• Studio ATAO

Reiki 101

Updated: Nov 17

Community Skillshare

Season 5: Self-Care

Episode 1: Reiki 101 with Frankie Fernandes


Studio ATAO’s Community Skillshare is a virtual learning series that tackles specific, actionable and pertinent topics with subject matter experts. Each season (1-4 episodes) is centered on one main topic and is paired with a thorough resources document (such as this one) with additional information and relevant links. Community Skillshares take place on Studio ATAO’s IG Live and we will announce upcoming episodes via our Instagram.

This particular resources document was compiled by Studio ATAO’s core team to complement our Skillshare with Frankie Fernandes, a wellness practitioner specializing in reiki energy work. You can learn more about Frankie and her business, Golden Hour Healing, here!

We hope Frankie’s Skillshare Session and this resource document can provide useful information for you to connect with yourself and practice self-care. Please feel free to share this resource widely with anyone who you think may need it.

This is a living, evolving document and is not exhaustive of all information on this topic. If you have suggestions on how we can better improve this document, we would love to hear from you at hello@studioatao.org.

If you’re interested in joining in on the next Community Skillshare, please follow us on Instagram at @StudioATAO. If you’ve benefited from this free resource and want to help support our team so we can keep working on efforts like these, please consider sending us a one time donation or becoming a monthly patron. Any dollars of support is deeply appreciated.

Table of Contents

  • Video of Season 5 Episode 1

  • What Is Reiki & How Does It Work?

  • What is Distance Reiki?

  • What To Expect in a Reiki Session & Getting Prepared For Reiki

Reiki 101 IG Live Episode

What is Reiki?

From The International Center for Reiki Training and Golden Hour Healing:

Reiki is a Japanese technique meant for stress reduction and relaxation. It is based on the idea that life energy flows through us, and needs to be nourished, so we can live happy and healthy lives. Beyond our physical bodies, our body is made up of our aura (energy fields), chakras (energy centers), and meridians (energy pathways) -- energy fields take in energy, chakras break it down, meridians distribute it across our body.

In a Reiki session, a practitioner channels and transmits this life force energy through gentle touch in-person or virtual guided meditation (i.e. distance reiki) to encourage physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. Because the body is “comprised of energy vibrating at different speeds”, the practitioner must address each energy layer and its effects on the body, mind, and spirit.

  1. The first layer of energy is the Etheric Field, ¼” to 2” from the body, and has the same energy as our physical body.

  2. The second layer is the Emotional Field, 1” to 3” beyond the body. This is where we are in touch with our feelings.

  3. The third layer is the Mental Field, associated with our thoughts. This is 3” to 8” from the body.

  4. The last field, the Spiritual Field, “helps us relate to our higher self and spiritual dimensions”. It is 6” to 2 feet from our body.

Simply put, the act of reiki is meant to be healing and rejuvenative, so we can replenish our life energy across all these fields. Frankie will sometimes call this “a massage without the massage”.

Rei ki is formed from two Japanese words that translate to “god’s wisdom or the higher power” and “life force energy”. Together, reiki means something along the lines of “spiritually guided life force energy.” Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui, and while it is not religious per se, it draws upon the ideals of peace, harmony, and balance for our spiritual selves. Per Usui’s teachings, reiki is not just a one-time experience but an ideology where the reiki client must “accept responsibility for [their own] healing and take an active part in it” in order for reiki to have lasting results -- that is, an “active commitment to improve oneself.”

Does Reiki Work?

As with all types of holistic therapy, reiki has experienced its fair share of discounting from medical practitioners. Although the idea of “life energy” is widespread across different cultures -- such as qi in China and prana in India -- because it cannot be measured by Western scientific instruments many remain skeptical of its practice. However, some studies in the last decade have demonstrated positive results on the effects of reiki on stress and pain reduction.

From Golden Hour Healing:

From a scientific perspective, experiencing a reiki session assists in activating the parasympathetic nervous system to encourage our bodies to essentially “rest and digest”. In an in-person session where gentle touch is used, the recipient also benefits from increased blood flow to the areas of touch. Bringing freshly oxygenated blood to an area assists the body in its natural healing processes, much in the way therapeutic massage does. (However, note that a reiki practitioner does not manipulate the body.)

From a spiritual perspective, the job of a practitioner is to expose you to the positive energetic frequencies of universal life energy to influence your vibration on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual level.

Here at the Studio, we are decidedly pro-science and support the pursuit of empirical research and rigorous testing of scientific theory. That being said, we recognize there are many practices that bring joy and healing to people, especially those that have been used for centuries in parts of the world outside the U.S., that do not fit neatly into Western scientific principles (for example, reiki, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathic remedies). We aim to hold space for these practices if they are indeed useful to our community, and encourage everyone to make their own decisions on if and how these systems may serve your needs, or integrate them into your self-care regimen if you enjoy its effects.

What Is Distance Reiki?

There are 3 levels of reiki expertise. Level 1 centers around healing our own selves, as well as helping others with hands-on (in-person) reiki work. Level 2 is where distance reiki comes into play -- this certification allows reiki practitioners to offer reiki work in different spaces to their clients. (We’ll discuss more on this below.) Finally, Level 3 is the master level where reiki practitioners are allowed to train others in the practice of reiki.

Those certified with Level 2 and beyond are able to practice distance reiki, or hosting reiki sessions with clients far away from the practitioner. The idea here is that practitioners are able to send reiki energy to their clients faraway, addressing energy imbalances (or lack of energy) in their body, mind, and spirit. You can read about one writer’s distance reiki session here.

What to Expect in the Distance Reiki Session

The majority of the session will take place lying down (if you’ve done yoga, you can envision the “corpse pose”). For Frankie’s session, she’ll first guide the audience through breathwork and a mental scan of their body to pinpoint any aches, pains, or discomfort.

Next, she’ll guide everyone through some conscientious movement: by bringing your hands together, making contact with each finger tip to the other -- pointer to pointer, middle finger to middle finger, and so on -- and slowly rubbing your hands together to feel the warmth created here. You’ll then place your hands on different parts of your own body, imagining the warmth, vibration, and energy being absorbed.

Once the exploration of hand placements has been completed, Frankie will invite you to imagine embodying this energy and sending it out to the world around you. Finally, she’ll guide you to bring awareness back to your own body and mind, introduce small movements to wake up the body, come to a seat, open your eyes, and continue on with your day.

How to Prepare for a Reiki Session

  1. Find a comfortable, quiet space where you lay down and not be disturbed for 1 hour.

  2. Drink plenty of water before your reiki session to stay hydrated.

  3. Wear loose, breathable, and flowy clothes that don’t restrict your body movements.

  4. Make sure to have eaten before your session, preferably a series of smaller, lighter meals so you are not hungry but don’t feel overly full.

  5. Adjust the air temperature and humidity of the area you’ll be relaxing so it is well-suited for your preferences.

  6. If you’re able, take 15-30 minutes before your reiki session starts to relax, breathe, reflect on how you’re feeling (physically, mentally, spiritually). You can also use this time to journal or meditate.

What Next?

Stay tune for additional episodes of our self-care season of Community Skillshares by following us on Instagram!

If you are enjoying the Community Skillshare series and want to help our team at Studio ATAO, you can become a monthly patron of ours at Patreon or send us a one-time gift via GiveLively. We thank you for your support!

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Site Credits

Photography: Stacey Salter Moore, Briana Balducci, Joseph Magnelli, David Chow, BK Narayanan, David Nguyen

Videography: Federica Nanfeng, Sarah M. Park

© 2020 by Studio ATAO, Inc. A 501(c)3 nonprofit.