Reiki hand positions are how practitioners channel the universal life force energy.
This article will take you on a journey through history, from Chujiro Hayashi to Hawayo Takata and beyond.
We’ll explore the traditional hand positions as well as modern approaches.
You’ll learn about their importance in self-treatment and how to use them to help others.
If you’re ready to widen your knowledge or deepen your understanding of Reiki, this guide is for you.
How Many Reiki Hand Positions Are There
There are 15 traditional Reiki hand positions and 7 for each chakra. Still, everybody is free to experiment and allow Reiki to guide them to the best placement for each situation. So, there’s no exact number as long as the practitioner is comfortable and feels that they are providing the best treatment possible.
Traditional Reiki Hand Positions
- Top of the head
- Eyes and forehead
- Brain Hemispheres
- Back of the head
- Sides of the neck
- Shoulder blades
- Hands on the chest
- Left side of the body
- Right side of the body
- Lower abdomen
- Hand positions for kidneys
- Lower back area
- Hands on the hips area
- Hands on the knees
- Feet and ankles
Reiki Hand Positions For Chakras (Modern)
- Crown Chakra
- Third Eye Chakra
- Throat Chakra
- Heart Chakra
- Solar Plexus Chakra
- Sacral Chakra
- Root Chakra
Reiki Hand Positions Fundamentals
Reiki practitioners are all aware of the importance of self-treatment. It’s that feeling when the universal life force energy starts flowing and engulfs our physical, mental, and spiritual bodies.
It’s like its own consciousness guides it to the exact place it needs to go to recalibrate our structures.
While the techniques are quite straightforward at this level, they can support your spiritual practice for a very long time.
The Reiki hand positions are how we practice Reiki and the very first thing we learn.
Like anything else, Reiki has evolved, and so did the techniques people use these days. However, while there are various methods, the essence remains the same.
That’s how the Reiki hand positions split today into “traditional” and “modern.” These are not official terms but an easy way to differentiate the two. The traditional positions focus on the major body parts while the modern ones on the primary and secondary energy centers, or chakras.
Both work just as well. The key is to be aware of them, use them in your work, and learn which works better for your situation and style. Because having the right intention is what guides the universal energy in the best way possible, being knowledgable of each hand position will only empower your Reiki practice through clarity and focus.
Why Are Hand Positions Important
Placing your hands on your body has the purpose of focusing the energy. That area receives an increased amount of light which enhances the healing potential.
Even though the universal life force energy generally flows where it’s needed, we can still guide it if we wish.
By placing our palms activated in the Reiki self-treatment positions we enable the universal life force energy to guide us towards a deep healing state that takes place on all levels.
We will not only activate our energy centers. There are other physical, mental, and emotional aspects that we’ll heal according to the position we use.
By following a pattern we create discipline and bring certain parts of our body to state of healing. This will flush out the negative and residual energy while allowing the clean one to enter.
The process gradually increases our awareness of our inner-self and the world around us. Spiritual growth is a concept that we become more familiar with as we progress in our physical, mental and emotional healing.
How To Use The Reiki Hand Positions
In Reiki, intention is key! So, first and foremost, you have to declare your intention of sending light through your hands. This will stimulate the energy flow and bring you closer to the present moment.
Next, start rubbing your palms thoroughly to activate the energy centers. You may add Reiki symbols if you are attuned to Reiki level 2 or higher.
Keep in mind that there are no constraints to practicing Reiki. Everyone has a unique style. Still, this process contributes to setting the right mood, helps you focus, and relaxes your mind and body.
This is where the traditional hand positions and the modern approach split.
With the traditional hand positions, you let your intuition guide you where the energy is most needed. Hawayo Takata used to say that the abdominal area is the most important, and that’s why it’s best to start there.
When you want to focus on your chakras, you start from the head down to push all the residual energy into the ground.
We’ll detail each step later in the article, but for now, having this broad perspective is essential to understanding the two methods.
Usually, you’ll feel when it’s time to remove your palms, but hovering over each area for 5-10 min. is enough. Always be thankful when you complete a Reiki session and declare your intention of ending the self-treatment.
Traditional Reiki Hand Positions
There are many different hand positions that you may use during Reiki self-treatment or treatment of others. Some are more common, while others bring specific benefits or address certain conditions.
