How To Prepare for Your Reiki Attunement

A man sitting by a babbling brook
Smoko Creek, Great Western Tiers, Tasmania.

Andrew Bain/Getty Images

Reiki is an alternative form of medicine developed by the Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui in about 1922. Adherents believe in the ability of Reiki to heal individuals through the Reiki sensei's (teacher's) ability to redirect subtle internal energy, called qi—especially the ability to open up the student or patient's crown chakra, heart chakra, and palm chakras. The sensei moves energy using the movement of his or her hands, and the process of redirecting energies and opening up chakras is called an attunement. There are different levels of attunements depending on the class.

Attunements help clear energetic pathways in the body, allowing Reiki energies to flow through the recipient's body more easily, thereby correcting physical and mental problems. 

Not All Reiki Attunements are Equal

Although some people have no discomfort or will notice only subtle changes after an attunement, others experience significant adjustments that can be temporarily unsettling until a new balance takes hold, much the way a deep tissue massage can briefly cause an imbalance. An attunement is thought to clear blockages and redistribute the flow of energy, and it can take some time to grow accustomed to this. Depending on the individual's body's state of being, experiences will vary. 

Experts suggest a period of purification before the attunement to aid this process and reduce possible discomfort. Please review this list of suggested preparations before scheduling your Reiki session. A Reiki attunement is not something you should take lightly, and it is best to understand what one entails before you put yourself into the hands of a teacher. Your body will also thank you for taking cautionary steps before exposing it to the attunement process. 

List of Suggested Preparations

  1. Take special care in selecting your Reiki instructor.
  2. Schedule your session at least one week in advance.
  3. Eliminate (or reduce) intake of meat, fowl, or fish from your diet for three days before your session date.
  4. Consider doing a water or juice fast for one to three days before the attunement.
  5. Consume no alcohol for at least three days before the attunement.
  6. If you are on any medication, continue to take it as prescribed before and on the day of attunement.
  7. Smokers should take care to smoke as little as possible for the day before the date and on the day of the attunement.
  8. Avoid outside stimulation (TV, radio, computers, newspapers).
  9. Find periods of solitude. Meditation and spending time with nature (walks, sitting beside streams, etc. are all appropriate forms of solitude. 
  10. Be gentle with yourself. Don't tackle any tasks that will deplete your energies.
  11. Drink plenty of water.
  12. Cleanse your aura before your session.
  13. Get a good night's rest the evening before your session. In the morning, if you are not fasting, eat a light, healthy breakfast. 

    Tips for Effective Attunement

    • Daily prayers/ connection with your inner guidance is recommended during this period.
    • Be prepared for a 21-day cleansing period following the attunement process.
    • If you are under a doctor's care, you may wish to have him/her re-evaluate dosages of medicines being used after the 21-day purging/balancing period.
    • If you are traveling to a distant town for your attunement, be aware that you may not feel up to driving home. Have an alternate plan to stay overnight at a motel.

    A Controversial Practice

    Reiki, like many disciplines that fall under the rather loose category of New Age practice, is somewhat controversial, and many in western medical science believe it works by the power of suggestion—as a placebo, in other words—and is, at best, pseudo-science. It is wise to remember, however, that there was a time when western science labeled disciplines such as yoga and Tai Chi as pseudosciences, too. Now, however, yoga and many other practices rooted in ancient oriental medicine and spiritual disciplines are widely regarded as an efficient means of dealing with many physical and emotional conditions.