Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Reiki Principles of Practice


By: Laura Fifield, Rieki Master
Principles of Professional Practice
A variety of healing art forms have moved into the mainstream awareness of professional and lay communities. Modalities such as Healing Hands, Kinesiology and Reiki have gained recognition as effectual alternatives for seekers of holistic health care. A growing awareness to subtle energy exchanges between practitioner and client call upon the healing arts community for standards of accountability and principles of professional practice.
Reiki founding practitioner, Dr. Makao Usui, clearly established accountability through his principle of exchange between practitioner and client; yet the subjective energetic effects of Reiki treatment beg answer to the question, “What is a professional approach to accountability between practitioner and client?” Keeping in mind the daily practice of Reiki’s 5 Principles[1], the mental approach of the Reiki practitioner should be at its best posture for interaction. It is with these 5 principles, along with Dr. Usui’s, foundation, “…there always has to be an exchange for Reiki…to heal the body and spirit.” (Reverend Dr. P.T. Wilson, p. 9) coupled with the effects of Reiki treatment[2] that we shall analyze the eight Principles of Professional Practice as outlined from the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy website (Ethics and Practice) that being:
1) A fee for service and accountability to client
2) Client relationship; can they be a friend?
3) Confidentiality
4) Supervisor, employee or student; how is this handled?
5) Inter-professional relationship
6) Advertising
7) Research or continued education
8) Client grievance resolution
The first premise of the eight Principles of Professional Practice is the element of establishing a fee for service and accountability. Dr. Usui firmly espoused an exchange of energy as an inalienable effect to holistic healing. Westernized cultures discuss this exchange in terms of a “usual and customary” medical fee structure, i.e.: that which is usually charged for a similar service. Inherently different between the medical community and the energetic healing arts is standardization and a reporting structure of such. The medical community has legislative and regulatory parameters whereas the energetic healing arts are generally free from such. This is why in one community a Reiki treatment could be $50.00, in another $75.00 and yet another it may be by donation, a nebulous exchange at best. Thus it behooves both parties to become responsible participants in the exchange or fee process. A comparative look at similar services and its fee structure would assist in this decision. A serious and principled practitioner would establish fair and simple guidelines for their clients, thus any faith-based[3] requests for “free” service is then pre-empted by the explained compensation for the Reiki practitioner’s time; an often accepted adage that “time is money”.
In the West, a shift in mind set is necessary when interacting with energetic healing arts. Eastern societies generally accept and honor the human body as more than biology moving separately thru a material world. The term energetic healing arts are apply described, i.e. an individually expressed principle of energetic forces working in harmony with broader intuitively understood subtleties of the human body and its connective environment, of which principles are usually unseen and/or undetected, for a subjective positive outcome. As such, the practitioner’s accountability responsibly shifts to educating the client in an appreciation of their own subtle energy body and its interactive role within the entire system of energy exchange. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:
Development of a Mission Statement defining the practitioner’s
guiding energy principles.
Brief materials given to client on intake describing energy principles
An intake questionnaire (see example in appendix)
A referencing Reiki website
A lending library of educational materials on Reiki
More than not, a client requesting Reiki services has some exposure, however, that does not remove a responsibility to educate and disclose what should or should not be expected from the energy exchange. The eight effects of Reiki treatment (Horan, p. 38) is subjective and arguably unquantifiable, making the accountability to educate and inform even more a responsibility of professional practice.
The next guiding principle of Professional Practice is that of client relationship, specifically can they be a friend? Addressing this issue takes into account principles 3, 4 and 5; that of confidentiality, subordinate and inter-professional relationships. On the ethics of confidentiality most would agree to the principle of law to protect and keep private information exchanged to the specifics of one’s professional relationship. The complication comes with information gathered outside the professional exchange and how that may or may not shape the understanding and expectation of both or either party. Here’s the WOW of HOW to be perceived as professional, autonomous, integreous, and still attractive to one seeking energetic healing. If I knew the exact formula, I’d be infamous and sunning on a beach in Brazil. Yet instinctively, a flow of relating to one’s client is as delicate as a waltz and as demanding as a tango; the professional must be in charge without stepping on any toes. It is the practitioner who respects and appreciates their own profession/career that will have the insight and wisdom to their relationships in life. No one person, not even a body of law can define or protect that which is necessarily developed from within. However, enquiring minds beg to be told, so here goes.
