Is it time for a re-think on the not-negotiable need for client consent prior to providing reiki?

Ross Dadds Reiki World News
Ross Dadds, Reiki World News

“I’ve been providing therapies to the public for almost 20 years, and I think I can see arguments supporting two opposing viewpoints, those being: Consent is a MUST at all times, versus Consent may be overlooked in some circumstances.

One of the key factors that come to mind when considering this very sensitive and important question, is the matter of intention. For example, if a reiki practitioner’s intention is 100% pure and wholehearted, with no other outcome in mind but the absolute welfare of the recipient, should that allow them some leeway, or freedom to utilize the healing power of reiki to benefit their client?

For example, let’s say a client comes to a multi-skilled reiki practitioner for a reflexology treatment only. But halfway through the reflexology session, the client shares with the practitioner that they have just lost their home, as their husband/wife suddenly passed away and left them unable to manage financial affairs. The client goes on to share that they haven’t slept in days, wracked by feelings of fear and anxiety.

In the above case, the practitioner would face the prospect of engaging the client in a detailed, lengthy discussion on the history and nature of energy medicine, reiki particularly (while the client is still relaxed and lying down – not ideal) with the purpose in mind of allowing them to make an informed choice: whether they feel they would benefit from a never-before-experienced reiki treatment?

I wonder if, in that particular situation, whether it may be okay for the practitioner to channel, say, the Sei He Ki symbol, and allow that to pass through to the client, as a gentle means of claiming their nervous system and reducing their anxiety levels? What do you think?

One aspect of this debate – at least in my mind – is the fact that energy medicine (including reiki) was once considered something bordering on the occult, or witchcraft, or even something resembling voodoo. At the very least, reiki has historically been considered hocus pocus – something that is medically unworthy or not justifiable.

But these days, reiki is becoming scientifically and medically recognized as a valid, reputable form of treatment, based on the fact that every microscopic component of the human body is composed of nothing but universal energy – reiki! And also, that the intelligent processes that govern our bodily functions are conducted by the supreme intelligence within reiki energy.

I will share an interesting example: several years ago, I was travelling from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia. It was draining, 15-hour flight, and halfway through the flight, a young boy (probably 5 or 6 years old) became hysterical, screaming and yelling uncontrollably.

His mother was sitting beside him, and she tried in vain to calm him down, as well as flight attendants who were concerned about his welfare. I was seated several rows back, and listened to the drama unfolding for 10 minutes approximately.

I kept on asking myself. “Should I send calming reiki energy the child’s way? Is that unethical in this situation?”

I listened to the distressed child, inconsolable, wondering if I should approach the mother and airline staff and explain who I am and what I how I was offering to help, BUT the fear of the people involved considering reiki as something occult or hocus pocus was foremost in my mind. Afterall, it was probably 2 o’clock in the morning – not the ideal time to have an in-depth medical/therapeutic discussion.

What are your thoughts?

Is pure-hearted intention sufficient? Or must verbal consent be obtained at all times?

What if you attended a motor vehicle accident, and an injured person was in extreme pain. They could not speak English, but they were suffering horribly. Would it be wrong to provide them with comforting reiki despite not having informed consent?

What do you think?”

Ross Dadds

Giancarlo Serra writes in relation to the matter of Consent:


“Consent to treatment means a person must give permission before they receive any type of medical treatment, test or examination. Reiki practitioners are not an exception, so they also have to seek consent from their clients.

The principle of consent is an important part of medical ethics and international human rights law. For consent to be valid, it must be voluntary and informed, and the person consenting must have the capacity to make the decision.

Reiki practitioners have a duty to keep all information relating to attendance and client records entirely confidential. Confidential information can be disclosed without prior consent to prevent serious harm or death to others.

Confidential information cannot be disclosed to a third party, or to any member of the client’s own family, without the client’s consent, unless it is required by the law.”

Read more from Giancarlo Serra

The Reiki Association states:

The practitioner shall:

  1. Ensure that voluntary and explicit informed consent has been given at all times.  
  2. Recognise the client’s right to refuse any part of the treatment or disregard advice.
  3. In the case of giving Reiki to a minor and those without the mental capacity to decide for themselves, written informed consent of a parent, guardian or relevant medical practitioner is required. If no appropriate adult is physically present, then the written consent should specifically agree to this. However, the wishes of the person must override any consent of a third party if they do not wish to receive Reiki.
  4. Only use film, tape recording or digital imagery of a client with that client’s clear, informed, written consent to the precise use of the material.

Read more from The Reiki Association

And from, Blissful Light Distant Attunements:

Consent and distant energy healing is a topic that all too often gets overlooked or is not fully understood. Obtaining informed consent for any energy healing is vital, and this includes distant energy healing. Distant energy healing describes any form of energetic action that tries to bring about change. This may consist of energy healing, intention, positive thoughts, prayer, visualisation etc.

Consent should be gained from any being you are working with such as humans, animals, plants etc. Without gaining informed consent, it is possible to cause significant energetic issues. This blog post aims to explain what informed consent is, why it is vital, how to gain consent and what to do if you do not have consent.

What Is Consent?

Consent means that informed permission has been given for an action to be taken. In order for consent to be valid, three key aspects must be obtained before consent can be seen as gained:

1. Informed

You must give all the information concerning what will be involved (procedures, systems used, energies used, intentions, benefits, and risks).

