As two holistic therapies focusing on the energy pathways in our body, reiki and reflexology can help you regain clarity and balance and improve your wellbeing. Here’s everything you need to know about them – plus how you can enjoy the benefits at home yourself
As more and more of us complain of feeling stressed, emotionally drained and physically tired, it’s no wonder that a growing number of people are turning to a holistic approach for an answer. And, among the vast array of complementary therapies out there, reiki and reflexology are two of the most popular. But what exactly are they and how can they be used together?
Finding harmony with Reiki
Reiki is a form of energy healing which originated in Japan in the 19th century and is based on the idea that when energy flows uninterrupted (both around us and through us), we can enjoy a sense of inner harmony. However, blocked or frayed energy channels – caused by stress, injury or illness – can have a dramatic impact on our wellbeing. The word reiki itself means universal life energy and reiki masters work to charge an individual’s energy field with positive energy and help restore balance.
“Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and selfimprovement that everyone can use,” explains Hunni Palmer, reiki practitioner and co-founder of Yovedic Retreats (
yovedicretreats.com). “Energy is all around us and inside us and the philosophy is that if your aura or energy field is in a state of harmony then the physical body will also be harmonious. But if there is too much energy in an area or not enough, that comes out of balance and here there is the potential for illness. Reiki works on a deep level of healing – it aids relaxation, assists in the body’s natural processes and develops emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.”
Individuals can choose whether they have a hands-on, or hands-off session and treatments involve no massage or manipulation. “The practitioner starts by placing their hands on, or over the client and moves them around the body,” Hunni says. “The practitioner focuses on the affected areas and wherever reiki is needed. The energy flows through the practitioner’s hands to the client and makes its way to the areas of imbalance.”
Individuals may feel warmth, coolness, a tingling sensation, waves of energy or nothing at all during a treatment and many recipients report a deep feeling of relaxation after a session. The hope is that the benefits continue long after the reiki master has finished.
Tuning in to your whole body with reflexology
Reflexology, on the other hand, always involves a lot of physical touch. It is based on the idea that your feet (and hands, face and ears to a certain extent) are like mini-maps of your body – with every organ and part of your body interlinked to a corresponding region on the feet and hands. By massaging certain points, it’s believed that therapists can help revitalise energy pathways, reduce blockages and trigger your natural healing process, thereby helping address different issues.
“Reflexology is a natural, non-invasive healing treatment that uses pressure points on the feet, hands and face to balance out the whole body,” explains Paolo Lai, who offers facial and foot reflexology in London (paoloreflex.co.uk). “It aims to alleviate tensions and promote relaxation, and improve energy levels, too. It’s a great way to work on different layers of the physical, emotional and spiritual body using only a small area. There is an instant feeling of deep relaxation and calmness, and it reconnects you to your system and makes you feel very grounded.”
Sessions involve practitioners gently massaging the feet (or hands, ears or face) to ease tension in various areas and unblock the energy channels in your body.
Using the two together
So, essentially both reflexology and reiki work to restore balance and enable energy to travel easily and without disruption around our bodies. Like many complementary therapies, the two can be used alongside each other in order for people to really feel the benefits of both. Susan Pecoraro is both a reflexologist and a reiki master teacher based in Essex (
hornchurchreflexologist.com) and has been using both therapies for many years. “These two therapies go hand in hand,” she says. “I have been a reflexologist for 16 years and a reiki healer since 2011 and I can confidently say by adding reiki to my reflexology treatment it has allowed me to give individuals so much more. For example, if a person is extremely sensitive and doesn’t like their feet being touched, I will start with reiki to calm them down by placing my hands over their heads and allowing the energy to do its work – then I can usually give the person a reflexology treatment without any problems.”
They can be used together in other ways, too. Some therapists say that they use reflexology to open up the energy pathways and therefore allow the body to more easily receive healing through reiki, while others use reiki to focus on mental and emotional issues and reflexology to focus on more physical ailments. Either way, practitioners agree they can complement each other well.
A myriad of benefits
The two therapies have a whole host of benefits for all sorts of people. Because of the way reiki supports our inner energy, practitioners believe that it can help with a variety of physical and emotional issues. “It relieves pain, anxiety and fatigue,” Hunni says. “It treats depression and enhances the quality of life. It also helps with menopausal problems, insomnia and anything else that the client is suffering from.” And for Hunni, it can help support social connections too. “Reiki enhances the capacity to love and can open up new possibilities,” she explains. “It helps improve relationships and give them a new lease of life.”