Your freedom to access or practice Reiki is being threatened with regulation. The threat is coming from the private sector, organizations which stand to benefit by controlling from whom you can receive treatment, from whom you can learn Reiki, how you practice professionally, and what you teach. That control can be gained by manipulating state governments that write licensing laws, ostensibly to protect the public from harm. The National Institutes of Health states clearly that there is no evidence that Reiki practice is harmful to the public. In other words, the U.S. government has declared Reiki practice to be safe.
Do I have your attention? Are you ready to protect Reiki?
How Would Reiki Regulation Affect You?
First let’s take a look at what regulation would mean to your Reiki practice.
When you learned to practice Reiki, were you able to choose from among diverse practitioners, to look around and settle on the one you thought was the best fit for you?
When you started your professional practice, did you assume you’d always be able to practice according to your understanding of Reiki practice, without interference from your state government?
All of those choices will be taken away if we allow state legislatures to be manipulated by the private sector into requiring unwarranted licensing.
The Reiki community is extremely diverse. Some of us have a hard time with that. The friction among various Reiki factions will dilute our ability to address the regulatory threats. Let’s step back from our differences for a moment to look at our community at large and discover how we can retain our diversity while working together for a common goal, to protect Reiki practice.
The Reiki community includes people who practice at home on themselves, family, friends and pets. It also includes those who practice professionally, offering treatment and/or teaching people to practice Reiki.
Having a community of at-home practitioners and professionals itself brings an unusual type of diversity. Additionally, Reiki professionals have different amounts of training and different practice styles. They don’t necessarily agree even on what “Reiki” is.
That can be challenging for the public and hospitals that expect everything Reiki is the same. We as a community can help by articulating our different practice styles upfront so people can make informed choices. Each hospital can and does regulate how Reiki is practiced there. Reiki staff or volunteers agree to practice according to hospital rules when practicing in that facility. Those agreements don’t affect how practitioners practice Reiki elsewhere.
Reiki Spiritual Practice and Diversity
While some refer to Reiki as energy work, Reiki remains a spiritual practice, as it was to Reiki lineage founder Mikao Usui.
Diversity is essential to spiritual practice. People need to and have the right to practice in the way that is meaningful to them. I might not agree with their choices, but I support their right to practice as they choose. I don’t care how you practice; I care very much that you practice.
For example, I personally feel the public is best served by Reiki professionals who have a committed daily self Reiki practice. However, I’ve never felt that professionals who don’t practice daily self Reiki should be kept from professional practice. That’s their choice, and people will choose to work with them accordingly.
I’ve long advocated that Reiki be recognized as a spiritual practice rather than energy medicine. That distinction might seem subtle, but besides being documented, it might also make Reiki practice harder to regulate by law.
Continuing disclosure, I also feel that any practice called Reiki should trace back to Usui. But again, that’s my personal preference only.
It’s possible to have clear preferences and even positions while respecting diversity and working together to protect Reiki practice from unnecessary regulation.
Protecting Reiki Practice from the Threat of Regulation
There is a lot to be done to protect Reiki practice from the regulation that threatens it. Can our very diverse Reiki community come together to protect our practice? Will we?
I’m here to help us unite as a diverse community to protect Reiki. What I can offer, and what is most needed now, is to create an information network so we can mobilize our vast community quickly to make our voices heard when the time comes.
I’ve set up an email list separate from my ReikiUpdate list for those who want to be kept informed as the threat to Reiki practice develops (you can be on both lists or either one only). Sign up here for the Reiki threatened by regulation list. You can also sign up for ReikiUpdates here.
Please share this widely among people who want Reiki to remain free from regulation, especially in the states currently being targeted:
- New York
- North Carolina
Protecting Reiki from the threat of regulation means people can continue to receive Reiki treatment or training from the professionals they choose. It also means Reiki professionals can continue to practice or teach as they find meaningful.
If we do not stop this effort, individual states will pass legislation to regulate Reiki practice, making it less accessible to the public and requiring diverse Reiki practitioners to practice and teach as licensing dictates. Please join us.
