Feeling Worse After Reiki? Here’s Why (and What to Do)

Why Do You Feel Worse After Reiki

The majority of patients who receive Reiki treatments feel better right away. Their minds are clearer, they sense inner peace, emotional distress is assuaged, and physical pain is gone. However, some experience strange sensations, physical discomfort, or a feeling that their symptoms have become magnified.

Those who feel worse after Reiki sessions are experiencing side effects similar to what occurs in the detoxification that happens in other healing modalities, such as diet cleanses. This is the body’s way of eliminating toxins, paving the way for complete recovery. This is common and will pass.

There are ways to help the body go through this cleansing process. Continue reading to find out what these are and understand why some recipients of Reiki therapy experience negative effects.

Reiki in a Nutshell

The term Reiki refers to “universal life energy.” This energy field is present in our bodies. When it becomes misaligned or is disrupted, health ailments occur. Reiki therapy ‘heals’ or ‘balances’ this energy, prompting physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. Mikao Usui developed the therapeutic process in Japan in the 1920s on the premise that the body has the natural ability to heal itself.

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During a Reiki session, the practitioner slowly moves their hands across the patient’s clothed body to rebalance the energy flow. Reiki therapy is used to ease pain, fatigue, anxiety, stress, and depression, among other ailments.

The Healing Process Explained

Despite their differing approaches to healing, practitioners of most metaphysical healing therapies address the entire person and have a holistic philosophy in common—that medical ailments are caused by spiritual or psychological turmoil.

With Reiki, many people experience immediate healing post-treatment, but deep, absolute healing happens over a long period. Not always chronological, it traces a spiraling, recycling pattern that uncovers each layer of concern until recovery is achieved. Often, the primary symptom is related to more than one life component. All these have to be uncovered for healing to take place.

Feel Worse

Subjectivity in the Reiki Experience

Reiki, as a modality complementary to traditional medical and psychological methods, is a subjective experience. Patients get better results when they are more receptive to its potential. Conversely, a skeptical view of the practice could adversely affect their experience.

Since everyone’s energy field is different, so is each person’s experience with similar spiritual healing practices, such as Rolfing. Reiki Master Healers, however, assure that “Reiki can do any harm.” This is the basic tenet of Reiki ideology. Unlike allopathic medicine, Reiki does not have contraindications. Both practitioners and patients experience rebalancing.

The patient complained of having symptoms worsen (or have new ones suddenly spring up) after a session is common with holistic and alternative medicine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, practitioners believe that minor diseases have to be dealt with to prevent major ones. This is one way to explain the side effects, which are deemed minor. Patients have to go through them so they will not experience more serious ailments.

What Is a Healing Crisis?

Another way to explain the side effects is a phenomenon called the healing crisis, aka the reversal process, healing/cleansing/retracing/detox/purification/Jarisch-Herxheimer reactions, and Lucio’s Phenomena. It is a transitory intensification of symptoms that happens while the body is healing itself through the expulsion of toxins.

It also happens when the body “remembers” past ailments and injuries. It is a form of realignment or detoxification after attunement (the process of becoming aware or receptive) or calibration (the adjustment of results in consideration of external factors for comparison with other data).

As most people equate recovery with feeling good, when they feel worse instead, they misinterpret this as therapy or practitioner failure. These post-treatment experiences are not limited to Reiki, however. They also manifest in some recipients of other metaphysical healing modalities, such as craniosacral therapy (skull manipulation to relieve pain), homeopathy, chiropractic, and reflexology.

The healing crisis may further be understood by applying the analogy of spring cleaning your home. Spring cleaning of the body, mind, and spirit is more challenging when you first start the process, but as you progress with subsequent treatments, you can be assured of physical, spiritual, and psychological restoration of balance. This recouping of equilibrium is further enhanced with subsequent Reiki treatments.

In addiction therapy, the cleansing process is known as detoxification. The healing crisis can be equated with going into withdrawal, which can be disturbing, often painful, and very uncomfortable. It is a necessary part of the healing process, however.

