Reiki Hand Positions for Treatment and Self-Treatment (with Illustrations)

After many months, sometimes years, of work, Reiki becomes a very intuitive practice. You place your hands on the body where your intuition suggests, and you keep them there for as long as your intuition suggests. But most beginners do not listen to their intuition – don’t worry, it’s quite normal at first! Actually, a lot of people experience a chaos in their minds and they can’t even hear they intuitive thoughts. For those people, before they can pursuit more intuitive Reiki practice, hand positions has been developed.

In this article, I not only share the tips and knowledge regarding using such basic Reiki practice, but I also provide you with illustrations that will be helpful in your Reiki work :).


What are Reiki Hand Positions

One of the main uses for modern Reiki is the treatment (or, the self-treatment) – it’s based on channeling Reiki energy through ourselves into the living being that needs the energy. This being can be another person, an animal or even a plant. When we approach our hands to a specific area of the person’s or animal’s body, we call it a hand position – a place, where hands are placed upon.

Please note that when I say “treatment”, I mean the process of sending Reiki to ourselves or another being. I do not suggest that Reiki is a medical procedure in any way.

After all these years studying Reiki I believe that every single teacher who publishes a book on Reiki “designs” his or hers own set of hand positions. Between all these sets sometimes we see small, and sometimes we see big differences. In most cases, the areas that need to be covered with our hands during Reiki treatment are quite similar and universal.

What I suggest to most people is to simple cover the head area, shoulders, chest, stomach area, legs, kidneys and finish up the treatment with giving Reiki to feet. When you do so, you cover most parts of the body so that Reiki can benefit the entire person. But don’t worry – there is no single “right” set of hand positions for Reiki treatment. Actually, hand positions themselves are not as effective as intuitive placement of our hands.

Some History of Reiki Hand Positions

According to Reiki Ryoho Hikkei, a manual in Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, Mikao Usui taught his students to place their hands on the body or near it, but also to pat, stroke, gaze and blow on the body – as Frans Stiene states in his “The Reiki Sourcebook”.According to Stiene, hand positions could have been developed later in Usui’s life to help students do with their hands what others were doing just with their mind.

It’s possible that Mikao Usui was using five hand positions for Reiki treatment, and he used to send Reiki to forehead, both temples, back of the head and forehead at the same time, both sides of the neck and the crown area of the head.

According to Stiene and his book, the primary focus of Usui’s treatment was on the person’s head, because this was Reiki affecting the person’s mind. And a healthy, peaceful mind allows the body to return to a state of harmony and health. At the same time, the Reiki Ryoho Hikkei contains many pages with hand positions for specific illnesses. The same goes for Chujiro Hayashi’s manual.

Based on research, it appears that the modern importance of hand positions begins with Hayashi and Takata, but it was strengthened by Takata’s students who developed a standard set of 12 positions. Before that, in Japan Reiki treatments were based on intuition, and the limited number of hand positions was meant for those students of Reiki who were just beginning their spiritual journey and could not connect with their intuition very much.

The same thing applies for this day – hand positions are great for beginners before they can tap into their intuition and let it guide their treatments.

Hand Positions VERSUS Intuition

When I teach Reiki to people, I tell them the following: hands positions are here to help us learn Reiki and get used to the treatments. Usuing the hand positions:

  • Helps us get used to the process of sending Reiki.
  • Develop a routine and inner discipline for working with Reiki, especially in case of self-treatment.
  • Develop patience – since going through all the hand positions usually takes from 30 to 60 minutes per single treatment session.
  • And most of all, using hand positions allows us to perform a complete and effective Reiki treatment right away, before we even scratch the surface of the entire “intuition” thing :). You don’t have to worry where to place your hands and send Reiki – just look at your guidebook, booklet or the photos printed from the Web, and you got it!

I really recommend using hand positions when you’re a Reiki beginner. Use the positions you are familiar with – whether you’ve learned them from your teacher, or a Reiki book, or this article. And don’t worry – Reiki will flow nicely and with great benefits.

But, as time passes by, and you heal yourself and maybe even practice different techniques of self-improvement, and – obviously – you work with Reiki on daily basis, you may notice that your intuition becomes stronger and stronger. Intuition is that inner voice of guidance we all “feel” in your heart. We just know we should do something. We all have a strong intuition. But most people are not aware of this. Their minds are cluttered with daily chaos. They suffer from fears, anxiety, and they carry a great emotional pain within them. Or they are simply busy with analitical thinking, strong logic and scientific skepticism :).

