17 Aug 2018

Reiki healing: if you were ill would you seek help from a practitioner with little or no training?

by editor-admin

This week Matthew Manning, a patron of The Healing Trust, wrote a Facebook post about the dangers of poorly trained reiki practitioners working with ill and vulnerable people. We would not criticise reiki as a modality in its own right – and nor has Matthew. But it's clear from the overwhelming online support for Matthew's post that inadequate reiki training poses a risk. That's why at The Healing Trust we insist on a minimum of two years with numerous face-to-face tutor and mentor sessions before students reach healer status. We are sharing Matthew's post here – and we welcome your opinions on this important subject.

A guest post by Matthew Manning

In order to try to understand something of which we have little knowledge, the use of labels seems to help. I have worked as a professional healer for 40 years and in the early days I was frequently asked what kind of healer I was.

Faith healer, spiritual healer, Christian, crystal, colour, mental - the list was endless although 'faith healer' seemed the most commonly understood.

Working in America in the early 1980s I began to hear of a new healing model - reiki - that had originated in Japan. By the time I was in Australia in the early 90s it was all the rage even though it hadn't fully reached Britain. But that was all about to change.

It became enormously popular here very rapidly. This may have been because the courses were so much shorter than other established healer training courses such as those offered by The National Federation of Spiritual Healers (NFSH), now known as The Healing Trust. It was easy and quick to obtain a certificate stating you were a 'reiki healer'.

Today if I tell someone that I'm a healer, the response is almost always, 'Do you mean a reiki healer?'

I'm not criticising reiki as a healing model as I believe that all healing, however it is labelled, is essentially the same. But I have increasing reservations about the way in which it is being marketed and presented.

This morning a slick video appeared on my Facebook feed inviting me to: 'Discover the power of Reiki to heal emotional, physical and energetic imbalances in yourself and others in this bestselling course with over 57,052 students!

'You'll learn how to perform Reiki sessions, administer attunements, heal unwanted patterns and much more."

All this for just 4 hours of online video content - and you've got a certificate saying that you're a qualified reiki healer! I probably wouldn't have so much of an issue with this if the word 'healer' was replaced with 'practitioner'.

And here is the problem. I recently met at a lady who is a very experienced healer of 40 years and originally trained with the NFSH. She was unable to work (unpaid) in a local hospice as they only accepted reiki practitioners. In a possibly emotionally-charged environment that needs sensitivity a dying person and their loved ones could find the 'healer' permitted to work with them has very limited experience.

Another healer, recently qualified after a long course with The Healing Trust, told me that one of her clients "went over to her Reiki hairdresser who charged nearly double because she claimed to cleanse the air!"

I've also heard a reiki practitioner claim that reiki is the only 'powerful' form of healing whilst spiritual healing works only on babies and the elderly!

Training as a healer involves so much more than many people appreciate. It's also learning about compassion, empathy, understanding, humility and service, opening your heart, human physiology, medical treatments - and probably humour too - all in absence of ego. It's not something learned or gained after a 4 hour or 24 hour course - especially if it's online. If you intervene in someone else's health, you are taking on a huge responsibility.

I'm increasingly concerned at peculiar claims made by some inexperienced reiki practitioners, whilst highly experienced and trained healers are being denied access to work with people who are in real need.

You may have trained and qualified as a reiki practitioner, but if you or a loved one was extremely ill, would you feel comfortable being treated by someone with very limited training even though they have a certificate?

I'd be interested to hear your views.


  1. As a practitioner qualified by the NFSH and the Association of Crystal Healing Organisations (Diploma in Crystal Healing) I studied and worked hard to attain a suitable level of competence. I am concerned about the rise of courses which purport to teach healing in a short space of time and with no personal evaluation. What about case studies or mentoring by a qualified healer? Healing is not a quick fix but a process of long training, personal and professional evaluation and I for one am still learning!

  2. We completely agree with you Sylvie. Inadequate reiki training helps no one. The importance of training and life-long learning cannot be over-emphasised. It’s not simply about the healing act. It’s about all the learning and support that needs to be in place to help a healer to deal with challenging situations that may also affect them personally. It’s good that Matthew’s words are generating this discussion.

  3. As a Healing Trust tutor for twenty years, (and not a Reiki practitioner) and a healer for thirty five, I agree that other organisations’ training needs development in some areas.

    However, HT as NFSH has, in past years, been through extremely divisive and damaging experiences. Publicly criticising another modality’s training and inviting public comments is a certain movement back to where we have struggled to escape from, together with needing to repair the core of our lovely and reputable healing organisation.

    Can we not have the awareness to perceive that people will be attracted to training that suits their current needs, and also have the ethics and professionalism not to publicly denigrate other organisations?

    1. We welcome your views Barbara, and are sure that Matthew would also agree with you. No one wishes to criticise reiki, or indeed any other healing modality that is practised in line with the highest good of all concerned. The problem raised here is one of false security. If a complete beginner completes a four-hour course, then finds themselves giving healing to someone with a serious or terminal illness, they may well feel out of their depth. That will be unhelpful for both client and healer. By airing this issue, hopefully such problems will be less likely to occur.

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