When students sign up to take a Reiki II class, one of the techniques they are often most interested in learning is Distance Healing, also referred to as Absentee Reiki. Clients sometimes ask about this technique as well.
In this comprehensive guide I include:
- Information about what Distance Reiki is
- Why I prefer calling it Absentee Reiki
- How it works
- How to maximize the effectiveness of the technique
- What to expect from Distance Reiki as a client
- Direct examples from the student’s perspective
So here we go! Here’s everything you need to know about Reiki Distance Healing.
What is Distance Reiki Healing?
Distance Reiki is a technique within the system of Reiki that enables you to give a Reiki session beyond the limitations of time and space. It expands the practitioner’s ability to transmit spiritual energy beyond physical touch.
In other words, it’s a way to offer Reiki without the recipient being in the same room with you.
Why do I prefer calling it Absentee Healing?
From a traditional Japanese Reiki perspective, the Reiki Absentee Healing Technique focuses on offering Reiki from a state of Oneness, or connection to everything. In this way, you aren’t “sending” Reiki, instead you’re feeling one with another person and sharing Reiki this way.
The word distance implies separation (the opposite of being in a state of Oneness) so I prefer using the word absentee instead. For me, this is further supported by the use of the Reiki symbol and mantra HSZSN (often referred to as the Distance Reiki symbol) in conjunction with the Absentee Healing technique. HSZSN is all about helping us be in a state of Oneness.
How Absentee Reiki Works
The Absentee Reiki Technique is usually 15-20 minutes long, but can continue longer if you like.
The practitioner schedules a time and date with the recipient (or client) for the Absentee Reiki session. By setting up a specific time the recipient can be in a receptive state (such as lying down or meditating during the treatment).
In advance of the session, the recipient will also email a photo of themselves to the practitioner, along with their name, age, location and any intention they have of what they want the session to support (e.g. a physical or health issue, goal, or challenge).
Having these details will help the practitioner connect to the client or recipient if they haven’t met before.
How can I maximize the effectiveness of the Absentee Reiki technique?
There are several things you can do to maximize the effectiveness of Distance Reiki Healing:
Create sacred space: Use candles, lights, music, incense, etc: whatever helps you get in the right state of mind to be in a state of oneness to offer Reiki. Barbara gives a great example below about what helps her get into the right state of mind.
Get in a meditative mindset: Recite the Reiki precepts, sit in meditation while doing the Reiki Purifying Breath technique, etc.
Work with the Reiki symbols and mantras: Chant, draw, or say the Reiki mantra or Distance Reiki symbol for HSZSN to help you access the oneness state of mind as you hold the client’s request in your mind.
Visualize: Imagine the client as if they were right in front of you—what do they look like, sound like, smell like.
What to expect from Distance Reiki as a client:
Clients will sometimes notice physical sensations during the Distance Reiki session, just as they might during a in-person session—warmth, tingling, or a sense of relaxation or peacefulness, for example. You might also notice the mind calming down or the alleviation of physical symptoms.
From the Student’s Perspective
As part of my Reiki II certification process, I ask each student to answer a few questions about their personal experience practicing the techniques and meditations from class.
Below four students share their unique experiences practicing Reiki Distance Healing:
Sarah Koestner is an actor, teacher, and coach, as well as a Reiki III graduate:
Giving Absentee Reiki was a fascinating experience. I truly doubted my ability to give this kind of Reiki before being challenged by the certification process to give it a try.
I feel like I learned on a deep level that distance is an illusion. I had a profound experience giving Reiki to my sister, where I had a visions of “spirits” giving her Reiki. After it was over she told me that she felt like she had been given a “virtual massage.” I thought that was such a great description of what Absentee Reiki can be.
Other recipients had very visual experiences. Again, it was interesting to see how everyone’s experience of Reiki can be different, and yet equally profound.
Working with the Distance Reiki symbol and mantra HSZSN as part of the Absentee Reiki technique was enormously powerful. I feel like I can genuinely feel the illusion of distance fading away when I work with this symbol. It immediately gives me a profound sense of inner peace and calm, almost as if the world drops completely away.
Caroline Gomez is a yoga teacher, mom of three, and a Reiki III graduate. Here’s her experience using the Absentee Reiki technique:
I learned that just because I’m not physically with the person receiving Reiki, it doesn’t make the distance Reiki treatment any less powerful.