The traditional way implies starting with the major organs or directly head where the problem is. Your intuition will guide you, and you’ll intuitively know what to do and where to position your hands.
Hands On Top Of Your Head
At this level you stimulate the brain and its hemispheres. You develop a physical balance and a general focus on daily life. This will help enhance your cognitive and intellectual functions.
What’s important to know is that you also provide energy to the pineal gland. This small organ is responsible for producing melatonin which leads to healthy sleep patterns.
By keeping your hands on top of your head you allow the universal energy to flood the main energy channel, Sushumna. This, in turn, increases your energy levels and keeps your energetic system in good health.
Hands On Your Eyes And Forehead
Sending energy using this position helps remove imbalances at the eye, sinuses, pineal, and pituitary glands level.
As mentioned before, the pineal gland keeps a balance in creating the hormone responsible for melatonin. This leads to a healthy sleep pattern.
The pituitary gland controls the endocrine system, the production of various hormones connected to the reproductive system, thyroid, and adrenal glands.
This hand position is recommended for stress relief and relaxation.
From a spiritual perspective, this position helps energize important meridians such as the bladder, stomach and even the Ren Mai – Du Mai connection. These are the two most important meridians in our body.
Also, this position helps us better understand our inner-self.
It cleanses the mind and enhances intuition.
Hands On Your Temples And Hemispheres
This helps you energize the optic and ear nerves thus improving eyesight and hearing. It also helps stimulate the function of the pineal and pituitary glands.
The “palms-on head” position energizes the brain hemispheres. This way it helps keep your physical and mental balance healthy.
Placing your hands for 10 minutes each day in this position you considerably reduce the risk of cerebral health problems. These can vary from Parkinson’s disease to multiple sclerosis.
At a more subtle level, we stimulate the Kami Tanden energy center (superior Tanden) as well as the Bai Hui energy point. The Bai Hui is where all the Yang meridians of the body intersect.
This position helps enhance intuition and remove negative emotions such as depression or fear.
In the temple area, you can find the “tip” of the bladder meridian.
By sending energy here you stimulate it and therefore improve the health of your kidneys.
Hands On The Back Of Your Head
Place both of your palms on the back of your head. One will energize the upper back of the head while the other will stimulate the occipital (lower part).
This position will help energize the cortex which is responsible for eyesight.
It will do the same for the cerebral part of the brain, responsible for the primary functions of the body. Among these are the surviving instinct, coordination of the physical body, managing fear, hunger, and thirst.
At a spiritual level, you’ll stimulate important meridian points such as the “Gate of Winds” located at the junction of the brain with the cerebral. This meridian point plays an important role in our physical health. When it’s not energized enough your immune system weakens and the chances of catching a cold, for example, increase.
This position helps you bring to the surface the potential for creativity, the feeling of inner peace, and overall calm.
It also helps energize the projection of the Ajna Chakra. This makes us more receptive to the subtle energies that flow within and around us.
Hands On The Sides Of The Neck
This position helps with keeping the thyroid, parathyroid, and the whole metabolism in good health.
It also heals the energetic structure of your larynx, trachea, and salivary glands.
At a spiritual level, this position enhances your communication skills and helps you express your emotions harmoniously.
You also start healing the latent energies and thoughts. These are most likely a result of your inability to express your past feelings.
When you balance this area you dissolve a long-lasting blockage.
Hands On The Shoulder Blades
If you are having difficulty using this position, you can place your hands on the cervical area, below the neck.
At a physical level, this position has the role of relaxing and maintaining the good health of the upper muscles.
At an energetic level, the cervical area is known to trap most of the stress and unexpressed emotions. This is why healing it will gradually release and dissolve those residual energies leading to stability and calm.
This position also helps with stimulating the bladder meridian. The left part of the upper muscle corresponds to the stress point and the right one corresponds to the bladder meridian itself.
Hands On The Chest
Place your hands on the upper chest, just above the heart area, with the intention of cleansing your lungs to help heal respiratory issues.
Then move your palms to the center of the chest and send energy to your heart and thymus gland, also known as the “youth gland”. This is an excellent position for people with cardiac problems.
While we cannot cure some imbalances without the intervention of modern medicine, we can significantly improve others or at least keep them under control.
