There are many different approaches to Reiki Tuition and Reiki itself. From what I can see there are 3 main routes to learning Reiki, and although the attunement and results may appear the same, there are considerations you need to be aware of for each method. Also be aware that this is generalising the different approaches, and you may find individual teachers work differently, so it is important to approach teachers with questions that are important to you before committing to a course.

These 3 main approaches are:

  • Traditional Spiritual-based approach with guidance and traditional attunement from a master/teacher (this may be performed in-person or distantly).
  • An accredited in-person Reiki course, which usually have a much more thorough academic approach. This can be through an independent Reiki school or as part of a combined holistic therapist diploma at college or university.
  • Distant attunement by impersonal online or DVD course.

Here’s more information on each, as I understand them, including my opinion:

Traditional Spiritual-based Approach
This is my approach. I adhere to the original teachings of Usui as passed on to me by my lineage, all being personal, individual attunements that goes back to Usui himself. These attunements may be distant or in-person, both being as effective as each other (see my opinion below). These attunements are given in true spiritual tradition, and the spiritual energy of the attunement (whether distant or in-person) is highly respected and never underestimated. Distant attunements are given by the teacher at a pre-arranged time where the connection and attunement takes place between student and teacher. The focus on ‘textbook’ teaching is generally kept to a minimum, though all essential information, discussion (if in-person) and guidance is given. This is to honour and not take away from your own intuition and connection to higher intelligence which I feel is an essential aspect of Reiki and your development as a Reiki practitioner, and is preserving its spiritual values and principles. A lifetime of personal ongoing support and connection to your teacher is often given with these courses (check with each teacher).
This approach will allow you to be a practitioner and teach others, and obtain professional liability insurance from some insurers. However, there are some insurance companies and professional bodies who may not accept this training as it is not usually accredited.

My opinion – regarding the distant attunements. Some organisations bundle those of us who have received distant attunements with those who have done the impersonal online courses (where there is no-one at the other end giving the attunement to you at the same time). I do feel that this is unfair. I have also heard many other professionals, including professional bodies, claiming that Reiki energy is ‘diluted’ if it is passed distantly. I am personal proof of this as I was attuned distantly and have been told by other Reiki Practitioners that I have very strong energy, and often complimented on the experiences people are achieving during my sessions and attunements, sometimes in comparison with other practitioners. I also feel that those who claim this may not fully appreciate, understand or respect the spiritual aspect of Reiki energy.
It is also worth noting that in 2015, Robert Fueston, a Reiki Master, acupuncturist, research librarian and author, discovered evidence that Hawayo Takata, considered the ‘source’ of Western Reiki, actually gave a distant attunement and taught someone remotely over the telephone. There is also suggestion that she taught how to pass on distant attunements to her attunees. Until very recently all Reiki practitioners and Masters will have Mrs Takata in their lineage (she is third in my lineage). Her approach and teachings are almost sacrosanct and many Reiki organisations consider them a basis for their standards, ironically while condemning distant attunements!

Accredited Approach
Accreditation has mainly come about by professional bodies (often self-regulating) who are setting themselves up as authorities on Reiki training and setting academic standards to bring Reiki training in line with other professional diplomas in holistic therapies.These course tend to have a lot more emphasis on teaching from an extensive manual and often involve regular assessments and submitting case studies. Once qualified you will often be required to continue training in related fields to acquire a certain number of CPD (continuous personal development) points per year. Ongoing support from your teacher will often be provided after you have qualified. While this seems like a much more difficult route, in this day and age of regulation, it is often preferred by those who want to have a formal career in Reiki as they will usually be accepted into any professional organisation of their choosing, and have a larger choice of insurers. However, some courses are teaching the business model of Reiki and promoting it as a career-based practice, taking it away from its spiritual roots and making it more scientific in its approach. Some have also split the levels of Reiki so as to protect their catchment or even make more money as part of this business model, as I have described on another page, and I believe this is dishonest and against Reiki principles.

My opinion –  I understand that the traditional methods are open to abuse by charlatans, and can be seen as an easy route to profit from Reiki, so I do understand there needs some regulation to a degree. But I can’t help but feel that the academisation of Reiki has the potential of taking it away from its original spiritual root. Too much study and regulation brings the practice more into the left brain and away from our own right-brain spiritual connection to higher intelligence and intuition, and I feel it is over-complicating what is a very simple, intuitive and spiritual practice.
I have been to some health shows and seen very ‘salesy’ Reiki teachers and practitioners who have taken this route, which I don’t feel is in line with the Reiki principles. I also feel that these organisations are unfairly condemning practitioners such as myself, who have practiced since 2006 and taught since 2008 with amazing results and feedback, only for the fact that they have received their attunement distantly, or someone in their lineage has.
That being said, I know some lovely Reiki teachers who offer accredited courses that still hold true to the spiritual essence of Reiki. Above I am simply highlighting some concerns I have.

Impersonal Distant Attunements / Online Courses
These courses are available, often extremely cheaply, by some online and distant learning colleges and even on DVD courses. Attunements are often by an impersonal process which is claimed to be energetically imprinted into an online course or DVD. Some colleges may offer a more personal distant attunement, but most often there will be little to no ongoing support once your course is completed. If you train using one of these courses, even if it is accredited by an external body, you will not be able to join a professional body or obtain insurance from those that do not accept distant attunements.

My opinion – As open as I am to the possibilities of Reiki energy, the connection between individual teacher and student is of extreme importance. Therefore, I strongly believe that personal distant attunements and impersonal attunement such as these are in entirely different brackets. I would personally not recommend these online ‘cheap’ courses unless the college can prove that there will be a good, personal student/teacher connection.

I hope you have found this article helpful. At the end of the day, you need to choose the path and the teacher that is right for you, whether that is me or someone else. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in order to make your decision to any teacher you are guided to.

Your decision will also depend upon your circumstances. The reason I chose to be distantly attuned is because I had 3 young children, I was also running my own natural health business, and the teacher I was guided to lived a 6 hour journey away. I didn’t feel I resonated with any local teachers or courses at the time so I followed my intuition!

It also depends on you. I found that the non-academic approach in which I was trained gave me the room and scope to develop myself as a practitioner intuitively, finding my own individual path and way of healing, and I have always been very grateful for this. Though you may not yet be ready or comfortable with working intuitively, this approach can help you to develop this skill. But some people need the step-by-step approach and need more specific instruction at the beginning. Some like the idea of more written/academic work and thrive in this area. So take into account how you learn too!

Above all, listen to your own heart and instinct and if you feel drawn to a particular teacher then they are probably meant to be!