At the opening of every First Degree Reiki class, students talk about what has motivated them to learn Reiki. In a recent class, a bereavement counselor described her need for a way to replenish herself. She hoped Reiki could provide the inner nourishment she needed to sustain her in her life and work.

I sent everyone home at the end of the evening with their homework assignment: treat yourself between now and tomorrow’s class.

The next morning when the counselor shared her experience of self-treatment, she was touched by how soothed she felt, the sense of peace that came over her as she treated herself. Then her voice caught and she said, “I just hope I’ll continue to do this for myself. I see how much it can help, and I don’t know if I’ll actually do it. I’ve taken other workshops, learned things that would make a difference for me, and not done them.”

In that moment, this woman eloquently touched the place in every one of us that recognizes, Here is something I need, something that can make a difference in a deep way. A second later she voiced the resistance—and then the dismay at that resistance.

Last summer I was with a group of twenty-eight Reiki Masters talking about self-treatment. The stories of how people came to daily practice covered the map and the process sometimes spanned many years. Some people said, “My teacher said treat yourself every day so I did.” Immediately after their first degree class, two women in this group had begun treating themselves for hours every day and overcame serious medical problems. Some people were sure their teacher never mentioned self-treatment, and others heard the teacher emphasize treating yourself daily but said, “I didn’t think she meant me.”

These stories did not follow a script or fit a template; they were journeys—personal, individual, and very human. People found their way to self-treatment in their own time and in their own way. Today, Reiki holds a powerful place in their lives and has become a significant source of inner support.

I dream that everyone who takes a first degree class treats themselves from that moment forward. That isn’t always what happens. Maybe you’ve never treated yourself since you learned Reiki; you can still start anytime. All you need to do is place your hands on your body and the connection will happen.

By the way, I had an email last week from the counselor. She was facing a difficult trip and wrote to say we couldn’t meet for an early breakfast before she left town. She said, “I won’t be calm and peaceful unless I have time for Reiki.”