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Reiki vs Acupuncture: Understanding the difference between Acupuncture and Reiki

Acupuncture and Reiki are natural, energy healing practices that are used to repair, remedy and replenish the energy system of the person receiving treatment. Both practices place their

Practising reiki
Practising reiki

origins and history in Asia, and both are considered by Western societies to be Alternative, Eastern or Complementary Healing practices. This is because most western countries and cultures value the scientific medical model, known as western medicine over all other forms of healing. And while the scientific based western medical system is remarkable by almost every measure in terms of healing the physical body, more is required to ensure our health and well being than extensive knowledge of the physical attributes and processes of the human body.

Acupuncture and Reiki are among the most known and widely accepted natural energy healing practices. Both provide treatment and remedy to the human energy system and through that system improve health and well-being in body and mind. Reiki and Acupuncture accomplish this in different ways, by working on two different systems within the whole of the human energy system.

The human energy system runs through the physical body and surrounds it. Similar to the internal workings of our bodies, our energy system is a comprised of complex systems that while separate are inter-related and work together. While many have heard of, and have a cursory understanding of the body’s circulatory system, endocrine system and lymph, few have heard of, and still less understand the energy system of the human body, which among other things includes meridian lines, an aura, and a chakra system. Despite this our general health and well-being is determined by the health of each independently.

The practice of Acupuncture is the strategic and purposeful application of specialized needles through the skin for the purpose of eliminating blockages within the meridian lines, and restoring the proper flow qi. Qi, (pronounced Chi) is vital energy that sustains life. Blockages, left without remedy or treatment will result in injury, illness and a decreased capacity to engage in and enjoy daily activities. Qi often diminishes with age, and so many consequences of low Qi or blocked Qi are attributed and dismissed as old age. However Qi masters, students of Qi-Gong, or Tai Chi of every age, and those who have cared for their meridian system will attest that injury and limited capacity are less a factor of age than many believe. An Acupuncturist is licensed in the practice of Acupuncture, and many hold advanced degrees in the study of Oriental Medicine. For this reason, Acupuncture is considered an advanced care treatment, as it requires a specialized knowledge of the energy anatomy it works on as well as advanced training on the application of its tools. Acupuncture is usually performed in a tranquil setting or treatment room and requires time be set aside for treatment. Approximate time about 45 min. to an hour.

In contrast, Reiki is both a self-care and advanced care practice. The practice of Reiki involves the application of cupped Reiki hands applied directly on the body, or aura of the person receiving Reiki. Reiki repairs and provide remedy to imbalances resulting from the wear and tear of daily life. These imbalances if left untreated will also result in physical ailments that include illness, injury and diminished capacity for and enjoyment of daily activities. This is a wear and tear that no one is immune from, but all can have access to its remedy, and Reiki is the daily remedy required for recovery.

Unlike Acupuncture, Reiki can be given by anyone that has received a Reiki attunement. This makes Reiki immediately accessible and easy to use. Once attuned, the person becomes a channel from which Reiki energy will flow when the hands are positioned in a relaxed cupped manner. Reiki can be given to others and/or used exclusively as a daily self-care practice.

Reiki can be done throughout the day and even during other activities, for example you can give yourself Reiki while in a meeting, by simply placing your cupped Reiki hand on your lap, or while standing in line at the grocery store, by placing your cupped Reiki hand on your hip or back. As both activities are not out of the ordinary in terms of appearance, no one will likely notice. Additionally, Reiki sessions can be scheduled with a Reiki Practitioner or Master and like an Acupuncture appointment sessions are usually done in a tranquil setting or treatment room and last around 45 min to an hour.

What is most valuable to understand about both practices is that they both work and will always work in the energy areas they are designed to work on. Acupuncture will always provide remedy to the meridian lines and Reiki will always work to provide remedy to and within the aura and the physical body. Through treatment one can expect to find relief from symptoms, diminished pain and/or discomfort and greater ease and well-being. If however, the person receiving does not, the failure is not in the treatment itself, it is simply that the originating cause of symptoms, pain and/or ailment is in a area other than the one the chosen treatment is focused on and provided remedy to. In such instances, its help to remember that knowing what’s not working can be as valuable as knowing what does, for it can bring you one step closer to finding the remedy to treat your symptoms successfully.

