Learning Reiki FAQs

What’s the difference between level Master-Practitioner level and Master-teacher level (3a and 3b)?

Many Reiki teachers separate the master level into two parts: Master-Practitioner and Master-Teacher. These are also called level 3a and level 3b, respectively.

In the Usui Shiki Ryōhō lineage, these courses are generally taught as one combined course.

What lineage do you teach?

Usui Shiki Ryōhō. This is the lineage of Hawayo Takata. You can read more about this lineage on the initiations page.

What am I actually getting with the manual?

The course content. You get this in several versions:

  • PDF (printable version). You can print the manual to be your primary course reference.
  • PDF (digital-only). If you prefer a digital version, use this. It contains clickable hyperlinks making navigation easy.
  • Web version. The entire course will be available to you online.
  • An audiobook version of the course. (Some chapters are not included in the audiobook version.)
  • MP3 recordings of meditations (such as the purification meditation).
  • Videos demonstrating techniques

What do I actually get in the teacher’s pack?

First, the course content. You get this in several versions:

  • PDF (printable version). You can print the manual to give to your students as the primary course reference.
  • PDF (digital-only). If you prefer a digital version, use this. It contains clickable hyperlinks making navigation easy.
  • Web version. The entire course will be available to you online.

The course content also includes:

  • an audiobook version of the course. You can distribute this to your students at any time. You might want to do this before the course, so they can familiarise themselves with the teachings. Or you could give it to them after the course, as a refresher. (Some chapters are not included in the audiobook version.)
  • MP3 recordings of meditations (such as the inititiation meditation). You can download these and use them in class. Personally I find the meditations help me (and the students) relax into the experience, as I don’t have to plan what I will say during these key moments of the course.
  • videos demonstrating techniques. Again you can use these during the course (perhaps showing them on a tablet or computer screen), or distribute them to students for reference outside of class.

The last piece of the puzzle is the teaching plan. These notes, which I use myself, give you comprehensive information about how to prepare for the course, and detailed instructions on how to teach it, step-by-step.

Can I edit the course content? I want to add some of my own materials and cut some stuff that doesn’t resonate with me.

Sure you can! This content is designed to support you as a Reiki teacher, it’s not there to restrict you.

The easiest way to edit the course content is to supplement it with your own materials. Give these to your students in addition to the standard content.

If you want to remove some content, the easiest way is to print the full PDF and then take out the pages that you’re not going to use. Distribute your customised course content to the students.

Do I have to believe in Reiki to get a good result from treatment?

No. It’s not like a psychological method of treatment or hypnosis or other kind of mental method. There is no need to have a consent or admiration. It doesn’t matter if you doubt, reject or deny it. For example, it is effective to children and very ill people who are not aware of any consciousness, such as a doubt, rejection or denying. There may be one out of ten who believes in my method before a treatment. Most of them learn the benefit after first treatment then they believe in the method.

Quoted from an interview with the founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui

Can any illness be cured by Reiki?

Any illness such as psychological or an organic disease can be cured by this method.

Quoted from an interview with the founder of Reiki, Mikao Usui

What is the 21-day cleansing period following a Reiki initiation/attunement?

The initiations trigger release within you. This occurs on every level: spiritual, mental, emotional and physical. You can therefore expect to feel a bit different afterwards, and for changes to accelerate in your life. This could be anything: feelings of peace, elation or sadness as you let go of unneeded emotions; increased physical energy or increased need for sleep as your body adjusts; or changes in your eating and drinking patterns as you let go of unhealthy habits. Since Reiki is balancing for the individual, everyone’s response will be slightly different.

For many people the initiation triggers releases of old blockages that have been held in either the physical, emotional or spiritual bodies. As these blockages get touched by the loving energy of Reiki they soften. The cleansing period is your first phase of reactions to this. Traditionally in Reiki we are taught that this cleansing period lasts for 21 days—the same amount of time that Usui spent on Mount Kuriyama, but it’s more accurate to say that the cleansing continues for as many years as you continue to practice Reiki. However, it’s especially important during the 21 days following the first initiation to give yourself lots of hands-on healing, to drink plenty of pure water, and to look after yourself with extra attention.

