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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Reiki Digest for January 31, 2007: Chi (ki, qi) and me

First things first. We must begin this edition of The Reiki Digest with a correction. The 2008 Reiki Symposium at the New York Open Center will be February 18, 2008, NOT January 18 as we reported last week. So if you marked your calendar, as I did, you'll have to re-mark it.

That wasn't our only major "Oops!" in the past week. You probably didn't notice, but for a few hours last week, our main page vanished from the Internet due to a simple but effective mistake on my part. We're back now, and wiser for it, freshly reminded of the fact that computers do exactly what we tell them to, even if it's not what we intend. Some might call it ironic that our follow-up report on the Reiki in Cyberspace session at this year's symposium will be delayed as a result of those computer-related difficulties. In the past few days I've learned, all over again, that laughter helps alleviate some of the side effects of computer frustrations, especially when we laugh at ourselves.

I've been spending way too much time at the computer lately, dealing with necessary business matters, and not nearly enough time enjoying one of my favorite pastimes: qigong. Even with my long to-do list, I make time every single day for at least 20 minutes of qigong -- also spelled chi kung or chi gong or other variations -- ancient energy exercises that have been practiced for thousands of years in China. I've been practicing qigong for more than 20 years now, and I intend to continue for the rest of my life. More recently, when I discovered Reiki, it seemed to me that Reiki energy and qi energy must be the same thing, or different aspects of the same thing. After all, how many universal, transcendent forms of energy can there be in one universe?

I'm now a Reiki Master in two lineages, and I still don't know if I can tell you in an objective, authoritative way what the difference is. "Ki" is the Japanese spelling of qi, and Reiki founder Mikao Usui is said to have practiced kiko (that's the Japanese spelling of qigong). We have no word for qi in English, so we have to use a phrase: "universal energy" or "universal life force energy." Add "rei" and you get something along the lines of "spiritual," "spiritually guided," and even "ghostly universal life force energy."

What I can tell you about the difference between Reiki and qi, for me, is the difference in how I work with each of them. When we think about "spiritual" or "spiritually guided" energy, we usually think of the spirit in question as being universal and transcendent. But what if we think of it on a smaller, more personal scale: What if the spirit doing the guiding is our own?

That doesn't mean aiming Reiki like a laser beam, or placing our hands on a client and trying to direct Reiki to an ailing gallbladder or heart. It means focusing our own selves, our own energy, on giving Reiki to ourselves or others. And it tends to work better if we're focusing not on any anticipated or hoped-for results, but simply on the act of giving Reiki.

As we say in qigong, "The mind leads the qi."

In Reiki, the energy flows through us. In qigong, we gather and mix the energy that is all around us, then store it in our three energy centers at the abdomen, heart area, and head. Can we really do that? "The mind leads the qi," so if we intend for that to happen, if we exercise our imaginations along with our bodies, that's what happens.

Now for the practical difference: for me it all comes down to where I place my tongue. When I practice qigong, I keep my tongue lightly touching the roof of my mouth just behind my front teeth. I keep it there for my entire practice. That closes one of the most important energy circuits in the body, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. When I practice Reiki, I start each breath in that position, but when I exhale I let my tongue relax enough for the circuit to break. That one small internal movement tells me with each breath what I'm doing with the energy, reminding me of my intention, whether I'm gathering energy for myself or allowing it to pass through.

For those who weren't able to attend the Qigong for Reiki Practitioners session I led at the recent Reiki Symposium, and for those who were there but are ready for more, we're going to have a little qigong session right now, right at the computer (or, if you're reading the printable PDF edition, right there wherever you are.)

Begin seated in your chair with both feet flat on the ground. Imagine that your spine is a string of pearls, suspended from above through the crown of your head. Feel yourself being pulled up as the string of pearls extends upward. Your head tilts slightly downward as you feel a tug at your crown, and your jaw relaxes.

Take your dominant hand and place it on your abdomen, with your thumb in your navel. Place your other hand over it. Breathe deeply and slowly, relaxing your abdomen on the inhalation, contracting it on the exhalation. Imagine that from your feet, energetic roots are reaching down into the floor beneath you, and further down into the earth. As your energetic roots grow downward, the string of pearls pulls the crown of your head a little higher. Repeat for nine breaths.

Now, rub one hand with another, then switch. Repeat 10 times. If you find a sore spot, give it extra attention. If you're in a place that's private enough, give yourself a footrub, too.

Next, grab your earlobe. Reach over your head with the other arm and grab the top of that same ear. Use both hands to massage the ear, then repeat with the other ear. If you find a sore spot, give it extra attention.

(Note: Glasses-wearers might want to take them off for this next exercise.) If you have enough privacy, rub the palms of your hands together as if you were trying to start a fire. Keep going until you build up some heat. Keep going as long as you can stand, then place your warmed palms over your closed eyes.

Now give yourself an extra energy boost by practicing this simple breathing exercise that can be done most anywhere, most anytime: breathe in, in, and out. Repeat many times, now and throughout the day, anytime you want a little more energy.

To finish, return your dominant hand to your abdomen and place your thumb back on your navel. Place the other hand on it, relax and breathe.

More on Qigong for Reiki Practitioners coming soon.

Ask the Masters

Last week, questions, this week, answers. The questions are from Anna, a Reiki 2 practitioner in New Jersey; the answers are from Reiki Master Nicholas Sweeney of New York City.

1. Is it possible to have a private attunement from a Reiki trainer (i.e., could you give me some or any of the Reiki 1 and 2 attunements again for a fee)?

So, I believe this question is coming from an already-attuned Reiki practitioner, and you are wondering if you can be re-attuned at level 1 and or level 2?