Written 4/22/2015 by Chyna Honey, Author of Understanding Reiki: From Self-Care to Energy

Understanding Reiki
"Understanding Reiki" by Chyna Honey, 2014


How and Why to create and nurture a consistent Reiki Practice

Creating and nurturing a consistent Reiki practice is easier than initial appearances suggest.  In

Relaxation image
One way for relaxation

practice, Reiki requires no more planning or forethought than most self-care activities, such as brushing teeth, and it can be no more conspicuous than drinking a glass of water. So if a consistent Reiki practice requires no planning or special time set aside each day dedicated to practice, then can it be considered healing?

The answer is yes, because healing itself is a daily activity. In fact, most healing occurs as a result of everyday self-care practices, like drinking water, eating foods that aid in digestion, and providing Reiki to the energy system. In many cases advanced healing is required when self-care practices are abandoned, ignored, or done in small measure relative to biologically stressful lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough sleep, excessive drug or alcohol usage, over or under eating, and not drinking enough water.

For those who struggle in their commitment to a strong, consistent self-care regime, time, is often the factor cited to explain why. But for those whom perceive time, and the shortage of it a problem, that problem is now resolved; for the self-care Reiki provides to your energy system, can be just as automatic and mundane as drinking a glass of water when you feel thirsty. Furthermore, Reiki does not require a meditative state, spiritual pursuit, or daily ritual for it to work. All that is required is the use of one hand poised in the Reiki position and applied to, or directed towards the body, and with that you are receiving, and benefiting from receiving Reiki.  For this reason it can be used and practiced while you enjoy a host of other activities and be done as inconspicuously as drinking water.  And like drinking water you can practice Reiki while most things such as standing in line at the market, having a meeting, talking on the phone, watching a movie, reading a book, or sitting in traffic.

Additionally, using Reiki everyday and throughout your day will provide cumulative benefits that can help in many ways including an enhanced feeling of overall ease, reduction in stress induced symptoms, and a lowered reactivity to the people and situations encountered daily.

The following offers five simple ways you can easily incorporate Reiki into your daily life, and in so doing create and nurture a consistent Reiki practice.

  1. Use Reiki to provide ease in falling and staying asleep. Placing cupped Reiki hands on your chest or stomach as you lie in bed can help you relax, and has the extra benefit of helping to slow down an overactive mind. Ease and speed in achieving sleep better, and the quality of sleep experienced is deeper.
  2. Use Reiki to aid in digestion. Placing cupped Reiki hands over a meal before it is enjoyed it will energetically clean the food, and better prepare the food for assimilation into the body. Placing a cupped Reiki hand briefly over your stomach as you eat can further enhance the experience. This can be for just a few minutes and is not required for the length of the meal. This can have the added benefit of improving digestion, and helping you to notice when your physical body is satiated and requires no further food.
  3. Use Reiki to bring ease to stressful situations. Reiki can be used to help you in a business meeting or sitting in the dentist chair, it can ease the tension experienced during a difficult conversation or to take the edge off the daily stressors of the commute home. And this can be done while maintaining your privacy, for a cupped Reiki hand laid on the body does not need to appear as anything other than a relaxed hand.
  4. Use Reiki to address minor aches and pains throughout the day. Just like in the example above, simply placing your cupped Reiki hand on the area where pain or discomfort is being experienced starts to provide remedy and can be done while sitting at your desk or while buying a latte, and no one has to be wiser.
  5. Read a good book about Reiki. Make it one that provides you with information that is immediately accessible and easy to understand. Having language and an explanation for
    Understanding Reiki
    "Understanding Reiki" by Chyna Honey, 2014

    why and how Reiki works, will help to establish greater value for its practice and its place within your ever- changing lifestyle.

Incorporating one, or all of these suggestions daily will help build, create, and nurture a consistent Reiki practice. It can also be fun.

Written 4/3/2015 by Chyna Honey who among other things is a Reiki Master and Author of Understanding Reiki: From Self-Care to Energy Medicine

Understanding Reiki
"Understanding Reiki" by Chyna Honey, 2014

Understanding Reiki is the first book by Chyna Honey, Reiki Master, Energy worker extra-ordinaire and friend.  It is an amazing, simple and insightful read.  It has a rare viewpoint that set it apart from most books about Reiki.  Rather than detailing the self development system created by Mikao Usui, Chyna chooses to focus the book on the wonderful, pure, extraordinary natural healing energy that is Reiki.

