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Is Reiki Spiritual Healing?

By Jane Fleming, Spring 2021

Energy Healing is Our Natural Birthright

Energy Healing has always been with us and is part of our natural birthright as human beings. The human brain and body has been hardwired over millions of years of evolution to channel Healing Energy. We have a Spiritual Nervous System that uses the same physical neural pathways used for physiological purposes. Brain scientists today can even locate the part of the brain in which we experience a spiritual state of Oneness with All That Is. Spiritual Healing, Reiki and many forms of energy healing have their origins in ancient cultures and are being rediscovered in modern times.


Humans have natural gifts to perceive the unseen—intuitive knowing, visionary seeing and sensitive feeling. We are born with these abilities but only a few people use them skillfully and consciously. There is a natural gift of sensitive feeling and perceiving energy through the hands. If we bring a hand toward someone’s body we sense warmth, vibration, density—an invisible field extending beyond the surface usually one to eight inches from the skin.


Spiritual healers, Reiki Masters, Healing Touch Practitioners, Shamans, or any energy therapist use this sensitivity. They are also said to be channeling healing energy from a Higher Power, Higher Consciousness or God, no matter what name we use for the Divine Source. Some traditions refer to divine intermediaries called Spirit-Helpers, Healing Guides, Healing Doctors, etc. Nevertheless, the healers are all in contact with invisible forces. We call this attunement.

Reiki Healing – Historical View

Rei-ki is a Japanese word meaning ‘Universal Life Force energy’ and is thought to have been practiced by Tibetan Buddhist monks for thousands of years. This knowledge of healing became lost and was rediscovered by a Japanese Buddhist monk, Dr. Mikao Usui, around the beginning of the 20th Century. Some believe that Dr. Usui developed his own Reiki system. Nevertheless, Dr. Usui underwent full spontaneous Reiki attunement and all students are given secret symbols to which they attune in order to channel Reiki energy. Apparently the reason for the secrecy was that the Reiki healing-rays were misused in ancient times and so care must be taken as to who this information is given. The source of the healing power is said to be the Universe, and the individual practitioner is only a channel.


To begin with, Dr. Usui passed on his knowledge to very few, and they in turn passed the knowledge on to others. Lineage is important in Reiki, so you must trace back through your Masters to Dr. Usui himself. In the last 50 years, however, Reiki has dispersed throughout the world and there are countless systems of Reiki radically different from the Usui tradition. There is Golden Age Reiki, New Age Reiki, Terra-Mae Reiki to name only a few. There are numerous avenues to explore Reiki.


When a Reiki Healer has taken three to four levels of weekend trainings, they are called Reiki Masters which means Teacher in Japanese. Therefore every practitioner can teach others, their students in turn can teach others, and so on and so. This has led to a huge proliferation of practitioners. However there is no overall organizational control over standards or remuneration. This ancient method may not be consistent today or have a commonality of form. The client or student must make their own decision about the effectiveness of the organization or healer-teacher they choose.


Spiritual Healing – Historical View

As in the case of Reiki, the ancient knowledge of Spiritual Healing practices held by shamans and indigenous peoples of Europe was lost during the rise of Christianity. In the 18th Century it was brought into view again through a medical doctor/scientist by the name of Franz Anton Mesmer. Mesmer’s brilliant healing ability was never in doubt but his wish for the phenomena to be studied scientifically was supressed and censured by the Christian Church and the scientific community of his day. However, Mesmer’s healing work and methods were brought forward into the 19th Century through Spiritualists who believed to be channelling healing energy from Divine Intermediaries and developed established methods. It was only in the 20th Century that scientists had the machines that could study the energy system of living beings and acknowledge its existence. Prejudice against studying and using Energy Healing of any kind has gradually subsided.


Comparison of Reiki and Spiritual Healing


  • Based on ancient knowledge

  • Non-denominational with no religious affiliation necessary

  • Healer is aware of being a channel of healing energy

  • Healing is recognised as holistic, being on a spiritual, mental, emotional and physical level, but there is no physical ‘cure’ promised

  • Healing is of the whole body/energy field, with emphasis on the chakras, using set hand positions to direct the energy, as well as intuitive variations based upon inner guidance of the healer

  • Practice sessions vary depending upon the Reiki Master or Spiritual Healing teacher, but there is usually a weekly Reiki or Spiritual Healing Evening for this purpose

  • Self-Healing is required in both methods for practitioners to become a clear channel of healing energy; initial set of hand positions for Reiki is taught for full-body self-healing of the student, while Spiritual Healing students are given many meditation exercises for self-healing purposes.




