Reiki Regulation — Part Two: Unpacking the NCCOEP
It’s time for a follow-up to my last blog about Reiki Regulation.
I wanted to share more information because one of the petitions says the cost for a Reiki petitioner to apply for a license in Mass. would be $8,000. (Am I reading this right? I asked for clarity by making a comment on the petition).
Reiki Regulation — What is the true cost?
Ok, if the cost is really $8,000 — then that’s just fleecing. That’s inappropriate at best. I’ll pay a few hundred max; that’s appropriate. But I don’t know ANYONE in the Reiki space who would be willing or able to pay A GRAND let alone $8,000 to be licensed and regulated.
Let’s take into account that Reiki Masters may have to pay for first aid courses, which are also offered over eight hours on a Saturday. This means we’d have to give up the cost of the classes plus the time to take them on a day when many of us would be busy offering Reiki sessions and classes to our clients.
At this time, I need to renew both my CPR/First Aid and my Mental Health First Aid courses. CPR/First Aid certifications are renewed every two years; Mental Health First Aid is a three-year certification.
Once again, I am more than happy to pay these costs. I realize this can be out of reach for many. But I also think these are vital certifications to have if you are putting your hands on bodies and dealing with mental/emotional issues.
Reiki Addresses Mental, Emotional Issues
There are specific methods we are taught in Reiki to target mental and emotional needs. Even if we weren’t — people simply flock to us to have these needs met because Reiki is a spiritual practice. So I won’t argue about making a mental health first aid certification part of Reiki regulation.
But an $8,000 “application fee” in Massachusetts (for licensing, if true) is absolutely out of line. It’s not exactly the top state in the U.S. to start a business anyway — but the state wants to make it worse. I’m aware of this and I don’t even live there!
If you look at healing arts by comparison, that’s high. My massage therapist friends aren’t paying that to do massage. It’s ridiculous.
Reiki Masters Shouldn’t Be Lumped Into The Neon-Sign Massage Industry
If we want to regulate Reiki, fine. Let’s do it the right way for the right reasons. We should be doing it for ethical and professional reasons and not as a money grab. We shouldn’t be regulating Reiki as if it’s part of the “neon sign massage industry.” Notice I use “we.” We should be a part of the conversation; the states aren’t exactly inviting us to the table.
Reiki Has Noting To Do With Human Trafficking
I resent that a healing art I love so much is being disrespected and sullied in such a way as to be tied in with human trafficking. I was a para social worker in the addiction field and therefore worked with many victims of human trafficking. Human trafficking has touched my life and/or neighborhood in every city I have called home. And there were cases that were beyond sex trafficking; remember people are trafficked for non-sexual forced labor and other atrocities.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that NOT ONE human trafficking victim I worked with as a para social worker told me they had become trafficked through Reiki — or massage.
By the time I left social work, my clients were telling me girls were no longer being trafficked for sex 100% of the time. They were often being trafficked for body packing. If you don’t know what I mean by “turned out” and “body packing,” Google it. I worked in a jail, a detox, and a recovery center. I have heard the horror stories. None of those trafficking victims had even heard of things like Reiki.
Reiki also doesn’t need to be lumped in with all other healing modalities — or does it?
The Massachusetts legislation is broad and over-reaching. You cannot lump Reiki in with Ayurveda. The NCCOEP website claims they are NOT lumping more than ten modalities together for certification. Reiki and Ayurveda are two completely different things and shouldn’t be regulated as one in ANY state. Reiki may be similar to polarity, but they are also different modalities. No polarity therapist ever brought Reiki to the table for me as a client and vice versa. I’m a Reiki Master but I am not certified in polarity or massage.
I will soon obtain an Ayurveda certification as part of my yoga teacher training. So if I were a Reiki Master in Massachusetts, would I get ONE license to cover ALL that I do (or will do)? Because that could be better than having to pay an application or licensing fee for each healing modality I offer.
I have a lot more questions than answers.
I also don’t live in any of the states that presently have or are working towards regulating Reiki.
One of the people spearheading the movement to protect Reiki is Pamela Miles, so I’m going to link to the information she’s posted so far:
I think states taking steps to regulate Reiki in order to make money is inevitable. But it needs to be done in a fair and equitable way. But I don’t see that happening. I don’t know if we can fight it or prevent it. I hope all this awareness raising and petition signing moves the needle somehow.
Frans Stiene is Also Spearheading the Movement to Protect Reiki
I read what is written at his International House of Reiki website and followed the links posted there. I suggest you do too.
I watched the video of Drs. Brian Dailey and Melinda Connor the International House of Reiki links to and I suggest you do too. Dr. Bailey speaks until 25 minutes into the video, then Dr. Connor takes over.
Here is where I will discontinue calling Connor “Dr.” Dr. Bailey is a medical doctor and Ms. Connor is not, although she does have a PhD. For the purposes of this blog, as it will say quite a bit about healthcare, I will only refer to medical doctors as “Dr.”
