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Reiki Training

by Janice Tidy(more info)

listed in reiki, originally published in issue 105 - November 2004

What Is Reiki?

Reiki is an ancient Japanese hands-on, hands-off healing technique that can be learnt by anyone. It is incredibly simple to use, yet extremely powerful. As Paula Horan states in her book Empowerment Through Reiki: "For some people who are still attached to the intellect of learning, and believe that learning takes lots of time, Reiki can be a bit disconcerting." Reiki cannot harm. It complements a wide variety of other Complementary Therapies as well as orthodox medicine.

Which Reiki Training Process Is Right?

If there is one area of Reiki that is likely to cause controversy, it is Reiki training. There are many schools of thought on how Reiki training should be carried out – and who is to say which one is right and which one is wrong.

Some Masters will carry out all training from Reiki I to Reiki Master in one weekend, others will perform the training at set intervals over several weekends, over several months or even over several years.

I personally prefer not to use the word Master, and refer to myself as a Reiki Teacher. For me the word Master conjures up images of superior beings and I am far from superior to anyone – we are all equals.

Anyone who practises Reiki will know that we do not find Reiki, Reiki finds us when the time is right. Therefore we will be drawn to the type of training that we need. I have met people who have undergone Reiki I to Reiki Master in one weekend, and have had a wonderful experience and feel that the training they underwent was perfect for them.

In the Usui tradition of Reiki, Dr Usui did not 'train' Masters as we know it today. The pupil spent a year following, watching and learning from Dr Usui. There were no manuals, no certificates, no training courses. It was only once Reiki was brought to the West that this changed.

How can you monitor Reiki? How can you test if one Master is better than another? You can't. You may meet Reiki Masters who are also qualified in lots of other therapies, has numerous letters after their name – does it make them better than the Master down the road whose only therapy is Reiki? Only you can decide who will train you. Only you can take that first step. Talk to other people, talk to many Masters, find out as much as you can – but in the end the decision is yours. You may even decide to chose a different Master for each level of Reiki.

As in any walk of life, we will have good experiences and bad experiences. You may visit a Doctor who you feel is wonderful, yet the next person may have a completely different view of this Doctor. Which one of you is right? Our judgements and beliefs should not be forced onto others – we must each experience for ourselves.

Step Out of our Ego – We Are Not the Healers

These following words highlight my personal belief – some people will agree, some will not, and that's fine. I have met Spiritual Healers who feel Reiki practitioners cannot heal because they have had to be taught what to do, they are not doing it naturally. What we need to remember is, that whether we practise Reiki or Spiritual Healing, we are not the 'healers'. All we are is a channel for the healing energy from source (or God or the divine or whatever your belief system) and we need to step out of our ego and accept that we all work differently.

We are all born with the ability to channel healing, but for some of us we lose this gift along the way. Reiki is a marvellous way to help us find it. The Reiki symbols that are used during the attunement process are a way to connect with the energy from source. I admire people who can summon up the energy quickly and easily. For me it takes a little longer and I need the help of the symbols!

Three Levels of Reiki

There are three levels of Reiki: Reiki I, Reiki II and Reiki Master. I know that some teachers have increased this to four levels by separating Reiki Master and Reiki Teacher – this is not my way as I believe once you have been initiated to Reiki Master you have everything you need to initiate others.

Reiki I

Reiki I is the first step to introduce people to this wonderful healing technique. It allows us to feel the power of the energy. It is a very personal journey for everyone and everyone will react differently and encounter different experiences.

Reiki I consists of four attunements (the introduction of the energy via the crown chakra using the Reiki symbols) for each student – the size of the group will determine the length of time each attunement takes. Also the Reiki Teacher may feel it necessary to spend more time with one person than another (this is an element of the attunement process that grows with experience – the more attunements the Teacher carries out the more 'intuitive' to their students needs they become).

During Reiki I, students learn that the most important person to use Reiki on is themselves. How can we help others if we neglect ourselves? So time is taken to cover self-healing techniques. We also look at other areas where Reiki can be used (i.e. with animals, plants, food, situations).

I also like to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to carry out a full Reiki treatment on each other. It is usually at this point that students suddenly become aware of the energy and really start to believe in themselves.

Once Reiki I has been completed, in most instances the student will experience an energy shift over the next few weeks. This can be an emotional shift, in some instances a physical shift (upset tummy, headaches). Students need to be prepared for this and should also allow themselves the time for it to happen – it's happening for a reason. Once you start on the Reiki path there is no turning back!

I would usually recommend that a student waits at least six months before moving on to Reiki II, but at the end of the day students will know when they are ready to move on. If they wish to continue before this time period what right do I have to stop them?

Reiki II

Reiki II is a similar process, again with four attunements. The difference this time is that the student is shown the symbols and advised of their names and asked to learn and memorize them. Some of the symbols and names are quite complex so this area of the attunement can vary in time greatly. They are shown three symbols and the meaning of each one is explained together with the different ways in which they can be used. After completing Reiki II a student is able to obtain insurance and can practise (and charge) clients. Again, another energy shift is experienced. My suggested time frame for moving from Reiki II onto Master (if they want to) is 18 months.

Reiki Master

Reiki Master – another four attunements, but during this session the student is introduced to the Master symbol and taken through the process of initiating others into Reiki. Once again everyone learns at a different pace, so the time needed to train another Master/Teacher will vary. I feel that a maximum of two students is sufficient for this training, as enough time needs to be allowed to enable students to practise the Reiki attunement process until they are comfortable with it and the Teacher needs to be free to help them.

The question you need to ask yourself is – do you feel you could learn all levels of Reiki in one weekend, and cope with all the different energy shifts? The final decision is yours.

The majority of students who enter into Reiki will usually stop at Reiki II. They are content with being able to carry out treatments and have no desire to train or teach others.


Who trains the Reiki practitioner to diagnose clients' problems? Nobody – because we do not diagnose (unless we are qualified in other areas which train us in this discipline). Again, the one question I am asked time and time again after finishing a treatment is "what did you find, did you pick up on any problems?" All I can tell the client is what I felt during the treatment, that my hands were drawn to one particular area – but I cannot tell them why. Reiki is not a substitute for orthodox medicine; it complements it.

Genuine or Charlatan?

Who can say! Some people will say the Master's lineage is important, that the Master should belong to an Association or Federation. Who checks the credentials of the people running the Association or Federation, what makes them the experts?. Which type of Reiki is best, Usui or Seikhem? The answers to these questions – nobody knows. Everyone will have an opinion and to them the choice they make is right.

At the end of the day Reiki is all about intent. It does not matter what system you follow, who your Master was – if you carry out Reiki for the right reason, for the highest good, Reiki will flow.


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About Janice Tidy

Janice Tidy is a Reiki Master (Teacher) and has been practising Reiki for over four years. She owns a Crystal Shop and Healing Centre which is located in Windsor High Street, right in front of Windsor Castle. Reiki training along with other workshops and courses are held in rooms above the shop. She can be contacted on Tel: 07761 671269;;

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