Learn Reiki online—a waste of time?

When I first started teaching Reiki, I advised people not to take online Reiki courses. I said that nothing could substitute for a traditional in-person initiation (attunement). I suppose this is because I had received and given in-person initiations, found them to be both profound and powerful experiences, and just couldn’t imagine how such a transformational event could happen unless teacher and student were physically present with each other.

But I had never tried.

This changed when Monika, who lived in Laos, made contact with me. And now I’m left wondering how many times someone has gone through a distance Reiki course out of necessity, and has discovered what we discovered. There is no difference in the quality of the initiation, whether conducted in-person or by distance.

It works

Initiations are deeply moving experiences, which can change the course of someone’s life. As I was going through my own Reiki training, with only in-person initiations, I discovered this for myself. Some initiations were intense; some were gentle, but all of them were significant and powerful catalysts for change in my life. And what struck me when Monika and I made the intention to connect to each other for initiation, while I was in Thailand and she was in Laos, was that we both felt the same exciting power at work.

Six months later she sent me these simple words:

Reiki became part of my life. I practice every day.


She’s now a level two practitioner, integrating Reiki with her yoga and job as a child and developmental psychologist. For her the question of the effectiveness of the distance initiation is not a question at all. She knows that it works, or she wouldn’t be practicing Reiki today.

The fundamental lesson I learned is that Reiki is not limited by geography. Everyone that takes a level two course in Reiki is taught this, but to a skeptical mind—to my mind—this is hard to believe. It’s only through repeated personal experience, and these experiences have been deeply moving and humbling, that I have come to trust that Reiki can connect, in a life-changing way, people who are separated by geography.

Monika reflects on whether distance is an obstacle to learning Reiki:

But at the same time I belive that deeply having a special chemistry between the master and student is much more important than a “normal” situation…So I would advise potential Reiki students to follow their inner instinct when they choose a teacher. Especially in the case of a distance course.

If you’re considering learning Reiki, don’t let distance stop you from studying with the teacher you feel is right for you. Let your heart lead the way, and trust that it will find a way for you to open up to a life-transforming distance initiation experience.