An incredibly efficient position for women is placing the palms over the breasts. If for any reason this doesn’t feel comfortable, you can hold them at a distance as well.
This Reiki hand position helps remove/prevent breast lumps and negative emotions towards yourself and others.
We know from Sensei Takata that if you feel an area drawing in more energy, it means that it requires more attention. This means both physical and spiritual.
On an energetic level, these positions help stimulate the meridians of your lungs and stomach.
One of the most beautiful things about using these Reiki positions is that you can learn to forgive yourself which leads to dissolving the thoughts and feelings of “unworthiness”.
This can only lead to inner peace and harmony.
Hands On The Left Side Of The Body
Place your palms on the left side of your body so they can cover the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and part of the small intestine.
Hawayo Takata said that the digestive system is one of the main engines of our body. The better the digestion works, the healthier the body will become.
Of course, we know this from basic anatomy. What we also need to understand is that digestion has an energetic system as well. This system corresponds to the physical one and both need our care.
Each organ has at least one energy center that governs it.
Sending energy to the stomach and intestine will help your body have better digestion. This will guide you to eat exactly the necessary amounts and to a better distribution of nutrients. The result is a balanced physical and energetic body.
At a more subtle level two important things happen:
- you energize the liver’s energy channel (which flows through both left and right sides of the body);
- you activate the solar plexus energy center;
By stimulating the liver meridian you enhance the energy that flows through it.
By energizing the solar plexus chakra you remove negative emotions from the past and present. These can be feelings of fear, anxiety, or the need to control/manipulate other people. Instead, you’ll be able to promote feelings of acceptance, tolerance, and patience. It also enhances inner strength.
NOTE: The spleen and pancreas can store negative emotions such as fears, sadness, and grief.
Hands On The Right Side Of The Body
This position is mainly used for healing and energizing the liver, gallbladder, and part of the pancreas.
NOTE: Sensei Takata recommended treating the abdomen first with all its major organs before transitioning to the head and other parts of the body. However, a more modern approach is to treat yourself and/or the patient starting from the head down. The reason for this is to send the residual and negative energies down, from our body to the ground. Doing so will prevent spreading them throughout our bodies.
Like the previous position, this one also helps with digestion. It just places the organs on the right side of the body in a state of healing.
At the energetic level, the liver is a complex, powerful organ. It integrates both residual energies and negative emotions as well as positive ones. The latter is there to help heal the negative ones. We just need to give them “a push”. Consciously guide them to their purpose.
On a subtle level, we energize the right liver meridian and its energy center as well as the solar plexus chakra.
One of the negative emotions that the liver stores is anger.
By sending energy at this level, we remove the negative prints that anger leaves behind. Still, it is necessary to change our behavior towards people and situations in life. The more we understand this, the less anger we will attract. This leads to a healthier and more balanced liver and gallbladder.
By cleansing the solar plexus chakra we contribute significantly to keeping away anger and other negative emotions.
Both Hands Below The Navel On The Lower Abdomen
This Reiki hand position helps you balance part of the small and large intestines while supporting a healthy absorption of nutrients.
At a spiritual level, you develop self-acceptance, creativity, and the ability to gather information. This happens because, you find your true inner-self or Kundalini energy. Everything that flows through here will be remembered and used throughout your life.
Here you have the Seika Tanden, one of the main energy power centers according to the Japanese esoteric philosophy. In many Asian cultures, this is believed to be the energy “warehouse” of the whole body and the place of physical and spiritual equilibrium.
Reiki Hand Positions For Kidneys
For this position, you can either use your palms or the back of your hand. It really doesn’t matter. When activated with Reiki, hands have no polarity.
With this position, we send Reiki to the backside of the spleen, liver, and kidneys.
By sending energy to your kidneys you enhance your daily level of energy. They are considered to hold most of our vital energy. It is a good Reiki position for removing stress.
At an energetic level, you stimulate the energy points located on the bladder meridian. Some of them correspond to the kidneys and gallbladder.
You also stimulate the back projection of the solar plexus chakra, thus cleansing residual emotions that connect to your past.
Fear is one negative emotion associated with the kidneys. By using Reiki you help eliminate this negative energy and turn it into light.
Reiki Hand Positions For The Lower Back Area
With this position, you help heal and strengthen the lumbar area, the sciatic nerve.
You also energize part of the intestines and the base of the spine.
