Recipe for Reiki Credibility

What ingredients make a Reiki practitioner credible?

How can you know if a practitioner is trustworthy and well trained?

Since there are no agreed-upon standards for Reiki education, Reiki certificates are essentially meaningless. A First degree (beginning level) student might have more training than someone who advertises herself as a Reiki master.

That creates a credibility challenge for people who are new to Reiki, and for practitioners who want to showcase their credibility.

Meeting the Reiki credibility challenge

How can this challenge be met? If you are new to Reiki, what do you need to you look for?

If you are a Reiki professional, what do you need to communicate so someone new to Reiki feels safe enough to follow Dr. Oz’s suggestion to give Reiki a try?

It’s usually a combination of gut feeling and information that tips the trust scale in a Reiki practitioner’s favor.

The following questions will help you gauge a Reiki practitioner’s credibility quotient.

Interviewing a prospective Reiki professional

Most of the questions are a matter of gathering information that needs to be evaluated as a whole; to me, only one is a dealbreaker:

  • When were you trained to each level that you practice?
    It’s optimal for each level of Reiki training to be given separately, with adequate time to practice before going to the next level. You need only a First degree practitioner to give you hands-on treatment.
  • How many hours was your training at each level?
    Eight to 12 hours of a group class is adequate for First or again for Second degree. There is much controversy about Reiki master training. Traditionally, becoming a Reiki master was a serious commitment to teach that was offered to only a handful of senior students. This is rarely honored today. Most Reiki masters don’t even teach, so you really have to consider what being a Reiki master means to the individual, and what’s important to you.
  • Was your training in-person with a Reiki master?
    Internet training does not replace the onsite presence of a qualified Reiki master and her availability to provide you continuing support.
  • What clinical experience do you have? Have you offered Reiki treatment to people outside your family and friends (and pets, if applicable)?
    This question will help you get to know the practitioner better, and provides valuable information for you to factor into your choice. Remember that a practitioner need not be a professional to give you a treatment, but if someone is advertising himself as a professional and charging you, he should have the training and experience to back it up.
  • What happens during your Reiki sessions?
    I’d take it as a bad sign if the practitioner gets all cosmic on you at this point. What you’re looking for here is a down-to-earth description of the experience, that you will lie fully clothed on a treatment table, that the practitioner will place hands lightly and non-invasively, how long the session will last, that you will be receiving a Reiki-only session (no crystals, no massage, etc., unless, of course, that is your choice).
  • Where will the Reiki session take place?
    Expect a professional to have a private, dedicated treatment space and to offer you a choice of silence or soft background music during your Reiki treatment.
  • What is the fee and how/when is it paid?
    Fees for Reiki treatment vary enormously depending on location, the practitioner’s level of experience, and whether she is practices Reiki full time or has another source of income. Keep looking until you find a situation that is financially comfortable for you. Remember you can also forego treatment from someone else, and choose to learn to practice First degree self-treatment, a one-time investment that pays lifelong dividends.
  • What is your unique perspective as a Reiki practitioner?
    This is where the practitioner has a chance to shine and show you how professional he is, or you may watch him dive off the deep end…
  • Do you practice Reiki self-treatment every day?
    Here is the absolute DEALBREAKER. (Did I emphasize that enough?) Daily self-practice is how we develop our understanding of Reiki. Someone who recognizes Reiki as a spiritual healing practice (like meditation and yoga) and who actually practices daily self-treatment is able to support you with greater depth and confidence than someone who regards Reiki merely as a treatment for others, or for when she’s not feeling well. Why would you want to receive a treatment from a practitioner who doesn’t value Reiki enough to use it to protect and maintain her own health and well-being?

Professional Reiki treatment not needed

Keep in mind that you don’t need a professional to receive a Reiki treatment. You can receive a Reiki treatment from a friend who practices. But if you are paying someone who considers herself to be a Reiki professional, make sure she meets your professional standards.

And use your common sense. If you don’t like a practitioner, go on to the next.

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Comments

  1. says

    Yes, I agree that was great information. As for the daily self-treatment, I set my alarm 1/2 hour earlier, as I would not want to start the day without it. Reiki daily self-treatment keeps me “plugged in” and focused, even if subliminally.

