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Learning Reiki Online: The Pros and Pitfalls

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Learning Reiki Online: The Pros and Pitfalls

In this post, I discuss the benefits and limitations of learning Reiki online vs. in-person, as well as important considerations to get the most out of any kind of Reiki training, so you can assess and make the best decision for the type of training that is right for you.

The Pros of Learning Reiki Online

I’m a big fan of the many ways technology allows us to connect no matter where we are in the world. The access this provides is a major advantage for online learning. Being able to connect with an expert Reiki teacher and like-minded students no matter where you live in the world can be a huge benefit. Here are some additional benefits:

  • Review:
    Being able to re-watch classes and review course material as needed.
  • Pacing:
    The ability to learn the material at your own pace.
  • Flexibility:
    The flexibility to watch classes during times that work best with your schedule, stopping and starting the recordings as needed.
  • Comfort:
    Learning from the comfort and ease of your own home without the requirement of local or long-distance travel.
  • Previous Experience:
    If you’re someone who already is very comfortable working with energy, then having less guidance and practice opportunities through an online experience might be completely fine. This might be especially ideal for you if you already have other types of energy healing or bodywork experience under your belt, or are interested in using Reiki with friends/family and yourself, versus starting a professional Reiki practice.
  • Advanced Training:
    Online training can be ideal for advanced students. With a solid foundation and understanding of Reiki, additional training online as you continue your studies can offer a great option for ongoing support as you go deeper into your Reiki studies.

Trust: Pro or Pitfall?

Trust is something that can be seen either as a pro or a pitfall. The nature of the online experience demands that you quickly build trust that the Reiki energy is flowing regardless of time and space. This could be a pro or a pitfall depending on your natural ability to trust that the energy is flowing and that it’s working.

Hands-On Practice

Students are also more or less sensitive to energy, especially as a beginner Reiki student, so if you are someone who already feels Reiki energy in their hands before they even take a class this might not be a problem for you. Because you don’t have the physical touch of in-person, hands-on practice sessions during class, you can learn very quickly that Distance Reiki works without physical touch or the confines of time and space. This is usually a more advanced technique learned in Reiki II training.

Reiki Attunements

Similarly, receiving Reiki attunements from your teacher outside the boundaries and limitations of time and space can also allow for this trust to deepen and expand your own understanding of energy healing. (An attunement is the transmission of Reiki energy passed from teacher to student.) Alternately, it could be hard for your conscious, analytical mind to grasp that this is possible. Some students can feel and notice physical, mental, and emotional sensations during the attunement more easily with their Reiki teacher physically in front of them performing the attunement in-person and face-to-face.

woman learning self reiki online

Questions to Ask About Virtual Reiki Trainings

There are also different kinds of online Reiki trainings. Here are some questions to ask and things to consider:

  • Is the training live or pre-recorded?
    Being able to interact in a live training allows the teacher to personalize the training based on the specific students in the class. We all learn in different ways—people are more or less visual, auditory, or kinesthetic in their learning styles, and having a skilled teacher modify their teaching depending on how you learn can be incredibly helpful.
  • How accessible is the Reiki teacher?
    Live online trainings can also allow for you to ask questions and share experiences. There is also the possibility that the teacher has structured the format of a pre-recorded training in another way that allows for this.
  • How interactive is the Reiki class?
    For example, online breakout rooms provide the ability to practice with your fellow students in a similar way to an in-person training, where you can partner up and practice on each other.

learning Reiki online

The Pitfalls of Learning Reiki Online

Having the support of a Reiki teacher in person can provide more immediacy as the teacher can easily give you feedback from what they are seeing, hearing, and sensing as you work with energy healing.

