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Thursday, October 16, 2008


I've been through three Reiki Master trainings (so far), and from each one of my teachers I was taught that we need to get permission when we give Reiki, whether in person or over a distance. As with most things, each of those teachers put a different emphasis on that issue, and that has me wondering what you learned from your teacher about permission, and how you go about getting it (if you do). Do you get it in writing? Do you need a signature? Do you simply follow your instincts? Or are you among those who believe it isn't necessary to get permission? Maybe your teacher never even mentioned it.

Aside from anything any of my teachers said, I learned about permission during my first year of training when a friend of mine was kind enough to let me give her a Reiki table session as part of a student clinic. Being a friend, she was also kind enough to give me some helpful feedback afterward. Since it was her first Reiki session, she didn't really know what to expect, and she was a bit surprised when I put my hands on her head as the session began. I did it somewhat abruptly, and she told me that I'd been a little too quick. From that session, and my friend's good advice, I learned to begin hands-on treatments more slowly, waiting until I felt I had permission on an energetic level to move into the client's energy field, and then wait again before I felt energetic permission to touch.

I learned another lesson when I wanted to help a cousin with terminal cancer who lived hundreds of miles away. I hadn't seen her in years, but when I heard she was sick, I naturally wanted to help. But in keeping with what I'd been taught, I had to get permission first. I was sure she wouldn't mind, because I knew she was also a practitioner of holistic healing, but still, I waited to get permission. The next time I was visiting her area, I made a point of going to see her. We had a nice visit and I was able to give her a chair session. She was in too much pain to lie down. She found it helpful, and of course she agreed when I asked permission to continue sending her Reiki. Rather than just general permission, we made a plan: at a certain time every evening, when she was finished with whatever therapies or tests or other activities she had scheduled for the day, she would take a break and relax while I also took a break and sent some energy her way. I can't prove it helped her, but it didn't hurt. She only survived a few months after I saw her, and she said several times that the Reiki had been a comfort to her. I'm so glad I made a point of getting her permission.

A few months ago, I ran across a discussion among Reiki practitioners online about people who were reportedly sending distance Reiki attunements to George W. Bush, presumably without permission. And then there was the web site, which urged people to send Reiki to the Obama family. That site isn't active today -- maybe it's just down temporarily, or maybe it was taken down. In any case, I wouldn't send Reiki to either of them without permission.

So how do you handle the question of permission? You can answer by posting a comment on our web site, or by emailing


Blogger Olga said...

I was also taught to seek permission in the three lineages I have studied, although for many years, if I could not contact someone directly, I would "check in" - "higher self" to "higher self" - and would offer the Reiki energy if that was for the person's highest good. I still like to offer Reiki in this manner, though now I am more careful to seek actual permission if possible, and certainly before posting any requests to my Reiki List.
- Olga Rasmussen

8:06 PM  
Anonymous John Sawyer said...

Hi, Janet,

I recall reading and hearing from teachers that it was polite, if not mandatory to obtain permission before giving anyone Reiki. I take that not quite literally in the sense of actually having a conversation with the person about the subject. I work mainly with animals and since I am not an animal communicator (yet) I can't ask permission in the sense we tend to think of it. Instead, my approach is to offer Reiki with the intent that the recipient is not obligated to accept it.

With animals, this very often involves simply sitting or standing and opening the Reiki channel, intending that the recipient may draw as much as they wish. If Reiki begins to flow, I take that as their acceptance of it.

I had an experience early on in my Reiki practice where a friend asked me to "send Reiki" to a young girl relative of hers. I went into meditation and got a very vivid image of an elderly woman cradling the little girl. The old woman simply looked at me and put her hand out palm facing me. I read that as "Thanks, but it's under control."

Animals indicate with body language when they've had enough or want more, as they case may be. It's the practitioner's role to be open to those signals and act accordingly.



8:25 PM  
Anonymous Janet Dobbs said...

