Reiki Articles

Reiki: The Energy Doula
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in Midwifery Today Issue 92 (Winter 2009/10), page 16.
by Toni Rakestraw

Many people have heard of Reiki, but most don't really know what it is. Put simply, it is a form of energy healing. It is non-invasive and does not harm the recipient in any way. Established in the mid-1800s by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan, Reiki had its origins in ancient Tibet. Dr. Usui took these teachings and started a clinic in Japan, where he not only treated many people using teams of practitioners, but taught others how to do this form of healing. One of the best descriptions of Reiki (pronounced ray-key) that I have read is from Reiki Energy Medicine, by Libby Barnett and Maggie Chambers. In this book they say, "Reiki is a precise method for connecting this universal energy (chi) with the body's innate powers of healing….This hands-on healing art, a powerful adjunct to conventional therapeutic modalities, fuels the body's homeostatic mechanisms and thereby assists in the restoration of balance on the physical, mental and emotional levels. Because this life-force energy supports optimal development and fulfillment, Reiki promotes the highest healing good for all living things."

Reiki works through the body's electrical system. Sometimes our cells don't communicate with one another as well as they should, and Reiki can help clear that passage so that the body's own healing network can do its work. It works on a physical, emotional and mental level, helping its recipients feel better, heal faster and think more clearly.

Since my own Reiki training, I have used it on a daily basis on myself and my family, for everything from headaches to bumps and bruises. Even my littlest one calms down in a few moments, once she feels the Reiki energy flowing. It helped my husband recover from open heart surgery at a much faster rate, allowing him to return to work after only two months. Reiki can be used on yourself, on others, on plants, pets, food…anything. It certainly hasn't hurt my garden this year—it is growing very well, despite the frequent trimming by the local deer population.

Sometimes, Reiki works in a rather roundabout way. Say you have a sore shoulder. You give yourself Reiki, and instead of the pain relief you expect, you end up dealing with a subject that has been causing you tension. It could be that the shoulder pain was a physical manifestation of the tension that had been building up in your life. By helping you face the issue, the shoulder is healed in an indirect fashion. While much about Reiki and how it functions is still a mystery, the fact that it works remains. As Hawayo Takata, one of the original Reiki masters, used to tell her students when they wanted intellectual answers on how or why it worked would say, "Just do Reiki! Do Reiki! Do Reiki!" The experience of feeling the energy move through you and into your client will teach you more about the energy than mere words can.

What Does Reiki Feel Like?

Every person perceives Reiki differently. Some people see swirly colors in their mind's eye; others feel heat or a tingling sensation move through their body. I had one client remark that her feet were warm for the first time in several years after a treatment. While not everyone feels instant effects, healing may occur over time. Others do feel immediate changes. Most practitioners, when giving Reiki, will feel their hands get hot. Sometimes they get cold, depending on what the client needs. Tingling is also a common feeling. Unlike some forms of energy work, you are not using your own energy to heal other people. Reiki flows through you, the practitioner, and into your client. With each healing you do, you are also benefitting from this energy, rather than depleting your own.

Reiki is not affiliated with any religion, though some practitioners prefer to pray or perform other spiritual routines to help them prepare for helping others. It is not mystical or magical—it is a true form of healing through touch.

Reiki and the Birth Attendant

There are many ways Reiki can assist someone who is attending births. First and foremost, treat yourself. How can any of us expect to help others when we are not feeling at our best? Attending births is not an easy profession. You miss sleep, meals and family events. This can wear you down physically as well as emotionally. Giving yourself Reiki can help you feel your best and perform your best for your clients. Use it on your way to a birth to clear your head of any residual stress from the day, so you can focus on your client's needs. Use it when you are exhausted at a long labor, or when you feel a headache coming on. When you get home from a birth, use Reiki to help yourself relax so you can get some much needed sleep. If complications arise at a birth, sending Reiki to yourself, the situation and your client can help you remain calm and present, so you can attend to your client in the best way possible.

When it comes to your clients, they will appreciate the many benefits you can give them with Reiki. Use Reiki to help alleviate your client's morning sickness, aches and pains of pregnancy, and stress. Reiki can help her relax and sleep better. Reiki can be given as simply as letting your hand rest on her hand. It is a wonderful way to add more direct touch into your practice.

When you are working with a client who is dealing with past birth trauma, Reiki can help. Have her relax while you give her Reiki. Ask her to describe her birth experience, letting her just flow with the story. After the session, the two of you can discuss her feelings. Repeat this a few more times as her pregnancy continues, letting her tell her story each session. Each time she should be able to release a little more of the trauma. If her partner was also affected, the same treatment can be given to that person. This is a gentle method for dealing with these issues. It will help them resolve any traumatic feelings and accept what happened in the past, while embracing the upcoming birth. Using Reiki in combination with other techniques may speed healing even more. Reiki has been used in conjunction with psychotherapy, and it has been shown that it helps accelerate the process by allowing the client to gain insights as well as release any residual emotions from the body.

Reiki can be sent all during labor, helping your client remain calm and peaceful. A simple touch can give her Reiki, or if she prefers not to be touched, it can be sent from across the room, or even from another room if needed. Reiki can help her relax into her contractions or help her when she feels overwhelmed. Reiki can help calm her fears, reduce her pain perception and help with discomfort.  A moment or two of Reiki before a pelvic exam may help mom relax. If mom needs to transfer, Reiki can be given all through the trip to the hospital and the entire time she is there, even from another room (as in the case of mom needing a cesarean). In the hospital, just as water has been called an aqua doula, Reiki can act as an energy doula: shortening labor, reducing the use of pain medications, and helping keep complications to a minimum. There are, in fact, many nurses and other medical personnel across the country who are integrating Reiki into their daily treatments with patients. It is used in emergency rooms, ambulances and hospices. All the practitioner needs to do is lay a hand gently on an arm or shoulder, or send the intent when it is not possible to actually touch the mother in labor.