Before I get to what she says, I just want to do some simple math. From what I can tell, it would cost me $75 to obtain my national Reiki certification in the United States. I’m actually not sure that is what the NCCOEP charges — this is just what I can tell to be the minimum required on their very unclear website. (The site appears to have been created in 2018 and is still under construction with a variety of dead links). Connor claims there are half a million Reiki practitioners in the USA, and at $75 a pop, the NCCOEP would earn $37,500,000.
What will the NCCOEP do with such money? That’s provided every single one of us pays for the certification, which is doubtful. Even if only half of us do, they still make millions from us.
Why is it a money grab? Because Connor claims only those earning money through Reiki will be charged for the certification. If you are doing the service for free, you won’t be charged.
Can Reiki cause a Heart Attack?
Connor claims in the video Stiene links to that Reiki can cause a heart attack.
Since this is not true, Connor is already violating the ethics of the NCCOEP already by saying this.
The ethics state, “Energy practitioners do not make public statements which contain any of the following:
1. A false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, or unfair statement.
2. A misrepresentation of a fact or statement likely to mislead or deceive because in context it makes only a partial disclosure of relevant facts.”
Let me disclose the facts properly, as I am, always have been, and always will be an ethical practitioner of Reiki.
We have been teaching in Reiki for the past 99 years that Reiki does not cause harm. Remember what Reiki is by definition: it’s an intelligent energy channeled to client by practitioner (Reiki Master). Therefore, as it is a channeled energy, the ENERGY ITSELF does no harm. Reiki does not cause harm. This is where Connor is wrong.
She makes a point that the PRACTITIONER can cause harm — which is true. Any practitioner can cause harm, whether intended or not.
BUT THE REIKI DOES NOT CAUSE HARM.
The doctor I just fired for causing me harm probably didn’t intend to cause me harm, he just made my choices for me. He did not get my consent; he did not listen; he drew conclusions without asking for my insight or treatment preferences; and he refused to treat me for the health problems I was requesting help for. But I know suing him for malpractice is probably moot for a variety of reasons. Point is, he caused me harm. It was maybe not illegal of him to do so, but it was unethical for him to do it. He probably thinks he’s God’s gift to medicine and I’m just...whatever he thinks I am. His other patients may love him. But he caused harm — end of story.
It is possible to cause harm as a Reiki practitioner, para social worker, yoga teacher, or Transformational Life Coach (all positions I’ve had or have). But it is NOT possible for Reiki itself — an intelligence, Source Energy, to cause the harm.
Reiki Isn’t Healthcare
Connor’s speech about her NCCOEP national certification in the video Stiene links to comes across as her attempt to turn Reiki into healthcare by turning Reiki professionals into healthcare professionals. This is something I — as both a Reiki Master and former para social worker — have endeavored to stay away from.
Reiki can compliment healthcare, but it is not healthcare. It is NOT a replacement for any medical or mental health care. Connor claims she wants healthcare professionals to see us (Reiki practitioners) as “professionals” and “capable.” What I am hearing is her saying she’s worked for decades at this and wants to be seen as capable. This is her problem, not the problem of half a million U.S. Reiki practitioners. This is her own baggage; not ours. I think what she really wants is for her practice of Reiki personally to be seen as being on the same level of healthcare — that is never going to happen. We practice Reiki, NOT healthcare.
Again the standard of practice document at the NCCOEP website can be opened for viewing here.
If someone doesn’t view me as a capable Reiki practitioner, they are free to see me that way.
They are free to stick to traditional Western medicine, they are free to try a different Reiki Master, they are free to badmouth what I believe in, etc. It’s not up to me to change others’ perceptions of me or Reiki. I have presented myself as a professional from day one. I have no regrets, and nothing to hide. Ms. Connor — I cannot control other people. I am glad I learned this lesson at a young age (and I am no longer of a young age). You still have time to learn it yourself.
WHY does SHE think WE are ALL so unprofessional?
WHY does SHE condescend to us as though she’s God’s gift to Reiki certification and regulation?
She does not know best. It sounds to me as though she is accusing Reiki practitioners at large of, “not knowing our craft.”
As for ethics, mine are pretty high after years of para social work in the addiction field. I also teach a series on Reiki boundaries at the Destiny Architecture Patreon page.
Connor speaks a lot about Reiki in hospitals. I have never once practiced Reiki in hospitals. Perhaps hospitals are her personal bias and making Reiki more healthcare-oriented is more of her personal bias.
I practiced in a metaphysical bookstore/yoga studio and at the Park City, Kansas Alternative & Holistic Fair. I don’t know anyone who practices Reiki in hospitals here. If you do, please let me know in the comments. I would love to know if anyone practices Reiki in hospitals here.
I have only (so far) practiced Reiki in Kansas. This is a part of the country where NO licensed healthcare worker has ever asked of me, or invited me to share Reiki in a clinical setting. I never presented anything about Reiki as a professional in the addiction field; it was NOT welcome. So for me, I am shocked that someone is trying to make Reiki into some aspect of HEALTHCARE.
This is wrong.