Among Reiki Masters and Teachers, there are different schools-of-thought about the subject of receiving additional attunements. Some believe it is unnecessary to receive additional attunements, but I believe the majority of Reiki Masters and Teachers believe that additional attunements, if requested for the appropriate reasons, can be very helpful for one's personal and spiritual journey. Also, there is much historical information that has been recently revealed that suggests that Mikao Usui gave regular attunements or REIJU to his students.

I believe it is important to understand one's motivation for seeking additional attunements. It is easy to become addicted to the "Reiki high" that can follow after the attunement process. Therefore, many students may only seek additional attunements for the thrill factor, in which case, no harm may be done, but the deeper function of the attunement would go unappreciated.

The purpose of the attunement is to remove the energetic obstacles that keep one from realizing his or her inherent connnection to life. If one has been committed to one's personal and spiritual growth and using Reiki in his or her daily life, additional attunements would most likely accelerate one's growth and healing.

If you would like additional attunements, there are teachers out there who will offer them to you! Search your own heart to learn what is best for you.

2. I can feel the energy when putting my hands on myself or an object, but when I send Reiki energy to my desires (all the desires written on pieces of paper in my box), how does sending the energy to the pieces of paper also send energy to the desires themselves? Thanks if you can clarify this.

I have often asked myself this question, as I attempt to wrap my mind around Reiki and the process of healing. The following is my current understanding of the distance-healing process.

When I send Reiki to my desires for support, healing, balance, success in projects, etc., I often feel the energy flowing within me as if I were giving myself a hands-on treatment. When I feel this flow, I intuitively know that the Reiki is working on opening and healing the places within my own being that need it in order to bring about the fulfillment of the desires that I have written on my piece of paper. Reiki is intelligent, and it understands the essence of my desires. The words on the piece of paper are merely a tool to help me become focused and set my intention. Then Reiki knows exactly where to go in order to bring a harmonious result for all concerned. So, in essence, I'm not sending Reiki to my desires; I'm sending Reiki to myself to help me manifest my desires!

When sending Reiki for your desires, requests for healing, goals, etc., observe the flow of Reiki. Tune-in to the energy and see if you can intuitively know where the Reiki is flowing. See what your own inner wisdom has to say about this mysterious process.

Nicholas Sweeney is the founder of Phoenix Wisdom Healing, a holistic healing practice located in Manhattan. Nicholas wears many hats as a Reiki practitioner, Magnified Healing practitioner, Astrology and Tarot consultant. His love affair with Reiki began in 2003. Reiki "popped the question" in 2006 when he graduated from the Reiki Master Program at Reiki Arts Continuum and committed his life to his own healing journey. Currently, Nicholas is training to become a Reiki Teacher and enjoying the day-to-day blessings that continue to inspire him as he grows with Reiki.

Reiki Roundup

This week's Celeb-Reiki list stars British actress, and Reiki practitioner Deena Payne, star of the ITV soap opera Emmerdale. Payne is having a "healing room" added to her home, and says she keeps up with Reiki and other natural health practices as much as she can despite her busy work schedule.

In other Celeb-Reiki news, the American TV series "Real Housewives of Orange County," on the Bravo channel, featured a real Reiki practitioner last week, practicing psychic readings rather than Reiki. Intuitive Healer and Reiki 2 practitioner Jennifer Norton gave some advice to presumably real Orange County housewife Jo De La Rosa about what she might do with her career and love life. Too bad -- now people who saw that will come to Reiki practitioners for advice rather than Reiki.

Reiki itself became a Celeb-Reiki this week, thanks to, the new search engine for people over 50. The word "Reiki" was number 8 in the new site's search terms; number 1 of course, was "sex."

Our Celeb-Reiki feature is brought to you by Miriam's Well Healing of New York, New York, specializing in the health and well-being of performing artists.

In other Reiki news this week, a Reiki class at the University of Minnesota was interrupted by an evacuation order after someone noticed a large piece of concrete was missing from the outside of the building. University officials say the building may not have to be condemned, but for now they're keeping everyone out.

We were singing the blues here last week (aren't you glad you couldn't hear me warbling?), but this week a British newspaper is offering readers suggestions for dealing with the winter blues, and Reiki is one of the recommendations.

Speaking of singing, a North Carolina newspaper article headlined "Sing Your Way to Spiritual Health" tells us about a gathering of musicians and artists with Reiki practitioners, acupuncturists, and others.

For some reason the Reiki-for-dogs story is especially popular this week, with articles in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, and New York City, and a Reiki-for-cats article in Long Island, New York.

Reiki makes the local news, complete with photos, in the town of Kelso in the U.K., and in Loomis, California.

The Sounds of Reiki: This week's podcast of The Reiki Show from the International House of Reiki features Beth Goldring, a Buddhist nun and Reiki practitioner working in Cambodia with AIDS patients.

Speaking of the International House of Reiki, if you asked to reserve a place in the International House of Reiki's Shinpiden class with Frans Stiene in New York City April 14, 15, and 16, 2007, you should have received a registration form by now. If not, please contact me: We might still have room in the class, but if not we can add your name to the waiting list.

Remember, The Reiki Digest is now available in a printable, portable PDF edition: click here to download this week's printable edition.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Reiki Digest for January 24, 2007: Singing the blues? Here's some news

Woke up this morning...
Remembering the great blues concert I went to last night
Woke up this morning...
Remembering how much work I had to do today (and tonight!)
Decided this week's edition
Could address the blues condition
Cause Reiki makes you feel all right

Last night was an unusual one for me: a weeknight out. My husband and I went to B.B. King's Blues Club in New York to enjoy the live blues stylings of John Hammond and then Marcia Ball. The tables there are decorated with large black circles the shape of an old-fashioned record, with the names of B.B. King songs on their record labels. The song on our table was "Woke up This Morning" from 1953. As you can see, it kind of got stuck in my head.

