Reiki Consent: Can I Touch You? Do you have to ask permission to touch before doing Reiki?

Reiki Consent: Can I touch You?

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Hello folks new and old ::waves:: this post is part of a Reiki Blog Hop and I’m pretty excited to be a part of it the second time around! Karen Sealey of The Pure and Blessed Way is the one that wrangled it all together this time around. The topic of the hop is consent. I decided that for consent I really wanted to talk about asking permission to touch.

Reiki Consent: Can I touch you? Do you ask before you touch a client?

I’ve had Reiki training with 4 different Reiki Masters and all of them taught touch Reiki instead of hover Reiki. I prefer touch Reiki because it allows person to person contact which I feel is part of what makes Reiki so healing. Humans don’t get enough touch and touch Reiki is really soothing for those that need it. But for those that don’t like to be touched for whatever reason, it can cause anxiety, the total opposite of what we are trying to achieve with Reiki. That is why I feel asking for permission before touch Reiki is so important, especially if it is someone new.

One thing I really appreciate about my first Reiki teacher is that he emphasised asking permission to touch before placing your hands on someone (also explaining that nothing inappropriate will be touched). Many of us are taught to explain where our hands will be in a session and make sure the client is okay with that and adjust accordingly. Some people don’t like their throats touched so we hover over instead of touch. We ask before we touch so the client is the most comfortable they can be. If they say no touch, we hover the whole session. It’s what we do to make the space safe for our clients. Even at Reiki shares I make sure to ask anyone new or I don’t know if they are okay with being touched.

You never know what someone’s life experience is. If someone is uncomfortable with touch, don’t try and force it on them. You can try to explain to them why touch is better (if that’s how you feel), but ultimately it’s the client’s decision and you should always ask before placing your hands on someone. Better yet, ask on your consent form if they are sensitive to touch, then ask directly again before the session. Two point permission is better than one.

What are your feelings on touch consent? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

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5 replies
  1. endlessnight1331
    endlessnight1331 says:

    I was taught touch Reiki but when I was doing spiritual healing it was always above the client. I will explain that Reiki as I understand it is hands-on but I always demonstrate where the hands are placed before I begin and always upon my own person.

    I adjust the session based upon the person’s needs, so if they don’t want hands-on I simply change it to hands off, I believe in respecting the person/client above all else 🙂

    Reply
  2. Aaron Lozano
    Aaron Lozano says:

    I am more comfortable with hover around the chest and throat area. I use touch on the rest of the body. Touch takes me so much deeper into the healing but hover is a safe way of getting the client to be comfortable and feel safe as well.

    Reply
  3. Karen Sealey
    Karen Sealey says:

    Yes, excellent points and I fully agree with you. Also as a side note when I was training in Holistic Therapies, we were also told to check the client’s breathing patterns and body language during treatments and check if they were still ok… sometimes if people are uncomfortable with touch, they may not actually speak up to you… but they will go away afterwards and tell other people that that they were uncomfortable… A good working practice is there to protect both the client and the therapist.

    Reply
  4. Joy Vernon
    Joy Vernon says:

    Great post, Sierra! I agree with everything, and always stress those same points with my students both for sessions and at Reiki Shares. I have also tried to start using the term “palm-healing” (a more accurate translation from the Japanese “tenohira”) than “hands-on healing” to remind people that it doesn’t have to be hands-on. One person showed up at a Reiki Shares expressing the idea that they were very uncomfortable with touch and so hadn’t ever wanted to look into Reiki before–when I explained that Reiki didn’t have to be touch, they were quite surprised. I think in terms of introducing the general public to Reiki, we should consider how using the descriptor “hands-on healing” can be misleading. I’d love to hear other ways practitioners describe Reiki to new people.

    Reply
  5. Jessie StAmand
    Jessie StAmand says:

    This is a fantastic post! When I went through training to become a Master-Teacher of Usui Reiki, I was taught that it is also important to know your state’s rules regarding hands-on Reiki. I am from Maine, and in our state a Reiki practitioner must have a license to touch (aka: Massage Therapist, Nurse, Emergency Medical Technician, etc.) and our state does not recognize Reflexology as a licence to touch. There can be legal repercussions, even if you have a client’s consent.

    Reply

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