I encourage my Reiki students from Second Degree onward to begin to work with clients intuitively; that is, instead of following the basic hand positions to provide a full-body treatment, I suggest they observe their healing partner and to listen to their own tuition to inform how and what they do within a treatment session. I encourage anyone working with any form of energy healing (even if you are your own healing partner; that is, you're performing self-healing) to pay attention to the intuitive signals you receive and act on them within a healing session. I believe intuition in energy healing comes from learning the form first (such as which crystals help what, the feng shui bagua, the Reiki hand positions, sound healing triads, etc.) and then, once you have a full grasp of your practice and the energy you are working with, you can begin to explore freedom through intuition. Form first then freedom makes a powerful and confident energy healer and a deeper and more meaningful healing session for your healing partner. And one way to bring form to every energy healing session is to create a basic outline of the anatomy of a session, a loose structure you follow in every case with every healing partner. Within this structure, you can then practice freely and confidently.
Step 1: Prepare Yourself and Your Space
Before your healing partner arrives, prepare yourself and your space in any way you need. This may include meditation, bringing energy into your treatment area, or whatever rituals you engage in to bring yourself into your own energetic healing space.
Step 2: Documentation
When you're working with paid clients, you need to document your work. When your healing partner comes to see you, talk to him about what's going on and make notes. In the healthcare field, a consultation is part of the entire documentation process often charted as SOAP notes that include subjective complaints, objective findings, assessment (for medical professionals - diagnosis), and plan. These are required documentation for insurance and legal purposes for people visiting various health care providers, but you can bring them into professional energy healing practices, as well, for the purposes of full documentation. I've attached a simple body outline below you can use as your consultation form. Have your healing partner mark areas of complaint or issues in one color pen noting the severity and character of the issue (such as sharp pain, dull ache, shooting pain, etc) on the diagram, and you can follow up by writing your objective findings, assessment (not a diagnosis), and treatment notes.
Step 3: Consultation
While maintaining records is essential for energy healers as a business practice, in every session with every healing partner--whether a spouse, a friend, a child, a paying client, or a pet--you need to perform a consultation before each session. A consultation is your opportunity to connect with your healing partner before you begin treatment. This includes sitting down with your healing partner, looking her in the eyes, truly listening to what she has to say, asking her goals for the session, and answering her questions simply and honestly as possible. This creates a connection between the two of you. It allows you to bear witness to your healing partner's physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual feelings. By asking thoughtful questions and listening carefully to her replies, you are serving as a witness to your healing partner's story, and everyone deserves to be able to give voice to their story to a kind, thoughtful, compassionate, and nonjudgmental witness. In fact, just bearing witness without judgment can be healing by itself before you even start your energy work.
During consultation, sit down face to face with your healing partner. I prefer to do this in comfy chairs away from the treatment table to start so my partner and I are on the same eye level and seated as equals. Then, ask open ended questions that encourage your healing partner to talk while you actively listen. Some questions you might ask:
Next in your consultation, discuss the treatment briefly, offering any suggestions about what he may experience during or after the sessions and allow her to ask any questions, as well. With a child or animal, this process will be simpler. With the animal, sit for a few moments looking into its eyes and just trying to connect to its energy. With a child, ask simple questions that are age appropriate.
Step 4: Make Your Healing Partner Comfortable
Make sure your healing partner has everything he needs to be comfortable. Allow him to use the restroom or get a drink of water before he gets on your treatment table. Then offer pillows and blankets to make him more comfortable, dim the lights, and put on soft music if that pleases your healing partner. You may also use aromatherapy here, but check with your healing partner first to make sure he or she isn't sensitive to fragrance, etc.
Step 5: Observe
When you have your healing partner comfortably situated in your healing space, take a few moments to just observe her. Stand quietly next to your healing partner and watch. Notice areas of tension or movements such as a twitch in a toe, a flickering of eyelids, or a shifting of the weight. Watch the rise and fall of the breath. Note if your healing partner is breathing regularly or irregularly, shallow or deeply. Tune in to your healing partner's energy. Connect energetically and notice what you see or feel. You may also use sound tools, such as tingshas, to scan the body and look for variations in the tone or scan your hands through your healing partner's energy fields to notice for shifts, hot patches, cool patches, or changes in sensation. Use all of your five senses and intuition here to truly observe your healing partner before you begin to work. Note on your diagram anything you notice.
Step 6: Further Energetic Connection
Once you've noted your observations on your chart, center yourself. Stand at the head of the table and place your hands lightly on each of your healing partner's shoulders. Match your breathing to his. Remain in this position until your healing partner offers a big sigh of relaxation or until you feel a connection of your energy.
Step 7: Treatment
Begin your form of energy healing treatment, focusing both on your intuition and your healing partner. Always observe her responses and reactions and make adjustments as needed. It's also important to care for yourself in an energy healing session. If, for any reason, you feel uncomfortable, lightly touch your healing partner on the shoulder and tell him to relax for a moment because you are going to step away. Then, step back and re-center yourself, continuing the session when you are ready.
Step 8: Grounding
When you have completed the session (either after a set period or when you feel intuitively it is time to end), gently step away from your healing partner and recenter yourself, observing your healing partner as you do for any apparent discomfort, etc. Then, gently touch your healing partner on the shoulder and speaking in a soft voice, tell her the session is over and she can take her time coming up when she's ready. Disconnect your energy from your healing partner's by running your hands under cold water or touching the ground, and when your healing partner sits up (she may need gentle help because she's so deeply relaxed), offer her a glass of cold water to ground her.
Step 9: Check In
At the close of a session, check back in with your healing partner. Ask how the session was for him and ask if he has any questions or wishes to share anything. You may share simple thoughts from the session but keep them friendly and low-key. For example, you might say, "I did some work around your solar plexus today, so you may want to focus on strengthening this area in your visualizations," or "I noticed you seemed uncomfortable when I was working in the area of your left knee. You may want to follow up with your doctor for that." Don't diagnose, and don't say things like, "It felt cold over your pancreas, so I think you have diabetes." You want him to leave feeling relaxed and confident, not worried.
If you have "homework" for things he can do on his own, this is the time to discuss that as well such as an affirmation, visualization, or mantra. Be sure to tell your healing partner to drink plenty of water and contact you should she have any questions or concerns when she gets home. Assure her any reaction she has to the session is perfectly normal. You may suggest follow-up treatments or leave it open-ended.
Step 10: Express Gratitude
After the healing session (either while your healing partner is still there or after she's left depending on your preference), offer gratitude to your guides for helping with the healing session, your healing partner's guides for bringing her to you, and to the universal energy that you have been allowed to channel for your healing partner. Reaffirm that the work you did with your healing partner was to serve the highest and greatest good for all involved.