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Mikao Usui - Founder of Reiki

Reiki Training Courses at Tranquil Spirit, Moulton, Northwich, Cheshire, UK

Choosing Your Reiki Training Course

I realise it must be confusing for potential students when they read about the wide range of Reiki courses available and in particular the duration of courses on offer. Obviously you will need to look closely at each individual programme before deciding the right one for you. However as I am receiving more and more requests for information about the differences between these courses I have attempted to set out below some general points, which you might wish to consider when making your decision.

I think the first thing you need to know is that there is no legal requirement that any Reiki course should be of a particular duration or have a standard number of levels, though it is true that the Government has encouraged all Complementary Therapy Associations to agree on some voluntary 'Occupational Standards' for their members. These 'Standards' can be viewed on the Reiki Council website. It must be stressed, however, that when considering recommendations for course length and recommended time between courses they are only guidelines and you will find that many Reiki Master/Teachers do not necessarily follow all these guidelines. The next thing you might want to bear in mind is whether you wish to join a Reiki Professional organisation / association, and if so what the requirements for membership will be. Most have signed up to membership with the Reiki Council; however, in my opinion, some are rather more dogmatic in their approach than others. Therefore, you might want to shop around and have a look at the individual membership requirements and see which one feels right for you.

Then there is the matter of insurance; if you intend to practice Reiki, either by offering treatments, in a voluntary capacity, or through teaching, then you will need insurance. Some Reiki associations offer insurance through their block-booking scheme so if you meet the Associations guidelines for registration then you should automatically be able to obtain insurance through the associated insurance company. It is possible though to obtain insurance independently without registering with a Reiki Association or if you already have insurance for another complementary therapy then it should be a simple matter to have Reiki included.

Before we go on further it may be useful to consider the way in which Mikao Usui taught Reiki and how it has evolved in the West.

Firstly, it is believed that Mikao Usui taught Reiki over just three levels Shoden (1st level) Okuden (2nd level) and Skipaden (Master Level) It would also seem that Mrs Takata followed with this tradition, so it is not exactly clear (to me) how the levels 3a and 3b came into Reiki at all. Certainly Mikao Usui did teach Reiki over a considerably longer period than we generally do here in the West. This then might be one reason why the other levels have crept into Reiki teaching.

Some Reiki Masters have extended their courses to take in other skills that may be required if Reiki is practiced in the NHS. Others add various other techniques, that have been of particular use to them, which have come from other systems.

For those of you who plan to seek employment within the NHS you will need to know the requirements of the individual Health Authority in which you intend to work. My understanding is, that it is not the length of Reiki course you have taken that interests them but whether you are able to work with other professionals, will respect confidentiality, and will behave appropriately with patients. It follows then that if you already have a work background that includes these skills or you have received training in other complementary therapies and have already covered these areas, then it is unlikely that you will need to choose a Reiki course that sets out time specifically to include these matters.

If necessary, it is possible to cover additional requirements in other ways by taking a correspondence or college course. Individual subjects such as communication skills, counselling, first aid, Anatomy & Physiology, or business skills can be covered separate from your Reiki course. This will leave you free to concentrate on Reiki when you do your Reiki course.

At this point, it is as well to remember; Reiki is simple and, quite frankly, for the Energy to flow there is not an awful lot to learn except the absolute need for good intent, compassion and intuition when giving Reiki to others. Therefore, to be an effective Reiki Practitioner, it is necessary to live, as far as we are able, (and we are all human and still learning) by the Reiki Principles, to care about others and Practise, Practise, Practise.

So, what should you consider when deciding whether a course will meet your particular needs. Well, for all levels of courses it may help you in your decision if you look closely at the Reiki Master's background and experience to see if you can establish a rapport with him/her. You may also wish to check that you will receive a certificate of your training as well as a comprehensive manual. Ongoing support may also be helpful to you. To help you make your individual choice about each Reiki degree course I have listed the ones I teach below.

