Can Reiki Improve Your Sleep?

Reiki is an ancient energy healing practice recognized for its calming and non-invasive approach, helping to release blocked energy that can cause issues like pain, insomnia, and anxiety. It can improve sleep by quieting thoughts, easing insomnia, alleviating physical discomfort, and supporting mental health. Regular sessions with a reiki practitioner can provide lasting benefits, though it's important to feel safe with the practitioner.

Nowadays, there are so many alternative therapies available that are good for your health and sleep—and one of them is reiki. Reiki benefits are numerous and can even potentially improve your sleep along with several other aspects of your life.

Ahead, with the help of a reiki master, we’ll explain what reiki is, what the key reiki therapy benefits are, and how to incorporate reiki into your life for better sleep.

What is reiki?

Reiki, also called universal life force energy, is an ancient form of energy medicine recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a calming and non-invasive way to bring healing to your body and spirit, explains Allison KT, certified coach and reiki master.

Reiki is generally thought to long predate what has been written and recorded about it. KT says the modern account is that Dr. Mikao Usui received the knowledge of the reiki healing system and began using it in Japan in the 1920s.

Through this work, he eventually met Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, who devoted his life to sharing reiki and ran a clinic in Tokyo until 1940. One of the clinic’s clients eventually brought it back to Hawaii and then it made its way to the continental United States.

Reiki, also called universal life force energy, is an ancient form of energy medicine recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a calming and non-invasive way to bring healing to your body and spirit.

Reiki is centered on the idea that everything in life has energy.

“You can likely recall experiences or people that felt uplifting and positive, almost life-giving—and perhaps also situations that feel much heavier and draining, like they are sucking the energy out of you,” says KT.

Sometimes, the heavier stuff gets stuck in your system. “Over time, this stagnant energy can cause some major issues, like pain, insomnia, and anxiety,” says KT.

A reiki master is trained to tune into your energy to help loosen and release those blocks through a calming, almost meditative, experience, she adds.

How does reiki work?

Although reiki sessions vary by practitioner, TK says the sessions she leads often feel “like a guided meditation and calming nap.”

“In a session, I ground my energy, welcome protection and guidance, and tune into what I notice about the person’s energy,” she says. “I move through a series of hand positions on the body physically or with intention in a distance session [or virtual session].”

Some sessions are silent, but TK says she tends to describe what she sees, feels, and senses as well as what she’s doing.

“If someone is experiencing racing thoughts, for example, in our treatment I may hold my hands over the crown of their head and invite them to draw inhales and exhales with me,” says KT.

If someone is experiencing pain in an area of their body, KT says she may place her hands on the area, hover above it, or simply envision it in a virtual session.

Benefits of reiki for sleep

So, what are the benefits of reiki, especially when it comes to sleep? KT shares these top reiki sleep benefits.

It quiets thoughts

Reiki can be supportive for “mental and emotional things,” such as replaying an awkward moment over and over again in your mind, says KT. In other words, it quiets whatever racing thoughts are preventing you from sleeping.

It can ease insomnia

Reiki can help you to not struggle with insomnia, or continually lie awake, since it can make your body feel more relaxed and ready for sleep.

Special reiki sleep music, which can be found on Spotify or other apps, can also make you feel more mellow as you try to sleep. This music is designed to foster calming energy as you drift off to dreamland.

It can make physical conditions less uncomfortable

That stubbed toe or upset stomach? If whatever is ailing you is addressed during a reiki therapy session, then you can expect to sleep more soundly instead of lying awake and thinking about your pain or discomfort.

It can help mental health symptoms

KT references this article published in Frontiers in Psychology, which concluded that reiki consistently offers better therepetuic effects than a placebo for some mental health symptoms.

“Their research found reiki to be especially supportive in working with stress, depression, and anxiety,” she says.

How to incorporate reiki into your life

The benefits of reiki therapy extend beyond sleep quality. If you’d like to receive reiki treatments and start reaping the benefits, then KT recommends finding a practitioner to meet with monthly or every other month.

“Reiki is an excellent form of self-care that is so holistic in its approach,” she says. “It can be calming physically, like a massage as well as mentally and emotionally like a therapy session.”

KT likes to start every Monday morning with reiki to prepare for the week ahead and then connect again for a midweek recharge on Wednesday afternoon.

You might be wondering: How long do the benefits of reiki last? While everyone is different, in general, the positive effects of reiki can last days or even weeks.

Are there risks to reiki?

While there aren’t inherently any risks to reiki, KT notes that it’s important to feel really safe and grounded with your practitioner.

“It is extremely rare, but occasionally, the experience of being so in your energy can trigger feelings of being out of your body, which can be overwhelming, particularly to folks who struggle with that,” says KT.

Most of the time, though, the experience may likely feel like a soft buzzing or tingling, a warmth, or a softness, adds KT. “It’s a very pleasant feeling—somewhat like an energetic massage,” she says.


How does reiki affect the body?

During a session, reiki—or universal life force—energy is sent through the practitioner to connect with the energy of the client.

“This energy can be used in a variety of ways, including releasing tension or pockets of stagnancy, bringing relief to the thoughts and body, and/or fortifying and strengthening it as well,” says KT.

What happens with reiki healing?

“In reiki healing, the practitioner is connecting with reiki energy and passing that along to the client to work with whatever ailments the client is struggling with,” KT says.

Why is reiki so effective?

KT finds that reiki goes beyond simply healing the ailment. For example, let’s say on your intake form, you write down that you’re having terrible neck tension leading to migraines.

You also note that you aren’t sleeping well and feel groggy during the day—and you generally default to chugging coffee to get through the day.

“As a reiki practitioner, I would come to that session thinking: ‘Yes, let’s definitely work on releasing that tension in the neck, and let’s also tune into if there is underlying stress at play,’” says KT.We aren’t just looking at the pain and the headaches—we are getting deep into your body’s experience with it.”

How does reiki help me?

Some of the potential benefits of reiki you may experience include improved sleep, reduced stress and tension, eased anxiety, and reduced pain.

Some scientific studies have validated the efficacy of reiki, but like most alternative therapies, more research needs to be done.

Can acupuncture help you catch more Z’s? Learn about the benefits of acupuncture for sleep and health.

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