We had such a great time, and it seemed like most everybody else in the room did too, especially the performers. Singing the blues makes you feel good, or at least better, and so does listening to the blues. Why? For one thing, it causes an energy shift. When you give someone Reiki, their goal and yours is to create an energy shift: a negative into a positive, just like the blues.

Coincidentally, today we offer a blues-busting technique from the recent Reiki Symposium at the New York Open Center.

Before we get to that, however, let's look at some of Reiki's built-in blues busters, starting with the Reiki precepts:

For today only:
Do not anger.
Do not worry.

If we "woke up this morning" every day with an intention to follow those two precepts alone, that relieves us of the most likely causes of the blues right there. Let's continue:

Be humble.

You can sing the blues and be humble at the same time. But even if you do get the blues, knowing that you practice the following two precepts should be a comfort:

Be honest in your work.
Be compassionate to yourself and others.

And you can always do a self-care session -- or better, book a table session for yourself to bring even more Reiki into the blues battle. Be compassionate to yourself.

You may not have noticed it here, since for some reason our readers are reluctant to make comments on our web site, but by e-mail and telephone, Reiki Digest readers have been clamoring for more coverage of last week's Reiki Symposium. Since the event took place last Monday and we had to put together The Reiki Digest the following day, there wasn't quite enough time for our entire staff (that's me!) to give the symposium more than a brief mention. We make up for that this week with a more detailed report on one of the sessions, with further coverage to come in subsequent weeks.

Breaking news: The Second Annual Reiki Symposium has been scheduled for FEBRUARY 18, 2008, so mark your calendars accordingly. (Note: previously we reported January 18 -- that was incorrect.)

If you're feeling blue, here's a quick, easy way to get back into the pink

I was a volunteer for one of the presentations: Connect With Your Inner Self – A Four Step Process™ with Reiki Master Sinikka Laitamaki. For her demonstration, Sinikka asked me to think of a pleasant experience. That was easy: our family had just gotten together a couple of days before to celebrate my husband's birthday. Since my children are grown and we all have busy lives, it's a rare treat for us all to be in the same place at the same time, and we thoroughly enjoyed the day together. Then she asked me to give it a name: I called it "Pleasant Family Gathering." Next, Sinikka asked me to place my hand somewhere on my body in a place where I would like to anchor the memory "Pleasant Family Gathering." I put my hand on my heart, and Sinikka guided me through the process of anchoring the feeling of that pleasant day in that spot. Since then, whenever I put my hand there, I am immediately reminded of our family's most recent good time together. I could just as easily chosen my knee or elbow, but the heart seemed to make more sense.

As the name says, this technique has four steps: "Aware, Awaken, Anchor, and Affirm," and Sinikka followed the anchoring by offering me a list of her favorite affirmations to choose from. Most of them were quotations, but one is from Sinikka herself:

"I choose to do things that make my heart sing, my soul dance and my spirit fly."

It's true: she does. Becoming a Reiki Master was one of the things Sinikka chose. After years in corporate America working on motivation and leadership programs, Sinikka took a break to spend more time with her family and look for a new direction. It was during her Reiki studies that she developed the Connect With Your Inner Self process, which she now teaches in many different environments, from universities to the workplace to the home.

Sinikka explains:

My search for accessing a "desired state" for performing with ease and efficiency culminated when I was developing high performance teams and leaders in the leading pharmaceuticals. Like everyone in the highly competitive business, I and my coworkers felt the pressure to perform "faster and better" – also outside the work. The Four Step Process is the outcome of my search. It was completed during my Reiki Master studies and integrates research and information from various disciplines. The overall benefit of utilizing the Four Step Process is enabling us to go with the positive flow of life. Some of the specific benefits include attaining an access to a powerful platform for peak performance, especially when the following is needed:

•Mental and emotional clarity and focus

•"Outside the box" solutions

•High levels of creativity

•Planning and co-creating the future

•Visioning, strategic thinking and an ability to see the "big picture"

•Delivery of results during highly stressful situations

•Development of new products, art, music, writing, etc.

•Preparation for any kind of performance

•A resource to call upon when your deepest capacities and abilities are needed

Some additional thoughts:

•Reiki II practitioners may "pause" prior to each action step to allow any symbols to arrive to support the steps.

•Music plays an important role in relaxing and drawing you into the desired state.

•"Practice makes the master" applies to this process. The more you go into the highly desirable state, the easier it is to get there!

For more information, e-mail Sinikka at:

OK, I think I'll try that right now myself, and anchor the feeling from last night's concert to my rusty guitar-playing fingers.

Sinikka is originally from Finland, so I asked her to write a brief greeting to our Finnish readers:

Terveiset koto-Suomeen! Iloa, valoa ja rakkautta kaikille - ja
paljon Reiki - hetkia!

And here's one in Swedish:

Hej, mina Reiki vanner! Hoppas alt ar fint med dig. Mar bra!

Thanks, Sinikka.

Coming soon: even more from the symposium, including supplemental materials from Qigong for Reiki Practitioners and Reiki in Cyberspace.

Meanwhile, a correction and an update. Last week I belatedly welcomed Mauritius to our global family of readers, not realizing that was our second reader there. We are up to 40 countries now, however, and we welcome our new readers in Germany, Korea, and Sweden.

Next, our Celeb-Reiki feature, brought to you by Miriam's Well Healing of New York, New York, specializing in the health and well-being of performing artists. (By the way, Claire Schwartz of Miriam's Well Healing has a new article in the online publication Soul of the American Actor.)

Update: As you recall, when Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota) was unable to speak for himself after emergency brain surgery, others requested Reiki for him. He is now out of intensive care and able not only to speak again, but to watch Tuesday night's State of the Union address in which his name was mentioned. His wife told reporters he was touched by George W. Bush's kind comments about him.

