Reiki Training Online: The Pros and Cons

hands reikiIn recent years, the variety and availability of online Reiki training has exploded. The practice of Reiki has certainly become a more popular trend, as well. So maybe you’ve wondered what Reiki is all about, or you’re interested in getting certified and becoming a Reiki master. What do you need to know to get started, and is online training right for you?

There are many schools of thought and the issue can be a bit controversial, so we’ve gathered some basic information and a list of pros and cons, to help you decide for yourself. First, a little background from Wikipedia:

Reiki is a spiritual practice developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui, which has since been adapted by various teachers of varying traditions. Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring universal energy (i.e., reiki) in the form of qi (Japanese: ki) through the palms, which allows for self-healing and a state of equilibrium.

There are two main branches of Reiki, commonly referred to as Traditional Japanese Reiki and Western Reiki. Though differences can be wide and varied between both branches and traditions, the primary difference is that Westernised forms use systematised hand-placements rather than relying on an intuitive sense of hand-positions, which is commonly used by Japanese Reiki branches. Both branches commonly have a three-tiered hierarchy of degrees, usually referred to as the First, Second, and Master/Teacher level, all of which are associated with different skills and techniques.

Depending on where you live, you may find it difficult to take a Reiki training class in person. On the Reiki Membership Association website, you can find teachers in your state who offer classes. For example, In New York there are almost 10 ICRT professionally certified teachers, and around 50 others teaching Reiki classes in the state. Compare that to Alabama, where you’ll find fewer than 10 total instructors.

According to, though the Reiki energy is not limited by space or time, when a Reiki master gives an in-person Reiki treatment, they often place their hands in different positions on or over the body. Therefore, many people refer to Reiki as “hands-on-healing.”

Thus the difficulty when taking an online class! On the one hand, Reiki is a “hands-on” type of practice. On the other, proponents of Reiki say that “Reiki energy is not limited by space or time” and so the practice and training can be done via video or online training. So, let’s list out some of the pros and cons of online Reiki training, and then we want you to weigh in!


  • You get to choose the right Reiki master for you. No matter where you are, whether it’s a rural town with limited resources or zero availability of training in your area, you can go online and pick from a variety of training options and Reiki masters to suit your needs.
  • Take classes at your own pace and schedule. Your job, family, or other life pursuits might make taking an in-person class next to impossible. An online option might be the best or only option for getting started.
  • Reiki masters say that Reiki energy is not limited by time and space. Unlike traditional massage or other bodywork, Reiki is about healing energy and some say attunements from a Reiki master will transcend the limitations of long distances.


  • Some Reiki masters only teach classes in-person. If you have a certain teacher in mind, or a master that you’ve always wanted to study with, they may not teach online classes.
  • Some Reiki masters say that online classes do not deliver the quality of information, energy, or experience that an in-person class does.
  • You may find that online classes lack a personal, social touch that comes with being part of a group and sitting under a master in the classroom. After all, this is a hands-on healing practice and you may feel let down by an online class you’ve paid good money for.

Whatever you decide, do your research when it comes time to choosing the right Reiki training for you. Read reviews, speak to the instructor, gather testimonials, and ask questions! You may find your best option is to take an online class, so make sure you feel good about your instructor and the amount of money you’re investing in the training.

Good luck! Now it’s your turn to weigh in in the comments. We’d love to hear from Reiki masters or practitioners who have experience in this area, or who have taken an online class! What do you think?

image credit: zenonline


Comments from original Massamio post:

The concept of action at a distance is fascinating. If I am receiving Reiki can I tell when it starts or stops? Can the Reiki master tell if I receive the Reiki Energy or not?  Is this similar to some of the techniques in martial arts?  Sorry for all the questions – it’s just such an intriguing area. — Posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 1:19 PM by Keith

i personally have had both studies. the first time i was attuned to level 1&2 by a friend. She never gave me any insight as to what I may experience nor what to expect. Although after the attunement and for the following 3 weeks, i saw brighter colors and my hearing enhanced. all good things, but I was never told as to how I could use Reiki. I bought books and all were the same … practice, practice, practice. so i did and am confident in my work.  I took an online class for which I won the prize of the online course, even though I felt a bit more energized…I take it as a booster shot… I did not feel as though I learned much more than what I had in my one-one. I know I can do this and am confident in my work but I now need to try a group experience to see the difference. Overall I know that Reiki is used universally and its healing powers are great — Posted @ Wednesday, March 20, 2013 4:24 PM by latino209