Healing Crisis Symptoms

Listed below in two categories are some experiences Reiki patients reported post-therapy:


  • tiredness, weakness
  • upsurge in energy
  • unpleasant physical sensations
  • headaches, dizziness
  • skin flushing, rashes, breakouts
  • night sweats, hot or cold flashes, fever
  • congestion, sore throat
  • nausea
  • muscle/joint pain
  • cold extremities
  • disorientation
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • flu-like symptoms
  • gastric upset
  • extreme thirst or hunger
  • craving for caffeine
  • frequent peeing


  • anger, irritability
  • shame, guilt
  • anxiety, frustration
  • grief, depression, sadness, crying
  • changes in thought patterns or insights
  • fear
  • feeling of emptiness
  • upsetting memories, negative thoughts
  • sleep disturbances, like insomnia

Intuitive coach Crystal Clare explains that these are signs the body is expelling toxins from energy blockages into the bloodstream and the lymphatic system. Toxic buildup results from past diseases, injuries, trauma, poor health habits, and pollutants that have seeped into the energy system and cellular memory over time.

These can vary with each patient. Discomfort arises when the detoxification happens at a quicker rate than the patient can adequately handle.

Often, healing crisis symptoms feel more intense than the actual disease. Severe symptoms can be attributed to previous serious physical diseases or dormant issues, like repressed emotions. As the spirit undergoes purification, patients may question established beliefs and feel the need to change them.

These physical and emotional sensations resurface so the entire system can heal. When you learn to manage them, your health will improve and you will re-experience peace. Another positive effect of this process is increased self-awareness. Reiki rebalances the mind, body, and spirit on all levels.

Duration of Symptoms

A Reiki session may release underlying conditions and negative emotions. The disagreeable effects of a healing crisis are temporary. They usually disappear on their own or through follow-up sessions.

With most patients, the toxin release is normally gentle, takes only a short time to go through their energy systems, and passes every so slightly as to be unnoticeable.

With some, however, detox manifestations are apparent and unpleasant. They may take from several hours to a few months to work their way out. Some cases, such as serious diseases, call for more than one healing crisis for total healing. But normally, the symptoms should disappear within 72 hours. Once they do, patients end up healthier and revitalized.

Causes of Symptoms

A lot of energy circulates in our bodies. Blockages sometimes happen. Metaphysical healing practices like Reiki release these blocks and realign the flow of energy in our systems.

This rebalancing of the body causes the quick release of toxins. It can be disturbing, unpleasant, and make it seem as if the original symptoms have worsened. This is what metaphysical healers call the reversal process.

This has nothing to do with the method used but with the energy fields moving about in the body, prompting the body to heal. In most Reiki patients, the rebalancing of the equilibrium is done gently, allowing them to see and feel the benefits right away. Some patients, however, have a negative experience.

These are usually people who have unresolved concerns, repressed emotions, are victims of trauma or abuse, or are sufferers of underlying medical conditions or mental health issues.

When the body has a long-term (possibly many decades) build-up of toxins in the tissues, the healing crisis will be intense. While the healing progresses, the various systems of the body work in tandem to eradicate toxic waste. This process can overwhelm the body, contributing to the symptoms mentioned above.

Causes of Non-Reiki Adverse Effects Post-Treatment

  • Recent changes in eating habits
  • The addition of supplements or other ingredients to the diet, such as vitamins, herbal medicine, and probiotics
  • Other types of cleansing or detoxification therapies applied in the same period as the Reiki series, such as bioelectric therapy
  • Fasting, diet cleanse
  • Treatments that compel bacteria, viruses, or yeast to cause the widespread destruction of cells. This attack can overwhelm the body’s excretory systems.

Explanation of Symptoms

Any therapeutic method that involves cleansing (colonic irrigation, for example) will release toxins. Resulting adverse reactions are transient, lasting one to three days. Those that last longer are rare. The symptoms are mild and do not happen to everyone. Patient reaction depends on the condition of their energy systems, their sensitivity to energy, and the type of release they need.

Apart from the healing crisis explanation, one can view the worsening of symptoms post-therapy as the release of “stuck energy” from unconscious imbalances from the patient’s spiritual, physical, and psychological dimensions. These vary, as each person’s circumstances are different.

Past-life regression therapist Irina Nola explains that increased hunger, craving for coffee, and coldness in the extremities indicate a miasmatic (underlying ancestral issues) or karmic (behavioral pattern) event. The coldness and hunger pangs signify past trauma or desire for an unresolved outcome.

Reiki attunement targets whatever should be healed first. Part of its side effects is the desire to ease the pain with comfort food or drink. Caffeine and other addictive substances, like drugs and alcohol, numb the effects of miasma. People use them to suppress thinking about a hurtful past, such as a debilitating disease or psychological trauma. Unfortunately, these substances interfere with healing.

The fatigue post-Reiki may be an indication that your adrenal glands are overtaxed. Exhaustion is the body’s way of telling you to slow down and implement self-care.

