I attended a webinar yesterday by Pamela Miles about how and why to fight Reiki regulation. These are my initial thoughts on the subject and I’m not entirely sure regulation of Reiki and other healing modalities is a bad thing. I thought I’d post about it publicly here on Destiny Architecture rather than put it behind my Patreon paywall because I want to see what others think.
I want to start by saying I have always respected Miles’ work and what she brings to the Reiki community. I respect her more for spearheading this webinar and bringing attention to the subject of regulating Reiki because it’s a lot of work. She’s always put in the work, and for that, we can be grateful for her in this space.
The predominant belief presented yesterday was that Reiki regulation is a bad thing. I think the pandemic has caused me to lean more toward libertarianism and the idea that too much regulation is a bad thing. I don’t want to see more government regulation. But I’ve had quite a few negative experiences in the Reiki or healing modalities space. Therefore, I’m not quite so sure regulation would be bad.
What was presented yesterday claimed Reiki regulation is bad for several reasons.
1. It would lead to a homogenization of Reiki
2. Regulatory boards are forming and will leave Reiki practitioners under-represented.
3. It would ultimately lead to a higher cost to consumers and therefore job loss that would affect women and minorities disproportionately.
The reasons behind Reiki regulation were loosely presented as:
1. It would combat human trafficking (despite there being no credible argument behind Reiki causing human trafficking other than a loose connection to the massage trade). As someone who actually worked with trafficking victims for years, I can tell you none of them were sold into trafficking through massage or Reiki. This is the first time in nine years of practicing Reiki that I have ever seen someone try to connect it to human trafficking in any way. Credible massage therapists and Reiki practitioners don’t deserve to be lumped into the “neon sign massage industry,” but here we are.
2. Perhaps the massage industry is trying to “claim” Reiki for its own or control it. Not sure about this one either...I live in Kansas and Reiki is NOT allowed to be taught in massage schools here per state regulation. So I have been invited before to speak about Reiki to a classroom of massage students before as an unpaid volunteer.
Neither of those reasons seem very valid, so if I missed something please let me know in the comments.
Personally, I think more regulation is just a sign of the times due to the pandemic. States and municipalities are obviously hurting for money, so I think we can all expect to see more taxes and regulations in the coming years — including Reiki licensing fees.
I’ve always been in alignment with whatever can bring more credibility to the Reiki space.
Problem is — very little has been offered over the years to bring us more credibility. I’ve continued my Reiki education whenever possible by continuing to take courses from my teachers and attending their Reiki share. But this has never been a licensed modality and I’ve never had to meet state requirements. My continuing education has counted for nothing more than my own enrichment as a Reiki Master.
Where I currently live, anyone can hang up a shingle and call themself a Reiki practitioner or Master. Since Reiki is handed down form teacher to student through attunements, there is no test to pass in order to become a Reiki Master.
You can just put up a shingle...
I have seen people just decide one day to hang up a shingle, declare themself able to give Reiki, make some business cards on Vista Print, and try to snatch up customers from the metaphysical bookstore/yoga studio where I actually PAID to rent a room for my Reiki sessions. It seemed no matter how hard I’d worked or for how long, someone would always come along and do this. The market had become saturated with Reiki practitioners.
When I got into Reiki nine years ago with no intention to start a business doing it, no one had heard of it. I’d been into polarity when I’d lived in Phoenix. But when I moved to Kansas, I couldn’t find any polarity practitioners. I Googled until I found Reiki, met some people doing it, and then found my teachers.
I got into Reiki because I needed stress relief from my broadcasting career. I was only learning about self-care, hence the name of my first business, “You Deserve Reiki.”
I started renting a room at a store to offer Reiki sessions and would have a booth at the Alternative & Holistic Fair in Park City, Kansas. I never made claims about what Reiki would do for my clients and never guaranteed any certain experience or outcome for their sessions.
Eventually, a woman contacted me about becoming this “new” type of Reiki practitioner and that I could become the first person in the market doing it. This is how far we have gotten from what Reiki truly is about. People are making up “new” kinds of Reiki with fancy names and “systems” for teaching and charging a lot while promising market exclusivity to practitioners.
How many kinds of Reiki are there?
So yesterday, when someone on the webinar said there are 200 kinds of Reiki and regulation will homogenize it, that just didn’t feel right. There aren’t 200 kinds of Reiki in reality; there doesn’t need to be. Source Energy is Source Energy; Source doesn’t care what type of energy work you’re doing. One man started Reiki and that was Dr. Mikao Usui. Many have tried to co-opt Reiki since, creating various different “forms” of Reiki. But many get away from tradition and cloud the space. Many have created their own kind of Reiki out of narcissism and greed.
