Byosen – what is it and how does it work in reiki healing?

In reiki healing, there are recommended hand positions to deal with specific waves-of-energyillnesses and symptoms. These are useful starting point, especially if you are a beginner healer.

In Japanese reiki healing, there is a strong emphasis on being able to detect “byosen“, which can be directly translated as “sickness lump” or “sickness accumulation”.

When you practice reiki healing and gain experience, you are able to detect the specific places on the person’s body which have muscular tension, blockages of blood vessels or lymph nodes due to buildup of toxins.

During the reiki training, my teacher (Mr Tadao Yamaguchi) came around to each student to check if we were able to detect the byosen, and had the hands on the right spot on the client’s body where the byosen was felt the strongest.

So how does byosen feel?

There are five levels of byosen, and they are described as:

  1. Warmth
  2. Hot
  3. Tingling sensation (“piripiri“)
  4. Pulsation (“hibiki”)
  5. Pain

The “warmth” and “hotness” are probably the easiest senses to detect by hand and almost anyone, even beginners, can feel this in their hands. byosenCoincidentally, person receiving the reiki treatment often can also feel this, although some people think that it is just the heat from the healer’s hands.

Once I gave reiki to a friend of mine, and she kept saying that my hands felt burning hot, and kept touching the palms of my hands (expecting that they are really hot), but my hands were not particularly warm. It was the byosen of her body that was reacting to the reiki.

Tingling sensation (or “piripiri” as we say in Japanese, to portray the tingling sound) is like light needle point sensation that you feel on the hands.byosen This sensation usually increases, then after reaching the peak, it becomes weak again. During a 60-80-minute treatment, these waves repeat about five to six times while the peaks gradually become smaller.

(This is provided that the healer has detected the byosen at the beginning and kept the hands on the byosen for the entire duration of the treatment, which is the recommended treatment method.)

Pulsation (or “hibiki” in Japanese) is usually a response to the blockages of blood vessels or lymph nodes. As with tingling sensation, the pulsating sensation has waves and gradually declines as time goes by.

Pain indicates the strongest of byosen. You might feel the pain on your hands and sometimes onto your wrists and up to your elbows, but when you feel this,byosen it’s best to leave your hands on the spot until the pain lessens.

Some people (beginner healers) may be afraid that they are catching the illness from the client. This is not the case, and after the session the pain in your hands and arms go away, and more often the person receiving reiki also feels better.

What often happens when I give reiki is I tend to feel the pain in my own body, especially when it’s a headache or a shoulder ache. This makes it extremely convenient for me as I can place the hands on exact corresponding spot on the client’s head or shoulders. Of course, I do scan with my hands to make sure I’m at the right place and ask the client the position of the pain (and 99% of the time, it’s accurate) before continuing with the treatment.

If the client already is aware of the symptom, then stay on the spot for the entire duration of the treatment. The key to healing is to detect the byosen, then keep your hands on the spot of the body for as long as the byosen can be detected by your hands.

If your client has not yet seen a physician, it is best that s/he does so to get a diagnosis. Reiki works well with western medicine and they compliment each others. You should always consult your physician(s) and receive medical advice.

Unfortunately, there is no fast way to learn to detect byosen, and more practice you have (preferably along side your teacher who can check), faster you feel it in your hands.

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

4 thoughts on “Byosen – what is it and how does it work in reiki healing?

  1. Dear Ayako,
    I have a great interest in reiki healing ever since I happen to come across on the Internet some months ago. As I am involved with a really time-consuming affiliate marketing campaign right now I have no time or energy to learn about it. I even watched some tutorials on Youtube and it boosts my interest even more. I really wanted to know how long it will take me to become a real reiki healer. Can I learn from your website and become a reiki healer? Can I learn it part time? How much does it cost for the training? Oh, I am asking too many questions out of curiosity. Do keep me informed.

    • Dear Kipps,

      Thank you for your great comment. Reiki is a wonderful healing technique and anyone can learn it, but I strongly recommend you learn from an experienced teacher, face to face. I recommend to learn from Jikiden Reiki practitioners, as their seminars are well-designed with detailed explanations on, for example, different symbols (what they mean, how they are used) combined with lots of practices. You can see the seminar schedule and other details on their website ( My website offers information useful for those who have already gone through the training, and also those who are interested and considering of becoming a healer. Because it requires a lot of practice, it’s best you attend a seminar, then find people to practice on. I also recommend the books that I’ve reviewed on my website. If you have any further questions, please ask and I’ll be happy to try to answer them. Please take good care and be kind to yourseif:).


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