Reiki 1st Degree Course

Reiki 1st degree is about self-treatment and giving treatments to friends and family. It is not a practitioner level course; therefore, the main thing to consider is whether you feel comfortable with what the Reiki Master says about his/her course, their philosophy and whether you will have the opportunity to ask questions and practise on the day.

Reiki 2nd Degree Course

This course is about taking Reiki to the next step. Not all who take the Reiki 2nd degree wish to become a Reiki Practitioner or to work for the NHS. However, all courses should enable you to set up in private practice if you so wish and my experience has indicated that students who do aspire to a career within the NHS frequently already have the skills we discussed above, either through their work background or from taking other courses. So, you will need to consider your individual circumstances when choosing your Reiki 2 course and its duration and if you do wish to work in the NHS setting then decide what, if any, other skills you will need.

Reiki Master/Teacher Course

It would seem that the Master/Teaching course creates the biggest confusion amongst Reiki students and it's hardly surprising as the many courses on offer can vary from one to four days duration, some even offering up to two years Apprenticeships. When considering which one is right for you, the same considerations discussed above apply here.

A good way to start might be to ask yourself how much experience you already have, both in your practice of Reiki and in the other areas I've mentioned above. If you feel that your experience is limited and you have not had the opportunity to practise reiki as much as you'd like, then you may wish to consider doing a longer course or something in between your Reiki 2nd degree and the Master / Teacher course such as a Reiki 3a or 3b as discussed above.

A longer course can be useful to students who may feel they require more practise than the average student when passing Attunements or maybe they don't feel confident about teaching others. Some of the longer courses can provide more time to practise and they sometimes include other techniques, which are not strictly Reiki, but can nonetheless be useful to some students. Make sure the course will meet your needs though. Most teacher courses will show you how to pass Attunements but if you require more direction regarding the general teaching of Reiki do not assume that the course will cover this. These courses will generally be more expensive than the shorter ones but can offer you a longer retreat away from home in the company of those of like mind.

If on the other hand you are comfortable with your own abilities and the experience you already have or you simply wish to concentrate on the development of Reiki, as opposed to techniques from other systems, then you may decide on one of the shorter courses. As with the longer courses, you will need to check each programme carefully before making your decision. Generally though, these courses cover all the main requirements you need to pass on a Reiki Attunement and offer a reasonable time to practise with another person. They simply focus on teaching Reiki and don't normally offer additional techniques from other systems. Provided they meet your requirements they can be extremely cost effective.

One final but important consideration about price; most Reiki teachers will charge a minimum of 85 to 100 per student, for one day, and for a Master course this can increase considerably. It would make sense then to ensure that you actually need what you are paying for. For each day you don't need, you will be paying out another 80 (plus) for something you could do without - and that is apart from the additional time you will use.

When I did my Reiki training, each of my Reiki 1st and 2nd degree courses was held over a two-day period. There were about eight or nine of us on each course and it was crammed full with additional techniques that were not part of Mikao Usui's Reiki. I was already in the middle of my two year training as a spiritual healer so was familiar with energy, hand positions etc. Nevertheless, at that time in my life, the extra stuff I was offered on each of those courses was superfluous to my needs. Two-day courses seemed to be the 'norm' in those days and of course if you don't know a lot about the course you are interested in then you don't know what you need or in my case what I didn't need.

By the time I was ready to take my Master/Teacher course, I had done a considerable number of treatments, research, and reading and so this time I was far more confident about what I required from my Master/Teacher course. I chose a shorter one-day course, which I knew would meet my needs, and it was very cost effective.

Well I hope this information has been helpful to you in choosing your Reiki training. Good luck with your continuing Reiki development, and may you choose the course that is right for you.

You can see the programmes for all Eileen's courses by clicking here:

Ongoing advice and support is offered to all Reiki students.

Master / Teacher Member of The Reiki Association

Reiki and Distance Reiki | Reiki Courses/Training | Choosing Reiki Training Course | Reiki First Degree Course | Reiki Second Degree Course | Reiki Master/Teacher Course | Preparing for Reiki Attunement | Reiki Training: Background | Tranquil Spirit Reiki: Location and Directions