  2. says

    Another important attribute for a reiki practitioner is expert communication skills. I find that so many recipients want to talk first. It’s important to be an active therapeutic listener, also important to be able to communicate findings to the health care team, if offered in a hospital setting. My website is: AmethystHealth.com

  3. Pamela Miles says

    Unfortunately there is as yet not much opportunity for Reiki practitioners to learn clinical skills such as active listening. Until we have a curriculum to train Reiki professionals, it’s important that practitioners supplement their training as they are able to, even if it is though reading.

    Being able to communicate Reiki in neutral language is critical to Reiki’s acceptance by the mainstream public and in medicine. I teach a class on Reiki communication skills, and this is discussed in a number of blog posts under the category “Communicating Reiki” listed to the left.

  4. Theresa says

    I was so happy to find this blog. I have been in an ongoing conversation with a few other Reiki practitioners about this very topic. We belong to an association that has a website for its members. On our website we offer a “Locate a Reiki Practitioner” section, this page has the business name, phone number, website links and a level listing that denotes someone as either a Practitioner or Teacher. Up until recently we did not have Reiki I practitioners signing up for the Website service. Now we have 5 or so new members who are Reiki I practitioners and have signed up for the website listing. The question is, what is the responsible thing to do? The majority of us feel the listings should be for Reiki Professionals and that Reiki I would not qualify for the website listing. What do you think Pamela? From reading the post, I heard that Reiki I would not be charging for sessions, therefore they would not be involved in a professional practice. Is this correct?

  5. Pamela Miles says

    Thank you for your comment, Theresa. I appreciate very much that you have asked for clarification.

    A First degree practitioner might be ready for professional practice. Some First degree practitioners have more training and experience than some Reiki masters do. A First degree practitioner can practice only hands-on, and that is all that some practitioners are interested in. It is important, however, that a practitioner’s training and experience be articulated clearly as outlined above, so that prospective clients can make an informed choice.

    Personally, I would happily receive Reiki treatment from a well trained, experienced, thoughtful First degree practitioner.

  6. says

    While I agree with all of your sound advice, I would like to offer that one can receive excellent Reiki training via distance from a very good teacher. I teach Reiki remotely and I am very conscientious about providing individual guidance to each of my students. Distance attunements are effective, and Reiki training can be done well if the teacher is taking an ongoing and personal interest in each of her students during his or her journey into learning Reiki. It does require one to find the teacher who fits these characteristics, rather than just receiving attunements from someone who does not give the detailed teaching and guidance that should be included. I think good distance teachers are rare, but there are some. I have very high standards for my teaching and am 100% there for my students as long as they want, even beyond their initial training. Thanks for all of the good work and modeling you offer, Pamela.
    With deep respect and admiration, Alice

  7. elena jeapersen says

    Hi Pamela,
    That was great information on how to judge a Reiki practioner. I agree wholeheartedly.
    Love ELena

  8. Pamela Miles says

    Thank you, Alice, for bringing up a very controversial point. I appreciate your willingness to speak openly about these things.

    I agree that distant initiation can work. I also agree that the continuing availability and support of the Reiki master is important to many students’ continuing practice. I appreciate that you bring this sensitivity to your teaching.

    I still don’t think it is the best way to teach Reiki. There is something about interacting in-person that is irreplaceable by even the most sophisticated technology.

    But I am also mindful that not everyone who would like to practice Reiki has access to a sensitive, responsive teacher in-person. Although I don’t think even high quality distant training such as you describe is optimal, Alice, I have seen that it can be effective.

    Whereas I don’t promote it, I certainly don’t rule it out. Thank you for your comment and I hope I’ll see more of you here.