This disregard of the system of Reiki is likely to ruffle a few feathers in the Reiki world. However there is nothing to worry Reiki practitioners about: it is reminding us about the energy that is the centre of the healing we offer.  The energy is all around us, and has been a natural part of our development on this planet; Mikao Usui "merely" gave the energy the name Reiki and formulated a way for everyone to access it.  The system that he created was a product of his background and it was meant to be used as a way to channel this healing energy, but over the years this system has become a greater focus than the Reiki energy itself.  This is what Chyna is seeking to change, bringing the focus back to the Reiki energy and clearing away elements that are getting in the way of more people working with this energy.

In her book, Chyna brings a clarity and insight to the Reiki energy. Why our bodies need it, what it can and can not heal, and why we should give it to our bodies on a daily basis and get regular check ups with a professional.

The book is simple in its approach but there are many layers to the information it is sharing.  The first time that I read it was shortly before I taught my Reiki 2 course and I will admit that I ploughed through it to satisfy my mind that I wasn't teaching the wrong thing.  Even in this fast paced read I could feel that my body and soul were picking up on deeper layers of information.  I am now re-reading the book, at a more leisurely pace with a lot of "Cup of tea moments" to allow me to process what I've just read.

What has "Understanding Reiki" taught me?

This book reminded me that I have let my mind's quest to know all about the history of Reiki and the techniques that Mikao Usui taught has overshadowed my acceptance of and use of the Reiki energy.  It has shown me that what is most important is my interaction with the energy, and the best place to start is through self healing, daily.

As a Reiki Teacher, what "Understanding Reiki" has reminded me is that the most important thing to share with my students is using the Reiki energy on themselves is everything.  They need to the experience the energy in their body.  Then they can see how it helps the body calm and heal. If that is all they learn on the weekend, that will be the most important lesson learnt.

Also, I need to emphasise that Reiki is not about spiritual development, but it can support them in this path if that is what they choose to do. Using the Reiki vibration should be a foundation stone from which other knowledge can develop and should be continued to be worked with no matter the direction their life takes. Other things like meditation are useful to practice, but are not vital to using the Reiki energy.

It is also not important to know the life story of the people on our Reiki Lineage, other than that they were there. In fact that is feed the mind's need for verification and really has nothing to do with the Reiki energy.

I will be shifting the emphasis of my courses to be more experiential rather than historical, but I am unlikely to completely disregard some history (but that is partly me).  Similarly there are some techniques that are useful to practice to assist the Reiki practice of the student, but these are not vital.

More information about "Understanding Reiki"

The official website for the book is, and it has a lot more information about the book, as well as a blog covering things like why meditation and Reiki are different.

Buying a copy

I will be selling copies of the book for £10 (plus p&p).  Please send me an email if you are interested in buying a copy.

You can also buy an eBook from if that is your preference.

There is a £25 early bird discount available.  If you book a course more than 4 weeks ahead of the course date.  It is not always clear when this is so to help clarify things here is a summary of when they are:

Reiki Level 1 courses
Course date Early bird expires
7th November 2015 9th October 2015
Reiki Level 2 courses
Course date Early bird expires
10th & 11th October 2015 11th September 2015

****2016 course dates coming soon!****

Booking is open for all these course either from the Clerkenwellbeing site or from the Bookings page of this site.


Just completed my first Reiki Level 2 attunement.  It was a small affair but good fun, lots of Reiki energy flying around the room for the 2 days.  Slightly more equipment is used for this training session, and only one of the teddies is came from my house.  The other was already at the clinic.

Reiki Level 2
Room already for a Reiki level 2 attunement

Reiki level 2 introduces you to the first three Reiki Symbols, and allow you to perform distance healing.  Here my students practice distance healing using a teddy bear as a surrogate.

Distance healing
Practicing distance healing with a teddy bear surrogate.

Sorry, but I'm not going to show any pictures of the symbols, in the tradition I come from we keep them out of sight of those who have not been attuned (as much as possible).