What You Can Do Now to Protect Reiki
Given the Reiki community will soon be called upon to communicate what Reiki means to us — to you — it makes sense to work on your Reiki communication. Specifically, work on how you can present your practice in a way that is easy for the mainstream public to understand while being true to your individual style.
It’s critical that we communicate Reiki clearly to the mainstream public because that’s who will hear arguments to regulate Reiki when they’re presented to each state legislature, and as we contact our elected representatives individually.
Join me and my colleagues Rita Glassman and Susan Mitchell for a live overview of the current situation and what we can do on April 10. Register for free here.
You will find many articles on my website to help you.
29 thoughts on “Reiki Threatened with Regulation”
I am having a difficult time, being a fellow Reiki Master, understanding the concept and origins of the claim that Usui Reiki is a spiritual practice vs energy work. They are technically both. Also, could you provide verifiable sources that state Reiki is being threatened to become regulated?
Elle, have you read the series I wrote about spiritual practice and energy medicine?
It’s not a claim that Reiki is a spiritual practice; that’s how the founder, Mikao Usui, saw it. However, there are no standards for Reiki practice and people practice according to their understanding. Please read Reiki Changes.
You can find the current Massachusetts bills to regulate Reiki practice online; they are open record. You can also find that Reiki practice is regulated in Vermont as of April 1, 2021. Additionally, there are already towns in Massachusetts that regulate Reiki. The situation is developing but all the information can be accessed online. This is a good resource to stay current with regulations.
We will share the most current overview in the free live Protect Reiki panel on April 10. Everyone is welcome.
Yes, I live in FL, and here they require for u to become massage therapist in order to practice REIKI legally.
We need to come together and get our own lawyers. Is it not cultural appropriation and white privilege to assign licensing and regulation with a board consisting of medical staff to oversee who gets to practice energy work based on their requirements? It surely is and a lawsuit can stop the progress of it.
Janet, on what basis would someone start a lawsuit? I’m not a lawyer but I don’t see how this attempt to regulate is illegal, even if it is ill-informed and self-serving.
I agree with you completely that it’s time for this broad community to come together. We need to take reasonable, well-timed actions to educate and to fight the MA bill once it’s presented. That’s why we have the Protect Reiki list, so we can inform people who are interested to take action. We have strength in our numbers, yet our communications need to be plausible and respectful.
This is multi-faceted. There is already a lack of respect for what is sacred and divine in humankind with the very pompous notion that it needs a human mediator and legislation. As we know the very act of measuring a particle changes it. Reality is a sea of ever moving parts. How then will the regulation of Energy Therapies effect these ancients arts moving forward? It is shameful that those who are wanting to legislate what is sacred and that which is a birthright to ALL are living in a ‘pocket’ of their own consciousness which sees only their own desires.
It’s time to come together as a community and focus on how to address this challenge. We can use this as a catalyst for much needed change but we need to look within and look forward, and not get distracted.
Thank you so much for bringing awareness to this important matter. I will do all I can to support our community, including sharing the information with others.
I don’t see links to the proposed changes. In in Oregon. I thought Reiki was under any “license to touch” or minister. Since I’m an ethertician and minister both, o t seems I’m covered. Do you know what the propsed changes are? This seems in line with the global energy to form and restrict consciousness, which we know cant happen.
No links to proposed changes because there are no active bills at this time. I don’t know your situation, but exemptions for ministers often have restrictions, such as requiring a divinity degree rather than an online certificate.
As far as I know, people who practice Reiki as a profession in Florida are still required to have a Florida Massage License. It’s been that way for over 20 years.
As an active member and President of the Board of the Florida Health Freedom nonprofit organization that attempted to pass a Safe Harbor Bill here, I can attest that this is what we were told.
There is no actual Reiki bill, the Florida Department of Health confirmed that Reiki falls under the regulation of the Board of Massage. So, in essence, a specific bill to regulate Reiki was redundant, so to speak. Of course, Reiki is not massage but the state legislature didn’t understand energy work and the Massage Board convinced them otherwise.
We took our Health Freedom Bill, which created a Safe Harbor for many alternative healing practices, including energy work and Reiki specifically, to the state legislature and they tabled it.
