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Shaking During Reiki Energy Work Sessions

Lately in my Boston Reiki practice, I’ve had several clients who’ve experienced shaking during Reiki: either involuntary full-body movements almost like sobs, shivering, or repeated twitching of certain limbs. What does this mean, and is it a cause for concern? (Note: I’m not talking about seizures here — just the body sort of squirming and heaving in reaction to energy work.)

Here’s the good news: Natural shaking during Reiki is nothing to be worried about at all! These involuntary movements are simply your body processing energy — which can even help ease insomnia. Read on to understand why the shaking occurs, and ways to work WITH it instead of against it, to maximize wellbeing and feeling your best.

Shaking during Reiki
Reiki can cause involuntary body movements.

What Causes Shaking During Reiki?

Almost always, shaking during Reiki occurs because the body is trying to process and release pent-up energy, but the person is resisting it. Here are some examples of the repressed energy that might be causing it:

1. Not Expressing Yourself

Is there somewhere — or several places — in your life where there is something you want to say or do, but have been prevented from doing so? Perhaps you’ve repressed these desired actions or utterances because of specific people, or society’s pressures, or your own fears. What has the cost been to you of keeping these in and not making requests for what you want and need? What could be the benefits (and the risks) of letting them out — even just in small ways?

2. Grief and Sadness

Processing grief and tragic sadness can take years. If you’ve experienced loss or radical changes, your body may be shaking during Reiki as part of the grieving process. This is healthy and important. If tears join in the body’s dance, let them flow. You’ll feel much more cleansed and balanced afterwards, even if it takes several sessions to really release.

3. Love or Lust

Sometimes shaking occurs during energy work because the body has been hungering for touch, affection, or caring. Professional Reiki and massage (G-rated) can be healthy ways to address part of those needs — but they’re only one piece. If you realize you have a hunger for caring, it may be beneficial to also examine how to begin building friendship and romantic connections in your everyday life. Even volunteering or joining a local meetup group can help.

4. Unmet Needs

Beyond love and romance, are there some deep needs that have remained unfilled for too long in your life? For many mothers I see, one unmet need is solo time — time to just have quiet reflection, alone — or more help with the children and household. For many men, the need is to have more outlets to talk about what is actually important to them. If you’re shaking during Reiki and the #1 through #3 reasons above don’t resonate, examine where in your life you’ve been craving something that you haven’t gotten enough of recently.

How to Deal with the Shaking

Now, before addressing how to react to shaking during Reiki, let’s reiterate that I’m not talking about epileptic seizures here. If that’s what you’re seeking help about, please contact a medical professional. This article is addressing natural, non-seizure body movements in reaction to Reiki. Given this, how should this shaking during Reiki be best addressed?

The first thing to understand is that the shaking is usually a result of the tension from repressing energy that needs to be released. Imagine driving a car by pressing the gas and the brakes at the same time — it might produce a lurching movement, and would stress the engine, right? Therefore, the key to productively engage this spasming energy is to allow your body to fully feel and LET GO of the trapped energy or emotions. Don’t fight them — allow them flow through you, even if they cause your body to jump around a bit.

There is immense trust required to let go of “holding” your physical and emotional body so tightly, so I urge you to pick a Reiki practitioner with whom you have a strong rapport, and can truly be yourself around. If you’re comfortable talking with them before, during, or after the session, it will greatly assist this process.

What to do during the session? As you’re lying there feeling the convulsions, imagine you’re floating with utter safety in a calm ocean. Allow your muscles to completely relax, and be carried by the currents of the energy, and let your emotions and thoughts flow to wherever they want to go. Don’t fight the shaking — let the twitching wash through you like waves. Focus on your outward breath, letting all of the pent up air push out of you. If you feel the urge to cry, let it out!

After the Session

After the Reiki session in which you experienced shaking, talk with the practitioner about what you felt, and reflect with them — and on your own — about the four possible causes I’ve listed above: not expressing yourself, processing grief, love and lust, or unmet needs. Are there any areas in your life pertaining to those four elements?

If so, could healthy shifts be made to address those energy-blocking situations? (For example, if you are mother who needs more alone time, who could you go to in order to support that?) If you had any visions during Reiki, share those with the practitioner as well, because sometimes they are instructive in the interpretation of what is being repressed, and the path forward.

After leaving the session, make sure to drink lots of water to hydrate and flush out (and to help prevent a Reiki headache), and try to go for a walk in nature, or do other easy movement. Journal or talk with a trusted friend or loved one about what you experienced, and get a good night’s sleep after eating a healthy meal. If you’re comfortable trying another round of Reiki, a series of three sessions can usually fully help move the energy through your body and make you feel a lot better.

Shaking During Reiki, in Sum

I hope this analysis of the phenomenon of shaking during Reiki provides clarity. Feel free to leave a comment or reach out with further questions, or to share your experiences.

Learn more about my Reiki certifications, training, and credentials here, and explore my new articles on Reiki session cost analysis, and the answer to, “Is Reiki real?”

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