Confidentiality must be protected for the obvious:
· keep your client’s
· keep your business
· keep from being sued
Can your client be or become a friend? My professional experience is yes, IF you are integreous and can keep your mouth shut and emotions impartial. Keep some things about yourself to yourself. The world is a stage but not your garbage dump.
The medical community makes exceptions to this relationship when it comes to extremely stressful, life and death circumstances such as surgery. My recommendation is, if a friend and or college has deep emotional, mental issues or attachments that wisdom portends to be harmful; be smart, be kind, be autonomous and refer them to another. In the eyes of the public, YOU are the professional in charge; you never leave that at the office.
With respect to supervisory, employee and student relationships, each define a separate set of variables. As a dental assistant I received free dental care from my employer with the understanding that it was performed during everyone’s day off and all employees participated, a clearly defined relationship and exchange. As a supervisor/employer of a chiropractic clinic, guidelines were set to maintain professional practice toward the employee.
During social settings person’s inquiring about your services may seek a demonstration of your healing art or have a “fix me now” attitude. Here is where the professional will keep vigilance, going back to the accountability issue of education. Great disservice to one’s personage and profession is done if performing like a trick animal on demand without respect to surroundings. Some persons still view those who heal with their hands rather than with technical equipment as having an obligation to serve impromptu. For the professionally minded practitioner, that attitude is worlds apart from them. One does as one wishes, yet for the purpose of defining Professional Practice, decorum must be maintained. Such a social setting is a perfect opportunity to educate and raise the consciousness of others to the value of your service. Being compassionate yet firm to schedule an appointment for more confidential handling of their issues maintains integrity between parties and elevates perception of those who may be looking on. Your inter-professional disciplines will respect your handling of your art as they too must direct inquisitors who press more deeply for services in such a manner. It also defines your work and social time, allowing you to have a life while in professional practice. Keep in mind however, that once you step into this world of service to others, you are perceived as never leaving your ethics at the office. A just reminder for all your social settings.
A practitioner who is in charge of their ego also knows that in circumstances of dire need, or minors, can be freely serviced outside a professional setting and still be principled to consent and exchange. For example:
Say you teach a Sunday school class, the children get rambunctious and
one gets pushed over resulting in a bump on the head. Easily, when comforting the crying child, you could ask, “Would you like me to pray
the hurt goes away?” Human nature evokes a yes. A silent, “reiki on”
and gentle laying of hands violates no founding principle, and a
“would you give me a hug?” is an agreed exchange of energy. Done
simply, compassionately, and to the need, founding principles are
maintained, professional decorum unbreached, ego in check. The best result of which is the treasure in your heart for that which is done in secret.
This is of course, just an illustration to give you a thought pattern that maintains founding Reiki principles without fanfare. However, if your practice were to include clients under legal age, guardian consent is required and an article written by Carl Salzman, Jr (Carl Salzman, 2010) gives the Reiki practitioner guidance for working with children.
In the area of advertising, the sixth principle of Professional Practice, one simply needs to use good business sense. Source for advertising guidance are local business associations such as the Better Business Bureau, S.C.O.P.E., and even some community colleges. A Reiki practitioner who follows their own 5 principles, one of which is, “today I will do my work honestly” will formulate an advertizing plan that is respectful and truthful. Local state laws need to be conformed to in order to maintain a professional presence of signage if one has an office space. There are many directories that harmonize with energy healing modalities that one can list services in. A trip to your local grocery store’s free ad section or a coffee shop will connect you to many such materials. When choosing advertising, remember, whatever is in print must be factual. Please allow a short divergence in this regard. When managing a chiropractic office, one of my continuing education seminars illustrated this point of factual advertising. As it was told, a doctor advertized in a popular directory that his office and “no waiting time for appointments” or some such wording that would lead a patient to believe that their treatment would be on time and “no waiting”. The universe tested this statement to the patient’s great vexation resulting in a lawsuit the doctor could have avoided had he used more thought to the facts of life. Silly, I know, yet stranger things have been true.

