The Concept of Reiki Attunement is one which is usually quite confusing to those who have not experienced it. It is definitely not the end of a simple procedure of training a student and presenting them with a certificate. There have been many attempts to describe attunement to those who have not had one. These are usually imperfect or faulty. I will first try to give several such concepts:
My own description includes many of the above concepts to a degree:
An attunement to Reiki is a procedure involving the student and Reiki Master where the ability to heal which is in all of us to a minor degree is awakened, enhanced, and strengthened by the use of words and symbols. The ability to heal is passed from the Reiki Master to the student by this procedure. The procedure can be compared to many such ones in society.
When a student is trying to learn dowsing, if a master dowser takes the student's hands in their own, suddenly the student finds that dowsing is much easier. The process of creating a clergyperson in many traditions, in both East and West, uses the concept of the laying-on-of-hands and certain symbols to pass the ordination from the already ordained clergy to the ordinand ["student"]. In science, one learns that one can create a magnet by stroking a piece on non-magnetic steel with a magnet. An electrified coil can induce a current in another coil of wire. Electrical circuits can entrain other circuits, as can certain periodic physical devices.
A Reiki attunement is somewhat like the above. The subtle Reiki energy in the Reiki Master is passed to the student by symbols and touch, in a non-invasive procedure that has similarities to ones used in many cultures to pass healing energies and knowledge. Without such a procedure, the student is unable to use healing energy to any great degree, regardless of their learning and practice. This is certainly not the power of suggestion, since the student is not shown or told how this is done, nor what to expect. I have tested this with students in a number of ways, and I am convinced that something very special happens as a result of the attunement process which defies current understanding [much in science has started this way - a phenomena which could be perceived, but not yet explained].
Note: Some recent studies about the human energy field and its detection and/or radiation suggest that synthetic fibers may inhibit its movement by as much as 60-80 percent, while natural fibers such as cotton, may inhibit it only about 15 percent [this may explain why there are isolated reports of nude attunements/sessions, which are not the practice or tradition of modern western Reiki practitioners]. With this fact in mind, I usually ask a student/client to dress in light clothing made of all-natural fibers, such as cotton or wool. Most Reiki Masters will say that there is no difference in the attunement, but some of my students have told me that being in simple cotton clothes, barefoot, without any jewelry, did enhance the attunement.