For thousands of years and across many cultures, the energy healing practice known as “laying of hands” has been used to promote mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Reiki is a Japanese energy healing practice that can loosely be translated to “universal life force energy.”
How DOES Reiki WORK?
The reiki healer, who may have the level of reiki practitioner or reiki master, positions their hands in different places over the recipient's body to dissolve energy blockages and allow universal energy to flow freely, with the intention of restoring balance and health. Reiki is considered to be a low-risk and non-invasive holistic health modality.
why many reiki practitioners are at risk...
Because reiki is not regulated or standardized at the federal level in the United States, there is a lot of confusion, debate, and inconsistency surrounding the practice and legality of reiki depending on the state.
This uncertainty, combined with increasing crackdowns by state regulatory boards, cease-and-desist orders and fines, create a risky environment for reiki practitioners. Adding fuel to the fire, many states are passing new legislation that further marginalizes energy healers such as reiki practitioners.
so, Do you need a license then to practice reiki?
Even though the ancient energy healing practice of reiki is achieved by the light placing of hands over the body to channel universal life force energy, in some states, this practice and similar energy healing practices that incorporate the “laying of hands” may be considered “massage or bodywork therapy,” and therefore require a massage license.
For example, the Florida Board of Massage interprets its definition of massage to include reiki and the state can use the Massage Practice Act to prosecute anyone practicing reiki for compensation without a license as a crime. Texas also requires a massage therapy license in order to perform reiki.
Some states, like New Jersey or Ohio, have laws around reiki that are unclear and up to state board scrutiny. In other states, the laws can be even more confusing, but are rarely in the reiki practitioner’s favor.
Many energy healers, including reiki practitioners, criticize this type of legislation. This is because it lumps massage (a practice that requires physical contact and usually involves applying gentle or strong pressure on muscles and joints of the physical body) together in the same category as energy healing, which is usually performed with very light touch and is directed towards the energetic body and chakras. Reiki doesn’t even necessarily require physical touch, as it can be performed without physical contact or even via distance healing.
Is a reiki certification enough to offer my services legally?
Although taking reiki training to obtain reiki certification is an important qualification for becoming a reiki practitioner or reiki master, in most states, certification is not enough to protect you from severe legal and financial risks. Reiki classes include important aspects such as reiki attunement, symbols, theory, and practice, but reiki certification itself does not guarantee that you can offer your services legally.
Having a solid, defendable legal basis to protect your reiki practice is essential.
What are the risks of practicing reiki without a license?
As a reiki healer, it is vital that you are proactive and stay up-to-date on changing state policies and regulations to avoid serious legal and financial consequences. If you are receiving compensation (payment) for reiki services without an applicable license where one is required, your state could consider this a crime and any or all of the following could apply to you:
- Cease-and-desist order
- Having your license or business permits revoked
- Costly legal battles
- Threat of serving time in jail
Depending on the state, even if you are a licensed massage therapist, you might not be covered to incorporate reiki massage into your massage offering. Across the United States, state regulatory boards are cracking down on holistic health practitioners who offer services that are beyond the scope of their state license.
Often referred to as “license to touch,” these requirements include complex rules and exemptions regulating the type and scope of physical contact for a certain field, such as massage or cosmetology.
Even if you have a state license in another field, such as chiropractor, you can still be prosecuted for adding a complementary modality such as reiki to your services. If you decide to incorporate holistic health services that go beyond the scope of your existing state license, that license can be revoked.
What can I do to protect my reiki services & clients?
Even in states where reiki may be considered “massage or bodywork,” a solid legal basis can protect your services.
The one way to know for sure that you’re protected is by having a defendable legal basis, like that offered by the Professional Wellness Alliance. By joining the PWA Community, you can acquire a defendable legal basis for offering reiki services.
Reiki is an acceptable holistic health modality under the PWA License and it provides reiki practitioners with the protection to offer their services in a safe, legal environment.
protect your clients
The benefits of PWA License include protection and peace-of-mind for both you and your clients receiving holistic services. Your clients can feel at ease knowing they are obtaining reiki services with a licensed practitioner whose credentials have been verified by the PWA and who is qualified to offer holistic services in all 50 U.S. states.
All of your clients will also become members of the PWA Community and enjoy the protection of the #1 health and wellness ministry in the world.
The bottom line
Amid the murky, inconsistent and confusing state laws and regulations around reiki energy healing, one thing is certain: The burden of staying up to date on state regulations and policies falls heavily upon the shoulders of the holistic health practitioner. It is up to each reiki practitioner to make sure that they have a solid legal basis from which to offer their services in increasingly litigious times.
Watch our free webinar to learn about what a defendable legal basis is and why it's so important for holistic health practitioners such as reiki healers.
Learn more about becoming a licensed member of the PWA here.