Therapeutic Reiki

About Reiki

Reiki is a spiritual practice and healing art. The word can be translated as the energy of the heavens and the energy of the earth. That is, Reiki is the universal life force that creates and sustains all living things. 

Mikao Usui taught that each one of us is capable of being connected to Reiki energy. When connected to Reiki we can use it to promote healing of ourselves and others. Usui passed on the practice and teaching of Reiki to his students. Today Reiki continues to be passed from teacher to student and is used both personally and professionally in a variety of contexts. 

There is a growing body of research to support the effectiveness of Reiki as an adjunct to conventional or mainstream medical care. It is being used to support healing of the mind. body, and spirit in clinics, hospices, hospitals, and private practices all over the world. 

Reiki should never replace any prescribed treatments or medications by a medical or allied health professional. You should always seek advice from a registered or accredited professional before making any changes to your healthcare.

person walking on beach during daytime

Reiki and Energy Medicine

Einstein proposed that all living things are made up of energy. Further, that everything in the universe is interconnected. A change in one aspect of the universe has a subsequent change on other parts of the universe. Unlike Newton, who viewed the body as a collection of separate parts, Einstein viewed the body as an intricate collection of energy and that the mind, body, and spirit exist in a symbiotic relationship - that the effect on one, effects the others. Moreover, that we are energetically connected with each other and all living things, therefore our health and wellbeing is influenced by each other, and the world around us. Energy medicine builds on Einstein's theory. 

Energy medicine contends that human and environmental energy fields are the fundamental elements of the universe. Thus, humans are physical manifestations of energy. Further, we are in a continual state of energy exchange with one another and the environment, resulting in a repatterning of our energy field. This exchange can have either a positive or negative effect on our health and wellbeing. Energy medicine practitioners seek to restore balance to our energy patterns and thus promote health and wellbeing. Reiki can be used to bring the body's energy into balance, supporting healing on multiple levels, mind, body, and spirit. 

Reiki Training and Practice

Reiki can be learned by anyone of any age. It is taught in 3 levels. Reiki 1 is the foundation and is used primarily as a personal practice or on friends and family. Reiki 2 expands the capacity of Reiki to work more deeply on an emotional and spiritual level. It also enables the practitioner to incorporate distant healing and is not limited by time or space. Reiki 3 is for those who would like to further deepen their connection with Reiki, and for those who want to teach Reiki.   

Whilst Reiki can be learned by anyone, care should be taken in selecting a professional Reiki practitioner. As with other forms of complimentary therapies, Reiki is an unregulated industry. There is no formal body which trains, accredits, or registers Reiki practitioners. However, membership of a Reiki association shows that a practitioner is committed to providing a high standard of professional, ethical, and legal practice. They will also hold professional insurance. Most Reiki associations require practitioners to provide verified copies of practitioner training, set minimum expectations for continuing professional development, and adherence to a Code of Ethics and Practice. Generally, most associations require practitioners to have completed both Reiki 1 and 2 training. 

As a minimum standard of practice all people practicing Reiki professionally must comply with their relevant State or Territory National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers and any other relevant legislation such as the Privacy Act 1988

Anyone who feels they have been treated contrary to the minimum standard of care and practice and has been unable to resolve the issue directly with a Reiki practitioner may lodge a complaint with the Office of the Health Ombudsman in their State or Territory.  

The National Code of Conduct for Health Care Workers (Queensland)

The Privacy Act 1998

 Office of the Health Ombudsman (QLD) 

Professional Membership 

Professional Reiki practitioners will generally belong to a relevant association. This will depend on other training and qualifications. Two key Reiki professional associations in Australia are Reiki Australia and The Australian Reiki Connection. Both associations have strict requirements to join and maintain membership status. The requirements include, citing of training records, first aid training, ongoing professional development, adherence to ethical and legal standards and scope of practice, and professional insurance. Another key association, especially when one offers several modalities is the Australian Holistic Healers and Counsellors Association. These associations maintain a searchable list of providers.