So proud of my students.  They're now performing their 21 day self healing settling in period.  The next Reiki course is a Level 1 on 8th November 2014 (book via Clerkenwellbeing or sign up here )

My Reiki Level 2 students with their certificates.

We had a great couple of days with the Reiki Level 1 attunement I ran at the Clerkenwellbeing studios. Here are a couple of photos I took during the day.

Clerkenwell Studio 1
Clerkenwell Studio 1

Here's the room before the start of the first day. It was a lovely location and having bright sunshine flooding in for the whole weekend made it really pleasant, even if we occasionally needed sunglasses.!

Tim at the whiteboard
Tim at the whiteboard

Whilst Chakras are not part of the "pure" reiki approach, I include them in what I teach as they are part of the energy body and can be felt when working on others. So I like my students to know what it is they are feeling. Here I am getting over enthusiastic with diagrams of chakras on a whiteboard.

Sensing the aura
Sensing the aura

Like chakras, the aura and how to feel/clean/protect it is not part of the traditional Reiki approach. Again I like to include it as it helps understand things that my students can come across. It is also great fun to have a go at feeling the edges of each other's aura.

Practising reiki
Practising reiki

The afternoon of the first day is taken up with learning self healing, and as I demonstrate as they are doing it it is hard to take a photo. However, the afternoon of the second day is when I take the class through working on others and here they are practising.

The students and proud teacher
The students and proud teacher

Here are all my students with their certificates. We had a great weekend!

Happy New Year! It is the time of year when people are making resolutions on how to loose weight/stop smoking/be healthier and from what I know about myself is that most fail before we even start as we don't really want to make the change.

I don't really do resolutions at New Year (why wait for a particular time of year to make a change?) and would rather make small changes whenever I feel I will succeed.

I used to be a smoker and for many years family and friends told me to give up.  I was aware of the poisonous effect, but I was not ready to give up.  Each time someone told me what to do, I became more stubborn about "giving up when I want to".

Finally one Christmas I was really sick and very nearly went the whole day without a cigarette. When having the one cigarette I had that day I suddenly realised I really hated it.  It was now the right time for me to quit. Unfortunately, I'd just bought a couple of weeks' worth of cigarettes and I do not like to waste things, so I decided to smoke these last packs but at a severely reduced rate, weeks later came the last one and then I was done.

During the time I was cutting back I was developing my Reiki life (reading books on it and incorporating it into my work as a massage therapist) and I came across the Reiki technique to change negative habits. Smoking was a negative habit and I was going to stop so I decided to use Reiki to help make it a smooth cessation.

The day I stopped  happened to be my Mother's birthday so I told her what I was doing (to her delight) and spent an hour giving myself Reiki and then the specific approaches to help change habits. I kept this combination up for 21 days, always a good number and it is frequently said it takes 3 weeks to allow good habits to take hold.

How did I find giving up? It was the easiest cessation I've done (this was my third attempt at stopping smoking) and the key? My Reiki self healing practice, and giving myself a short burst of Reiki whenever I had a craving. Using Reiki as the way to address the craving meant that I didn't replace one emotional crutch with another (such as chocolate). So no further habits to break.  I will say that I, like many former smokers, still have cravings (3 years later) but I have a wonderful way to counter this.

It doesn't just work on smoking, it was recently reported that Christina Aguilera used Reiki to support her through her weight loss regime, saying “Reiki puts her mind in a good place and gives her the discipline to eat healthy and maintain weight loss.”

To me that is the beauty of Reiki, the healing energy can be used to support you in the positive changes you want to make. It is also easier to support yourself by learning Reiki so you can help yourself to do this.

If you want to experience Reiki for yourself book in for a treatment or even decide to learn for yourself or if you have questions then get in touch.

Please note, this is my personal story and it does require will power to make these changes.  Reiki, in my mind made this easier.

What should you look for when choosing a Reiki Teacher? When deciding to attend a Reiki course and become attuned to this wonderful healing vibration it can seem like there are so many teachers to choose from.