Connor states that it is both “embarrassing” and “disrespectful” that Reiki practitioners don’t show an understanding of anatomy and physiology. I disagree — this would be acting outside our scope of practice. Again, this speaks to her bias toward having Reiki in hospitals and/or Reiki as healthcare.
I say this as someone currently studying anatomy — for the purposes of my yoga teacher training (RYT-200 certification). Very little anatomy is shown to us in Reiki textbooks.
Also, which Reiki books would the NCCOEP prefer I would teach with — if I were to begin teaching again?
But I welcome a discussion with Connor because she needs to hear from someone like me — and you.
It not her job to regulate Reiki and I think Reiki itself will look unkindly upon her as it does to others who try to twist Reiki into something that serves them rather than the whole of humanity.
I openly invite her to be interviewed by me and to have it posted on this website. Because I am open, honest, transparent, and ethical, let me tell you, Ms. Connor, that I am an experienced broadcast journalist. (You think no one sees you as professional or capable? Try being a journalist in the United States during a pandemic and election year; such things are not promised no matter how hard you work. My colleagues and I have been harassed, threatened, and protested as journalists. Trust me when I say professional courtesy is hard to find. If you need other people to see you as professional and capable, don’t pick any of the careers I have).
Clearly, Connor needs input from other people.
Now that I’ve discussed how Reiki is different and separate from healthcare, let’s continue to delve into the NCCOEP’s standard of practice document. It states, under “timely evaluation of clients,”:
“If there is any significant change in the client’s condition, the client’s team members and/or the client’s licensed healthcare professional should be contacted.”
Again, this is outside a Reiki Master’s scope of practice. This is a Reiki Master practicing medicine. This may be no different from when I worked as a detox technician in a sobering/detox unit. I would monitor client vitals and symptoms, score on an alcohol or opiate withdrawal scale, and alert the licensed addiction counselor who supervised me. If there was an emergency, I’d call EMS.
While this may be no different from my detox tech days — as a tech, I was TRAINED to do that specific job and I operated under a licensed supervisor in a residential setting. As an independent Reiki Master, I do not work under a licensed supervisor. I do not work for or in partnership with any licensed physician. NO licensed physician cares what I think about my Reiki client’s condition or changes to it.
I’m Going To Obtain My NCCOEP Certification
With all that said, of course, I am going to look into obtaining my NCCOEP Certification. It’s a national certification for Reiki practitioners — not a license. I’m actually curious about the process, what the steps are, what I have to do, and what it will cost me in both time and money.
I am also curious as to whether they are ready to give certifications.
I looked on the NCCOEP’s website so see who has done this, but there is no database posted; that link is dead. There are many dead links and typos as websites are apt to have — but if Connor wants US to appear professional, her website better step it up.
I tried to find a website for the NAOEP, which she also mentions, but was taken to a Facebook page instead. Again, not professional. Anyone can put up a website for free. No excuses. (Again, if I am wrong on this, please let me know in the comments. I will happily make corrections in a timely manner and note that I make them).
After reading through the NCCOEP website, I have more questions than answers, so I used their contact form to submit my questions. For example, does my yoga anatomy I am learning for my RYT-200 count towards the NCCOEP certification? If it’s good enough for Yoga Alliance, is it good enough for the NCCOEP?
Same thing for liability insurance — is what I will get through Yoga Alliance also acceptable for the NCCOEP?
The NCCOEP did not consult with me for their research into what a national United States Reiki certification should look like. Did they consult you? If you are reading this and you are one of the people they consulted, please let me know. I’d like to interview you. Because they claim there are half a million Reiki practitioners in the USA and they interviewed hundreds of them to come up with this certification. This means they made decisions based on responses from 0.001% of people practicing Reiki in the U.S. So we are underrepresented again.
What makes Connor so endowed to make the decisions?
I think it’s fair for Reiki practitioners to be upset about not having a seat at the table. I have yet to see ONE person of color involved in this regulation. The NCCOEP board is nearly all white, with the exception of Dame Dr. Effie Chow.
There is absolutely NO mention of Reiki’s tradition as a Japanese healing art or that those certified under the NCCOEP must fight against the colonization of Reiki — which would be the ethical thing to do. How is a standard of practice document about Reiki ethics even near completion if it doesn’t mention Reiki’s roots?
The NCCOEP’s ethics document needs work, though it is off to a good start. But I am reading it as someone who went through years of ethics training as a para social worker in the addiction field. If you have zero experience working in the medical, social work, or addiction field, how does the document read to you?
Anyone can create a website and a cute logo. There needs to be a lot more substance to this and quite a few more Reiki practitioners need to have a seat at the table.
Who was in the room when the decisions were made at the NCCOEP?
I am looking forward to interviewing them.
I also look forward to publicly chronicling my application process. I think it’s fair for Reiki practitioners to see what they may be in for if they choose to go this route. But I want to make it clear — this route will be easier for me than someone who has never once before completed CPR and First Aid; Mental Health First Aid, etc. If ALL of this is unfamiliar to you, you have a tougher mountain to climb than I do.
Please leave your thoughts in the comments.