Hi John,

I wanted to comment on your comment about permission and animals. You don't have to be an animal communicator to ask an animal permission for a Reiki treatment. The first thing that I do before beginning a Reiki treatment with an animal and the first thing that I teach my Reiki students to do is to always ask permission and the wait for the answer. If the animal says no or physically shows that they do not want a session at that point in time I always respect their wishes and come back another time. The animals must always be in control of their Reiki session. If you don't feel that you can 'hear' the animal saying yes or no, there are clear physical signs that they will give. You have mentioned many of them.

I have seen people giving Reiki treatments, forcing hands on treatment with the animals, making them stand or lay down on a massage table (this is too much like a vets office and the point of a Reiki session is to help them relax and heal on what every level that they may need in that point in time.) force a horse to stand in cross ties not allowing their head to lower, etc. i will not go into giving a treatment, but stay with the topic of asking permission. It sounds to me that you are open to 'listening' to the animals and that you are hearing them give their premission.

Keep up your wonderful work with the animals.

- Janet

10:19 PM  
Blogger Kaddu said...

Brilliant topic for a post! A similar issue cropped up in my Reiki practice recently, and I had been thinking of writing to you about it, but it kept getting postponed for various reasons. Today, when I saw this post in my "Google Reader", I recognized it as a "sign from the Universe" that I should put my views down on the webspace!

Yes, I was also asked by my Reiki teachers to seek permission first IF POSSIBLE. Yet, there are cases when a relative is so badly injured/sick that we cannot communicate to him/her directly. The person maybe in unconscious or even in a coma! Or, like I have this aunt, who is Schizophrenic. She is no mental state to make the right decisions for himself.

What I do in such cases is that at the time I invoke Reiki in the beginning of the session, I mentally state that I thank the person concerned "FOR ACCEPTING REIKI AT HIS/HER OWN FREE WILL".

My logic is that since REIKI IS NEVER SENT and always ONLY DRAWN, if the person needs the energy and WISHES to use it for healing him/herself, the energy will be taken. If not, then I don't feel any flow even after trying several block removal methods.

I personally feel that this asking for permission thing has been blown severely out of proportion. I mean, does our mind really know what the REAL us wants? Most of us spend our entire lives living a "program" that has been conditioned into us by our family and society!

How many of us really know at all times (on a mental level that is) as to what is the most life-supporting choice for us at any given point of time? We keep making decisions through our ego, and those decisions lead to disastrous consequences most of the times. Had it not been the case, then we wouldn't be dis-eased in the first place!

I feel that by asking a person's permission before starting a Reiki session for him/her, we are actually giving permission to his/her ego to interfere with the healing that their real self might desire. The inner child remains frustrated, the body remains ill, our life remains a mess... and all because we allow the MIND to interfere with the healing!

I have realized with experience over the last 11 years of Reiki practice that whenever I channel Reiki to someone without their explicit knowledge that I'm doing so, it works faster and better! I have also discovered that plants and babies accept Reiki most freely... 'coz their minds are not contstantly acting as "censor boards" in their healing!

Lastly, since we all our fragments of the same Universal consciousness, doesn't that imply that we are the various different body parts of the same single entity (which we may call the Divine)? Then why does the hand need permission from the eyes to channel healing to the eyes?

Earth is also a fragment of the same Divine consciousness -- and millions of energy workers are channeling healing to Earth even as I type this post! So do they have permission from the Earth to channel Reiki to her?

I just want all Reiki communities to think about this topic with an open mind -- try to understand the "big picture". The rule that "Reiki should not be sent without permission" was made by a MIND. And nothing good ever comes out of the MIND! Laying such a maniacal emphasis on "asking permission" is denying the various basic principle of Reiki -- that it CANNOT BE SENT; it can ONLY BE RECEIVED!

Once again, thanks for bringing up this topic here for discussion. This is one of the most useful Reiki blogs that I am subscribed to -- keep sharing all the good information.

Regards and love.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

This is a great discussion, and it seems to be just getting started. Several people have submitted their comments by emailing, and I'll post each one separately here and look forward to more.