On an energetic level, you stimulate the sacral chakra, responsible for the creative energies, sexuality, and social skills.
Also, you stimulate the “belt” meridian which keeps the energy in the Seika Tanden.
Placing your hands here helps boost your kundalini energy.
Sending Reiki for 10 minutes a day is enough.
Hands On The Hips
Place each palm on the inguinal junction (the line that unites the legs with the rest of the body).
The right-hand goes on the right hip while the left-hand goes on the left hip. The tips of the fingers are touching each other.
Here we energize parts of the small and large intestine as well as the reproductive system. This position helps the ovaries, uterus (prostate for men), and bladder be in good health and function at optimum levels.
With this position, you energize the blood flow to your legs, your inguinal lymph nodes, and your muscle tendons located in this area.
You can also send energy to the appendix.
IMPORTANT: If the appendix has an infection you should NOT use Reiki as a treatment. Consult a doctor or a specialist as soon as possible.
Reiki Hand Positions For Knee Pain
This part of the Reiki hand positions is perhaps best done when sitting in a chair.
We need to pay attention to our knees because they store part of the residual energies gathered from the places we’ve visited.
These energies can also add up from years of too little or too much physical activity.
From a spiritual perspective, the knees and elbows represent our manifestation towards certain events and changes in life.
The right part represents a more rational manifestation while the left represents the creative side.
Our knees are strongly connected with our vital energy and to our deep, inner-self manifestation. This is because our legs and feet energetically correspond to the Earth Star, Root and Sacral chakras.
I recommend sitting in a chair and placing each hand on the corresponding knee for 10 minutes when doing self-treatment.
Hand Positions For Feet And Ankles
Similar to your knees, your feet and ankles can trap residual energies from the places you’ve visited. The same is true for extreme physical activity or inactivity.
Our soles are like maps. They have reflex points that treat multiple parts of our body. Sending Reiki to them will gradually stimulate those points. Eventually, the corresponding areas of our physical body will improve and even heal.
Sending Reiki here will also stimulate the kidney’s meridians as well as your grounding ability.
As said before, our legs, knees, feet, and soles are in strong connection to the Earth Star, Root and Sacral chakras. Therefore, they should all have a healthy connection to Earth.
Sit in a chair and hold each foot between your palms. Send light for 10 minutes or for as long as you feel like. Do so as part of the self-treatment.
Reiki Hand Positions For The Chakras – The Modern Approach
Most traditional Reiki hand positions correspond to the primary and secondary energy centers (chakras). Even if they were not part of the Japanese tradition, the practitioners understood the energy flow, the presence of the meridians, and the centers of power (Tandens).
With time, Reiki has evolved, and new approaches have emerged by borrowing from other traditions. One of these ways is integrating the concept of chakras and energy channels within the Reiki self-treatment.
Still, both the traditional and non-traditional hand positions have their benefits. Many practitioners have found that the two complement each other and offer a more complete healing experience.
Today, there is no one “right” way to do Reiki self-treatments. Instead, experiment with different hand positions and find what works best for you. Become aware of your energy flow and the sensations you feel in various body areas.
Reiki is not a competition but a journey of self-discovery.
Hands On The Crown Chakra
This is where the main energy flow manifests, which helps cleanse the pathway to a greater connection with Divinity and higher self.
By opening the crown chakra, you enhance the energy flow and support your potential for manifesting better intuition, awareness, and higher-self consciousness.
Hands On The Third Eye Chakra + Back Projection
This Reiki hand position is between the eyebrows and lower back of your head. At this level you stimulate the activation of the third eye chakra which is the center of intelligence, intuition, wisdom, and memory.
Hands On The Throat Chakra + Back Projection
Self-expression is vital for our life. Therefore sending energy at this level will help you in many ways including communicating rather than merely speaking.
This gradually activates the throat chakra which plays a crucial role in verbal manifestation. It’s also a solid contributor to self-confidence and to an overall state of well-being.
Hands On The Heart Chakra + Back Projection
Needless to say, we all have emotions gathered inside us, some of which need deep cleansing. Using Reiki here will help harmoniously open your heart by activating the heart chakra.
You enhance your ability to offer and receive compassion, love, and become more caring towards yourself and others.
In turn, this will help heal your physical, energetic, mental, and emotional structures.