  9. says

    I agree 100% with this and would also add that as as professional practitioner I encourage all my clients to become attuned/trained so that they can practice daily.
    It is so much more cost effective and I believe it helps aid credibility because I promote the practice of Reiki as an empowering modality and my desire is to help them help themselves, and be active in their own health and well being.
    As a teacher, I also would look for other things too, but my big thing, like Pamela, is do you self treat daily AND also, do you allow yourself to RECEIVE from others? I feel that is VERY important too, especially when looking for a teacher. Other things would be; does the teacher offer support on the Reiki Journey? Do they have shares, clinics, etc. I have had so many students or other teachers come to me because they were not offered a place to stay connected and practice. They “fell off the Reiki wagon” , so to speak because they did not have support.
    I also appreciate Alice coming forward in defense of Distant Reiki work, but I am not in alignment with it personally. In my searches on the web, very, very few have any program worth considering and the main ingredient, for me, is missing. Especially discouraging are the “get your free Reiki attunement’ ones and the pay for your program, download the material, self study and get your certificate”. In my experiences it was “junk”. I know it can be done, no doubt about that, but I have to question, is it the best thing? I used to accept online certification, but the student did not present with what I would consider basic knowledge,nor where they “really” attuned!
    Most people, in my experience teaching and practicing Reiki (daily on self and others!) for 10 years, NEED “a real live teacher to connect with”. No disrespect to you at all Alice, YOUR energy feels great and very sincere, but the bulk of what is out there in the online world, is not. I am hopeful that competent teachers like Alice will be helping to change this, and perhaps she also teaches “in person” and does offer her students opportunities to practice or at least encourages them to join other Reiki groups or even better, start their own! Many of my student come from a bit of a distance, and we work together to get a share started in “their neck of the woods”. This also helps to spread the practice of Reiki too, as many of the shares~ after enough confidence has developed, become public clinics as well! So much fun!!
    And I would also add that is NOT just online training~ I can’t tell you how many I have retrained from teachers locally who were undertrained themselves, who don’t self treat etc, etc. Some of it is ASTOUNDING! I learned quickly that I have to do evaluations of practitioners coming to me from other teachers. I used to “assume” that everyone was on the same page, and have them come, say for Advanced, because they “supposedly” were ready as they had level 2 training only to find that the bulk of that class was given over to reviewing or reteaching level 1 and 2!

  10. Pamela Miles says

    Thanks for chiming in, Beth.

    Maybe I’m making too much of this, but I think it’s unfortunate that it seemed there was a need to defend distant training. No one was attacking it. It’s important to me that this is a safe forum in which people can make thoughtful, respectful comments that express widely divergent perspectives; that we be able to disagree and argue the merits without anyone feeling attacked.

    I never retrain practitioners, but anyone who wants to take my First degree class is welcome. Often Reiki masters attend my classes. I don’t feel that I am correcting what they’ve learned, but rather giving my perspective. I also don’t see it as a student retaking First degree, but rather that they are taking another First degree class. Although I teach the fundamentals in all my First degree classes, each class is unique to the participants and cannot be replicated. I’ve even had my own advanced students take another First degree class and find it deepening. We absorb the material differently when we’ve been practicing a while.

    Only people who have taken my First degree class are invited to take my Second degree class, for just the reasons Beth mentions. Not only are there no training standards in Reiki, but also I have a more comprehensive take on the practice than other teachers. For example, someone coming into my Second degree class who believes that Reiki is a separate energy would be confused to hear me speak of the Reiki connection rather than Reiki energy.

  11. says

    Dear Pamela,
    thank you for all the good work you do, with your site and your book!
    You say you don´t retrain practitioners but they are welcome to attend your classes and they also have to attend a first degree with you before they can take second degree. My question is: do you then perform the initiations for first degree?
    and do you charge them for the class or not? I have been in similar situations several times and had to decide for myself and with the participant, if s/he had been already initiated in the System I practice or not ; sometimes it was clear and sometimes less clear! sometimes easy and sometimes not so.

  12. says

    Thank you for your kind words, Beatrice.

    By saying I don’t retrain people, I mean that I don’t come from the perspective that either what they are doing or what they received need to be corrected.

    Everyone who attends my classes pays the class fee. It doesn’t matter how many other classes they have taken, with me or other Reiki masters; if they want to take a space in my class, there is a fee to be paid. It’s very simple.

    Similarly, everyone in my First and Second degree classes receives initiations. If they didn’t want the initiation, why would they be in the class? It’s really not an issue.

    Some Reiki masters have the perspective that initiation only happens once, and the word itself seems to imply that, at least in English, but since I had so many years of receiving practices from respected spiritual lineages behind me when I learned Reiki, I never had that perspective.

    Perhaps the word empowerment is a more appropriate word than initiation. Initiations begin our practice, empowerments enable us to practice. At the beginning, they are the same, but in the continuance, the perspective of an empowerment may make more sense.

    Usui gave initiation every time he gathered with his students. Continuing initiations are a meaningful blessing from the teacher that continue the expansion of our practice.

