Reiki does not involve physical touch. Although in some Reiki styles (as well as due to legal regulations in different states), some Reiki practitioners may hold their hands just above the receiver’s body, the original practice of Reiki has always involved direct contact and physical touch.
Reiki is a massage. This misconception may arise from the fact that many massage therapists also practice Reiki, and the clients may be unaware when massage ends and Reiki begins. Although Reiki does generally involve light touch, and, in some Reiki styles, it may even involve light patting and brushing over the back and the legs of the receiver, most definitely, Reiki is not a massage. There is no pressure or tissue manipulation during Reiki. The benefits from Reiki arise from energy shift in the body, with the body naturally readjusting itself to the most comfortable position, without manual manipulation.
Reiki is not real. Those people, who claim that Reiki is not real, approach the subject from the perspective of "if you can't see it, it is not real". If you use this kind of argument, then radio waves, electrons, and microorganisms that cannot be seen with a naked eye are also not real. We can't be this narrow minded in the 21st century. If we think this way, we are putting ourselves in the same category with some of our predecessors, who thought that Earth was flat, did not believe that matter was made of particles, and that many diseases were caused by germs. At the time they could not see it, and therefore it did not appear real to them. Fortunately, we have an advantage over them, since we know about many scientific discoveries that revealed what was previously hidden from our view, proving that it is indeed there, and it is real. This allows us to look at the world with an open mind. There are things that do not have an explanation (yet), but let's not ignore them by default, let's give them a chance. The truth about Reiki, is that although the actual Reiki energy itself has not been measured or quantified by science, this does not mean that Reiki does exist. Truth is stranger than fiction, and you really have to experience Reiki for yourself and see the benefits, which can be remarkable for many people. So let's not wait until the science is able to explain the Reiki phenomenon, let's enjoy it now.
Reiki is the same thing as Healing Touch. While both can be considered ‘energy therapies’, and both may have similar helpful effects that promote relaxation and natural self-healing, the origins and the actual practice of these two holistic modalities are quite different. Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui in Japan, and it is heavily rooted in the Japanese culture. Healing Touch was founded in 1989 by an American nurse Janet Mentgen, and it is based on her own experience with Energy work. Reiki (in its original form) involves direct hands-on touch; while Healing Touch practitioners generally have their hands hovering or gliding over the receiver’s body. There are many other hands-on healing techniques that exist around the world, and although there are many parallels between them, they are not all the same.
Reiki is the same thing as Chakra Clearing. Many people associate Reiki with working on the Chakra energy centers of the body. While Reiki may be beneficial for Chakra clearing, in reality, the Indian concept of Chakras was never a part of the original Reiki teaching, but was rather added onto the Japanese healing art of Reiki sometime after the 1970s. Any Chakra balancing and clearing techniques taught as a part of Reiki training, is extra information that was not a part of the technique developed by the Usui sensei.
Reiki is a Religious healing art. Reiki is not a Religious healing art neither in theory, nor in practice. The founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui sensei himself, had clearly stated that Reiki is not a religious healing method.
Reiki is just a placebo effect. Currently, there is no clear scientific explanation for how Reiki works; however, this does not mean that it either does not work or that it is a ‘placebo’ effect. As a medical doctor, I have over ten years of direct observational evidence of the effectiveness of Reiki at inpatient hospice unit, where it was utilized as a complementary therapy. In addition, I have several years of experience of using Reiki personally, and its effectiveness, by far exceeds what one would expect from a placebo effect.
Only few select people can learn Reiki and be good at it. Although some people may have a natural inclination towards holistic healing arts, anyone can learn Reiki. The beauty of Reiki is in its simplicity, and anyone can learn how to do it in just a few days. As with any healing art, practice makes perfect, and ongoing practice is encouraged after the training has been completed, to maintain and improve the Reiki ability.
I can learn Reiki online. Reiki is a hands-on healing art and the process of teaching Reiki involves certain elements that simply cannot be demonstrated or done online. You can certainly learn history of Reiki or various Reiki concepts online, but you may soon discover that when you try using Reiki, it will likely be only marginally effective. (After an online course you may get the “It felt relaxing”, type of a reaction from your clients, as opposed to, “Wow, this was amazing!” that you can expect after learning Reiki from a credentialed teacher at an in-person Reiki seminar.)
Reiki practitioners can absorb their client’s negative energy. Reiki energy flows through the practitioner, and out of the practitioners hands, promoting the flow of natural Ki within the person. The practitioner himself or herself is neither giving his or her energy, nor absorbing the client’s energy. So no “negative” energy can be absorbed by the practitioner.
Reiki can be sent to place, object, or a situation. Reiki can be done on living things, but not on objects or situations. When Mikao Usui developed Reiki, he developed it to help human beings on a mind-body level, and healing of objects or situations was not a part of the original Reiki. So if a Reiki practitioner is using techniques to send Reiki to an object or a situation, then those techniques are actually separate from Reiki as were developed taught by Usui sensei (even if the practitioner has learned them in a Reiki class.)
Reiki does not require regular appointments. Being completely different from something like a massage, Reiki should be done daily (or almost daily) until the problem is resolved. Think of it the way you would think of physical therapy, one session might help, but in order to get the full benefit, you must complete the whole course, and not just one session. With that said, in many cases, people experience immediate improvements of their symptoms with Reiki, and for many Reiki clients just a few sessions are needed to achieve great results.