An image of a woman with her eyes closed and hands extended in front of her is used to illustrate the concept of distance Reiki, a form of energy healing in which the practitioner is not near the receiver of the session.

Traditionally regarded as a therapy provided in person, Reiki can also be provided over distance with complete effectiveness. Known as distance Reiki, or distant, or remote, Reiki, this form of treatment has been taught since Reiki was first developed about 100 years ago.

Reiki is a technique to reduce stress and promote relaxation, which results in the body’s organs and systems functioning more efficiently. Reiki is considered a complementary healing modality that offers benefits comparable to meditation.

The practice of Reiki may be learned by anyone to help themselves personally and also to help others. It is based on the concept that a universal life energy (also referred to as ki) is common to all living things. Students learn to balance a client’s natural life force energy by utilizing hand positions and additional techniques.

Because distance Reiki is a viable practice, practitioners were able to pivot quickly to assist those struggling with anxiety and stress brought on by the sudden and unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. Filling this niche role has brought Reiki further into the mainstream because more people opened up to the practice and realized the benefits of distance Reiki.

What is Distance Reiki?

Distance Reiki works on the same principles as in-person Reiki, but the practitioner sends healing energy over a distance to a recipient or client in any location.

The practitioner begins by setting an intention for the healing session and focusing their attention on the client they are working with. They then use techniques learned in Reiki classes to connect with universal life force energy and offer it to the client.

It is becoming more widely accepted that everything is made up of energy. Even matter that appears solid is comprised of vibrating atomic particles. The concept of entanglement in quantum physics may explain how distance Reiki can be effective. This phenomenon states that one object can affect the state of another even if large distances separate the two.

Framed more straightforwardly, consider when you thought of someone and wondered how they were doing, only to receive their call or text soon after. Thoughts are a form of energy, and prayers are a typical example of thought energy combined with intention. In the case of distance Reiki, the intention of the practitioner to assist with Reiki creates an energetic link to the recipient, allowing the transfer of energy to the client.

How Distance Reiki Differs from In-Person Reiki

The method of communication between client and practitioner varies significantly from in-person to distant. Without meeting in the same location, the client intake form may be emailed or provided online.

At the time of the session, the practitioner and client may talk with one another by phone, text, FaceTime, Zoom or another method. In this discussion, the practitioner can inquire about the client’s reason for requesting Reiki, explain how the session will be conducted, and answer any questions the client may have.

Of course, how the session is performed also differs from in-person, but exactly how the session is conducted varies by practitioner based on personal preference. Some practitioners choose to remain on the phone or online platform with the client throughout the session. Alternatively, some may electronically disconnect during the session with plans to reconnect afterward to discuss and follow up with the client.

Because Reiki induces deep relaxation, most practitioners remain quiet throughout the session to allow the client to relax more deeply and enjoy this time for themselves without interruption.

In either case, the client is usually instructed to make themselves comfortable, play relaxing music if they prefer not to have silence or other distracting sounds, and make arrangements not to be disturbed during the session.

As the session begins, the Reiki practitioner sets clear intentions while using visualization and techniques learned in Reiki class to administer the life force energy to the client. With no physical body present to accommodate hand placements, sometimes a surrogate such as a doll, pillow, photo, or drawing is used to help the practitioner focus on offering Reiki to specific body parts.

A whole-body session with all the same steps may be completed in this manner, just as though both client and practitioner were in the same room.

At the conclusion of the distance Reiki portion of the session, the practitioner and client check in with each other. This conversation usually includes sharing what was felt and experienced and answering any client questions.

How Distance Reiki is Similar to In-Person Reiki

Although in-person and distance Reiki sessions may seem quite different, they have many similarities.

First, the purpose and objective are the same. Both treat stress and imbalance on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels by promoting relaxation so the body may better support itself naturally.

The structure of the sessions matches as well. Both begin with an introductory discussion followed by the session and then the follow-up. Some practitioners find that distance sessions require less time than traditional in-person sessions, but session length is determined individually and varies from about 20 to 60 minutes.

The practitioner’s role, general techniques, and steps of the two kinds of sessions are equal except for any physical touch.

Interestingly, the experiences reported while receiving Reiki in both session types are the same. These include deep relaxation, quieting of the mind, falling asleep, physical sensations of tingling, buzzing, temperature fluctuations, areas of light pressure, and more. Perhaps, most importantly, the results observed by distance Reiki clients are equal to and sometimes better than those who receive Reiki in person.

Human touch and being physically present with others feels good to most people and promotes well-being. This is lacking in distance Reiki sessions and is the main drawback of remote sessions.

Another possible benefit is having a Reiki session in a neutral and welcoming environment free from the worries, routine, and family members at the client’s home. Of course, this would depend on each client’s situation, preferences, and home life.

What are the Benefits of Distance Reiki?

Remote Reiki sessions are convenient for both practitioner and client. No travel is required, so this option is economical and environmentally friendly. Furthermore, clients may choose a Reiki practitioner from anywhere in the world and are not limited to practitioners in their local vicinity.

Some clients feel most comfortable at home, where they can be themselves. They can control the temperature, lighting and location of the session. This may make it easier for them to relax fully.

Reiki sometimes brings up emotions for healing. The privacy inherent in remote sessions can support the client to release emotions as they arise. In contrast, clients may feel self-conscious or embarrassed in the presence of a practitioner and, as a result, choose to hold emotions inside, stalling their progress.

Distance Reiki is a powerful healing modality that offers unique advantages compared to in-person sessions. However, regardless of session type, Reiki provides relief from physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual issues. Both approaches have value and meet the needs of practitioners and clients, making Reiki more widely accessible to people seeking a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

Andrea Kennedy

About the Author

Andrea Kennedy is a full-time Reiki Master Teacher and owner of Mainstream Reiki. Her focus is to bring Reiki further into the mainstream and help others confidently practice this modality for better living. She teaches all levels of Usui/Holy Fire® III Reiki and ICRT Animal Reiki, offers mentoring sessions, and shares her knowledge through her Mainstream Reiki YouTube Channel, her podcast, ’Beyond the Reiki Gateway’ and in her new Mainstream Reiki Community that opened in July 2023.