  13. Ele says

    I found your post to be very helpful. Keeping things simple is the best way to deal with explaining reiki. I always tell people that I can only offer them one solid hour of relaxation. Total “me” time. By doing that, they don’t have super high expectations of healing that I can’t honestly promise them will happen. But, I have found that by the promise of “relaxation” they usually end up getting so much more. We talk softly about what is bothering them, what hurts, how to relax when they get home. I let the person lead me as to what I will say. People who are unfamiliar with reiki need things simple. Someone who is unfamiliar and wants to learn more might want to know about the chakras, or the candles become “aromatherapy”. I think the practioner needs to be sensitive to the person and go from there. But always, I think, simple is best.

  14. Ronald Campher says

    Very helpful and insightful – there’s just too many self-appointed masters who are looking for disciples to lead up the garden path… I believe in the maxim : do no harm to others , and be sincere and genuine.

  15. John Roberts says

    From what I have read the founder of Reiki did not need a teacher. He merely awakened to the powerful intelligence which permeates all of the universe, and began to use this energy for healing and self cultivation. He wasn’t taught to be a master, he became one in an instant. Same for me. I have been a Licensed Acupuncture Physician, and a LIcensed Doctor of Oriental Medicine (State Of Florida), for 25 years. I used “laying on of hands” on my patients from the beginning of my practice. I was a Reiki master without realizing it. No one had to teach me, the energy is available to all. Expensive classes, standards, and regulation serve no one except those who sell the classes and set the standards.

    • Pamela Miles says

      John,

      Thank you for your comment but it seems you are confusing laying-on-of-hands healing with Reiki practice, and Reiki practitioner with Reiki master. Also, Mikao Usui, the founder of the Reiki lineage, did not become a Reiki master in an instant. His breakthrough came after a lifetime of serious spiritual practice and seeking.

      One cannot be a Reiki practitioner or master without knowing it because the process involves training, experience, and receiving initiations in the lineage of Reiki teachers.

      Of course people are able to heal without becoming a Reiki practitioners. Everyone has the capacity to heal.

      Nonetheless, one’s ability to heal can be enhanced in many ways that involve training with master practitioners.

      Reiki training also confers an element of safety that naive healers don’t have, safety for themselves. Naive healers have a tendency to heal with their own vitality, which is depleting and not sustainable.

      It’s wonderful that you have found a way to heal that you are content with it. Please respect that what you are doing is not Reiki practice, which is not more or less, but simply different, a particular healing lineage.

      • John Roberts DOM says

        “Please respect that what you are doing is not Reiki practice.”

        You can say it, but this does not make it so. Your definition is limited and contains the restriction that is inherent in any modality that is controlled by organizations, certifications, and licenses. You folks in the Reiki Association just want to protect your turf, and many Reiki teachers teach classes because they can’t make money actually practicing Reiki.

        “Naive healers.”

        Now, that is quite a disparaging term, isn’t it. Reiki healers are informed and others who do any kind of hands on healing are “naive healers.”

        As I said, I am a Licensed Doctor of Oriental Medicine/Acupuncture Physician for almost 30 years. And, I am a certified Reiki master.

      • Pamela Miles says

        My definition of Reiki practice follows the founder Mikao Usui, who defined the practice as being empowered through lineage initiation. If one hasn’t had the initiation, one isn’t practicing Reiki. One might be doing something very wonderful and beneficial; it’s just not Reiki practice.

        Reiki practice is not controlled by anyone. We each get to decide what is meaningful to us.

        I do not use the term “naive healer” in a disparaging way. It simply means someone who practices without having had training, in the same way a naive painter has not gone for art training. There have been many gifted naive painters — Henri Rousseau and Grandma Moses are two that come to mind. Similarly, there are many gifted healers who work in their own way. But if you read what I wrote more carefully, you’ll see that I differentiated between naive healers and Reiki practitioners.

        What does “certified” mean when it comes before “Reiki master?” Nothing really, because there are no agreed upon standards for certification. And I’m not saying there should be. Some people click on a website and consider themselves to be “certified.” The lack of common standards is something we each have to address, and it is very confusing to the public.

  16. John Roberts DOM says

    “If one has not had the initiation one is not practicing Reiki.”

    Interesting concept, however in the West many things are taught under the banner of Reiki, that the Japanese do not accept as being Reiki. Spirit guides, Tibet, crystals, chakras, and kundalini would be a New Age insertion into a Japanese concept. And yet, I think the Japanese make this much more complicated than necessary because of their cultural traditions. I can teach almost anyone to practice Reiki successfully in just a few hours, no memorization of multiple symbols needed, and I wouldn’t charge them a lot of money to receive the training.