I understand the need for regulation because it is truly bizarre that there are people out there who just up and decide one day, “I’m an energy healer,” just because they bought a metaphysical book or watched too much Gaia TV. The kinds of Reiki created to serve egos and bank accounts stands to be regulated. Those of us participating in the authentic tradition of Japanese Reiki have no need to feel threatened. We are here to serve. If regulation comes along, we will adjust.
So what if Reiki regulation does come along in all 50 states?
For now, there is some kind of Reiki regulation in eight states, so regulation is off to a slow start. One of the ideas presented was that if we have to become regulated, we will have to jump through hoops in order to be licensed.
Those included but aren’t limited to:
1. Having knowledge of anatomy & physiology
2. Having a mental health first aid certification
3. Having a CPR and first aid certification
4. Being knowledgeable about giving referrals
5. Pursing and completing continuing education
Now here’s where I balk at the belief that regulating Reiki is a bad thing.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making Reiki practitioners achieve the above five objectives in order to obtain and keep a license to practice Reiki. I think these are essential aspects of Reiki practice and I have no problem with them. I think forcing Reiki Masters to achieve these things in order to be given a license will bring credibility, safety, and respect to the art we practice. I also think people are mad at the idea of having to do more studying and incurring more cost in order to practice legally. But honestly, that’s just fragility and fear of change talking.
Change does not threaten me.
I say this as someone working on her RYT-200, so I am currently studying anatomy. I have had both CPR/first aid and mental health first aid certifications in the past. They have both expired and I need to retake them — but we did just have a pandemic for over a year now. Having worked as a para-social worker in the addiction field, I am comfortable with referrals and I know it’s only right to be able to refer my Reiki clients to someone above my level of care. Obviously, I am someone who has no problem personally pursuing continuing education both personally and professionally. Working in the addiction field, continuing education was built into the field.
There are quite a few problems in the Reiki space and this would help solve some of them
I’ve had people come to me wanting Reiki sessions urgently — I mean they want a session RIGHT NOW. Usually it’s because they are in some kind of bad situation mentally or emotionally. I don’t serve people in those situations. I am not at anyone’s beck and call. If you have an urgent need for a psychological fix of some kind, Reiki is not for you.
I’ve had people come to me wanting relief for medical conditions and I don’t serve people in that way either. I will NOT provide you temporary comfort so you can continue to ignore your medical needs. And should someone have a heart attack or stop breathing during a Reiki session with me, you best believe I can offer CPR/first aid while dialing 911! (Except at the moment my certification has expired, so I’d just call 911). My ethics are strong and have always been my #1 value. But many don’t share this and will gladly take your money as you complain of severe chest and neck pain. (Which are heart attack warning signs). You need an emergency medicine doctor — not a damn Reiki Master!
What people often don’t realize is what we truly contend with as Reiki Masters.
People come to us because traditional medical systems failed them. I get it — I nearly died this year; those systems failed me too. People come to use because they are experiencing some form or pain and suffering. People come to us because tradition has failed and they want to try “alternative healing modalities” or “complimentary therapies.” Everyone thinks they can cure your cancer with their MLM shake, some “alternative” care, and positive affirmations. Unfortunately, I’ve seen a TON of people in this space TRYING to do that and it’s dangerous.
When I was practicing in a bookstore/yoga studio, this kid would come in and try to talk my ear off. He was seeing demons, he was having trouble at home, he wasn’t going to college or working. He ended up in vocational rehab to no avail. But what did he do? He claimed he was a Reiki practitioner and started chatting up people in our store telling them he could help them, basically soliciting IN OUR STORE. It’s predatory, unprofessional, and taints the space.
Again, I was a trained Reiki Master with years of experience paying to rent a room in that business. But here comes a kid who likes metaphysics all of the sudden and he’s going to make all kinds of unsubstantiated claims. So yes, let’s regulate. Let’s protect people like me who worked to do this, who paid rent, who spend time on marketing, continuing education, going to fairs, and obtaining training to deal with emergency situations. Let’s STOP watering down Reiki.
The type of people who want a Reiki session or a physic/tarot reading RIGHT NOW may actually need an intervention. Urgency is a warning sign. Maybe they are in a dangerous situation. Maybe they aren’t safe. Maybe they are suicidal. The average person with zero training in mental health first aid may sit and talk to that person for HOURS. But nothing gets solved, the person goes back to an unsafe situation, and no real help has been obtained.