On the other hand, a sudden boost in energy is due to your energy having become stagnant prior to Reiki treatment. Take advantage of this resurgence in vitality and embark on new adventures or pursue creative endeavors.

What to Do to Alleviate the Suffering

  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and foods with a high salt/sugar content.
  • Drink up to four liters of distilled water daily to speed up cleansing and toxin release and sustain energy vibration.
  • Resting supports the rebalancing and regeneration of the body.
  • If you feel physically unstable, do some stretching exercises, yoga, or t’ai chi.
  • If you feel skittish, try visualization techniques.
  • The healing crisis makes you aware of where your body holds stress and emotions. At bedtime, check your body for parts that feel heavy. This grounding technique connects the body and spirit.
  • Do some soul-searching to find out what uncomfortable issues are bothering you. Ask your Higher Power or therapist for guidance.
  • To ease joint pain or muscle spasm, take magnesium supplements or massage with essential oils.
  • To ease the emotional or mental disturbances, consider journaling, hanging out with friends, crying it out, or talk therapy.
  • Think positive. Hang out with happy people.
  • Read inspirational books.
  • Practice meditation, chanting, and targeted breathing to attract the life force back into your soul.
  • If you live a hectic lifestyle, take time out for yourself.
  • If your symptoms become intense, slow down detoxification to let your body catch up.
  • Acknowledge past negative thoughts and emotions, and discard limiting beliefs without immersing yourself in them, then let them go.
  • If the above methods do not help, consider an alternative treatment or seek counseling. Martyn Pentecost, a developer of therapeutic and self-help modalities, recommends Karmic Regression Therapy or Karmic Reiki, which goes deeper into the metaphysical healing process.

Adjusting Perspectives

Reiki is not just for energy healing. It is also a powerful tool for keeping in touch with your inner self. It makes you aware of imbalances within you. It continues to work long after the culmination of a session.

Healing crisis symptoms are common. Patients should not be worried about them. Even though it does not feel like it, the healing reactions are beneficial. They are the natural outcome of having reiki flow into the energy system. The symptoms are nature’s way of purifying the mind, body, and spirit, paving the way for higher levels of consciousness.

Instead of viewing the adverse reactions as disease symptoms, we should regard them as signs of healing progression.

Principles of Reiki

Reiki does not cause the symptoms of the healing crisis. The four tenets of Reiki support this statement. The tenets are:

  • “Reiki knows where to go.” – Reiki, as the life force energy guided by the supreme Divine Source, is intuitive with regard to where it is needed the most. We, as patients, do not need to do anything. Practitioners are not required to consciously direct the flow of Reiki. They just let the Divine Intelligence know what the patient’s health goals are and it takes over.
  • “Reiki can do no harm.” – Since Reiki is guided by a sacred source, it cannot hurt either the practitioner or the patient.
  • “Reiki does not deplete the practitioner’s energy.” – A Reiki practitioner is merely a conduit for the universal life force. The practice of Reiki actually rejuvenates the healer. This principle can be understood with the analogy of a tube or a hose through which running water flows. The tube does not get tired from the water activity, as the practitioner does not get drained by healing people.
  • “Anyone can learn Reiki.” – The student does not need to study Reiki as one goes about a normal course. During attunement, the knowledge is passed intrinsically.

How Many Reiki Sessions Do You Need?

The usual recommendation is two follow-up sessions after the initial one to ease the patient into the releasing process.

Most spiritual healing practices (as with other holistic or alternative therapies—and even allopathic medical treatments) take time to do their work. None of them offer a quick solution to eradicate ailments. So patients should not expect a single Reiki session to cure them completely. A deeper release calls for more sessions.

In difficult cases, a combination treatment is necessary, such as incorporating counseling or psychotherapy with energy healing. This integration helps in dealing with underlying issues as they arise.

If you are concerned about anything regarding your treatment, contact your Reiki practitioner. If you feel any discomfort during a session, let your healer know immediately so they can adjust the level of therapy. If you are experiencing severe or unabated post-Reiki reactions, consult your regular medical provider or GP immediately.

Final Thoughts

Healing crises can have favorable effects, even if they make you feel awful. They indicate that your body is flushing out impurities and toxins and correcting imbalances in your energy system. They are signs that you are on the path to recovery and rejuvenation.

Given that only some go through the healing crisis, you may wonder whether a Reiki session can be effective without experiencing it. Reiki practitioners say it absolutely is. Wonderful results happen when patients practice gratitude and participate in the healing process. When they allow Reiki to flow naturally, they will reap the benefits faster and easier.