Thus, people can’t feel their intuition. With time, as you calm down your mind and heal the emotional pain, for example through Reiki, meditations or other spiritual or self-improvement practices, your intuition kicks in – just because it was always there, and now you can “hear” it.

And when intuition kicks in, you may begin to feel where you should place your hands for Reiki to benefit the most. Or you may feel to keep your hands in single place for longer periods of time, instead of the usual 3-5 minutes per hand position. When this happens, I strongly suggest to override rigid hand positions with intuition. Intuitive Reiki treatment is more effective, because Reiki flows for as long as it needs to into the areas of the body where it actually should flow into.

Don’t worry if the intuition doesn’t develop for few years (or even more) since you started working with Reiki. Take your time, as we all self-heal ourselves in different fashion.

Tips for Using Reiki Hand Positions

Before you switch to intuitive work, the hand positions comes in handy. As well as the knowledge of the treatment tricks and tips :). As you approach the Reiki treatment, you should keep in mind the following:

  • Remember that when you send Reiki, you’re a channel. Clear your mind, relax, and if you wish, focus on your Hara – that is, your abdomen. As a channel, Reiki flows through you. When you place your hands on the body, whether it’s your body or the body of another person, it’s not like you’re sending anything – the body itself feels Reiki and draws it through your hands in such quantity that is required by this particular area of the body.
  • Usually, I suggest Reiki beginners to spend from 3 up to 5 minutes “giving” Reiki to the given hand position, and then switch the position to another one. Of course, physical touch is not mandatory. If you wish or if the other person wishes, you may simple “hover” your hands an inch or so above the body. Reiki will flow nevertheless.
  • When you channel Reiki, your hands can be placed in two separate parts of the body, yet your fingers should stick together :). When you wish to switch the hand position, just do so, move your hands to another part of the body.
  • Reiki will flow whenever your focused or distracted. It is possible to talk during Reiki treatment and get distracted. Actually, it’s pretty useful. For example, when something distract you, it won’t really affect the flow of Reiki. Or when the person you’re sending Reiki to wishes to chat, you can socialize with this person :). But, on the other hand, Reiki flows better through a clear and calm mind. You shouldn’t force yourself to focus on Reiki, but at the same time you shouldn’t get distracted too much. Practice Reiki Gassho meditation and focus on the Hara region – this will help you achieve a calm and relaxed mind during Reiki treatments.
  • Don’t get tense. Make sure both your mind and muscles are relaxed. And make sure your body position is comfortable, too.

Example Reiki Hand Positions for Treatment and Self-Treatment

Finally, I share with you the hands positions I teach to my Reiki students. Again, these aren’t the only hand positions working, they’re not the best, and they’re not complete. You can always add few more places to cover with your hands if you wish to, or you can use a completely different set of hand positions. What is posted below is merely one of many different and working sets for Reiki beginners.

The images below come from my first degree manual, which is available for Kindle and as paperback: Learn Reiki Shoden.

These positions can be used for both self-treatment and treatment of another person.


Apply Reiki to face.


Apply Reiki to both temples.





Apply Reiki to ears.





Apply Reiki to the back of head.





Apply Reiki to throat and neck.





Apply Reiki to shoulders.





Apply Reiki to belly: right side.





Apply Reiki to belly: left side.





Apply Reiki to belly: center.





Apply Reiki to chest.





Apply Reiki to abdomen. Do not touch the intimate regions if this is another person your giving Reiki to. Place your hands few inches above the body.





Apply Reiki to shoulders: back side.





Apply Reiki to the back.





Apply Reiki to kidneys.





Apply Reiki to tail bone region.





Apply Reiki to knees.





Apply Reiki to ancles.





Apply Reiki to feet.





This completes the article.

If you’re interested in hand positions used for animals, then the thing is – there are no such hand positions. Actually, what most animal Reiki practitioners believe is that 99% of animals prefer to receive Reiki from a small distance. And when they actually put their fur right under your hands, they will decide where Reiki goes :).

I hope you will find this article useful. If you do, please share it with your friends on Twitter, Facebook and on other social media websites. And if you have anything to say about Reiki hand positions, please do so in the comments below.

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