laura West July 11, 2017 at 10:43 am - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Wynne, I appreciate that you did so! In different systems of Reiki there are different levels of training. For example, in my western Reiki training she had four levels; one, two, advanced and master. In both the Jikiden and Japanese systems I’m trained in there are only three levels; Shoden, Okuden and Shinpiden. It all depends on what system your teacher offers.

      I also understand what you mean about practicing Qiugong and feeling that it helps increase your energy vibration. Anything we do to feel centered and living in flow does just this; Reiki or otherwise! Many blessings!

  3. jO June 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I got my level one I’ve been feeling the energy right up untill tonight? Went to do reiki on my son but found nothing my hands didn’t even get hot ?!

    • Laura West June 12, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

      Please don’t worry Jo! Sometimes we can feel the Reiki, sometimes we can’t – for any number of reasons. Sometimes there isn’t a need for it in that particular part of the body and it almost feels like a flatline, or blank. Just move on after a few minutes to a different spot. On occasion, I’ve given a treatment to a client where my hands felt nothing at all but they had lots to say about their experience afterward. Your job now is to learn to trust that whatever is happening in the moment is meant to be! Many blessings 🙂

      • Madhu November 16, 2017 at 4:12 am - Reply

        Hi Laura.
        I was attuned twice…but due to my work schedule… couldn’t practice doubt is will reiki still flow in me…I am diabetic now and I want to control my sugar levels…please suggest

        • Laura West November 18, 2017 at 6:48 am - Reply

          Hi Madhu, from the original Japanese perspective, reiju (attunement) simply means “blessing”. You already have the Reiki flowing within you and you don’t need to receive reiju again to have it flow more. Simply place your hands and let it be. I recommend you support yourself daily with self Reiki at the site (would that be pancreas?). Over time you might begin to notice changes in your insulin needs.

          As a small example of note: Once I was in a 7 day Reiki seminar with about 40 people from all over the USA. One man had diabetes and used an insulin pump all the time. By the end of the week, after he had received daily treatment of about an hour he no longer needed to use his insulin pump all the time. Now, to be clear, this was extraordinary and the FDA does not approve Reiki for health claims (yet!) so I share this story not to treat medical issues, but rather, as an example of one person’s journey.

  4. Paulo Da Costa May 25, 2017 at 10:00 am - Reply

    Thank you Laura for all the encouraging answers. I am also attuned to level 1 just a month ago. and I too had the same feeling that there is no flow of energy as i was supposed to be a Reiki channel. but all the queries and your answers have given me a boost and i thought i will not give up any more. Love and Light.

    • Laura West June 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm - Reply

      I’m so glad to hear this post has given you a boost Paulo! Keep up the good work of trusting your experience… stop in here again sometime and say hello. I always appreciate when folks share… many blessings!

  5. caroline green May 16, 2017 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    I felt a sense of release as if something was leaving my body.. it was like a pulling sensation

    • Laura West June 12, 2017 at 4:46 pm - Reply

      Yes, sometimes it can be like that – a release of sorts!

  6. hp May 1, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I just got attuned to level 1 on Saturday and do not feel any different. I have been practicing Reiki on myself but don’t feel the energy flowing? Could the attunement not have worked or am I placing doubts in my mind cause blockages?

    • PC May 19, 2017 at 8:10 am - Reply


      I understand your concern. At different stages, you will experience different things. At some stage you will feel the energy flowing and sometimes not depends on your awareness at the time which doesnt mean reiki is not working. You just be open to the changes which reiki brings to you irrespective of feeling the flow.
      Good luck for the practice. Just remember you can never do anything wrong with practicing reiki and have patience and trust with the practice.

  7. Jason April 26, 2017 at 7:15 am - Reply

    Sometimes if I’m out in public and there is a lot going on, I find it hard to get the reiki flowing, or at least to feel it, if I want to send some someplace. Having a quiet space is much easier but I’d love to be able to just switch it on at will, and feel it flowing.

    • Laura West April 29, 2017 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      I understand what you mean Jason, being out in public gives us many external distractions. Try centering yourself with some deep breaths before beginning. Even if you don’t feel the flow, trust it is there. Many blessings!

  8. Michelle W March 5, 2017 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this article..,. I have just recently completed Level1 with attunement and was concerned because I don’t really feel the energy flowing thru.,, I will keep practicing and trusting it is there!

  9. Sandy Sanders February 1, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

    You are simply amazing and what a great way to describe Reiki in all of its glory.I too am almost complete with my Reiki master and send distant Reiki quite often. Always I have an emmence amount of body heat as do the recipients of the healing energy. And I have to agree, 90% is believing and trusting in yourself which somehow most of us have been hard wired to not trust our own instincts and abilities. I would love to receive any blogs or other info that you may have. Namaste

    • Laura West February 2, 2017 at 5:39 pm - Reply

      Thank you for your kind words Sandy. The best way to keep up to date on all my blog writing is to sign up for the newsletter list; which you can do from any of the popups or bottom of each newsletter or on the homepage of the website. Many Reiki blessings and congratulations on your journey!