This week's Celeb-Reiki is Oman-based British writer Jane Jaffer, author of the new book Scent of a Rose. Jaffer is also a Reiki practitioner.

On to the Reiki Roundup

Have you seen the Uncyclopedia? It's a spoof of the popular Wikipedia, and it already has an entry for the word "Reiki". My favorite part: "Though some travel to Japan and undergo considerable expense to receive the training, most are certified via free classes at Home Depot."

Last week we found a Reiki-practicing rabbi and hospital chaplain, this week we meet a rabbi with a Reiki-practicing wife.

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we meet Jeanette Lesada, an art therapist (and Reiki Master) who became "sketchbook buddies" with an autistic teen, communicating by drawing. Now their work together has become a book, Sundays with Matthew.

And Reiki gets a brief mention in the first daily newspaper I ever worked for, the Dayton Daily News in Ohio. Unfortunately, it's included in a list of "massage techniques," which is erroneous, as is the claim that Reiki has Tibetan origins.

Ask the Masters

This feature is off to a slow start, but this week we have not one but two questions, both from Anna in New Jersey, a Reiki 2 practitioner:

1. Is it possible to have a private attunement from a Reiki trainer (i.e., could you give me some or any of the Reiki 1 and 2 attunements again for a fee)?

2. I can feel the energy when putting my hands on myself or an object, but when I send Reiki energy to my desires (all the desires written on pieces of paper in my box), how does sending the energy to the pieces of paper also send energy to the desires themselves? Thanks if you can clarify this.

Reiki Master Teachers -- you know who you are. Please give us your answers to Anna's questions, either by adding a comment to this post on our web site, or by e-mailing It would be great to hear from an assortment of lineages and styles.

And here are some more questions, courtesy of Reiki Master Colin Powell of Reiki:Pure & Simple, from a recent broadcast of the UK game show Mastermind:

On 30th December, 2006 the BBC here in the UK showed a Celebrity version of our popular quiz show, Mastermind. On the show was a former children’s TV presenter called Josie d’Arby, whose chosen specialist subject was Reiki (she is also a Reiki Master). She did very well, only getting one answer wrong and passing on one question.

Here are the questions that were asked:

1) Who originally developed the Reiki system of healing in the early 1900s in Japan?

2) Which word from the Sanskrit for ‘wheel’ or ‘circle’ is used for the energy centres in human beings that run down the body?

3) The 4th chakra associated with the heart sometimes uses rose pink crystals but is mainly associated with which colour?

4) Which Hawaiian-born woman introduced Reiki to the United States?

5) Which name is sometimes used for the 6th or forehead chakra because the area of brain behind it is said to be sensitive to light?

6) Do not anger, just for today is the second of the Five Principles of Reiki as originally taught by Dr Usui, what is the first?

7) Who developed Rainbow Reiki, which uses crystals combined with a Reiki energy charge to aid healing?

8) On which mountain did Mikao Usui have an important mystical experience during a 21 day retreat?

9) What Japanese word is used by some Reiki practitioners for a technique of breaking away negative energy for cleaning inanimate object such as crystals?

10) Some practitioners use the word ‘Shoden’ as another word for which stage of Reiki training?

11) What term, literally meaning ‘breathe’, is used for the energy field that surrounds, penetrates and extends outwards from the body?

12) Which retires naval officer trained Mrs Takata and is said to have been appointed Dr Usui’s successor?

13) What is the alternative Japanese term for the third degree, or Reiki 3, the Master Teacher Level?

14) What is the name of Hawayo Takata’s granddaughter, who, after her grandmother’s death, was recognised by the Reiki Alliance as a Grand Master?

15) What term is used for the energy transmissions that initiate a newcomer to Reiki?

16) The three symbols that Dr Usui received on Mount Kuryama (sic) during his spiritual retreat are given to students of Usui Reiki at which level of initiation?

The answers can be found here.

As you can see there is some mention of up-to-date information such as the Japanese terms but this is mixed with chakras and Grand Master and I think the question on the Reiki Principles is a little picky as there are so many versions with various orders of the principles. Still it gave the opportunity for a huge audience to hear about Reiki!

Ai to Hikari


Thanks, Colin.

The Sounds of Reiki: This week The Reiki Show podcast takes us to Ireland. And if you haven't already voted for your favorite Reiki Show podcast of 2006, hurry, because voting closes at the end of January.

Remember, The Reiki Digest now comes in a printable, portable PDF edition. Click here to download this week's edition.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Reiki Digest for January 17, 2007: Our biggest, most interactive issue EVER!

Last week, as you recall, we took note of the elephant in the room. This week, we bring you not just elephants, but whales, and beyond that, a whole circus of features. Not only do we have a jam-packed Reiki Roundup, we offer a guest article -- that's right, a whole article, written expressly for The Reiki Digest by a Reiki Master Teacher who's also a registered nurse.

We have a report from the First Annual Reiki Symposium at the New York Open Center this past Monday, as well as more from controversial cyber-Reiki purveyors Chikara-Reiki-Do, along with a few words from one of their online students.

But wait...there's more! Our new printable edition made its debut at the Symposium. Starting with the January 10 issue, The Reiki Digest is now available in convenient, printable PDF form. You'll still have to go online to follow the links, but now you can print out The Reiki Digest and take it with you. Yes, you can even copy and distribute The Reiki Digest, because our "some rights reserved" license allows copying for noncommercial purposes as long as you don't change the material, and as long as you credit the source. Read The Reiki Digest on the subway (but not on the highway!), print out a copy for a friend or for your files. Best of all, it's still free. We'll always be publishing the original edition first, followed by the printable version by the following day.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this edition of The Reiki Digest.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of last week's edition of The Reiki Digest.