Having just mentioned continuing education, the Reiki practitioner may not need continuing education in this field as once you are a Master/Teacher you are just that. End of story. However, this does not mean that as a practicing professional you turn off your brain or your heart’s passion to learning. The energetic healing arts are being supported by scientific research on an ever increasing basis. Keeping up with reading materials to direct your clients to or attending seminars in related fields, broadens your being and ability to converse and or divert challenges that may be presented to your practice. With the internet, vast materials are available. Have you ever checked out “You Tube”? There is more to stimulate and educate than can be accounted for. Simply because continuing education is not legislated to the Reiki practitioner, a serious practicing professional will view this aspect of their art as integral as the clients themselves.

The final discussion to the analysis of Professional Practice is that of complaint resolution. Receiving a complaint is the proverbial “thorn in the paw” to one’s business; poorly handled it can cripple and leave you crying. As with any relationship, communication is key; noticing a client’s change in behavior or change in treatment schedule can clue you to a possible problem. Gentle conversation will uncover if there is a grievance issue. If you chose not to have a written grievance policy presented to your client’s upon intake, then at least give it some mental exercise to the issue. Some professions have self managed review boards within their field of practice. Still yet, some state regulatory bodies focused on consumer protection review grievance cases. If at all possible, don’t let it get that far. Sincerely listen to your client’s complaint as constructive criticism. Self examination is always beneficial and can only enhance your business. As an “energy” practitioner, you certainly want to avoid giving off “bad vibes”.

In addition to the principles we have reviewed above, National Associations have formed to assist the energetic practitioner’s image. Historically these organizations are the first step to wide societal and medical acceptance as in the case of Chiropractic and Acupuncture professions. Becoming aligned with an organization such as The Natural Therapies Association of North American
( may increase your professional standing in the community. This organization includes many benefits some of which is offering malpractice insurance and grievance settlement. The Natural Therapies Certification Board (Certification) is also an avenue that the energy professional may wish to pursue to further credential their craft.

Over all, posturing one’s self in the community as a practicing professional means in its simplest, practicing what you preach and using good ethical sense.
If, in this day, you do not anger, but show love and respect; if you do not worry but express gratitude, and do so honestly from your heart, you can express your art confidently as the professional you believe yourself to be.


Laura L. Fifield
July 2010
[1] The Principles of Reiki: Just for Today I will live the attitude of gratitude, Just for Today I will not worry, Just for Today I will not anger, Just for Today I will do my work honestly, Just for Today I will show love and respect for every living thing.
[2] Body/Mind therapy benefits of Reiki are subjectively recognized as, “balance of energy, increased creativity, helps release emotions, release stress, works on causal level of disease, amplifies energy, holistic healing, and increased awareness.” Paula Horan, Empowerment through Reiki, the path to personal and global transformation, pg 38.
[3] My meaning is that which is based upon religious thought that hands on healing is a god given service to humanity, given away as a “right” to the one requesting.


Carl Salzman, J. (2010). Bloomington, IN.
Certification, N. T. (n.d.).
Horan, P. Empowerment through Reiki, the path to personal and global transformation. Lotus Light Shangri-La.
Reverend Dr. P.T. Wilson, R. M. (2010). Reiki- First Degree. Bloomington.
The American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy. (n.d.). Ethics and Practice. Retrieved from (n.d.).

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