What certification do you offer?

If you plan to practice Reiki professionally, you will probably need insurance, and there may be certain requirements for this in your country. To help you make an informed decision, below is both my Master/Teacher certificate, and the certificate you will receive on completion of an International School of Reiki course. (You can also see my Reiki certificates from the first to the highest level in this pdf file.)

Master Certificate - Kit Johnson

Sample Reiki One Certificate

What is the difference between the different types of Reiki? How can I choose?

There are many lineages, some claiming to give you higher vibrations or certain secrets that are not available to the others. Some people seek attunements from several Reiki Masters in order to resonate with these various energies. In my experience, the spirit of the teacher is more important than the particular Reiki lineage they carry. See who and what you connect to.

Can I learn all the levels and become a Reiki Master in under a month?

I don’t call myself a Reiki Master. I’m not underconfident in my skill with Reiki, but I think the term Reiki Master feeds the spiritual ego, so I choose not to use it. Most people don’t need to feed their spiritual ego. And what does Reiki Master really mean anyway? If you can become a Reiki Master in a weekend course, what can you say you have mastered?

I’m a Reiki practitioner because I practice, and a teacher because I teach. Those simple words help me be honest about who and what I am.

So the question becomes this: How quickly can you become a master-level practitioner or a Reiki teacher? The answer is: as slowly as you can. Get the most out of each level. Wait until you are crystal clear, with no doubts, that you are ready for the next level. This timing is different for unique people living in unique situations. Many people get a strong sense of knowing when they are ready.

Each level of Reiki has valuable lessons for us, but these lessons take time to learn. If we race through all of the levels, we are going to miss something. I’m talking about the things that we can only learn through the patient sifting of energies in the weeks and months that follow attunement, and the slow, steady molding of daily practice.

A common misconception is that at Reiki One you get a little power, Reiki Two more power, and Reiki Masters the most power. If you want more power after that, you can try learning lots of different types of Reiki, each one giving you a power boost.

But how could this be true? If it were true, it would mean that the people with more time and more money would be the greatest healers. The richest people who can fly around the world and get to Master level in all lineages of Reiki would become super-practitioners, and the poorest people who can only afford a single level one course would be very weak healers.

Effective Reiki comes from sincere, regular practice. You can move mountains at level one if your heart is right. You don’t get more power at the higher levels, you simply learn new techniques, and find new ways to connect with the energy.

How much do your courses and sessions cost?

Full details of pricing are available at the Reiki store.

Is Reiki like meditation?

Many people report that Reiki brings effortless quiet and focus to the mind, similar to concentration meditation. Sometimes this is true for me, but sometimes not. In my experience it is possible to do Reiki without focusing your mind.

Is Reiki massage?

No. Massage involves pressing and manipulation of muscles and pressure points. In Reiki, the hands of the practitioner are gently rested on the body of the recipient, unmoving. Reiki can also be practiced without touching the body at all.

How can you avoid giving away your own energy instead of Reiki energy during a healing?

When I feel depleted after a healing it is because I am trying too hard. Perhaps I am trying to impress the client with my healing powers, and instead of relying on Reiki I am pushing too hard, and using my personal store of ki.

The solution to this is easy. Relax and let Reiki flow.

For more details on unwanted energy transfer, please see the page on protection.

I feel stronger energy in one of my hands. Is this a problem?

No. It’s relatively common to feel this, and it’s not something you need to change. In fact, you can use it to your advantage. Use your dominant hand for areas that feel they need the most energy, with your non-dominant hand playing more of a support role. For example, you may be giving energy to the head and sense that the healing is becoming intense. You may choose to move away from this area and treat somewhere lower down the body, but what if you want to continue treating the head? Leave your dominant hand there, and place your non-dominant hand on the sacral area. This will help ground the client while allowing you to continue treating the head.

You may also find your non-dominant hand more sensitive when scanning.

Why aren’t there any techniques in Reiki for removing blocked energy?