2. Voluntary

The decision to receive the distant energy healing must be given by the person directly. It must not be influenced by anyone or indeed they must not be pressured or confused into receiving the energy healing.

3. Aware

The person must be able to give consent and be fully aware of the information given to them and able to make an informed decision without any influence.

Consent permits action to take place. If you ever want to help someone that involves action or the willing for an outcome to change, then you must obtain informed consent.

If any of the above three aspects are not gained, then you do not have informed consent, and distant energy healing should not be given.

Why Is Consent Important?

Informed consent for distant energy healing is important as you run the very real risk of changing or controlling an outcome for someone else. When you do this without consent you may be projecting your own views about a situation and changing or controlling an outcome that suits your perception. This is very damaging for the person you are doing distant energy healing on as you have taken away their free will and could have prevented them from a very significant life lesson that could have profoundly changed their life. It is very easy to think that if someone is suffering that you must stop this and that that justifies not gaining consent. It does not. It is not up to you to define what suffering is or indeed what is appropriate for someone else to suffer.

As an example, Sam wants to help her friend Jane get over a messy divorce. Jane has suffered through the divorce and is very stressed, emotionally vulnerable, and in need of comfort and care. Sam is so concerned for Jane’s well-being that she does some distant energy healing for Jane without asking for consent. Sam thinks that the best way forward to heal Jane is to cut the cords between Jane and her ex-husband. She does this with the intention that Jane moves on and meets the love of her life and is never hurt by a man again.

What Sam did not realise is that Jane’s ex was the love of her life and that even though the relationship ended, it would have given Jane a profound life-altering experience once Jane was ready to work through what had happened. Jane had always suffered from low self-esteem and was heavily reliant on a man to give her support and meaning, which Sam was not aware. Ultimately, Sam had robbed Jane of the catalyst that could have transformed her life by increased personal power and her inner strength. Jane’s future has been changed, and not in a way that would have given her the learnings and growth she ultimately desired.

Read more from Blissful Light Distant Attunements

From The Melbourne Reiki Centre:

When I consider the word Permission in the context of Reiki Distance Healings the word I feel that comes before this is Intent. “What is my intention?”

Melbourne Reiki Centre

If my intention is clear and I want to offer open unconditional energy then the energy being offered is clear and has no attachment to outcome.

If my intent is that “I” believe they have an issue or problem or “I” think they need healing then this is full of attachments and expectations (different from just love and caring, fine balance here). So any Reiki being offered will also have those expectations and attachments infused within the healing offering. It’s like giving a gift to a friend. While you hope they will like it we all know this is a conditional giving and true giving has no conditions. Same meaning as unconditional love.

So first before anything, check in your intent. What is it that you want to have happen from offering the healing?

If awareness arises that it is your need, your need the healing go well, your need they heal, your need they do what you want, then sit in meditation with that first for yourself and contemplate, where is this coming from? This can help to become clearer about what our own needs are and help heal ourselves. Maybe this was all that was really needed.

Before any distance healing offering (and yes the usual word is treatment but in my mind I always hold the word which was taught to me that it is an offering this word offering creates a shift in the mind from doing to being) I do check in for intention first.

So how does this relate to the idea of asking for permission and whether you can offer/perform a distance healing treatment without the person’s permission? Well the meaning of the word “Permission” in the Oxford Language Dictionary is “the action of officially allowing someone to do a particular thing; consent or authorisation”. It comes from the Latin permissio, to allow.

 This is very interesting from a Reiki perspective as we never assume we are DOING anything to anyone. If I have a confused Intention then yes that would fall into the “DOING” and you would need to ask for conscious permission for sure.

If we are clear from our own intention then the practice of Reiki falls more into the same process as a prayer. People pray for other people all the time and wish the best for them in all areas of another’s life. And so after checking my own intention I then follow this process below.

Read more from The Melbourne Reiki Centre

You don't need permission to do distant Reiki

British reiki practitioner and author Steve Gooch writes:

Distant Reiki: Should You Ask for Permission First?

“I’m going to get right to the point here and say, no, you do not have to ask permission before ‘sending’ Reiki. Let me tell you why because this is an important point.

One of the basic… I mean, really basic, primary teachings of the system of Reiki, in all traditions, throughout the system’s 100-year history, is that Reiki is drawn in by the recipient, not pushed in or given by the practitioner. There is no argument about this anywhere in any of the Reiki literature, or on the thousands of Reiki websites out there. It’s a basic teaching. You cannot ‘give’ someone Reiki. As a practitioner, you are a channel, and the client draws the energy that they need through that channel. It’s time to get the ego out of this and stop talking about ‘giving someone Reiki’ as if Reiki practitioners are bestowed with some magical ability to force healing on people. They’re not.

If I were to give someone Reiki… i.e., make them take it, then yes, sure it would probably be a good idea to seek their permission. I can’t give them Reiki. In all the years I have been practicing, I have never ‘given’ anyone Reiki. Frankly, I don’t particularly want too. That’s way too much responsibility. I am, however, quite happy to be a channel and for the client to draw the energy they need through me for their own healing needs.”

Read more from Steve Gooch.


I would love to read your thoughts and feedback!

Please leave comments below.

Ross Dadds

Ross Dadds
Ross Dadds, Reiki World News

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