Reiki is a form of energy work that originated in Japan. It is administered with light touch or no touching of the body.

Reiki is based on the idea that life force energy flows through us, and that fluctuations in this energy affect our physical health.

Below we note five things you need to know about Reiki, excerpted from “The Massage Therapist’s Guide to Reiki.” Visit the guide to learn if Reiki is right for your practice, what the science says about Reiki, how much a Reiki certification costs, and why you need Reiki insurance if you are practicing this modality.

1. What Does a Typical Reiki Session Look Like?

In a Reiki healing session, the client will remain fully clothed and either lies on a massage table or sits in a chair. In a massage session, a serene, peaceful environment is created for the session, often with quiet music.

The Reiki practitioner will either use light hands-on touch or hold their hands close to the client’s body, moving their hands systematically through different positions with the intention of discharging negative energy and replacing it with positive energy.

Reiki is used in many venues, including hospitals, spas, private practice and clinical practice.

2. Where Does Reiki Energy Come From?

The energy from Reiki is universally available to anyone, anywhere, and proponents of Reiki may also offer what are called distant sessions, in which the receiver is not physically in the practitioner’s presence.

3. What are the Various Types of Reiki?

There are several different kinds of Reiki—and every practitioner brings their own style to bear on what they were taught—but there are two main types most commonly used in the U.S.: Usui and Karuna.

Usui Reiki, the style that is most familiar in the West, began in Japan with Mikao Usui and eventually came to the U.S. with Hawayo Takata in 1937. It is typically used to promote relaxation, stress reduction and balance, which can in turn promote healing.

Karuna Reiki was developed with the intention of relieving suffering; the word karuna is Sanskrit for “any action that is taken to diminish the suffering of others” and can also be translated as “compassionate action,” according to the International Center for Reiki Training.

4. What are Some of Reiki’s Benefits?

Reiki has many benefits. Some of them include stress reduction, comfort and relaxation, according to Reiki expert Linda LaFlamme.

“Many clients report a feeling of enhanced well-being, peace and of feeling grounded after a session or series of sessions,” she said.

[Read “The Massage Therapist’s Guide to Reiki.”]

In addition to the benefits to the client who receives Reiki, giving a Reiki session can also benefit the practitioner.. Because Reiki is believed to balance life energy, being an active participant in that process helps both you and your client.

“A Reiki practitioner also receives some of the healing benefits of Reiki while giving Reiki, as an added wonderful bonus,” LaFlamme said. “Professional massage therapists [who perform Reiki massage] give so much of themselves in their beneficial and loving practices.

“Offering Reiki to clients … is a refilling of the well while providing value at the same time,” she continued. “Everyone benefits, sometimes in profound ways.”

Whether you offer just Reiki or decide to work as a Reiki massage therapist, both you and your clients will reap rewards from this energy work.

5. Do I Need Reiki Insurance?

If you practice Reiki, then Reiki liability insurance is essential. No matter how careful you are, accidents happen, and getting sued can easily bankrupt your business. Many entities offer Reiki insurance.

When shopping for Reiki insurance, it’s important to look for a plan that offers professional liability coverage (for claims of malpractice); general liability coverage (for accidents, such as when someone trips and falls); and product coverage (for damages resulting from products used during sessions).

Some Reiki insurance policies may also offer benefits such as identity protection. You should also know the coverage limits of your policy, and whether it is occurrence-form or claims-made.

In occurrence-form coverage, an incident is covered as long as you were covered on the date the incident occurred; in claims-made, you must be covered at the time the claim is filed, regardless of when the incident took place.