Reiki Can Do No Harm or Can It?

Posted by MASO on November 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM

Reiki can do no harm or can it? Just as in any profession, there are many wonderful reiki professionals who do amazing work and many individuals receive the many benefits of reiki. However, there are also downsides.  So, before I answer that question, I want to tell you a story.

I was teaching an anatomy and physiology class at a college in Boston. There was a section in one of the chapters talking about links to stress related illnesses and the benefits of meditation as a treatment option. I went on my normal tangents talking about how reiki, acupuncture, and other alternative therapies have benefits as well. I elaborated on each on what benefits, for what purposeand cited types of studies and research done.

I also discussed my professional experiences teaching and practicing meditation and reiki in a medical environment as well as how I teach them and why I teach them a certain way. I also discussed my volunteer work with traumavictims especially, but not limited to, domestic abuse survivors.

During break I had a few students inquire and ask questions about alternative therapies and about reiki in particular. At the time, I assumed their questions were out of curiosity.

A couple days later I received an email from one of my students through one of the websites I have written articles for. She wanted to know if reiki could help her because she was a survivor of child sex abuse and for the last 20 years everything she has tried has not helped her.  She had tried reiki once before about 5 years ago, but she said it felt like "someone put voodoo" on her. She talked about the class and how what I said made sense to her. She wondered if "this reiki thing" could really help her to finally heal and move on with her life.

Why am I telling you this story? This story is one of many stories of survivors of abuse having a negative experience with reiki. It did not matter if it was an alternative healing night, a referral from a psychiatrist orphysician, or a student. The stories began to stack up as to why these individuals never sought reiki again until they met me. It always puzzled me,but also knew there was a reason even it I did not know it at the time.

So now back to the question. Reiki can do no harm or can it?

Reiki itself can do no harm. It is a Japanese energetic touch therapy with roots that go back to Ancient Tibetan Buddhist healing as do many other alternative therapies.  Reiki works with the electrical conduction system of the human body, BUT with the wrong practitioner it may give the appearance it can do harm.  The problem is not with reiki, but with the unqualified reiki person working with trauma victims.

In the case of my student, the reiki worked. It was the lack of training by the practitioner that caused the problem that exacerbated the healing crisis she felt making her feel as if “someone put voodoo” on her.

Sadly, over the years, I have seen too many reiki practitioners take a 6-8hr workshop and want to profess their expertise in reiki. That is not reiki, but ego talking. If you are teaching this or have been taught that, there is a misconception, and it needs to change.

Working with trauma victims, requires more than just reiki training. You must know the clinical signs and symptoms of trauma and in my opinion, have some sort of clinical or medical training in one or many areas such as trauma,abuse, first aid and cpr, psychology, grief, post traumatic stress, etc.

There is a lot of scientific data research citing the many benefits of reiki as a treatment option especially for diagnoses such as anxiety and depression which tends to plague many victims, and speaking as a survivor of abuse myself, reiki does works. 

Reiki is also used in medical offices and hospitals all over the country as part of an integrative therapy approach. Boston area hospitals that offer reiki as part of their programs include: Boston Children's Hospital, Dana Farberand Brigham and Women's. Nurses are also able to get CEUs. So you see reiki itself, has become a viable treatment options for many within the medical community.

A study done in 2007 by the National Health Interview Survey indicates that 1.2 million adults and 161,000children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki in the previous year. According to the American Hospital Association, in 2007, 15% or over 800 American hospitals offered Reiki as part of hospital services.

Out of ignorance, I see so many well intentioned reiki teachers and practitioners exacerbating serious medical problems and shedding a negative light on the good reiki can do as viable healing modality by preaching that anyone can do reiki on anyone as reiki can do no harm. Again, it is not the reiki doing harm, but the unqualified reiki practitioner.

How? With an unqualified reiki professional, a victim who already experiences fear, mistrust, and guardedness, these symptoms can significantly worsen.

A qualified reiki professional does the proper client intake, knows when the client is ready for actual healing to take place, there is proper communication between practitioner and client, and if healing crisis takes place a qualified practitioner knows what to do and knows where to refer the client if medical intervention or treatment is required.

With statistics such as, one in three women experience abuse in their lifetime, the chances a reiki professional will encounter a client with trauma is great.  Domestic abuse has hit epidemic proportions in this country andis expected to remain steady until the economy improves, laws to protect victims are enforced and resources to organizations that work with victims are improved.

This is not taking into account other traumas from events such as our military servicemen returning from war or Hurricane Sandy or 9/11.