At the time, and this was back in 2008-9, we couldn’t round up the grassroots support needed, even though we had around 12,000 members. People were too diverse in their practice and were afraid of state regulation, even though Massage Licensure was already required. There were also people who warned that we had alternative motives and that licensure was not required. It was an uphill battle on both sides.
The National Health Freedom Action organization assisted us in writing and lobbying our bill, which was written by three lawyers, one a former Florida Supreme Court Justice. So we were in good legal hands.
I have been out of the loop since 2009 when I stepped down and the nonprofit basically fell apart. I have been unaware of any organized movement here in Florida since that time. I occasionally receive an inquiry from someone asking about state regulations who have been given my contact information from the National organization.
It’s so unfortunate that this is coming from someone within the Reiki community but I’m not really surprised.
Thank you so much for your detailed report on Reiki practice in Florida. We had a similar situation in New York years ago but petitioned the Massage Board of Discipline to release Reiki practice from their jurisdiction and they eventually did.
I wonder if the Florida situation might be revisited today with a different result. The public reaches out for these practices much more than even 10 years ago.
The current movement for regulation goes far beyond Reiki practice, including energy practices, spiritual practices, shamanism, etc. so you could likely reach a much larger population of supporters today.
I would be very happy if this ruling for Reiki practice in Florida could be re visited. I moved here from Canada about 10 years ago and was surprised to find out, that you cannot practice Reiki here if yoy don’t have a massage therapist license! I am now just practicing on myself and my family! Thankyou for everything you do, Pamela Miles.? and light!
Please let me know what I can do to help stop this bill from happening. As a long time Reiki Master it is essential that we have freedom to practice. Our way and the way of other energy traditions is essential at this time. It will also be the way of our future. Our world is in a profound transition which we all are part of. Thank you for making me aware of this situation.
Thank you for your support, Jennifer. The first thing to do is sign up for the Protect Reiki email list (be sure to click the link in the confirmation email) so you’ll be first to receive information and action requests. That list is separate from my ReikiUpdate. You can be on either or both.
The second step is to please share this article widely through email and social media. The larger the communication network we have, the faster we can engage in opposing these bills as they appear.
Soon we’ll be encouraging people to contact their elected state representatives so we can start his is important because the groups moving to license are misrepresenting their work and obfuscating the issue by saying, for example, licensing is needed to protect against human trafficking, a horror which we all oppose and which regulating Reiki practice will not prevent.
Thank you, Pamela! Your e-mail was forwarded to me by a Reiki friend, and I am forwarding to my students, colleagues, and some clients. I appreciate being aware that this movement to limit and regulate Reiki is expanding. We must preserve the spirit and integrity of Reiki while providing a safe haven for our clients.
Thank you for your support, Marybeth. Countless people will suffer if they are not able to access these essentially spiritual approaches to health and healing.
So there are people within the Reiki community trying to regulate practice so only certain practitioners have the qualifications to practice?
This is the brainchild of a single person who is Reiki-trained who has gathered a team to support the goal of dominating subtle spiritual practices.
Pamela, we went through something similar in Australia and we ended up creating a national umbrella body for SELF-regulation to fight against the imposition of registered training for Reiki – we knew as an industry that our practices were too broad to have Reiki taught as a single “course”.
Fortunately, they grasped that as a spiritual practice, they could not ask our teaching methods to undergo a standardisation for training.
Reiki organisations sent representatives to work with the national training organisation as a reference group. We met many times over a couple of years. Fortunately, the government decided that we did not need to go down the registered training route as Reiki had been deemed low risk…
I was on the reference group, and ended up commissioned by the later umbrella group to create a course for professional practice only.
This course wasn’t about Reiki – it was about infection control and hygiene, the business practices, client records, legal compliance, liaising with other healthcare providers, appropriate communication etc. The only part related to Reiki practice itself was how to get clients safely on and off the treatment table, and positioning them appropriately depending on presenting conditions and health issues.
I was asked to create this course as my work background included course design and delivery as a professional with B. Ed. and course development qualifications. I was also a professional Reiki practitioner and teacher with quite a few years’ experience under my belt.