Reiki Australia

Australian Reiki Connection 

Australian Holistic Healers and Counsellors Association

Reiki and Its Benefits

Reiki practitioners should obtain basic information about the client and why they are seeking a Reiki session. They should explain how the session will be carried out, the pros and cons of receiving Reiki, and obtain written informed consent. All information is to be treated according to the appropriate State or Territory legislation - including relevant consent laws for minors. 

A Reiki session typically goes for between 30 - 60 minutes and may be conducted in-person, or by distance (remotely). In either case, the person remains fully clothed. An in-person session may be done while seated or on a treatment table. The Reiki practitioner will use a sequence of hand placements, either lightly touching, or holding their hands just above, the body. Typically, they will progress from the head to the feet, holding each position for about 3 - 5 minutes. Unless there is a clinical reason Reiki practitioners must not touch intimate areas of the body (e.g. breasts, buttocks, genitals), in which case explicit consent must be obtained. 

During a remote or distant session practitioners will typically organise a mutually convenient time when the client can be in a relaxed and undisturbed environment. Each practitioner will have a process for doing distant treatments, for example, connecting on Zoom, using a photo of the client, or placing the person's details on a sheet of paper. They will then use a modified version of the in-person procedure. 

Each person's experience of Reiki is different and varies from person to person and session to session. Typical experiences might include.

  • feelings of relaxation 
  • sensation of warmth or tingling 
  • urges to laugh, or cry
  • seeing colours, images
  • stillness or mind, or increased flow of thought
  • mental clarity
  • sense of a connection to something bigger

Whilst these are typical experiences, not having these does not mean that Reiki is not 'working'. 

As mentioned earlier, Reiki is a complementary therapy which supports other forms of conventional and alternative therapies. Unless they have relevant training, registration or accreditation Reiki practitioners must not diagnose, comment on, or otherwise advise clients on medical treatment, existing or potential medical conditions. They must always act in the scope of their own legal and ethical practice - and when necessary, discuss referring a client to another appropriate professional. 

Research on Reiki has concluded that Reiki is not harmful. However, clients should be made aware that following Reiki sessions some have experienced,

  • feelings of nausea
  • temporary increase in symptoms
  • headaches 
  • increased nausea or need to go to the toilet
  • discomfort 
  • emotional upheaval/sensitivity 
  • fatigue
  • increased energy 

These are often referred to as a sign of the body's natural detoxification process and are temporary. Any prolonged abnormal changes should be reported to an appropriate professional, 

Reiki and Other Modalities 

Reiki is a stand-alone complementary therapy. It can be used by itself or in combination with other conventional and alternative therapies and treatments. However, Reiki practitioners need to ensure that clients are giving informed consent for the specific modality or modalities being used - outlining the pros and cons of each and the rationale for their use. Practitioners using other modalities must have the appropriate training, experience, accreditation and or registration. 

Reiki is a simple hands on or distant healing technique and is effective on its own, as shown by research. However, over time, and with the interest of practitioners, aspects of other modalities have merged with Reiki and assumed to be part of Reiki. Modalities which maybe seen to be a part of Reiki but are not part of the traditional practice include:

  • chakra healing and balancing 
  • references to angels, spirit guides, or ascended masters 
  • psychic surgery 
  • psychic abilities
  • crystal healing 
  • sound healing 
  • aura reading and cleansing 
  • energy clearing rituals

Some clients will be open to discussing and using any of the above in conjunction with Reiki. However, practitioners must be clear that these are complementary and are not part of Reiki. 

Learning Reiki 

As noted, Reiki is easy to learn and use by anyone. Often people experience the positive effects and benefits of Reiki and want to be able learn to do it for themselves - this is the ideal, as it gives the person agency over themselves. Click below to discover more about learning to use Reiki on yourself, family, and friends - or as part of your current or future professional practice. 


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