I worked in a crisis center; I know the signs of when someone may need to go to a domestic violence shelter, a detox, or may be close to harming themself. Mental health first aid training teaches us to recognize the signs of these things. I’ve seen countless people in the metaphysical community unaware of the signs and get sucked into a crisis situation they aren’t equipped to handle.
I’m just a Reiki Master.
I am here to help my clients along a spiritual path. I never claim to be a “healer.” That isn’t what Reiki is about! Reiki facilitates healing. Reiki is an intelligent life force energy, so the Reiki Master is never “doing work” in a session. I merely channel the energy to a client and provide guidance along the spiritual path. I create a safe space, I educate, and a facilitate. I am trained in Usui and Shoden Reiki and hold a 100-hour certification in transformational life coaching. I worked with street addicts for 4.5 years. I have a skill set that allows me to see through b.s. while remaining able to nurture my clients.
I FACILITATE your healing; I am NOT the healer.
I believe YOU are the architect of your own destiny and aim to empower YOU. Hence the name Destiny Architecture. I am here to help YOU become the architect of your own destiny, healing, and spiritual path. I’m not here to provide medical or psychological care. I don’t give advice. I’ve always said that and I’ve always referred people outside my scope of practice. It’s the right thing to do. It’s ethical. It honors the client and the tradition of Reiki itself.
This is why I am not upset about the idea of regulation.
Because Reiki regulation is in its early stages, we don’t really know what it’s going to mean. It will vary state to state. But I think it will “weed out the suckers.” It will weed out the people who don’t want to do the work. It will weed out the ones who want to say they are “special healers” who offer some made-up form of energy work. It will weed out the people who found a cheap and quick way to rush through their Reiki training.
Reiki regulation will weed out the charlatans and snake oil salesmen.
Regulation will weed out the expensive guy who told me Jesus told him personally he is “allowed” and endowed to teach Reiki online — as he gaslit me telling me I “need to become more empowered to teach Reiki online.” Usui Reiki CANNOT be taught online as attunements are handed down in person from teacher to student, but nice try for the money grab, dude. BTW, I empower myself and others just fine, thank you very much. (I would NEVER talk a client like that!)
Reiki regulation, according to the webinar yesterday, won’t bring credibility but will protect the public.
I’m not sure how that is true, or maybe I misunderstood it. Honestly, do you want to receive Reiki from someone like me or the from the guy who claims one day he’s just suddenly an energy healer? Do you want your Reiki Master to be trained in CPR and mental health first aid? Or do you want someone who is going to WAIT to call 911 in an emergency because they don’t know what they are seeing? Or who waits to call 911 because they think they can fix your life-threatening situation with Reiki? Do you want your Reiki Master to handle your psychological therapy or medical care — both LICENSED modalities? Or do you want your Reiki Master to calmly say, “This is outside my scope of practice, but I can refer you to a fantastic therapist who specializes in...?” Do you want a suicidal loved one going to see a tarot reader or Reiki Master when what they really need is a professional who can put them on a 24-hour hold so they don’t take their life?
I think people who want to fight the regulation of Reiki have very valid points.
Maybe their experiences with being a Reiki Master have been all nice and fluffy, so they naturally fear what regulation will change. I think there’s also an unnatural fear that this will lead to some kind of law that will outlaw Reiki. I’m not sure we know enough either way.
In Reiki, we are being trusted with someone’s spiritual care. At in-person Reiki shares and sessions, we are being trusted with others’ bodies. Bodies that may be traumatized. This is why I wrote about Reiki boundaries on the Patreon and with a podcast (also on the Patreon).
I have no problem taking a background check to show I’m not a pervert, that I don’t have a criminal record, and that I am trustworthy when it comes to my craft. I have worked under the merit of public trust before. If states are legitimately worried about human trafficking and Reiki, then make us get fingerprints and background checks done. How do you know your Reiki Master hasn’t been convicted of sexual assault? You don’t. You don’t even know if the people you are meeting on dating apps have been.
So do we need regulation and licensing, or do we just need background checks?
Are you for or against Reiki regulation? Why?
Do you live in one of the eight states already regulating Reiki? If so, how has that affected you?
If you live in one of the states pushing for regulation, do you know what’s behind it and why it’s being done? Who do you see as benefitting from it?
What adverse experiences have YOU had in the metaphysical community with Reiki or other modalities? How can regulation prevent these from happening in the future?
If we have to have regulation, what do you want it to look like? Do we all learn anatomy, first aid, CPR, mental health first aid, and how to refer? Do we need continuing education? Do we become providers of that continuing education? What counts as continuing education?
So many questions... Please leave you comments below.