The course is not compulsory though – what it does is meet the sort of requirements in training that other courses that are registered do.
As it stands, Reiki practitioners here are only required to ensure their practice complies with appropriate business, health and safety (including practitioners having first aid certification), practice insurance (professional indemnity and public liability), and compliance with a National Code of Conduct for Unregulated Healthcare Workers.
The Code doesn’t dictate anything about Reiki itself as it covers ANY unregulated form of healthcare here – so it includes things like no inappropriate touching, having first aid certification, confidentiality of record keeping etc – and we were consulted before the Code was finalised.
It was extremely difficult to get Reiki organisations to the table as the reference group, and within the group, it was also hard to gain consensus. I argued that we needed to focus on what we had in COMMON, not what the differences were…
When we couldn’t reach consensus, the majority of the organisations who could agree on the common ground, created the umbrella group I mentioned earlier.
I’m now on a very active association committee of a Reiki peak body – the Australian Reiki Connection Inc., (yes, the one where you spoke at our conference via video link in 2015 – I was a keynote speaker too), and I teach within Australia’s oldest Reiki training organisation, The Usui Reiki Network.
Based on our Australian journey, I believe you can pull together enough to convince your various state governments that Reiki is most definitely not harmful or risky, and that it doesn’t require licensing.
From personal experience, I do believe there’s nothing wrong in asking for compliance with business practice, client confidentiality, first aid etc – but the actual Reiki aspects should be left alone.
I wish you (and the Reiki community over there), warm regards and Reiki blessings.
Sue, thank you for your detailed, thoughtful comment. I remember that Round 1 of this process had just finished when I spoke at the Reiki Australia conference in Brisbane in 2006.
I personally hope the U.S. avoids regulation altogether, but I agree that people need help with professional skills. I started my Reiki Professional Academy to help people fill in gaps in their experience and training as they feel the need.
Last year in Massachusetts the bill that would have required Reiki and other ‘bodywork ‘ practitioners to be credentialed came from law enforcement professionals who were attempting to reduce prostitution. They argued that massage was well regulated here by licensure laws, but that human trafficking rings were advertising as bodywork organizations, hence the requirement that bodyworkers be licensed. There was a huge move to counteract them and many of us wrote letters, called and visited our legislators, and attended and testified at a hearing. It succeeded (temporarily) but our attempt to pass a Safe Harbor Bill to protect practitioners did not. And now it looks like we need to fight the battle again.
Yes, the effort in Massachusetts is a continuance of what’s been happening the last few years. I hope you will put your name on the email list so we can keep you informed of what you can do to help defeat this bill, once it’s been presented. It is currently still being drafted.
Again trying to control that which is beyond their realm of understanding. Energy work will continue in spite of this effort to regulate / eradicate it because it does not conform to and challenges the profit making machinery that keeps this country ill.
Thanks, Pamela for making me aware of this.
I live in Florida and was under the impression that I can’t practice Reiki in public unless I have a RN, massage or any other license that allows touch. What can we do to stop this regulation?
The situation in FL isn’t as clearcut as people think. To my understanding, and while I’ve been involved in health care freedom issues for decades, I’m not an attorney, no legislation has been passed in FL to regulate Reiki practice; rather, the guidelines are from the appropriate advisory board.
What is being proposed are bills to be voted into law by the respective state legislatures to require specific licensing of Reiki practitioners. The bills have not yet been presented so we don’t have final details. That’s why it’s good to sign up for the special email list specified above to stay informed as the situation — and our community response — develop.
Spiritual practice or energy “medicine” (and I’m thinking shamanistic medicine), we need to remember to FOCUS ON WHAT WE WANT TO CREATE. Yes, let’s come together for a unified description, but let’s not forget the power of intention, especially group intention with a common goal. This situation tells us big pharm is feeling threatened. They have the bucks, but we have the magic!
Washington State (if it matters)
Good reminder about staying focused on what we want to create. Thank you, Esther.
This threat is actually coming from within the Reiki community. There’s no evidence that I’ve seen that Big Pharma is involved at all. I think that industry is busy enough making money, especially these days.