In addition, the absence of the physical body forces me as the practitioner to move inward and connect to my intuition even more than an in-person session. I’ve found that that the most profound and powerful treatments I’ve given have been distance Reiki sessions.
Barbara Becker is an actor and works in the arts, as well as being a Reiki III graduate:
After asking permission (which my mother gave with a degree of skepticism as to how Reiki can work from a distance, though she has gone to several Reiki circles at a Senior Center in Florida), I gave absentee Reiki to my mother on 4 consecutive nights, the same time each night.
She had recently fallen and was very bruised, achy and depressed/worried but relieved that she (thankfully) didn’t break anything. I hoped the Reiki transmissions would ease her pain and bruising, lighten her spirit, and aide in regaining her physical confidence during recovery.
Since this was my first time doing absentee Reiki, I set up a sacred space using John Levine’s music (Vision of Love) to relax and took purifying breaths while filling out a note card with a nature scene on the cover.
I chose to write in picture cards with their own envelopes instead of blank pieces of paper because this enhanced my ritual. I also used a lovely box which is now set aside to store future absentee transmission cards. Creating a special soothing environment grounded and strengthened my focus. Each night, I wrote down the date, my request, my mother’s information, her symptoms and my intentions after setting up my sacred space and then gave Reiki.
Over the 4 nights, I noticed that sometimes I was more focused than others, so I learned to give myself adequate time before beginning each transmission. My thoughts wandered at times beyond my mother to her two closest friends who are also dealing with health/pain issues, so I decided to include them on some level during the transmission while focusing mainly on her.
I discovered that visualizing my mom while holding a small stuffed animal and moving my hands over areas of her body that she had told me were affected helped because it made her more “tangible.” I am highly visual, so if I can “see,” it is easier to act. It helps to imagine, which in turn helps me to focus.
When I spoke to my mom after all 4 transmissions had been completed (as well as the day after my first transmission), she said she felt no improvement and was still depressed and sore. I was disappointed since I had hoped the transmissions would have immediate positive impact.
I believe that Reiki has enormous impact because of my own experiences. What I realized (yet again) is that I cannot control what she or anyone accepts or rejects on any level. Even though my efforts proved unsuccessful in her view, if one is open to something, it is more likely to have a positive impact and clearly if one is not, the opposite may occur.
All you can do is try/allow. Wanting it to “work” for her is like trying to control her. That is disrespectful. So I have to let go of that hope. I choose to believe that regardless of her current state, Reiki energy did move through her and will aide her recovery even if it doesn’t appear to have done so yet. She may not be able to accept this because her heart is sad, her body is sore, and she is not in a receptive state. That is now. My compassion must “see” that. The future holds possibilities. Tomorrow or next week may be different.
All one can do is allow the Reiki energy to flow. Where it lands, how it lands or is perceived by others is beyond our reach. One has to let it flow and let it go. One has to see that even within the “no” is a “yes” waiting to surface.
As an actress for decades (who continued my training for many years), I learned that once you develop a strong technique/foundation, you must trust it enough to let go of it in performance and rely on your gut/intuition. Not everything you learn serves you well for each role. Certain things may fall by the wayside and not work for you, while others will form the basis of what you do regularly as a performer. Knowledge is your toolbox. Each role may require different tools.
Diona Ceniza is an arts therapist and Reiki III graduate:
During the times I’ve done Absentee Reiki, I felt pretty comfortable with the process. I was able to visualize the other person clearly and feel the energy being channeled to him/her. But there is something about being able to touch the individual, or at least be in the same space with them, that for me takes the session to a greater, more meaningful level. It just feels more natural, so I admittedly find myself pushing Absentee Reiki aside in favor of the chair or table protocol.
It’s interesting to read how different each student’s experience was, and how trusting yourself and not judging the outcome is so key. And to realize that there are many different tools and techniques in the Reiki practitioner’s toolbox, and both the practitioner and recipient will be drawn more or less to the various techniques. The flexibility of the system of Reiki enables you to modify and adjust according to both you and your client’s needs.
How can I schedule a Distance Reiki Healing treatment?
If you’re interested in taking a Reiki class and learning more about Distance Healing, read this previous post about how to find a qualified teacher.
And if there’s a topic or question about Distance Reiki I didn’t include, let me know and I’ll include it.