  10. Carol Cameleon December 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Im level 2 attuned and sometimes get the ‘feeling’ just by setting a mental intention. Other times i have to lay hands on. I just go with the flow!

  11. Helen Green-Curry December 7, 2016 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    Thank you so helpful

  12. Kay September 9, 2016 at 2:36 am - Reply

    Great Article Thank you so much!!! I know feel a tingling in my hands at times and also find myself experiencing a hot flash sometimes.

    • Laura West September 10, 2016 at 12:52 pm - Reply

      So glad you found this information helpful Kay. Reiki blessings!

  13. LornaTDeanne July 24, 2016 at 6:35 am - Reply

    I have to to be grateful for this good read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it.
    I’ve got you saved as being a favorite to look at new stuff you post

    • Laura West July 24, 2016 at 7:40 am - Reply

      I’m glad to hear that my work resonates with you Lorna. Many blessings!

  14. fitnessblog August 20, 2015 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching for fitnessblog

  15. udit sharma July 30, 2015 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    Namaste _/|\_ Laura, I am currently practising my 1st level and at times I feel a constant throbbing in the center of my forehead. Is it an indication of progress ?

    • Laura West August 1, 2015 at 7:09 am - Reply

      Hi Udit, Think of it more like becoming aware of the Reiki flowing within you. The sensation is an indication that you are experiencing the Reiki on a much more conscious level.

  16. Karen Miller July 29, 2015 at 8:33 pm - Reply

    I’ve only recently taken Level 1. I mostly do feel an energy coming through my fingers and sometime my palms as well
    Once or twice I felt the energy while watching a show with my hubby. I wonder if this is normal or what? I used it on my hubby’s knees for a while, since it was there. Even now as I type this I feel a nice tingling in my fingers, feet & toes. Am I supposed to turn it off or just let it flow? Please advise. Thank you.

  17. Marilyn July 20, 2015 at 10:30 am - Reply

    When I was attuned at Level 1, it felt much stronger than when I was attuned to Level 2..although I practice on myself everyday, I seem to sometimes not feel the energy flowing…

    • Laura West July 24, 2015 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      Yes, it can happen that way. No worries… sometimes we feel the Reiki flowing, sometimes we don’t.

  18. lei July 7, 2015 at 5:27 am - Reply

    This is exactly how I feel at the moment only been attuned 8 days, only practicing on myself at the moment, I often feel I’m doing something wrong, but I’m not giving up

    • Laura West July 9, 2015 at 5:16 pm - Reply

      Hands on yourself as much as possible Lei, have faith! Keep up the good work AND congratulations on becoming integrated into the world of Reiki!!!

  19. gaurav jain June 4, 2015 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    i got 1st level attunement in programme. its working it so that if i take 2nd level attunement i would be able to atttract more reiki energy than before in same time.or i be feeling more energised after 2 level.

    • Laura West June 7, 2015 at 7:49 am - Reply

      Great question Guarav! In short, the answer is no. Reiki energy is the same Reiki energy – no matter how many levels you learn. I directly quote Arjava Sensei here as he writes about Hayashi Sensei discussing how receiving Reiki works in the body. The same analogy can be applied to when we receive attunement:

      Hayashi Sensei “used a beautiful analogy, which his students called “The muddy stream”. He said that if you look at a stream, it looks clear and beautiful. But if you disturb the water (giving a Reiki treatment) the mud from the bottom comes up to the surface, making all the water appear dirty (healing- crisis, the toxins have entered the body’s liquids). If you then keep cleaning the water of the impurities that have come up (more Reiki), it becomes cleaner and cleaner until the whole stream is reborn… The client has come back to his natural equilibrium once more, as some of the muck sinks down to the bottom again.”

  20. Cheryl May 29, 2015 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    Thank you. I am a Usui Reiki Master and at first did not feel the energy come through until my second class and second attunements. This is a good article to tell folks that it can take time and be patient.
    Namaste, Cheryl

    • Laura West May 31, 2015 at 6:21 am - Reply

      So glad you found it helpful Cheryl! Thanks for reaching out. Namaste _/|\_

  21. Kesavannamboothiri Krishnan December 25, 2014 at 3:00 am - Reply

    Good information on Reiki, I have healed my Ekzema 35 year cronic, not curable by all other modern treatments so far, by Self Treatment Reiki meditation without any medicine.

    • Laura West December 30, 2014 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Thank you for sharing your story of healing Kesavannamboothiri!

  22. […] How to Tell if Reiki Energy is Flowing […]

  23. Jaspreet September 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Thank u
    I learn today a big and it results very good ur 2nd point is too good helpful for me
    Once again thanks

    • Laura West September 7, 2014 at 8:19 am - Reply

      You are most welcome Jaspreet. I am so glad you found this information to be helpful. Om, Laura

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