Postpartum, Reiki can be given to both mother and baby to ease any aches and pains. Babies soak in Reiki energy like a sponge soaks up water: what would need an hour-long treatment in an adult may only take five minutes in a child. I have observed that babies born to women who have received Reiki during pregnancy react almost immediately when they feel the energy again. It can calm them quickly when they are upset or frightened. If the parents get attuned to Reiki, they can use it whenever it is needed.

Training in Reiki

Reiki training is attained in three stages. Level I teaches the basics and provides the first attunement to open a person to channel the energy. It is the beginning of a personal journey, as Reiki will help you become the best you can be, too. Level II introduces the training to send Reiki over a distance. It introduces Japanese symbols that are used as a focal point to help you focus your concentration. After you are used to giving Reiki for awhile, you may not need these focal points. Level III can be taken as a Master Practitioner or a Master Teacher. Teachers are taught how to attune others, while the Practitioner training just intensifies what has already been learned. Each level is taught separately in most cases, since doing all three can be exhausting. Learning one level at a time allows you time to become comfortable with the Reiki energy and treating others.

Most people prefer to take their training in person, while some may opt for distance training and attunement if they can't find any Reiki masters in their area. Some people find they are naturally open to the Reiki energy and can connect through their own practices of meditation. Whichever method of training is used, learning about Reiki never ends—just like learning about birth.

Toni Rakestraw has been practicing Reiki since 1999 and received her Level III Reiki Master Teacher certification in 2000. Passionate about pregnancy and birth, she has studied with ICEA, DONA and Ancient Art Midwifery Institute and was a practicing doula from 1994 to 1999. She and her husband run the Organic Birth website ( and are launching a new homebirth magazine, Organic Birth, the Voice of Homebirth. They live in Crow, Oregon, with their eight children (four of whom were born at home) and raise chickens, rabbits and vegetables.

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Ham, Gerard. 2009. Reiki in a Hospital Setting. Reiki News Magazine. Spring.
LaBarre, Cate. 2006. Reiki and Somatoemotional Release. Reiki News Magazine. Winter.
Lipinski, Kathie. 2006. Reiki and the Helping Professions, Part I: Caring for Yourself First. Reiki News Magazine. Fall.
Lipinski, Kathie. 2006. Reiki and the Helping Professions, Part II: Using Reiki in Your Professional Practice. Reiki News Magazine. Winter.
Lubeck, Walter. 2006. Reiki and Pregnancy. Reiki News Magazine. Fall.
Lubeck, Walter. 2008. Healing Techniques for Difficult Situations. Reiki News Magazine. Fall.
McCracken, Judy. 2008. Teaching Reiki to Caregivers. Reiki News Magazine. Winter.
Miles, Pamela. 2004. Reiki in Hospitals: Emergency Reiki. Reiki News Magazine. Fall.
Mills, Jeri. 2001. Tapestry of Healing. Alto, New Mexico: White Sage Press.
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Nielsen, Cori. 2006. Reiki and Painless Childbirth. Reiki News Magazine. Spring.
Rowland, Amy Z. 2005. Reiki as Complementary Care. Reiki News Magazine. Winter.
Sanders, Terry. 2006. A Doctor Turns to Reiki. Reiki News Magazine. Fall.
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Tennenbaum, Mia. 2004. Reiki and Childbirth. Reiki News Magazine. Fall.

You may visit's Toni's website though the link provided below

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Reiki in Pregnancy

by William Lee Rand, Reiki Master and Esteemed Writer

    (You can read this article and more like it at

I often receive questions concerning Reiki and pregnancy and one of the main questions is if it is safe to treat a pregnant woman.

There are many myths and misconceptions about Reiki and the idea that Reiki should not be given to pregnant women is one of them. So, the answer is YES, Reiki is safe for pregnant women!  In fact, Reiki works well in helping with all stages of pregnancy including conception and child birth. Reiki provides emotional as well as physical support and works not only on the mother, but also on the child. 

Remember, Reiki cannot cause harm and always works to reduce stress and improve health regardless of the condition.  However, it is important to make sure that one's own personal energy does not become involved with the treatment.  To ensure this, say a prayer before giving a treatment asking that your own ego and personal energy will be set to the side and that only pure Reiki energy will flow through you. Also pray on behalf of the mother and child that they will be nurtured and deeply healed by Reiki. This will help the treatment work in a more powerful way.

Treatments before conception can focus on creating a balanced, loving and harmonious relationship between the parents and toward the future child which likely will be present in spirit.  In addition to giving a general treatment, also treat the heart, solar plexus and hips. (Be careful not to touch the genital area or the breasts. Treat these areas only in the aura and only with permission). At this stage, treat the husband also if possible as it is important that loving, nurturing and healthy emotional feelings be strengthened between the parents.

If the parents are willing, it would be very helpful if they took Reiki training so they can treat themselves and each other also.  In the same way that Reiki treatments are safe for pregnant woman, so is the training and attunement. Before the attunement, simply say a prayer acknowledging the fact that the student is pregnant and that the baby is present.  If the parents have Reiki, suggest that they give each other treatments every day!

During pregnancy, in addition to a general treatment, treat the mothers back, focusing on the areas of greatest stress and also treat the stomach area which will treat the baby as well.

During child birth, treat the stomach and lower back, or simply give Reiki to the mother's shoulders or where ever you are guided.

Reiki master Mari Hall wrote an interesting article on this subject describing how she worked with an infertile couple, used Reiki to help them conceive, then gave treatments during pregnancy and during the birthing process. Her article, Reiki and Fertility appears in the winter edition of the hard copy Reiki News magazine.