Reiki is the latest hot potato in the helping and healing professions. Not that this is the first time the topic has come up but now there is more heat- more fervor in regulating what in my opinion, is a spiritual practice.
I suppose the push for this is to on the one hand, to regulate Reiki so that, on the other hand, Reiki becomes more mainstream.
Is Reiki a form of Allopathic Healthcare?
Said differently, if Reiki is seen as a regulated healthcare service, this will somehow bring the practice of Reiki more respect and, possible insurance reimbursement. To which I reply, a big heavy [sigh].
A few states have already regulated Reiki and New Jersey has taken the topic up in several meetings. The argument in the Garden State is that Hands-on Reiki should be relegated to massage therapists. I conduct hands-off and distant Reiki so I suppose I may be exempt or not be as concerned. But as a holistically-minded practitioner, I am more and more drawn away from the western medical model and I hesitate to see other healing modalities moving toward traditional medical models, particularly in the United States.
I do rely on western medicine and I am not suggesting traditional medical intervention is without merit. I am grateful for the advances of modern medicine. But, having been mired in the traditional world of diagnostics and healthcare reimbursement for 20 years as a psychotherapist, I am sad to see innovative, eastern, complementary and alternative forms of healing going the way of Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Is this a way to legitimize the practice of Reiki?
Reiki practitioners may argue that becoming regulated legitimizes the practice and leads to medical reimbursement but that is not without a cost to the consumer and the practitioner. My experience with insurance reimbursement was dismal at best. I was on insurance panels as a network provider and the reimbursement rate was a fraction of my standard hourly rate. I decided to go out of network and while I was more easily able to maintain my hourly rate, even as an out of network provider, I was required to give a diagnosis and discuss treatment plans with insurance companies.
You see, people whose goals are considered personal growth and self-development pursuits are not diagnosis worthy and therefore cannot use insurance benefits. In order to use benefits a diagnosis is required and in my opinion that further stigmatizes the topic of mental health and the counseling profession.
From Psychotherapist to Wellness Coach to Reiki Teacher
Eventually I opted to become a wellness coach and I closed my psychotherapy practice.
And then I became a Reiki Master Teacher so I could teach others. I think Reiki is an awesome form of self-care and supports wellness goals much like meditation, prayer, yoga and other spiritual practices. I don’t want people who reach out for Reiki support or training to have to go through a series of diagnostic codes, qualifications and regulations to experience source energy- energy that is available to us all.
Yes there are basic tenets of Reiki we should know and learn, and yes, it is reasonable for people to charge for their time. Yoga teachers have overhead such as studio upkeep and supplies; church ministers receive salaries to prayerfully tend to their flock; mindfulness masters charge to pass along those nuggets of mindful and intentional wisdom. Gaining Reiki experience and training usually requires a money transaction as well. But in my opinion, Reiki is a gift to us all, and once learned, can be self-administered. It should not be up for insurance or state licensing board grabs.
To keep up with NJ Reiki regulation happenings: http://naturalhealingalliance.org/
Update: I currently live in Florida and only Licensed Massage Therapists can conduct Reiki.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net