Thanks to all,

9:43 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

From Pat Convery:

I too was taught by my Reiki master that you need to ask permission to send Reiki to someone however, she felt that there some allowances with distance Reiki and when Reiki was being sent to someone who was in a disaster situation such as a hurricane. She felt that that the practitioner could send the Reiki to the person but qualify it with the rider - if the person was not able or willing to receive the Reiki , the energy should go to a receptive source in the universe.

I feel that this believe has allowed me to send Reiki to people who have not given specific permission but knowing that the energy will "do no harm" and will have a positive benefit somewhere in the universe.

Thanks, Pat!

9:45 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

From Jeanne Boyce:

I have been a Reiki Master Teacher since 2001, and a few times felt that it was okay to direct the reiki to the person's Higher Self, with the intention that the Reiki energy only flow if the Higher Self accepted it. I was taught that in special circumstances, the appeal to Higher Self works out and is not a violation of integrity. But it is always best to have permission if the person is able to give it.

Now I always ask if the person wants it. I have never had anyone turn the offer down. In a recent incident, my baby Granddaughter was hospitalized for a prolonged time after birth because her biliruben count was too high to go home. Her parents were distraught having had problems with their son at birth at well who was a first child. I asked my daughter if she's like me to send Reiki to Riley and she said "Mom, send anything you have..." It worked. Within 5 hours (the time of the next test) the baby's count was down and she went home with her family.

I believe that William Rand is the most accurate and thorough Reiki Master in the US, and think that everything I have learned from my own teachers was based on his teachings. So, I ask permission.

Looking forward to the article!
Jeanne Boyce

Thanks, Jeanne

9:48 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:51 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Patsy Guglielmo wrote:

Dear Janet,
Funny you should ask this as I have some strange stories to relate regarding permission. My master only stressed asking permission when doing distance healing and then to ask 3 times (which I always do). In the course of doing this I was requested to do a healing on someone's mother, who absolutely insisted "NO". Of course I wanted to assure my friend that I had given her mother the healing she requested but had to relate that I had failed because of her mother's insistence not to bother her. The next day, my friend called to relate that her mother had died shortly after the time that I was attempting to give her Reiki.
I assumed she was in transition at the time I was trying to give her Reiki.
The other incident relates to animals. My daughter, who lives in Italy had requested that I give her pet Reiki. She must have used a name, but I heard her say Sydney (her dog) or I assumed her dog since she is diabetic and not in good health. Well, here I was trying to get permission from Sydney to give her Reiki and she is telling me "no" in her doggie way. As a matter of fact she jumped down from the couch and left. Then she came back when i asked a 2nd time and still really didn't want it. On the third time she finally layed down and accepted Reiki. After the 3rd time I asked her, Sydney gave a long sigh, layed her head down and let me know it was alright The next day I received an email from my daughter saying thank you for
giving the cat Reiki. She is much better. You can imagine my surprise that even though I thought I was giving the dog Reiki, some how Reiki ended up at the right place in spite of me. Patsy

Thanks, Patsy!

9:59 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

From Dee Hucks:


I’m new to this ‘sharing Reiki knowledge’ and am very excited by it all. You asked about the permission issue, well in my teachings and when I practise Reiki I find that if the intention is good and you actually get permission then all is well.

I have had a time with a lady who I asked permission from to send Reiki to but when I sent it that night it came back in what I call “bounce back”. I know when the Reiki I send isn’t being taken in. So I spoke to a few people who knew this particular lady and they told me that it didn’t surprise them in the least that she really didn’t want anything that might help her as she thrived on getting peoples attention and pity, so if anything is done to help her then she will no longer be sick and get the attention and pity she craves. Apparently this has been happening for quite a few years, when she really wants sick at all, just mentally disturbed I think. Anyway I later heard that she really was very sick and was asking for help. When I try to send people Reiki and there is no way I can get their permission, I actually ask for help from the powers that be, and I would say that 9 out of 10 times I get answers. People might call it gut instinct or whatever they might be comfortable with. I call it God’s helping hand.

