Reiki is possibly the fastest-growing complementary therapy in the world today. People all over the world are flocking to Reiki classes as its benefits for their health and wellbeing become ever clearer and more widely accepted. Reiki is starting to find its way into mainstream healthcare settings in the West and is being used for a range of different conditions and health-related problems.
It’s being used with those who suffer from cancer as a way to help resolve the side effects of chemotherapy. It’s being used to deal with depression and anxiety and stress-related issues. Its benefits in reducing and relieving physical pain are becoming more widely accepted. It has been used for addiction recovery and in treating chronic and long-term arthritis.
The anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of Reiki is continuing to mount and scientific research into how Reiki works, and its various applications are now underway worldwide.
With all of that, perhaps you are considering learning Reiki for yourself because one of the major benefits of the system is that it can be self-administered. Why spend all of that money going to receive treatments from a practitioner, when you can give yourself a treatment in the comfort of your own home as often as you like?
Where do you start? How do you find a good Reiki teacher?
1/ The first question you need to ask yourself is “what am I expecting to learn from this course?” Some classes, especially in the New-Age drenched West, are dominated by talk of spirit guides (all and sundry spirits from various dimensions), ascended masters (disembodied beings of claimed advanced spiritual awareness that appear to the inner vision), angels (beings that exist in the three Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), how to use crystals (nothing to do with Reiki), pendulums (nothing to do with Reiki), extra ‘more powerful’ symbols (there are only four symbols in the system of Reiki. The others aren’t necessary). and a plethora of other New Age add-ons. If this is your bag, then go for it, but don’t expect to be taken seriously by the mainstream Reiki community or indeed, the medical profession!
If what you are looking for is simply the ability, skills, and knowledge to apply Reiki in an effective way for the improvement of your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, then there are a lot of teachers out there that have a more balanced and down-to-earth approach.
2/ How long was the teacher’s training? This is an important question to ask. Reiki is a very simple method to learn, and anyone can master it in a relatively short amount of time, however, there are an increasing number of people claiming the title Reiki Master whose training from beginning to end took no more than a weekend. Clearly, Masters of nothing. Would you trust someone with so little experience and knowledge to teach you something that you need for the quality of your life and your own healthcare maintenance? Of course not.
Again, there are teachers of Reiki (most good ones don’t call themselves Masters – a title very much aligned to the ego) who have taken the time and care to develop their knowledge, understanding, experience, and skills over a number of years. The journey to becoming a good teacher is a long one and can take many years of working with the system.
Allied to this is the question of whether the Reiki teacher is actually able to teach! Having knowledge of something doesn’t mean that there is an ability to pass it on effectively to others. Reiki teacher training does not address the issues and skills around effective teaching. If you can, find someone that has trained professionally as a teacher in some other discipline (schoolteachers have spent years honing their skills in the teaching and learning field for instance), go to them. This isn’t to say that without professional training a Reiki teacher won’t be any good. Many have a natural ability and enthusiasm to impart their knowledge, but err on the side of ‘more training is better’.
3/ The previous point obviously raises the next one: how long will the training take? Will it be just for a morning or an afternoon? If this is what is being offered, steer clear! You can only learn the very basics of the system in such a short period of time. A Reiki level 1 class has enough in it to fill at least a whole weekend and an intensive one at that.
Some teachers have cut this class down to the bare minimum to maximise their income and to cut their own costs. This isn’t acceptable. You should endeavour to make sure you get your money’s worth and seek out someone that will give you the real depth and underpinning knowledge of the system. There are plenty of good teachers out there that will offer you effective and meaningful training, and a weekend is not such a great commitment for anyone.
4/ You should also enquire about their lineage. A lineage is the line of teachers going back to the founder of the system, Mikao Usui, in Japan. Many teachers these days have no idea what their lineage is, in fact, it is increasingly common for teachers to not understand what the word lineage means! Some consider the concept of l