P.S.: I am using the word "Reiki" referring to both Reiki energy (靈氣 - REI-KI) as well as the Reiki technique developed by Mikao Usui (心身改善臼井靈氣療法 - SHIN SHIN KAIZEN USUI REIKI RYOHO ) You can easily understand which "Reiki" I refer to based on the context.
Since I am not certain if your question refers to immaterial vs. material benefits, I will attempt to respond to both options.
I have been observing Reiki in action for about a decade during my work at an inpatient hospice unit as a medical doctor. The observational evidence of the positive effects of Reiki and other “alternative” modalities have left a lasting impression on me, to the point that I have learned Reiki myself and have been actively practicing it since 2013, in addition to my medical practice. I do not have a scientific explanation of how Reiki works, but I continue seeing impressive results with Reiki on a daily basis.
So to answer the immaterial side of you question, I can tell you that those people, who have learned Reiki and are practicing it, are benefiting others by helping them on a mind-body level with this impressive healing art.
In addition, learning and practicing Reiki has a profound positive impact not only on the receiver of Reiki, but also on the practitioner himself or herself. For example, since I’ve learned Reiki, I am a better, kinder person. I am more relaxed and able to deal with stress a lot better. I worry less and I’ve become a lot more open-minded. Reiki has allowed me to let go of the ego-fueled directions in life, and has helped me focus on what’s really important instead. Learning Reiki has allowed me to take a path less travelled, but also the path, where I can be more true to who I am and to who I want to be, the best version of myself.
As far as the financial benefits, as with anything in life, I am sure that there are people, who may be using Reiki for financial gain. For example, I’ve seen online Reiki courses that offer Reiki mastership after a few-hours-long training. This can only be viewed as either a misunderstanding on the part of the person who is offering this type of online class (hopefully), or as a money-making operation, since Reiki is a hands-on healing art, and Reiki training includes a process that cannot be performed virtually.
With that said, we don’t have to let a few ‘bad apples’ spoil the whole batch. The vast majority of people who learn Reiki, offer it relatively cheaply and often for free. Reiki is a calling, and although many Reiki practitioners can make a living doing Reiki, overall, the majority are certainly not doing it just to make money, but rather to help others.
There are several ways to understand this question, and I will provide the answers to all of the following potential meanings:
As far as how to learn Reiki, I would most definitely recommend taking an in-person course, as Reiki cannot be learned in any other way. You can certainly find a lot of information about the history of Reiki online or by reading Reiki books, which may give you a good starting point; however, because of the nature of this Japanese healing art and because of how it is taught, it is impossible to learn it online or from reading a book. There are several inherent processes to learning Reiki that must be done in person and cannot be skipped. If those essential elements are dropped, you may find that the technique you learn is not very effective, and truthfully, it cannot be called Reiki at that point, as it will no longer be the true authentic Reiki in the way it was originally taught and practiced, but a different healing art (similar to Reiki, but different). So, taking an in-person Reiki course is the best way to learn Reiki.
Finally, if you are inquiring about getting a course of Reiki sessions, then it is definitely a great idea if you have any chronic conditions or serious concerns (as opposed to new, and/or minor symptoms). Your Reiki practitioner will be able to recommend the duration of the Reiki course. Think of it the way you would think of a course of antibiotics or of a course of physical therapy. One pill or one session can help, but it may not be enough. Ideally Reiki should be done daily or nearly daily, until the problem is resolved. In my experience, however, it may often take just one session or only a few sessions to address various wellness concerns, often to my disbelief as a medical doctor (we do not understand how Reiki works from the medical perspective, and in all honesty, the effectiveness of Reiki is often shocking to me, since medically-speaking, it should not work, but it does). Getting a course of Reiki sessions can be very useful, especially when trying to address long-standing, serious concerns.
I’d like like to answer your question from a medical/scientific point of view and from the Reiki experience perspective.
Reiki is a natural Japanese wellness method for body and mind that involves a light touch. As a medical doctor, I can tell you that from a medical perspective, there should be no healing effects (other than relaxation, perhaps) from any method that involves hands-on healing; however, I have observed Reiki in action for well over a decade now, and I have no doubt in my mind about its positive effects on healing.
Technically and legally speaking, we should probably refrain from using the word “healing”, since it implies scientific/medical evidence of effectiveness of a licensed clinical treatment modality, which Reiki is not. It is neither scientifically proven, nor it is a licensed healing profession. I would like to add however, that although currently, there is no scientific proof that Reiki heals anything, I am certain that it is only a matter of time before we will learn otherwise.
From my observation of Reiki as a medical scientist, I can tell you that people receiving Reiki report improvements in physical symptoms, reduction in emotional suffering, and they also often share that they gain clarity or have a healing spiritual experience, not to mention feeling more relaxed and better overall with Reiki. I would say that probably about 50% of people receiving Reiki say that it felt “amazing”. I personally see Reiki as a mind-body-and-soul healing art, and in my experience, not only it can be very helpful for healing on multiple levels, but it appears to be beneficial significantly beyond the placebo effect.
Dr. Maria Danilychev, MD is a hospice doctor, clinical research physician, and a Jikiden Reiki Shihan (master/teacher).