Do You Have to Believe in Reiki for it to Work?


An issue that has come up a few times is whether you need to believe in Reiki for it work for you: whether you need to have ‘faith’ before you’ll experienc positive changes through either learning Reiki or having a series of Reiki treatments.

In this blog I’d just like to explore this issue a little.

Reiki is not faith healing

The word faith is often used to describe a person’s belief in a particular religion, where an adherent has faith in a deity or deities. So the first thing to say is that Reiki is not allied to any religion at all and so does not require a practitioner to take on board any sort of religious beliefs or accept the existence, or pledge allegiance to, any deity or deities. Reiki is religion-free and so should be acceptable to people of all, or no, religious persuasions.

Having said that, there are people out there who believe that even innocuous things like foot massage are the work of the devil, and obviously for such people something like Reiki will definitely be verboten, but it is true to say that for most followers of a religion, Reiki should be ok. I have chatted with a Roman Catholic priest and a Muslim who practise Reiki, for example.

The sceptical partner

So having established that Reiki doe snot require any sort of *religious* faith… what about having faith, or a strong belief, that Reiki as a practice is effective? Do you need to hold that belief before Reiki will do anything good for you?


And a good example of this is the endless stream of sceptical, hostile or amused partners of new Reiki practitioners, who I hear about regularly from students who follow my Reiki home study courses. These are people who are indifferent to Reiki, or who think it is one big joke or a load of nonsense, but who are prepared to be volunteers for their ‘deluded’ partners to practise on, just to humour them. I find that such people are often the best people for a new Reiki person to practise on because they will often be amazed by the effects that they are experiencing, and some of them will even be honest enough to admit that they were wrong and that there is actually something to this Reiki thing!

Not all sceptical Reiki volunteers will admit this, of course, but you can tell in other ways: they may comment that their painful shoulder has stopped hurting, though they would definitely not attribute this effect to the Reiki treatment they had the day before, or they might stop limping from the sports injury that was affecting them, or they might to start sleeping more soundly, even though nothing else has changed in their life.

And the most telling response amongs those sceptics is for them to ask if they can have some more Reiki treatments! This happens a lot.

So in these cases, the recipient has no belief in Reiki as a therapeutic method. They are expecting to feel nothing and to have nothing beneficial happen to them. And yet it does. Reiki’s positive effects in their lives did not depend on their belief in Reiki.

The sceptical client

The same sort of thing could be said about sceptical Reiki clients too. There is a difference, though: for someone to be sceptical and still attend for a Reiki treatment they must be sufficiently open-minded to acknowledge that there might be *some* possibility of Reiki doing something helpful for them, otherwise they would not turn up for and pay for a session!

But still, open-minded scepticism does not qualify as a strong belief in Reiki. And when such people receive benefits from their treatment, and book further sessions with you, while they will have a growing belief in the power and effectiveness of Reiki, that won’t have been present initially. Initially they will not have had a positive belief in Reiki, and it was at that time that they received the benefits that led to such a belief developing. They benefited despite their lack of belief.

Blocking the energy

So, is it possible to actually ‘block’ the energy? Could you be a person who didn’t believe that Reiki worked, that didn’t like Reiki, didn’t want anything to do with Reiki, and then they received a Reiki treatment. What would happen? I suppose the first thing to wonder about would be, “why would such a person even submit to a Reiki treatment?” but perhaps they might come to you under duress, having been pressed by a partner or family member to try it, even thought they didn’t want to, and they attend just to keep their partner from going on about it any more.

Or maybe they turn up for a session to actually ‘prove’ that Reiki is nonsense and does not work, rather like when a smoker – who is happy to smoke and does not want to quit – visits a hypnotherapist to prove that hypnotherapy won’t work for them, so they can show their family that they have tried everything but, sadly, nothing works (so they can carry on smoking, which is just what they wanted!).

I think that such a person, antagonistic and not wanting to receive Reiki or its benefits, could certainly ‘block’ the energy: hardly anything would happen in the session and they wouldn’t notice anything beneficial happening afterwards. The recipient always has to accept the energy in some way, on some level, even if this happens subconsciously.

If they really don’t want it, they won’t get it.


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Photo credit: J D Fisher ARPS


2 thoughts on “Do You Have to Believe in Reiki for it to Work?

  1. Thank you for sharing such an informative blog.
    It had helped me understand Reiki’s importance for the betterment of our mental, physical and emotional health.

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