Here are some additional limitations of learning Reiki online:

  • Physical Touch:
    Practicing giving Reiki in a mini-session or full treatment on a massage table within the context of a classroom setting helps you trust that the energy is flowing. Trusting that the Reiki you’re sharing with your partner is “working” is something that often takes time and practice for many students.
  • Partnering Up:
    The challenge of partnering up and practicing giving and receiving Reiki with different students in class is harder online. Again, online breakout rooms can offer an option for this, but it can be more challenging than in-person classes.
  • Practice:
    It’s nice to be able to practice doing a mini Reiki session in a chair, or a full session on a massage table, with the supervision and feedback of a teacher, and the peer support of fellow students to practice with. You can practice on friends and family outside of an online class, but you won’t have the immediate feedback of your Reiki teacher and fellow students. Practicing in class as you’re learning Reiki can often feel more comfortable than sharing Reiki with someone outside the classroom setting.
  • Learning the Reiki Symbols/Mantras:
    In Reiki II and Reiki III (Reiki Master), students learn 4 symbols and mantras to help them work with different kinds of energy. Learning Reiki in person can be helpful in a couple key ways:
    1)  Accuracy:
    Having the teacher review your drawings of the symbols to ensure you’re writing them correctly is very important. This can be done online, you just want to make the sure the class offers this level of detailed interaction.
    2)  Group Dynamic:
    Chanting the mantra with a group is a more intense experience than chanting it by yourself, as it amplifies and magnifies the energy through sound (this is often a highlight of the class).
  • Preparing for Professional Practice:
    If you’re considering offering Reiki as a professional practitioner, it’s important to have lots of practice giving Reiki sessions (one of my former teachers said you should give at minimum 100 sessions before you even think about charging and working professionally!). Again, having the oversight of a teacher when giving a Reiki session can be invaluable.
  • Informal Connections:
    While technology will likely continue to evolve and improve, currently it’s difficult to have informal conversations online the way we can in-person during a break, sitting next to someone in class, etc. It’s nice to be able to make connections, share experiences, develop ongoing support, and perhaps form friendships as part of a Reiki class.

Additional Considerations & Resources
For Both In-Person & Online Reiki Trainings

Here are some additional considerations to help you get the most out of any kind of Reiki training.

Does the Reiki Training Offer Certification?
Reiki certification sometimes only includes a certificate of completion of the course. Ideally, Reiki certification requirements at the end of the course should include: practicing self care, giving and receiving a certain number of sessions, and completing a brief written assignment. This ensures a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of Reiki.

The purpose of this outside practicum is to anchor and support students’ learning by practicing. It also gives students time to integrate what they’ve learned and to learn from Reiki through daily practice (hint: it’s your best teacher).

Can Anyone Learn Reiki?
Find out if you need to have a special gift to learn Reiki, the levels and types of Reiki training available, if you can you teach yourself Reiki, and how to become a professional Reiki practitioner.

The Beginner’s Guide to Reiki Training
Discover more about the benefits of learning Reiki, how to set your expectations for your first class, read the first-hand experiences of other students, and more.

Distance Reiki: The Beginner’s Guide to Distance Healing
In this comprehensive guide, learn more about what Distance Reiki is, how it works, what to expect, tips to give and receive distance healing, and more.

Top Questions to Ask to Find a Qualified Reiki Teacher
Use this handy guide of the 8 most important questions to ask to find the best Reiki teacher for you, and to get the most out of your Reiki training.

How to Become a Reiki Master
Discover what becoming a Reiki Master involves, how to know if you’re ready, and why you can’t do it overnight.

Building a Powerful Practice: Successful Strategies for Your Wellness Business
I wrote this book as an essential guide for new Reiki practitioners and others in the healing arts who want to go into professional practice. It covers everything from how to: find clients, avoid burnout, deal with the financial aspects of running a business, build confidence, and more.


The benefits and limitations of experiencing Reiki energy through online learning vs. in person classes depends on your personal preferences, circumstances, and natural healing abilities, and I hope this has given you a good overview of aspects to consider.
I think there are both pros and pitfalls to learning Reiki online, and I hope this article has been helpful as you decide for yourself where and how to learn Reiki.

Want to Receive Distance Reiki?

I work with clients all over the world using an intuitive combination of Distance ReikiTao Hands Soul Healing, Online Hypnosis, and Flower Essences. Book a session for stress relief or general wellness, or if you could use support with a particular challenge. I’m also happy to answer any questions about learning Reiki at the beginning of your session, just ask!

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Burned out by an all-consuming job, Deborah Flanagan found balance and peace through the healing arts — and now she's helping others do the same.

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