When students sign up to take a Reiki II training, one of the techniques they are often most interested in learning is Distance Reiki Healing, also referred to as Absentee Reiki or Virtual Reiki. More and more clients are discovering Distance Reiki and enjoying some of the added benefits of this kind of session.
In this comprehensive guide I include:
- Information about what Distance Reiki is
- Why I prefer calling it Absentee Reiki
- How Distance Healing works
- How to maximize the effectiveness of Virtual Reiki
- What to expect from a Distance Reiki session as a client
- Direct examples from the student’s perspective
So here we go! Here’s everything you need to know about Distance Reiki.
What is Distance Reiki Healing?
Distance Reiki is a technique within the system of Reiki that enables you to give or receive 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 as the practitioner.
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, the practitioner isn’t “sending” Reiki, instead it’s 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.
As technology allows us to connect with each other online more and more, the terms Virtual Reiki or Online Reiki are being used. Basically, they are all terms for the same thing, so pick your favorite!
How Does Distance Reiki Work?
The Absentee Reiki Technique can vary depending on if it’s a session with a professional Reiki Master or if it’s more informal with a friend or family member.
In both contexts, the practitioner schedules a time and date with the recipient or client for the Distance 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).
Distance Reiki with a Professional Practitioner
The 30-minute or hour session can be conducted by phone or online (e.g. using Zoom, Skype, Facetime, etc.) and usually begins with an Intake Form, or discussion of what the client wants the session to support and any relevant details. Then the client lies down or sits comfortably in a chair with their eyes closed if that feels comfortable. Head support is recommended so you can relax more easily.
Or in advance of the session, the recipient could 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). There’s no requirement to speak online or by phone, it’s up to the preferences of the Reiki Master and client. Having these details will help the practitioner connect to the client if they haven’t met before. The client lies down at the scheduled time.
At the conclusion of the session, there’s either a brief discussion and wrap up, or an email exchange where anything the practitioner or client noticed during the session can be shared and questions can be addressed.
Distance Reiki with Loved Ones
The Absentee Reiki Technique is usually 15-20 minutes long, but can continue longer depending on preference, and the recipient lies down or sits comfortably during the session as described above. There might be a brief discussion before or after the session as well, though it’s often a little more informal.
How can I maximize the effectiveness of Distance Reiki?
There are several things you can do to maximize the effectiveness of Distance Reiki Healing as both the practitioner and the recipient or client.
Create Sacred Space:
Use candles, lights, music, incense, etc: whatever helps you get in the right frame of mind to be in a state of oneness and feel relaxed and receptive to offer or receive Reiki. Barbara gives a great example below about what helps her get into the right state of mind. This will vary depending on your personal preference so get creative and have fun with it.
Get in a Meditative Mindset:
If you’re a practitioner, recite the Reiki precepts, sit in meditation while doing the Reiki Purifying Breath technique, etc. If you’re the recipient or client, you could sit quietly and take a few deep breaths, use an affirmation or set an intention for what you want the session to support.
Work with the Reiki Symbols and Mantras:
If you’re the practitioner, 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.
If you’re the recipient, simply relax; you don’t have to do anything. You could even drift off and take a brief nap; we often go quite deep when we are asleep or in between that wake/sleep state. It’s not necessary to fall asleep; the main point is not to try to stay awake.
For the practitioner, imagine the recipient as if they were right in front of you—what they look like, sound like, etc.
If you’re the client, at the end of the session, you could imagine healing sunlight, golden or white light, filling the entire body. Take a few deep breaths as you integrate the healing from the session.
What to expect from Distance Reiki as a client:
The potential benefits are the same as an in-person Reiki session. 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 an alleviation of physical symptoms or pain relief. Additional benefits could include feeling more grounded and centered, sleeping better (this is a big one!), or feeling more emotional balance.
How can I schedule a Distance Reiki Healing treatment?
From the Student’s Perspective:
I asked 3 Reiki II students to share their personal experiences practicing the Absentee Reiki technique. 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.
Here are their first-hand accounts 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.
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.
If there’s a topic or question about Distance Reiki I didn’t include, let me know and I’ll include it.