I meditated on that question of why would someone be like that, then not accept help when it’s offered? The answer I received back shocked me greatly was “The sickness for these people is like an old friend, they are comfortable with being sick, they actually will it that way. They get attention that they otherwise wouldn’t have”. That was so sad for me that I cried. Poor people my heart went out to them.

Anyway back to permission. I honestly get a definite ‘NO’ and a feeling like I have thrown a ball at a wall and it comes back to me, just not that hard. It’s one of the hardest things to describe. I just call it “bounce back”. Even if the intention is good but the person is either scared witless by the thought of Reiki (being some sort of ‘voodoo witchcraft’ or ‘the devils work’ is what some misinformed person called it) or flatly doesn’t want it for whatever reason of their own, then the Reiki won’t work on them.

Then I have had the experience of giving Reiki to someone who couldn’t answer and is in a world of their own making with Alzheimer’s. That was an experience I won’t forget in a hurry. It made me feel very uncomfortable, like I was doing Reiki to the shell of the human being because the real person had departed a long time ago. Very strange feeling for me.


Thanks, Dee!

10:02 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

Beth Lowell wrote:

I always ask permission when the recipient is present. I ask animals the same way I ask humans - by talking to them. If I have treated dogs before, they usually understand the word "Reiki" and respond enthusiastically by approaching and wagging and sometimes moving into their favorite Reiki position. I'm not sure if the cats respond necessarily to the words but they know why I am there and often jump onto their favorite Reiki chair or perch.

If the treatment is long distance I can ask a human being for permission ahead of time but since I can't get a clear sense of what the animal is doing or communicating without seeing him or her, I set my intention that the animal take what he or she needs. If the animal doesn't need or want anything he or she is free to not take it. On occasion I will also send to the animal's situation with the same intention.

If an animal appears unsure, rather than just assume that the answer is no, I send a little Reiki into the room so that he or she can test the water. A common challenge I face is actually with the humans even though many of them are familiar with energy work. They feel that they must call the animal or entice with treats so that they are right next to me despite my explaining that it's best to let the animal do whatever he or she wants.

One time I was treating a pair of birds. I felt the Reiki flow, but the more stressed of the pair who was a self mutilater became agitated. I left the house and later I sent Reiki to the other bird and the situation from a distance with the intention that each could take what she needed.


Thanks, Beth!

10:05 AM  
Blogger Olga said...

I agree with the comments posted and also feel that sometimes this permission is blown out of proportion. For example, when we pray for others - we don't ask permission to do so - at least not most of the time - yet we do pray - for people, for situations, etc.
- Olga Rasmussen

10:12 AM  
Blogger Kaddu said...

Hi all!

I would like to give an example of how irrational Reiki practitioners can become for laying emphasis on the "asking permission" thing!

Recently this story was narrated to me about how this wife gave Reiki to her husband without his permission for his upset stomach. The husband was a non-believer in Reiki and other such alternative healing methods. The husband woke up feeling completely fine the next morning and had to leave for work, contrary to his plans of taking a couple of days off. He worked at the World Trade Centre and the day happened to be Sept' 11. So apparently, the Reiki that his wife sent him without his consent led to his death!

Now what kind of Reiki practitioners would narrate such stories! Reiki is not some kind of magic or voodoo witchcraft! Reiki is the INFINITE WISDOM! It knows all -- even things we don't know about! If the husband was not supposed to die that day, his stomach upset would not have been cured. Maybe his work in this incarnation had been finished and it was time for him to move on!

Circulating such stories among the Reiki communities is completely belying the basic prionciples of Reiki -- that it works for your Highest good, and nothing wrong can ever happen due to Reiki.

My Schizophrenic aunt told me not to send any Reiki to her when I asked her. But her husband was so worried for her, I started channeling Reiki despite that - requesting Reiki to do whatever was best for her. It's been 4 months now, and she has shown remarkable improvement!