The Reiki Digest has gotten bigger, and so has our community: Greetings to our new reader, or possibly readers, in the African island nation of Mauritius (just east of Madagascar). We now reach 38 countries! Only 155 more to go!

A day ON

We don't have many traditions yet for Martin Luther King Day, one of the newest United States holidays, but there is a growing movement to make January 15 a day ON, rather than a day off. It certainly was a day ON for me this year, a day ON spent at the New York Open Center's First Annual Reiki Symposium. We had an invigorating Qigong for Reiki Practitioners session (nearly two hours!), numerous panels and discussions, classes in aromatherapy with Reiki and using Reiki with candles (that classroom smelled so good!), and of course our much-touted Reiki in Cyberspace discussion. If you were there, or even if you weren't, we'll have additional class resources available soon, including a list of our Qigong exercises so you can continue gathering qi at home, and a Reiki in Cyberspace blog.
(Update: To the many who've asked -- yes, we will have more detailed coverage of the Reiki Symposium next week, as well as links to the still-to-come supplemental materials.)

Speaking of Reiki in Cyberspace, we've had further conversations with Judith and Chris Conroy of Chikara-Reiki-Do about their controversial attunements by webcast and self-attunement materials. I commend them for taking our questions so graciously, and was surprised when they objected to one of the words I used last week. Apparently in British English, the word "tout" has a negative connotation that it doesn't in American English, and while we have been speaking frankly, we didn't mean to insult anyone.

The Reiki Digest: I learned about your upcoming attunement webcast from your press release, headlined "Squeals of Protest in the Reiki Community." Have there actually been "squeals of protest"? If so, could you give us an example or two? Your press release refers to "extortionate prices" being charged by others -- the word "extortionate" carries a strong negative charge. An observer might conclude that you are seeking controversy as a way of publicizing your work. Would that be a fair assumption?

Chikara-Reiki-Do: Yes, there have been many squeals of protest sent to us by Reiki Masters, who have used our own web form to contact us.

Each and every time they do this they do not have the courage to leave their names and always use false email addresses...

...very, very frustrating we can tell you.

But the messages always take a similar format - you should be ashamed of yourselves, you have cheapened Reiki, don't you realise the bad karma you're creating etc etc etc.

Obviously we don't keep any of these messages, as they are just purely abusive and do not have anything constructive to say.

We do not consider using the word extortionate as controversial, merely factual... as it is the most common description used by our customers when referring to the Reiki Master pricing structure around the world today.

The Reiki Digest: The people receiving attunements -- or learning to do their own attunements -- from you: do they get Reiki Master certificates from you as well?

Chikara-Reiki-Do: Yes, all our Reiki Master attunement ceremonies are fully certificated.

The Reiki Digest: What is your own Reiki lineage? Do your online students then become a part of that lineage?

Chikara-Reiki-Do: Our Reiki Lineage follows two bona fide lines, and yes, our participants (for us, there's no such thing as a student) do become part, and can receive a copy, of this lineage.

Chikara-Reiki-Do also sent along a testimonial they received from one of their 'participants':

"Hello. I am writing to request my certification as a Reiki Master. I have trained as a Reiki Master here in the U.S. but have yet to recieve my certification due to the death of my instructor's husband. His passing struck her really hard and I'm not sure whether she'll return to teaching.

Divine providence brought your literature to me in a very serendipitous manner. I must say that the attunement ritual is absolutely lovely. I was touched far more deeply than I ever was in a class. Thank you so much for making this information available. I also have a greater understanding and appreciation of the symbols and their use. You have answered the questions no one else seemed able to. Namaste!"

Reiki Master Teacher and registered nurse Katherine Simonton of Concord, New Hampshire, was inspired by last week's issue of The Reiki Digest to write the following article, and she has given us permission to publish it here:

Reiki Paradigms

By Katherine Simonton, R.N., Reiki Master Teacher

The topic of “free Reiki” has at times frustrated and upset me. My story to myself about that has been that “they” are unprofessional, inauthentic, give Reiki a bad name, are not practicing “real” Reiki, compete with those who are charging for Reiki, etc. However, I have realized, in reading your article, that it no longer holds much of a charge for me. As a student of the Abraham teachings, I am deepening my understanding of how Law of Attraction works and how I can, through the power of my thoughts, influence my own reality. By spending a lot of thought energy on my perception of the “wrongness” of this other style of Reiki, I was in fact, moving away from the direction of the precepts and going down a rocky, unpleasant feeling road and creating a lot of resistance. Gradually, I shifted my focus, worked with Reiki as I understood it and continued to seek information on Reiki that resonated with me. While I do not personally support the idea of “free Reiki”, I am willing to allow that there are supporters. I will give my opinion, if asked, and I try not to make a judgement – each of us has our own path to follow and our own lessons to be learned. I personally choose to put my energy into being (becoming) the most authentic Reiki practitioner/teacher that I can be and charging a fee for my services. That is not to say I never share Reiki for free - I do at times, as part of promoting Reiki and as part of my volunteer work, when appropriate.

However I do not teach Reiki for free. Sad to say, in this culture, we associate monetary amounts with things we value and we tend to assign lesser value to those things that are “cheap” or “free” (even though we all look for bargains!). We also, paradoxically, tend to provide, on average, lower salaries to teachers, some healthcare workers, ministers/spiritual care providers - for services we say we value! I consider Reiki and training in the system of Reiki to be highly valuable. As for the comment that we all have Reiki within us and a teacher doesn’t “give” it to the student, I agree. The fee isn’t for Reiki energy, the fee is compensation to the teacher for her time, the space for the class, resource/teaching materials, the teacher’s experience and expertise obtained over time and at a cost, etc. The fee can also be seen as part of an energetic commitment by the student - money is energy and often, without the money, the energetic commitment is missing.

