It’s been said that where attention goes, energy flows. Whether our attention is directed inward, for example on a thought or emotion, or outward such as listening to a friend or watching a movie, the things we pay attention to affect us in a very real way. In certain situations we may have little say over the things that require our attention. Work, family, school, are just a few of things that demand our attention on some level. And despite our best efforts to manage all these facets of our lives, we often wind up feeling overwhelmed by it all. Our psyches become so cluttered by all the demands on our attention, that very little is left over for ourselves. As a result, the body and mind fall into disrepair. We get sick, we suffer an injury, we become depressed, and the list goes on and on.

The body and mind need our attention if they are to remain healthy and vibrant. And what is attention other than, energy. Reiki is one word we can give this energy but it’s also been referred to as ‘Chi’ in China, ‘Ki’ in Japan, and ‘Prana’ in India. These words point to the life force inherent in all things. It’s in the foods that we eat, the liquids that we drink, the air that we breathe. It’s the very essence of who we are. We transmit this energy to others every time we speak to someone, look at someone, touch someone, or even by listening and giving our attention to someone.

Reiki is but one way of channeling this energy for the purpose of healing. There are three guiding principles a Reiki practitioner follows: Gassho, Reiji-Ho, and Chiryo.

Gassho literally translated means “two hands coming together”. In India this is known as “Namaste”, which means, “I greet the divine within you”. Before any healing session, a Reiki practitioner will enter a meditative state as a means of quieting the mind and focusing attention. With eyes closed, the hands are placed together in front of the chest. Attention is then focused on the point where the two middle fingers meet.

Reiji-Ho loosely translates means, “methods of indicating Reiki power”. From a Gassho position, the practitioner will ask for Reiki energy to flow through them. Then they ask for the recovery or health of the recipient on all levels. And finally, the folded hands are raised to the third eye in front of the temple and guidance is requested.

Chiryo means “treatment”. Once Gassho and Reiji-Ho are complete, the treatment can begin. A Reiki practitioner will then follow his/her intuition as they begin with the laying on of hands. There are many hand positions that can be used in each area of the body. Sometimes the hands are lightly touching the body; sometimes they are hovering slightly above. Dr Usui, the Buddhist monk who developed Reiki into a healing art form, had many techniques that he used in his treatments. The use of the breathe, the mind’s eye, symbols, and mantras, and of course the hands were all means he used of focusing the Reiki energy into the body.

Touch then becomes one of the most powerful and effective ways of transmitting this healing energy when done with the intention of healing. Unencumbered by words or concepts, communication through touch takes on transcendent quality. Instead of directing the energy through use of the mind, a Reiki practitioner’s hands become the conduit for it, allowing it go to wherever it is needed. It’s at this point the healing power of touch affects us in a very real way. Our attention is drawn to the hands and body, and the energy begins to flow.

Joe Azevedo is a New York State/NCBTMB Licensed Massage Therapist, ARCB Certified Reflexologist, and an Advanced Reiki Practitioner. He is a graduate of the Swedish Institute and is the owner and founder of Brooklyn Reflexology.