Healthy Manhattan: Thinking About Becoming a Reiki Practitioner?

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If you have ever considered a career in the healing arts and feel drawn toward alternative or complementary health care, Reiki may be the perfect way to start your new career path.

Reiki (pronounced "ray-key") is a therapy tracing back more than 2,500 years to ancient India and Tibet, and there are some who believe it has its roots in the healing arts of the Egyptians. Reiki was handed down by a lineage of practitioners until it was rediscovered in Japan in the early 1900s by Dr. Mikao Usui. It is used to complement traditional medical treatment and in the alternative healing arts.

Reiki uses "chi"-also known as "ki" or "pranna"-in other cultures, the natural life force that is found in all living things.

The concept of chi is best known in the martial arts, where it is called upon to do things that might otherwise seem impossible, like breaking through concrete blocks with bare hands.

With Reiki, an individual can harness that same power but for profound healing purposes, both physically and emotionally. In knowing how to tap into the universal life force, Reiki practitioners maintain that they can not only improve their own personal health and well-being but help others as well. Reiki masters are handed down techniques to teach people how to tune in to the powerful healing forces of chi through a process called "attunement." This is how you start down the path to a career in Reiki.

Beginning Reiki students start by taking a first-degree Reiki certification program. The cost generally ranges from $125 to $250 for a one- or two-day program. During that time, students receive up to four attunements from the teacher to open them up to receiving the frequency of Reiki energy. Following that class, students will be able to perform Reiki on themselves as well as family or friends, but it is not advised that they begin to do it professionally.

To work professionally, students need to take the second-degree Reiki certification course. This is generally a weekend-long program that provides all of the basics for a career in Reiki as well as several additional attunements. This course certifies the student as an Advanced Reiki Practitioner.

Reiki is one of the few alternative energy healing techniques that can be self-administered as well as performed on others-it can even be used on pets.

The majority of professional Reiki practitioners start their careers part-time while they are still employed in their current positions. Reiki practitioners are generally paid per session, with most sessions lasting about one hour and ranging in price from $45 to $75. The practitioner's earning potential is therefore dependent upon the number of hours he can devote to the practice.

Reiki is currently used in the complementary medicine departments of many tristate hospitals and as a palliative care technique at many hospices. It is even taught at some accredited secondary colleges, such as New York College for Health Professions. For more information, visit

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