  • Attunement

    • Reiki:

      • Reiki student is first given four individual attunements by the Reiki Master/Teacher to open the channels, balance the chakras, to tap the flow of Reiki energy at will, to self-heal and practice on friends

      • More individual attunements are given at the next levels

      • Four symbols are taught at second level to visualise when healing or sending healing

      • Origin of symbols: Dr. Usui may have re-discovered these symbols during a 21 day meditation on a holy mountain and are thought to be Sanskrit symbols used by Tibetan monks; teacher visualizes the symbols and places them within the energy-body of the student for their use in healing

    • Spiritual Healing:

      • Students are taught the Attunement Triangle: to attune to Universal Source Energy or Divine Creator, to attune to the recipient’s energy field, and to understand that the recipient is also attuned to a Higher Power; many Spiritual Healers are aware of the presence of Spirit Helpers or Divine Intermediaries

  • Certification & Qualification

    • Reiki

      • Emphasis on the lineage of the teacher goes directly back to Dr. Usui but there may be other lineages that come directly from Japan

      • Practical training without emphasis on theoretical studies

      • Manuals can be purchased from the International Association Of Reiki

      • Information is kept private

      • Certification given for all levels

      • Students who complete all 4 levels of Reiki can become teacher-healers

  • Spiritual Healing

    • Spiritual Healing teachers are chosen by healing organizations based upon their healing ability, experience, as well as their teaching skills

    • Theoretical materials are available to Spiritual Healing coaches by The Healing Trust / National Federation of Spiritual Healers (NFSH, UK) or the Spiritualist National Union (SNU) or other such organizations

    • Spiritual Healing students may take in depth courses, one to two years of supervised training, final examination offered by a qualified person or panel of experts

    • In many Spiritualist Churches the Minister or another person who is a qualified healer trains the individual church Spiritual Healers

    • Spiritualist Church of Canada awards a Spiritual Healing Certificate on the recommendation of their registered Ministers

    • Other certifying bodies like ASHA (Association of Spiritual Healers of Alberta) are affiliated with The Healing Trust, UK; but a particular religious background is not necessary

    • The official certification is as a practitioner not as a teacher

  • Remuneration & Business Practices

  • Reiki is a sacred practice:
    Spiritual Healers are concerned that some Reiki healers may find an easy way to train and then teach others, without realising the inner commitment of the original teacher; for some practitioners there may be an emphasis on a monetary business rather than on sacred practice

  • Spiritual Healing is a spiritual practice:
    According to the great healer and NFSH founder Harry Edwards, healers are:

‘People who have a deep inner yearning to…heal the sick…take away pain and stress…who possess compassion…are generous in nature…willing to render service without remuneration…only need attunement with the spirit force of healing and give it practice.’

  • Some Spiritual Healers or Reiki Masters have a full-time business practice with remuneration, while others give healing for free or voluntary donation only, but the emphasis should be upon spirituality for both



UK Spiritual Healer, Gail Allen-Davies, shared that when she received a Reiki attunement and then gave spiritual healings, both healer and recipient felt the channeled energy was very powerful, yet very different, and that her Spirit Helpers did not seem to be present. Gail says the lesson she learned was to have faith in what felt right for her, which was channeling spiritual healing. But she also recognized that this was not the path for everybody, and that Reiki may be right for others. We must be drawn to what is right for us.


Another UK Spiritual Healer, Julie Tasker, wrote that she believed there was a difference between Reiki and Spiritual Healing. She would ask her clients which they preferred or would use Kinesiology muscle testing to see what their body would find most beneficial. Some clients needed to rest after Reiki, but could continue with other activities after Spiritual Healing. With other clients it was the exact opposite. Therefore with Energy Permission used in Health Kinesiology she could tune in to which frequency was needed at the time. Indeed some of our ASHA healers use both healing protocols.



Reiki and Spiritual Healing seem to be similar in many ways. Both are described as simple, safe, powerful, and renew your life force energy. Both have healed many illnesses yet there is no claim of a cure. Both come from the Universal Source and do not drain the practitioners of their own energy. Both are acknowledged as channeled energy not accredited to the healer who is in humble service to mankind and the Divine. 


The effectiveness of Spiritual Healing or Reiki depends upon the pure intentions of the person channeling, as well as time spent on self-healing to become as clear a channel as possible.

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