Of the 1.7 million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000 (20percent) suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or major depression.[i]   Accordingto the VA, about one-in-five female veterans have post-traumatic stress related to "military sexual trauma," a catch-all category that includes everything from sexual harassment to rape.[ii]

For 9/11 survivors, “at least 10,000 firefighters, police officers and civilians exposed to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center have been found to have post-traumatic stress disorder.”[iii]

“Statistics say that only 5% of those who survived 9/11 in New York City went on to experience symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). But in the case of Hurricane Katrina, 33% later suffered symptoms. This is a very high percentage, even for an extremely traumatizing event.”[iv]

With these numbers and statistics, it is imperative, the manner in which reiki is utilized needs to be given much consideration.

The reiki practitioner who looks out for their client first, will set egoaside and do the right thing by referring those clients to a professional better qualified to work with those individuals.

If you have ever experienced some form of trauma in your life whether it be abuse, rape, natural disasters, loss, war, or the like, then please understand that not all reiki professionals are the same just like not all doctors or therapists are the same. Seek out a reiki professional with training or professional experience in the related fields you seek and ask questions.

Reiki has so many wonderful benefits. This article was intended to help educate both well intentioned reiki practitioners as well as educate the general public on why choosing the right reiki professional is critical to your overall health, healing and overall wellbeing.

I sincerely hope the information given served as informative and beneficial. 

Article By: LauraBonetzky-Joseph, RMA, RMT, MASO Volunteer



Laura Bonetzky-Joseph is a MASO Volunteer, Registered Certified Medical Assistant and Reiki Master Teacher in the UsuiTradition.  She has over 15 cumulative years in the holistic and allopathic health fields and has incorporated energy medicine in her line of work over the past 6 years. Laura is also an adjunct professor teaching medical classes in Boston.

With Laura’s diverse background, Laura has a very unique way of teaching and working with her clients than what is typically seen in mainstream reiki which is why many certified reiki practitioners opt to take her courses to better fulfill their personal or professional healing needs. Laura also has extensive training and experience working with trauma victims and domestic violence overthe past 6 years. She has a keen sense of awareness when working with her clients that many chronic illnesses, major life events and past life challenges often appear as potential energetic blocks during reiki treatment sessions.

Laura's unique style to energy medicine can only be witnessed.  Laura also teaches a variety of wellness classes and seminars including The Science of Human Energy, Meditation, Reiki, Nutritional Health, and Stress Reduction.

ICRT Reiki Membership Association - Affiliate Member

Weare an Affiliate Member of  ICRT, and follow a code of ethics, andstandards of practice.  Its purpose is to maintain a professional imagefor our members while at the same time preserving the spirit of Reiki andassisting members in creating a thriving Reiki practice. By becoming a member,we'll be associating with an organization that has the reputation of providingaccurate, up-to-date information on the history, practice, and scientific study of Reiki. Affiliate members must abide by the following requirements: Use ICRTclass manuals purchased from when teaching Reiki I, II,ART, Master and Karuna Reiki® classes. One manual must be provided to each student.Abide by the RMA Code of Ethics. Abide by the RMA Standards of Practice. Placethe RMA logo on member’s web site home page (if member has a website).Affiliate members must be Usui Reiki masters. Reiki training must havetaken place with teacher in person. (no Internet, distant, CD, or book onlytraining accepted).    Contact us in Quincy, Massachusetts,to learn more about Reiki treatment for stress reduction, spiritualhealing, and relaxation.


For More Information:(


MassachusettsSurvivors Outreach





©2010-2012 Laura Bonetzky-Joseph. All Rights Reserved. This information is forgeneral educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specificmedical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call,consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional withany   health-related questions or concerns. Thisarticle does not share the opinions of Massachusetts Survivors Outreach or any of it’s affiliates.  Be sure to follow specific instructions given to youby your physician or health care professional.


[i] RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, Invisible Wounds of War, 2008

[ii] J. Kitfield, National Journal, 2011

[iii] Anemonia Hartocollis, 10 Years and a Diagnosis Later, 9/11 Demons Haunts Thousands, TheNew York Times, August 8, 2011.

[iv]by SusanneBabbel, Ph.D., MFT, Bridging the mind-body gap, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After 9/11 and Katrina, PsychologyToday; September 12,2011.

Categories: Domestic Abuse and Healthcare, Healing From Abuse

Post a Comment


Oops, you forgot something.


The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In


Reply MichaelOravy
2:46 AM on October 11, 2017 - cipro in the news
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!
Reply MichaelOravy
3:55 AM on October 11, 2017 - cost of azithromycin in india
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!
Reply MichaelOravy
5:03 AM on October 11, 2017 - alprazolam odt actavis
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!
Reply MichaelOravy
5:50 AM on October 12, 2017 - neurological care specialists hinsdale il
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!
Reply MichaelOravy
2:29 AM on October 13, 2017 - guaranteed pharmacy programs 1WhW
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!
Reply MichaelOravy
5:42 AM on October 13, 2017 - viagra pages edinburgh search free forum
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!
Reply MichaelOravy
8:15 AM on October 13, 2017 - how do you act on xanax
, hello and buy!, hello and buy!