To me, saying Reiki is made available for free to those who “can’t afford it” is disempowering and supports “lack - consciousness”. Offering someone the possibility that they COULD afford it and supporting them in that belief opens space for that possibility to become a reality - often in the most serendipitous ways! I’m also aware of people teaching Reiki for free in underdeveloped countries – is that right or wrong? I don’t know – it just is.

To some degree, much of this is really a matter of opinion and perspective - and paradigms. Paradigm is defined as a model or pattern. We all operate on the basis of a whole variety of paradigms that we have learned or absorbed. This applies to the world of Reiki as well. I see Reiki as something you”be” as well as something you”do”. It is the “doing” of Reiki as it interfaces with our Western paradigm of healthcare that is challenging us in “being” Reiki. The paradigms of particular relevance here are those related to Alternative/ Complementary Medicine, Western Medicine and Holistic or Traditional Medicine.

The paradigm or model for Western medicine is based on curing ( relieving the signs and symptoms of disease) and views disease as the result of mainly external causes. It uses primarily pharmacological and surgical interventions and has a “fix-it” approach. It also claims to be scientifically validated. The practitioner is primary - he/she prescribes and directs the treatment, the patient receives/experiences the treatment and both hold an expectation for certain results.

Holistic or Traditional Medicine (also known as Alternative and in a broad sense refers to Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Energy Healing, Homeopathy, Chiropractic) is rooted in a holistic & energy based paradigm. This model holds the perspective of wholeness - body, mind, spirit are inseparable, interrelated. The concept of energy is primary and blockages, stagnation, excesses or depletion of energy is believed to be the root cause of dis-ease in the body, mind or spirit. Interventions are aimed at facilitating healing, “making whole”, restoring balance & healthy energy flow, reconnecting all the parts. Healing is usually a process, which can be spontaneous or can take various amounts of time. Outcomes are related not just to the skill of the practitioner but to the openness & willingness of the client to change. Practitioner and client work together to support & restore the innate health of the client. Most of these practices have not been scientifically validated, but they do have consistent, positive anecdotal history extending from the present back over hundreds of years.

The term Alternative Medicine, later called Complementary and now called Integrative Medicine, is newly evolved and still evolving. It is a response to the influx of Holistic/Complementary practices being offered and utilized by healthcare consumers. Can you see the challenge here? We have two very different models trying to combine. It is my belief and experience that as Western Medicine absorbs these practices, it changes them to fit the Western model - everything needs to be scientifically validated, practitioners face licensure issues frequently regulated by non-practitioners, consumers want insurance to pay for these practices - insurers want scientific validation, the Holistic interventions get costlier, the underlying, holistic paradigm gets diluted & distorted as it gets applied as a “fix” for specific disease states, healthcare consumers are confused by conflicting messages, practitioners are competing, etc. My preference would be to see both systems work side by side, honoring and respecting what each system does best and the right of individuals to choose their care.

Now back to Reiki - where we face some similar issues. Many people want Reiki to be accepted into the halls of Western medicine and in some ways, it has been. What now? Now we have to “prove” that it works, now we have to show outcomes, now there is drama over who gets to practice “professionally”, now we have Reiki sessions offered at Spas for $100/hr and offered free, by volunteers, in hospitals and over the internet. We have “my Reiki is better than yours” attitudes and confused healthcare consumers (and confused Reiki practitioners). Should Reiki be free or for a fee? Is it a medical treatment or spiritual/energy healing? How do you “prove” that it works? Who gets to decide? As Reiki has developed in the West, it seems that there has been a distortion of the original paradigm. New Age paradigms and now Western medical standards have been overlaid upon it. Yet, the model offered by Mikao Usui and now being re-discovered, was one of spiritual self development, first and later, the hands on healing was incorporated. In my opinion, we have skipped lightly over the spiritual self development and quickly moved on to the hands-on healing. Without that grounding and foundation in the fundamentals of the system of Reiki, distortion, confusion and misunderstanding result.

Fortunately, we have individuals now who are committed to researching the roots of the system of Reiki, committed to spiritual self development and committed to bringing it much needed clarity & grounding. If we can continue our individual & collective journeys using the guidance of the precepts to light the way, it is my belief that the answers will present themselves.


The Reiki Digest: Many thanks, Katherine, and thanks again to Judith and Chris from Chikara-Reiki-Do. Let's keep the discussion going. Feel free to add your comments, or e-mail them to

Reiki Roundup

We begin this week's journey in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where the Sun-News features an article about Reiki that includes most of the key points, as well as the oft-repeated untruth that Reiki founder Mikao Usui was a doctor. My favorite quote from the article: "If people would just get one Reiki treatment and see how they felt, it would blow them away." My favorite nonquote: For one thing, the existence of life-force energy has not been proved scientifically. (In my opinion, the fact that we can distinguish the living from the dead is proof that life-force energy exists, but of course I'm not a scientist.)

The subject of Reiki for cancer patients comes up again in this week's roundup, with an article in the Camarillo, California Acorn on a camp for cancer patients. And a Philadelphia television station finds Reiki in the holistic approach of the local Cancer Treatment Center of America. And a cancer survivor in England says Reiki (and reflexology) helped him recover from cancer that destroyed one of his vertebrae.

Next stop, Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, where we find a labyrinth with, among other things, a Reiki station.

In Norwalk, Connecticut, we find a hospital chaplain who is both a Reiki Master and a rabbi.

Reiki turns out to be a popular search term among the over-50 crowd, according to a San Francisco Bay-area newspaper.

And now, our Celeb-Reiki feature, brought to you by Miriam's Well Healing of New York, New York, specializing in the health and well-being of performing artists: First, an update: last week's Celeb-Reiki, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-South Dakota), who is recovering from brain surgery, is now able to talk again.

