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.
There could be a couple of reasons why you feel that you might not be able to do Reiki correctly:
Personally, I prefer to call it a Reiki Practice, rather than a Reiki ‘business’, and if you love Reiki and are giving Reiki on a regular basis, you already have a Reiki Practice, so there is nothing else that you need to do, you already have what you are looking for :)
Most Reiki practitioners don’t get rich by practicing Reiki, so if you are hoping to make a lot of money in Reiki, it is probably not the the best field. With that said, here are several essential steps that may help you start a Reiki practice:
Reiki (靈氣)is a Japanese word for “universal life force energy”. The literal translation of the word “Rei” is “soul”/“spirit”. “Ki” means life force energy, which is a very common concept in many Asian cultures.
The original Reiki healing method was developed by Mikao Usui sensei in the 1920s in Japan, and he called it “Shin Shin Kaizen Usui Reiki Ryoho”, which means “Usui Reiki treatment method for body and mind”. Mikao Usui unknowingly connected with the Reiki energy as he was searching for enlightenment. He discovered that laying hands on a problem area of one’s body had a healing effect, and he started helping others using his newfound ability. Eventually, he also developed a way to teach Reiki to others, by helping them tap into the Reiki healing ability. Mikao Usui passed away in 1926, but through Dr. Hayashi, who was one of Usui sensei’s students, Reiki came to America (Hawaii), and eventually spread to the world. Since then, many new Reiki styles have been created, but most, if not all, have the same underlying concept of tapping into the universal life force energy and laying on hands to allow the natural internal self-healing process.
I’d like to clarify, that Reiki “energy” is not a scientific concept. Also from a scientific and medical perspective laying on hands should not have any beneficial effect beyond a placebo, or feeling comforted perhaps. However, I have to tell you that from my own decade-long scientific observation of Reiki helping patients in hospice, and later on through personally utilizing the Reiki method that I have learned from the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Japan, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Reiki can have a profound positive effect on a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual state, all of which go far beyond the potential placebo effect.
Reiki is a Japanese healing art. A Reiki “Master” is a translation from the Japanese word Reiki “Shihan”. Shihan means a respected expert teacher, “master instructor” (of either a martial art or a healing art, such as Reiki).
Just as in other Japanese healing traditions, it took a long time to become a teacher, and one had to practice the healing art as a Reiki practitioner/healer first. Once someone became a Reiki Shihan, that person could not only give Reiki treatments, but also teach Reiki. So to answer your question, a Reiki Master (in the traditional meaning of this word) is a Reiki healer, who is also a Reiki teacher.
In the West, the translation “Master” has shifted from the concept of Shihan “master instructor” as a “teacher” to that of “master” as an “expert”. Many Reiki practitioners today refer to themselves as Reiki “masters”, whether or not they teach Reiki, which is technically incorrect. Also some Reiki teachers only teach Reiki and do not give any Reiki treatments. Both have become commonplace, shifting away from the original tradition.
Regardless of the semantics, all Reiki Masters can offer Reiki sessions, and therefore can be referred to as Reiki healers.
Reiki is a Japanese holistic healing method for body and mind, and it can be very effective on a physical, emotional and spiritual levels.
There is a fairly large number of scientific publications on Reiki effectiveness; however, due to limitations of currently published studies, Reiki has not yet been scientifically proven to be effective. That does not mean that it is not effective, it simply means that there is not enough scientific evidence available today to demonstrate its effectiveness.
As a hospice doctor, I have observed Reiki in action at an inpatient hospice unit for over a decade, and was so impressed with how helpful it was to my patients (way beyond what one would expect from a placebo effect), that I have learned Reiki myself and now personally utilizing it.
One day, I am sure, scientific research will catch up, and the effectiveness of Reiki will not only be clear in practice, but also from a scientific point of view.
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).