Kimberly Fleisher, RMT, M.Ed, Director/Founder of The Reiki School + Clinic
Team Leader, Reiki Program, The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: February 2, 2011
Reiki practice came from Japan to the United States in the late 1930's. Facilitated through gentle, non-manipulative touch, it helps balance our system, engage our inner resources, and move us towards a place of wellness.
During a Reiki session (also referred to as a 'treatment'), a practitioner places their hands lightly on a fully clothed client who reclines on a massage table or sits in a comfortable chair. Sessions can also be given in alternative settings, like a hospital bed.
In addition to receiving treatments from a practitioner, Reiki can be easily learned. A client can become a practitioner; able to treat themselves, friends or family. A qualified Reiki Master Teacher* can provide simple instruction and initiation into the practice.
The cost of a session can vary greatly from practitioner to practitioner.
Many people access sessions from friends who've received Reiki training but do not practice professionally.
Others seek out a Reiki professional, whose fee can vary based on their location, setting, experience, and whether or not they practice full-time (Reiki practice as their sole source of income).
Additionally, some Reiki centers, community centers, non-profits and health care organizations offer free or low-cost opportunities for people to receive Reiki sessions.
Currently Medicare and Medicaid do not reimburse for Reiki and most insurers do not cover the cost. Any payment stipulated is typically paid for out-of-pocket.
Unlike many other complementary practices, Reiki sessions treat the whole person. A treatment balances, and as a result clients often report release or relief from unwanted symptoms. Cancer patients often report a reduction in the side effects of conventional treatment, including pain, nausea, anxiety, stress and fatigue, as well as an increase in overall feelings of peace, wellbeing, letting go, freedom, support, connection, balance and release.
There are no known contraindications for Reiki, meaning, there are no known reasons that a Reiki session should be avoided because of the potential to cause harm. It is generally regarded as a safe, non-invasive practice that does not compete with other interventions.
Reiki is a practice that is learned from an experienced teacher or a Master – it is not self-taught. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine's Backgrounder on Reiki states:
No special background or credentials are needed to receive training, and the specific techniques taught can vary greatly.
Reiki practitioners' training and expertise vary. Increasingly, many people who seek training are licensed health care professionals. However, no licensing or professional standards exist for the practice of Reiki.
There are a number of questions a potential practitioner (or teacher) can answer to help you determine if they are a good fit for you:
*Traditionally, there are three levels of Reiki training; the third level is known as Reiki Master Training, and upon completion of this level one gains the ability to teach. They are given the title, "Reiki Master." Some schools of Reiki, however, have segmented the Reiki Master instruction further, calling the third level, "Reiki Master Practitioner," focusing primarily on practitioner development, and the fourth level, "Reiki Master Teacher," focusing on training to become a Reiki teacher. If you want learn how to practice Reiki make sure you choose a Reiki Master who is able to teach.