    “I do not use the term naive in a disparaging way.”

    The world naive is disparaging. When was the last time you heard the word naive used as a compliment?

    • Pamela Miles says

      The word naive may be disparaging in some contexts, but in the context in which I have used it, and which I explained above, it is descriptive only, not disparaging. It seems to have hit a nerve for you, which is interesting given that you have so much training to be a doctor of Oriental medicine, and I am a Reiki master only. Even though my training was traditional — the old-fashioned, in-depth way — it still does not compare with the training you went through to become a DOM. So why you find my statement offensive, even after I explained it, is a mystery to me. No one thinks less of Grandma Moses because she didn’t have an MFA.

      Yes, I am aware that many things are taught under the term “Reiki,” but I am a traditionalist, and wary of innovation that is made for the sake of change alone, as compared to the subtle shifts that arise organically out of years of practice.

      Having been a student of meditation and yoga for nearly 25 years before learning to practice Reiki, I recognized immediately that Reiki is a practice, and that I would get the most benefit from practicing as I was taught. And that’s what I’ve done. I’ve always been somewhere between content and enthralled with my practice, and never felt the need for enhancements.

      People can be taught to practice Reiki in very little time, but are they motivated to practice? My clearly stated intention is that my students continue to practice daily Reiki self-treatment, as I have done since 1986. I consider it my responsibility as a Reiki master not only to teach the very simple practice I teach, but also to instill in my students a love and appreciation of practice, and confidence that they can practice. That takes more time, and lots of practice during the training.

  17. Jeannine says

    Sometimes my self doubt annoys me. I have been going to the same reiki practitioner for over a year and it has made the most difference in my health out of everything I’ve tried (acupuncture, naturopathic doctor, etc). It’s opened me up in so many ways… awakened me really. But my practical side sometimes thinks “what are you doing spending $400 on a reiki class??”.

    And then I start doubting things even more when I read this article, as well as compared reiki class experiences to a friend’s experience. Her reiki level one was over 3 days. Mine took one day, in a class of 4 people, in a small apartment. Level 2 took 4-5 hours, just me and one other student – we talked, meditated, learned the symbols, had lunch, teacher did an attunement and we were tested to make sure we knew the symbols, the practicum was optional and because me and the other student were both soooo tired we opted to go home. I slept for HOURS. There’s no doubt that something happened in class that day, I had some profound visions during the session. But I just question whether or not I was fully trained? Can I really start using the tools I learned in reiki 2? Should my class have been longer? It makes me wonder if I should go elsewhere to learn master level (which I haven’t even decided if I want to go that route, as this has been really for myself to help in self healing).

    Then to add to this stupid doubting pattern… I see reiki classes offered for half the price of what I paid a little outside of the city.

    Ack!

    I guess there is no harm in taking these again should I want to try it with another teacher?

  18. joe says

    this reiki bandwagon will just not end, i am gobsmacked by the amount of people who are sucked into this scam, dont preach to me pamela, i know what i am talking about, by brother is a “reiki master”he has a string of gullible patients who are happy to part with their money and really get nothing in return, yes i am jealous, but sucking money from people for nothing is something i could not do, my brother does and he laughs all the way to the bank, i challenge you to leave this post on your site for other people to read.

    • Pamela Miles says

      Joe, I published your post not because you challenged me but because it helps this community to be aware that there is such animosity toward Reiki practitioners.

      If your brother is deliberately scamming people and actually laughing all the way to the bank, then he is an example of the need for credibility. If, on the other hand, your brother is sincere and helping people and you have made yourself judge and jury, then that’s something else entirely. Either way, it’s good information. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      • joe says

        hi pamela, i do not believe that my post was directing animosity at reiki practioners, i believe the only animosity that would be directed to the practioners might come from unhappy patients, i was imparting first hand knowledge of my brother who is a reiki master and also some of his friends who are all reiki masters and they all enjoy taking money from people who believe in them and laugh all the way to the bank, i think you understand me without going into more details and ,yes i am judging him ( i know i shouldnt ) as will the lord almighty.

      • Pamela Miles says

        Joe, all we know is your side of the story. Why don’t you show your comments to your brother and let him tell us how he laughs all the way to the bank?

      • joe says

        hi, my brother would not admit to the fact that he is laughing all the way to the bank, it would not be good for his”business”but he will pay and answer to the lord almighty.

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