All Reiki Master Teachers are able to trace their connection back to Dr Usui.  This is their lineage and is the unbroken line of teacher/pupil starting with Dr Usui and moving downwards.  My lineage is available for all to see (see right)

When choosing a Reiki Teacher you should find someone that you feel comfortable with.  It is also advisable to meet them in advance (where possible, if not then have a phone conversation with them) and ideally have a Reiki session with them, so you know that you get on with them. Do not be afraid to contact a number of Reiki teachers until you find one that seems right to you.

I teach in a relaxed manner, but covers all the necessary areas, and encourages discussions about ideas and thoughts (appropriate to the course, of course)

There are courses that are available for online attunements.  These are not recognised by the UK Reiki Federation as valid when you come to register with them as a practitioner.

The Reiki Federation is a good resource to find a Reiki Teacher that is right for you.

This post is a Reiki overview, looking at what Reiki is and isn't.

What is Reiki?

Reiki overview
Reiki given during a Level 1 course

Reiki (pronounced “ray -key”) is the pure, healing energy vibration that is a natural part of our human bodies. Unfortunately we have lost the awareness of our subtle bodies that Reiki supports, instead we focus a lot of our attention on looking after the gross (physical) body.  This unfortunately means that our bodies are not receiving a full, well rounded care as the subtle body is not cared fore.

In the West, Reiki is used to describe two things:

1) the Reiki energy that is used within the Reiki system of healing. Reiki energy is present in everything within the whole universe. t is a  human life-force that helps the physical and subtle body (particularly the aura). Reiki is similar to the “Chi” of Chinese traditions andthe  “prana” of the Indian yoga/ayurvedic traditions.  However Reiki “feels” slightly different to either of these, but the concept is similar.  Reiki is normally translated as “Universal” or “Sacred Energy”.

2) Usui Mikao created the system of Reiki. This is a natural healing and spiritual development approach. It was developed in the early 20th Century in Japan.  It is an approach to allow people of all backgrounds and abilities to use the Reiki vibration to heal themselves.

This self development approach is not for everyone (we all have our own path to tread) and should not put anyone off from being attuned so they can access and use this wonderful, pure energy.

A Reiki overview of the self-development system

Usui Mikao' focus was to provide a way to work with the the Reiki energy.  This was to allow anyone to be able to look after themselves, and then to treat others.  He created an approach that drew heavily from his own background as a Buddhist and incorporated self development techniques that support the use of the Reiki energy.  This system is often called simply Reiki and sometimes becomes, wrongly, more important than using and experiencing the Reiki energy

Usui Mikao's approach involves training (called an attunement) where an individuals ability to connect to the Reiki energy is formed and enhanced.  Usui Mikao passed on a buddhist approach to his students (as was typical in Japan at the time) with an emphasis on improving the self through various techniques of hands on healing, meditation, mantras, attunements/blessings and the Reiki Precepts: “Just for today: do not anger, do not worry, be grateful, work hard and be compassionate”.

Usui Mikao used Reiki to heal others and taught it to a number of students before he passed away and all people who have been attuned to Reiki have a direct connection (teacher to student) from Usui Mikao this is referred to as a Reiki Lineage.

What does Reiki do?

The reiki is channelled by the practitioner through their hands and into the recipient.  The recipient’s body then directs the energy to where it is needed to remove and clear away blocks in the energy system.  This process helps calm the mind of the recipient and aids the release of emotions that are preventing the body being “in balance”, this can often result in the recipient having a sense of greater energy, calm and peace.

So what can it treat?

The Reiki energy affects the physical body as well as the aura (the bio-energetic field) that surrounds the individual.  The Reiki energy feels like it promotes calmness and a sense of well-being as the energy is used by the body to heal the minor physical shocks the body receives on a daily basis as well as easing and clearing damage to the aura created by our interaction with the rest of the world.  This calming effect allows the natural healing processes to function by moving the body away from the fight and flight responses that can reduce the effectiveness of the healing processes.

By giving the body the energy it needs on the physical and aura levels the Reiki energy support and stimulates the clearance of emotional blockages to promote a strong sense of well-being, which allows the natural healing mechanisms to function.  It can help in times of stress (whether emotional or physical stress) and at times when a person feels run down.  Providing a period of relaxation from the stress allows the body’s own natural systems to return closer to an equilibrium, alleviating the symptoms that have been caused by the stress.

Tim offers treatments at a number of clinics in London, see his website for more details