Many healing modalities distinguish between too little energy (kyo in Japanese) and too much energy (jitsu in Japanese). So why in Reiki do we assume that we can just keep giving energy to an area and solve the issue? Don’t we risk giving too much energy to one area that is already overloaded?

Reiki is different to healing techniques such as qi kung or shiatsu because Reiki is not about topping up deficient energy or removing excess energy. Reiki is about transformation.

It is the very beginning of understanding to think of reiki as energy, like electricity, which can be applied to an area that needs a kick-start. As your depth of practice matures, so you will see deeper into the phenomenon of reiki, which is a more subtle practice than that. It connects to the very core of the human (which some call the spirit) and looks for the quickest way for positive change to be affected.

With reiki, hyper-energised areas are transformed into balanced areas, and hypo-energised areas are simultaneously transformed into balanced areas.

If this all seems too simple, it’s because it is. Reiki requires very little intelligence or skill from the giver, just a receptive awareness of where the hands need to be placed now.

Nothing need be added, and nothing need be taken away.

What is ‘energy exchange’, and why is it important?

In one version of the Reiki story Mikao Usui treated people for free:

[Usui] decided after a few days to go to the beggar city in the slums of Kyoto to treat the beggars and help them lead a better way of life. He spent seven years in the asylum treating many illnesses. One day, however he noticed the same old faces kept coming. When he asked why they had not begun a new life, he was told that working was too troublesome, and that it was better to go on begging. Usui was deeply shaken and wept. He suddenly realised that he had forgotten something of great importance in his healing work, namely to teach the beggars gratitude. In the following days, he thought out the Reiki principles…

With the lesson being that Reiki practitioners should not give their time and efforts away without some form of energy exchange. In today’s world, money is the most convenient way of making this exchange, but it can be anything.

The concept of exchange has its roots in three Japanese concepts: giri, okaeshi.

Giri, in this usage, means obligation or indebtedness, and it is a big deal in Japanese culture. Such indebtedness can weigh heavily on the mind, and can even carry a degree of shame.

Okaeshi means ‘a gift in return’, and is the way people free themselves from obligation. Okaeshi can be money, or another service, or any kind of assistance. When it is given, the receiver becomes free from indebtedness, and truly owns the gift. There is no feeling of obligation or guilt.

If you provide someone with a reiki healing session and ask for nothing in return, they will feel unsure about how they are supposed to feel. They will feel unsure next time they do something that might jeopardise the healing: how could they possible go out and get drunk after the beautiful healing you have given them? However when they have given their gift in return (the energy exchange), they are free to own the healing, to make it part of their life, and eventually to realise that they are the master of their own healing journey.

In Reiki, I don’t use my own energy, but if I do a treatment without Reiki, am I using my own ki?

Many Reiki practitioners believe that as they do give Reiki they are topping up the energy levels of the receiver. A bit like topping a car up with petrol. If you let the car drive on too long, it will break down, but if you give it some regular top-up, it will run just fine.

We need to understand the difference between adding energy and energising. When adding energy, like filling a car with petrol, the receiver will always have to keep going back for more, relying on an external source of energy. When energising, it’s different. Imagine a laboratory rat that has been given amphetamines. The amphetamines did not add any energy to the system, just facilitated the burning of existing energy in the system.

The beauty of Reiki is that we are able to energise recipients without giving from our personal store of ki.

If you give your own energy during a healing, you’re trying too hard. You’re also manifesting certain beliefs:

  • that the receiver needs you
  • that there is not enough energy to go around.

Neither of these beliefs are true. There is plenty of energy to go around, and the practitioner is not the one helping the receiver. Reiki is helping the receiver help himself.

Relax, allow the energy to flow, and let the healing happen without you adding anything.

Why do I feel tired after giving a healing?

You are probably trying too hard. Reiki does not depend on you giving, or trying, or doing anything special at all. Just relax, and don’t worry if nothing happens during the session. (If nothing happens, it’s because the client isn’t ready for anything to happen.) It’s not up to you, it’s up to reiki.

Still got a question? Contact me or leave a comment below.