Another prior Celeb-Reiki turns up in the headlines again: Boy George, or more specifically, his parents, Gerry and Dinah O'Dowd. Gerry became a Reiki master late in life and is said to have used Reiki to help his son kick the drug habit, but Boy George's mother, who by then was divorced, disputes that in a new book about her late ex-husband.

Reiki is a gentle art; NFL football isn't. Reiki Master, and Celeb-Reiki, Philip Clark has practiced both: before he took up Reiki, Clark played for the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys, and the New England Patriots. Clark was interviewed for a suburban Chicago newspaper article on current Bears quarterback Rex Grossman.

Finally, we travel 3 years into the future, a future in which by-then-former British Prime Minister Tony Blair may (or may not) have become a Celeb-Reiki, according to the new play "The Trial of Tony Blair."

The Sounds of Reiki:

The Reiki Show: In this week's podcast, Bronwen and Frans Stiene follow Reiki into the dentist's office, where we meet Pam Ross, a Reiki practitioner who specializes in giving Reiki to patients in the dentist's chair.

Whale music is back in fashion, especially for Reiki,, according to the UK's Guardian Unlimited. They even offer a few samples of whale sounds in case you're curious, or perhaps nostalgic.

Shinpiden Class update: There are still a couple of spots left in the Shinpiden class with the International House of Reiki's Frans Stiene in New York April 14, 15, and 16, sponsored by The Reiki Digest.

Rest in Peace

Reiki Master Jan M. Nicolai, 53, Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Reiki Digest for January 10, 2007: The Elephant in the Room

My friends, we have an elephant in the room. We can ignore it, to some extent, but that won't make it go away, or offer any protection if it should happen to sit or step on us. So we might as well acknowledge it. The elephant is the cheap, or free, "Reiki" available here in cyberspace. In scouring the Internet each week for news about Reiki, I've been running across it since before I began publishing The Reiki Digest. When I signed up for the Google ads you see on the lower left corner of the page, I made a point of filtering out ads for online "attunements" and such because I didn't want anyone to think I endorsed them. Besides, even though those ads pay only pennies, I felt it was unethical to accept money for something I don't believe in myself.

As not only a Reiki practitioner but a reporter, however, I feel I'd be distorting the news I bring you each week by failing to tell you about our elephant, all the while tiptoeing around it. Yes, in acknowledging the $5-and-under Reiki Master certificates you can buy on EBay or the web sites offering to turn you into a Reiki Master in minutes from thousands of miles away, I admit I may be costing myself, and other Reiki practitioners and teachers, some clients and students. But those free or cheap certificates and/or attunements turn up on most any search for the word "Reiki," so I'm not exactly revealing any secret here.

I would also be slanting my reporting if I pretended to have no opinion. I have spent thousands of dollars and a great deal of time and effort in my own Reiki studies, and I feel I got my money's worth and more. Even so, I paid considerably less that what was once considered the standard fee in the United States: $10,000. There was much controversy in the Reiki world more than two decades ago when Iris Ishikuro, one of the masters trained by Hawayo Takata, began teaching for less, but there was no turning back.

I'm not opposed to online education: I've enjoyed some stimulating classes through Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and am currently a student in a college distance education program. But there are some things you can learn online, and some things you need to learn in person. For example, I can't imagine learning the complex movements of Thai massage from looking at a web site, even a well-illustrated one. Nor does it seem possible to me to learn, and become attuned to Reiki that way. I expressed that opinion a few months ago in a Reiki 2 class, however, and was surprised to hear from a student who was in favor of cheap online Reiki certificates. The certificate she bought online, she said, gave her the confidence to begin a personal practice and seek out a real teacher. Her very presence in that class demonstrated that while cyber-Reiki is no substitute for in-person training, it could have value in some situations.

I'm scheduled to be discussing these issues next Monday at the New York Open Center's daylong Reiki Symposium as part of the Reiki in Cyberspace class I'll be leading along with Reiki Master James Rosenow. (If you're in the area and you're free that day, I hope you can join us.)

As I researched this week's Reiki Roundup, I ran across a press release from one of the best-known examples of cyber-Reiki, Chikara-Reiki-Do, whose founders claim that we can all attune ourselves to Reiki, following the instructions in an e-book they sell for $77. The press release was headlined, "Squeals of Protest in the Reiki Community," and it touts Chikara-Reiki-Do's latest product, a master attunement via webcast for $149, or less for those who've already bought the e-book.

Judith and Chris Conroy, proprietors of Chikara-Reiki-Do, were kind enough to answer a few questions from The Reiki Digest, so we'll let them speak for themselves:

The Reiki Digest: Will you be offering attunements through the webcast? If so, what level?

The Conroys: Yes, we will be carrying out attunements on the Webcast and we'll be taking people through to the level of Reiki Master. This will be achieved via our unique, fully guided, self-attunement process and also by way of Distance attunement.

The Reiki Digest: What do you say to Reiki practitioners who are currently making all or part of their living practicing and teaching Reiki? Are you looking to put them out of business, to get them to lower or eliminate their fees?

The Conroys: We do not deny anyone the right to earn their livings through the practice and teaching of Reiki. We have found that there is plenty of room for everyone, but chose to cater for those who could not afford the higher fees.

The Reiki Digest: Do you believe that online instruction and attunements are equal to live, in-person classes and attunements?

The Conroys: It is our experience that Reiki does not come from anywhere outside of yourself - it comes entirely from within you. Reiki is something that you already have, and all you have to do is intentionally 'switch it on'. Therefore, yes, they are certainly the equal of in-person classes. In fact we have many previously in-person attuned Reiki Masters who now know attest to this being so.

So there you have it: the elephant in our midst. What do you think? Please add your comments.

Let's move on to our Celeb-Reiki feature, brought to you by Miriam's Well Healing of New York City, specializing in the health and well-being of performing artists.