Hands On The Solar Plexus Chakra + Back Projection
This is the center of protection. Balancing this area will strengthen your inner security and energize the organs in this part of the body.
Place one hand on the front of the body (solar plexus area), and the other on the back projection, slightly above the kidneys.
An overactive solar plexus chakra may lead to anxiety and repelling most people you interact with. The opposite leads to lethargy and a lack of willpower. When this chakra is balanced, you will find yourself being more assertive and confident while having a healthy sense of personal space.
Hands On The Sacral Chakra + Back Projection
To work with your sacral chakra, place your hands 1 inch below the navel. This is the center of sexuality, creativity, and ambition. Healing here will help you accept yourself genuinely and develop healthy relationships.
Hands On The Root Chakra
The hand position for the root chakra is located at the inguinal level.
The hand position for the root chakra is located at the inguinal level. Sending energy to this area will help you become more grounded and benefit from stronger vital energy.
You’ll better adapt to challenging situations in life and improve your mental-emotional state. Healing the root chakra can also translate into a more relaxed and disciplined perspective toward your sexuality and vital instincts.
Enhance Your Practice With Additional Techniques
Self-treatment When Lying In Bed
This is something that I find very useful.
When going to bed place your activated palms on top of your head.
Stay like this for 10 minutes and don’t worry if you fall asleep. The energy will go where it’s needed.
You can even start with the intention, should you fall asleep, that this energy will go where it is needed the most in your body.
If you manage to stay awake continue for as long as you can until eventually, you fall asleep.
I sometimes manage to reach the heart or solar plexus chakra. Most of the times though, I fall asleep at the crown chakra level.
If you’re able to finish a full self-treatment, even better.
Some might feel too energized after this exercise. If that’s the case, stop practicing self-treatment before going to bed. Do so for a while to balance your Yin and Yang energies within your body.
The Fast Self-Treatment
There is a way to “save time” when practicing Reiki. Of course it does not have the same effect as the complete self-treatment but still, it is quite useful.
Follow the steps below and stay in each position at least 3-5 minutes.
- Place one palm on top of your head and one on the root chakra;
- One hand on the third eye chakra and one on the sacral chakra;
- Place one palm on the throat chakra and one on the solar plexus chakra;
- Both hands go on the heart chakra;
Try to feel the Universal energy flowing through you. Try to be aware of yourself and how the energy floods your whole body from head to toe. Imagine being that channel that becomes more and more cleansed each day.
5 Traditional Techniques For Specific Outcomes
Reiki practitioners often look to enhance their practice, and find new ways to do so. The key is using the right one for the situation. Consider these 5 techniques to help you achieve specific outcomes.
• Focus the universal energy in one place.
Simply put, this represents the idea of sending light to someone, something or an event. Just hold your palms up with the intention of sending Reiki to the desired person or situation. It is advisable to visualize the beam of light ejecting out of your hands. This action will amplify its effect.
• Scan the body for imbalances.
We can use this on ourselves as well as on a student.
While holding your palms one next to the other, slowly scan the body (from the head, down to the feet) for any difference in vibration. The received sensations may differ from one person or one area to another. The sensations may be such as tingling, pulsating, stinging, cold or warm.
• Gather residual energies from your energetic fields.
This is a technique that you will rarely find written anywhere and it is very effective. Basically, after self-treatment you can use your hands or just visualize how you are brushing with your hands any residue/negative energy from your energy fields, sending it to the ground (like combing). It is done slowly, with no rush for all your body.
• Stimulate a the vital energy flow through meridians.
Considered a more pointed way of treating yourself and others, it is a very useful method of unblocking and purifying different areas of the body.
Simply use a rhythmic tap, using your fingers (or the tip of your fingers) on the affected area.
For example, I use this method for the thymus gland – while tapping I visualize it activating and becoming more energized.
• Cleansing energetic strings after attunements or treatment on others.
This last one is not considered a technique but rather a cleaning procedure that follows the treatment.
After your self-treatment, simply use the right arm to swipe on the left arm and vice versa – 3 times for both. The same for the upper body part – use the right arm to swipe starting from your left shoulder and finishing to the right hip. Then use the left arm to swipe from the right shoulder to the left hip.
This will clean any energetic residue that could have been left behind during therapy on yourself as well as on others.