That is why, I request all Reiki Masters here to please take up this issue in their classes, blogs, forums, books or any other channels available to them -- and help remove this myth surrounding Reiki. The very basic concept is that Reiki is always drawn, and if we keep that in mind and do what our heart tells us to, we can never do anything wrong.

Many regards and lots of love.

11:51 PM  
Anonymous Ariel said...

My general approach to the permission issue with Reiki is I will get permission (verbal or written) from the recipient before channelling it to them. If it's a situation where I can't get permission, particularly if Reiki starts flowing spontaneously, I will send it to that situation, not the individual.

With animal recipients, I will offer Reiki and withdraw it if not immediately accepted. I usually won't even offer Reiki unless my hands "light up" first. (And yes, it becomes obvious very quickly if the Reiki is NOT acceptable.) :D

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Ariel said...

I would also like to comment on the "attunement without permission" issue.

Considering how much of a change it can be for the attunee, regardless of whether they're ready for it or not, it seems to me to be an aggregious and hugely egotistical invasion of boundaries. It also seems like an irresponsible use of one's abilities.

Attuning an individual to Reiki is quite a bit different from channelling for a treatment.

1:11 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Kevin wrote:

I send loving healing Reiki to my friends dogs who have been ill. I send Reiki to my family, clients and friends.
Reiki is much like love. We need to get over ourself s and get out of the way to be in the way of Reiki.

Thanks, Kevin!

6:15 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

CeCe Inwentarz wrote:

As I share Reiki, I often feel the vibrational energy strongly leaving my hands.
During my morning self-care session, I decided to share Reiki with my husband while he was sleeping,
but the energy level felt very low. After I asked his permission,
the energy level leaving my hands increased by at least triple.

Lesson learned!
CeCe Inwentarz, RMT

Thanks, CeCe!

3:26 PM  
Blogger utnapistim said...


I decided to add my opinion to this discussion after reading some of the comments.

In my opinion it is always good to ask for permission if possible. If not possible to ask, then go into the stillness before giving Reiki and ask for permission from the higher self. In my experience, at this level you might feel OK with sending, or feel blocked.

Kaddu (if you read this) I have a question for you: It seems to me that you are all for dismissing people rejecting Reiki (you said that we don't know mostly what is the most life-supporting choice at the moment, and that we should not give permission to the receiver's ego to intervene in the healing process).

I hope I understood you wrong.

Here's my question: What about your ego? Your decision (as a reiki practitioner) that somebody should receive Reiki is a decision coming from your mind also. You cannot decide what the life purpose is for somebody else.

It may be their purpose at the moment is to experience suffering, or "being alone", or pain, or how to learn to ask for help or anything else really.

Do you feel that your decision about what is best for others overrides their decision about what is best for themselves?

If so, why?

I hope I didn't cause you to feel attacked in any way by my question. I am really looking forward for your answer (it may well be that there is something I am missing here).

Looking forward for your answer,

10:05 AM  
Blogger Kaddu said...

Hi utnapistim!

Looks like you were in a rush when you read through these comments! :-)

Yes - you did understand me wrong!

As for your questions - I request you to read my previous comments once again -- BOTH of them -- with a still mind -- and you will find your answers already there!

Or better yet... read Kevin's comment, towards the end of the thread! He has brilliantly captured the essence of my 2 over-thousand-word comments in just 2 short sentences! "Reiki is much like love. We need to get over ourself s and get out of the way to be in the way of Reiki."

Many regards and lots of love.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a reiki practitioner. I have a mother-in-law who is. She has forcibly done reiki treatments without permission. She has such a skewed idea of the purpose of why she's doing it. She does it out of ego and control thinking she knows better than the person she should be asking permission from. I work with energy in a different path and when someone assumes the position of forcing it on me in the past and I sent their intent back to them, they are always sickened from their unjust and unrighteous manipulation of the energy that is meant to heal.

8:59 PM  

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