There is no typical Reiki "protocol". Reiki can be administered by anyone who has training, which could be a professional practitioner, a healthcare provider, a friend or family member, or even you yourself if you have been trained in Reiki. A quiet place is preferable, but Reiki can be done anywhere, no matter what else is happening either around or directly to the recipient. Moments of touch from a Reiki-trained practitioner can bring comfort in an acute or emergency situation, such as the onset of the flu, or after an injury or surgery.
The professional or a friend should really have at least a First Degree level of training, however you should just find someone you are comfortable with so that your experience will be a positive one.
A quiet setting where you are not disturbed is always desirable. Professional Reiki practitioners have a dedicated space or are experienced in creating the perfect therapeutic/healing space. They frequently play soft music during the session as a way of masking ambient noise, but let your practitioner know if you prefer silence. The sessions can be between 15 minutes and 60 minutes; I prefer to keep them between 20 minutes and 40 minutes to allow the person time to awaken. Also, keeping them brief prevents the person from sleeping for the entire session. You don't want to pay for a session where you sleep the entire time!
Some practitioners have intake forms and/or conduct a health interview, especially if the practitioner has other training in healthcare or manual therapies, such as massage. You will be asked to sign a consent form because touch will be involved, however you will remain fully clothed.The practitioner will explain the process, and ask if you have any specific needs. Be sure to let the practitioner know if you have a health condition that might impact your lying flat on your back or front or if you have any areas that are sensitive to touch.
The process involves light, non-invasive touch with the practitioner's hands placed and held on a series of locations on the head and front and back of the torso. The placement of the hands should never be intrusive or inappropriate, nor should there be any pressure.
People often experience heat in the practitioner's hands, but sometimes the practitioner's hands feel refreshingly cool. Other common experiences are subtle pulsations where the practitioner's hands are placed or waves of pulsations throughout the body. People often comment how comforting and relaxing they find the experience of Reiki to be. Some people fall into a deep, meditative state, and some people just fall asleep completely. With that said, you will likely need a few minutes for your body to awaken after the session and the practitioner will give you time alone to do this. It is a good idea to have someone drive you after the session.
How many sessions should you have for the complete benefit? Your practitioner may suggest a series of sessions. Four sessions is a traditional recommendation and gives you time to evaluate exactly what benefits you are receiving. This should be very relaxing and healing for you. Discuss with your practitioner how best to space the sessions to suit your needs and your schedule.