We have only one Celeb-Reiki this week, and while he is unable to speak for himself, other people are requesting Reiki for Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, who is recovering from a brain hemorrhage. We add our hopes for the senator's complete recovery.

In other Reiki news this week, we meet a new hospital chaplain in Vermont who also practices Reiki. We learn that "Stress can affect overall well being", and that "Diet and Exercise May Not Be Enough." And we meet a man who survived an accidental gunshot wound.

Beyond English: This week we find an article about Reiki in Spanish from Argentina, and in German, an article about Reiki from the Rheinische Post in Dusseldorf.

Finally, it's the beginning of a new season for the International House of Reiki's weekly podcasts of The Reiki Show. This week, Bronwen and Frans Stiene interview Patrick Zeigler about his night in an Egyptian pyramid, and the energy practice that came from that experience.

And speaking of the International House of Reiki, there are still a few spaces available in the April Shinpiden class in New York City, sponsored by The Reiki Digest.

New! Click here to download a Printable PDF version of this edition of The Reiki Digest.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Reiki Digest for January 3, 2007: Happy New Year!

They say that Reiki is practiced in every country in the world, and after half a year of publishing The Reiki Digest, I believe that's probably true. As we celebrate our half-a-versary, our readership now extends to 37 countries on every continent but Antarctica: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Greece, India, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Many new subscribers have joined us during the holiday break, and the entire staff of The Reiki Digest (that's me!) sends Reiki-filled greetings to all of you. Meanwhile, we'll keep hoping to reach at least a few readers in Antarctica, and for that matter, the Czech Republic, which is conspicuous by its absence since we know there's a lot of Reiki being practiced there.

In recognition of our international readership, The Reiki Digest resolves in 2007 to reach beyond the limits of a single language to connect with non-English-speaking practitioners as well. To that end, a few words in Czech (non-Czech-speakers, just skip ahead to the next paragraph): Ahoj! Jak se mas? Vitame, a stasne novy rok! Chcete edice The Reiki Digest v Cestine? Je mozna. Pro dalsi, moje e-mail address je: janet @ Dekuji vam!

And if there are any Reiki practitioners in Antarctica, please raise your hands.

Next week, we'll take a closer look at news about Reiki in languages other than English.

During the holiday break, we also established connections with two major online communities: and Phylameana lila Desy, the guide for Holistic Healing, is herself a Reiki practitioner. While is part of a huge media empire -- The New York Times -- Zaadz (from the Dutch word for "seed") is a small sprout of a company with a small but thriving online community where Reiki types fit right in.

This year, The Reiki Digest also resolves to connect locally with a combination online/real-life community, the New York City Reiki Meetup group.

Of course, there's still time to pre-register (and save $25) for the New York Open Center's January 15 all-day Reiki Symposium. I'll be among the practitioners leading workshops, discussion forums, and other activities.

This next announcement seems almost belated, even though the event won't take place until April. Nonetheless (drum roll, please), we proudly announce what we hope will be the first of many Reiki-Digest-sponsored events: Shinpiden Level III with Master Teacher Frans Stiene, co-author of The Reiki Sourcebook, The Japanese Art of Reiki, The A-Z of Reiki, the Reiki Techniques Card Deck and the forthcoming Your Reiki Treatment. I traveled to Chicago last October to take the class myself and I got so much out of it that I decided to sponsor it here in New York. So what makes this announcement belated? The class is already more than half full! More details here.

We've got a fascinating assortment of Celeb-Reikies this week. First, actress Pam Ferris plays a midwife (and Reiki practitioner) in the new movie Children of Men. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm sure a little Reiki comes in handy in the dystopian future it protrays.

Next, please send Reiki to our four-legged Celeb-Reiki, a little two-year-old elephant calf named Rinky in Guwahati, India, who was hit by a bus and gravely injured last month. Little Rinky received some Reiki as veterinarians tried heroically to save her, but the last news item about her is dated December 19, when euthanasia seemed the only option left.

Also in India, artist Jenny Bhatt is also a Reiki practitioner.

We stay in India for one more Celeb-Reiki: Paula Horan, known as "the lady who brought Reiki to India."

Hey, hey, it's a Monkee: ex-Monkee Davy Jones is among the clients of Reiki Master Pat Branch of Memphis, Tennessee.

Finally, Reiki Master Michelle Berry, Ithaca, New York city council member, who mentioned her Reiki practice when asked by a reporter about her New Year's resolutions.

Our Celeb-Reiki feature is brought to you by Miriam's Well Healing of New York, New York, specializing in the health and well-being of performing artists.

On to the first Reiki Roundup of 2007. The Los Angeles Times reports on 200 American Jews, including some Reiki practitioners planning to set up a clinic, who are moving to Israel. Perhaps they'll run into some of the Reiki practitioners (among others) from Palestine and Israel who recently got together in Turkey to discuss peace education.

In Maine, we find 75-year-old Reiki practitioner Vivian Franck in the hospital, recovering from being hit by a truck. Can't help sending a little Reiki her way, along with our admiration.

Next stop: the dentist's office, or should we call it the pleasure palace?

Reiki is becoming more popular in the Ozark mountains of Missouri, according to KSFX-TV.

Last stop on this week's Reiki Roundup is Camano Island, Washington, USA, where Reiki plays a part in a dramatic true-life, true love story in two parts, headlined, "The Light Within" and "I'm Coming Back to You".

Reiki obituaries are becoming a regular feature, as they should in any community publication. We'd like to round it out with a few birth announcements, so please let us know about the arrival of any Reiki babies.

Rest in peace:

Reiki Master Victoria Marie Catani-Rossena, 52, of Rye, New Hampshire.

Reiki Master Nancy Bordley Hall, 68, of Shrewsbury, New Jersey.