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Reiki: The Exchange of Energy

Article by Deborah Lloyd, Reiki Master

At our Reiki II class many years ago, a fellow student challenged our Reiki Master about her practice of charging for Reiki sessions. He stated since healing energies are a gift from the Source, how could she ask people to pay for treatments; he declared he would never consider charging anyone for this gift. She replied with grace and ease,

“Oh, I am not charging for the healing energies. My charges are for my rental space, my liability insurance, the massage table, laundry and supplies. And, my time – it too has value.”

While the student disagreed with this line of thought, I have never forgotten it. This conversation has led me to contemplate this issue many times over the years.

When a client agrees to pay your designated charge, the client is making a statement.

“I want to try this form of healing and it is worth the amount you charge. I recognize the value of your work.”

Of course, a Reiki practitioner can rightfully decide to make exceptions, in certain circumstances, to offer discounted, or free, sessions.

There is a concept that all of us must consider – the energy exchange. In the world of economics, setting a fair price for a product or service is done by determining its value for the customer. If the price is too high, no one will purchase it. If it is too low, the value is diminished. In the same way, when a Reiki practitioner offers services to the public, there are expenses and hours of time involved. Unless one is already wealthy, charging for the service is usually a necessity. For the client, choosing to spend money on Reiki may mean choosing not to do something else – a choice that demonstrates the value placed on the treatment.

Money is not the only way to do an energy exchange. Bartering can be a valid method. For those clients who desire Reiki treatments, there are many ways they can pay for your efforts. They may have homegrown vegetables, books they have read, or handmade knitted items to give you. Or, they may be able to provide a service, such as website development, videotaping, or doing some yard work. The only caution about bartering – begin by agreeing that both must be honest and feel comfortable the trade is even. Otherwise, the energy exchange will be tainted with negative feelings. Never a good way to start a healing modality trade! If there is truly nothing you can find for bartering – and you decide circumstances call for a free session – the client can at least provide word-of-mouth referrals, or internet reviews.

One of my favorite barters is to exchange sessions with other energy practitioners. Through bartering, I have experienced tuning fork, jin shin jyutsu, intuitive readings, massage and other healing modalities. Not only did I introduce Reiki to others, I found another way to network with like-minded professional folks. I have also had success in bartering with experienced people in social media and computer work, to further enhance my Reiki practice.

The purpose of this discussion is not to suggest there is only one right way to think about the topic of energy exchange. Rather, the purpose is to encourage mindful, deliberate consideration of an important aspect of Reiki practice. If you are faced with a situation where you are uncertain how to handle it, discuss with fellow practitioners. Also, ask for spiritual guidance – you will receive great advice!

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Deborah Lloyd
Deborah Lloyd

Deborah Lloyd is a Usui and Karuna® Reiki Master and certified holistic therapy practitioner, providing Reiki sessions and training in Asheville, NC. Deborah is the author of two books, 22 Messages from the Archangels; and, Believe and it is True: A Story of Healing and Life Lessons. She is also one of the co-authors of Reiki 101: 101 Answers for Your Reiki Questions. Reach Deborah at http://www.deblloydhealing.com/, deb@deblloydhealing.com and at Deb Lloyd Healing on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/deblloydhealing)

{ 33 comments… add one }
  • ananya October 19, 2014, 7:17 am

    Hi, Loved your article… I too encourage bartering amongst fellow practitioners… I think it works well

    • Deborah Lloyd October 19, 2014, 1:51 pm

      Thank you for the comment, Ananya. It’s such a great way to experience other modalities – and spread the word about Reiki.

  • Kathy October 29, 2014, 2:41 pm

    Every 3 weeks I meet with a friend. We take turns. He offers a massage to me and then I offer Reiki to him. We both benefit greatly from this exchange.

    • Deborah October 29, 2014, 10:47 pm

      This is a wonderful use of bartering – a gift for both of you!

  • Kathryn Kolls November 20, 2014, 5:08 pm

    I think if you do not charge, a lot of people with not value the reiki. They assume if its free it has no value. This applies to anything in life I think…

    • Deborah Lloyd November 21, 2014, 12:39 am

      Kathryn, I agree with your comment. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts!

  • marcia December 2, 2014, 10:25 pm

    I rent a house & part of the agreement is that Ido not work from home. That means a rental at a minimum of €60 a week, insurance of €180 business rates of €20,000 a year plus membership of a reiki organisation, police report & child protection cert. All which need to be paid for. I also need to eat, pay my bills etc. I live in a town of 2000 people, as you can see the numbers don’t add up!

    • Deborah Lloyd December 3, 2014, 10:36 pm

      Marcia, I understand your situation. The topic of my next article to be posted is how to make a living as a Reiki practitioner. Perhaps, you can find some ideas in it to assist you. Thanks for your comment – and blessings to you!

      • Debbie Boschee December 4, 2014, 11:30 pm

        Looking forward to that next article. I am an accountant disabled by Fibromyligia, Chronic Fatigue, and Hypothyroidism. Trying to start a holistic healing center in order to be able to work around my illnesses. I love healing people! It is so rewarding!

        • Deborah Lloyd December 4, 2014, 11:52 pm

          Debbie, One of the best things about doing a holistic healing practice is that the practitioner also receives many benefits for their own healing. I hope you are using Reiki for yourself daily. Best to you!

  • Roshini January 2, 2015, 4:08 am

    This is great validation for me. I am offering bartering as a way of energy exchange so that more people are encouraged to receive this healing who may not be able to pay a monetary exchange.

    • Deborah Lloyd January 3, 2015, 2:51 pm


      You are so right – energy exchange is the key element; money is only one way to create that exchange. Thank you for spreading Reiki healing through bartering!

  • Sameer Deshpande March 6, 2015, 7:57 am

    it is real fact in fact energy exchange is the key element and money is only way to create exchange

  • Deborah Lloyd March 6, 2015, 7:38 pm


    Yes, bartering has a monetary value and it can create a good energy exchange.

    Thanks for your comment,
    Deborah Lloyd

  • jessika May 12, 2015, 2:05 pm

    Everything on this planet, whether healing gifts, mental intelligence, talent, etc…is a gift from Source.

  • Alicia July 17, 2015, 10:09 pm

    The Source provides many life sustaining commodities in addition to energy through Reiki. Water, wind, precious metals,even precious energy stones must all be “harnessed” in one way or another for us to benefit. We gladly pay those who harness those natural energy sources; Reiki is the same. Those not willing to pay are free to harness the Reiki energy on their own. It can work – however if one is if a negative mindset and doing their own Reiki because they don’t see the benefits provided by practitioners – in my opinion, they aren’t completely open to Reiki’s healing powers because their focus is not solely on healing.

    • Deborah Lloyd July 18, 2015, 5:10 pm


      I love your analogy of all of us paying for those who “harness” natural energy resources, to paying for Reiki treatments. It is so true.

      I also agree that when we Reiki practitioners don’t see a benefit to receiving Reiki sessions by another practitioner, it is a statement of how we view Reiki’s healing benefits – whether it is done by cash or bartering. It is also a reflection of how much we value self-care.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts,

  • Amit August 12, 2015, 9:57 am

    Hello Deborah,

    I am a sales professional and have been practicing Reiki for the past 12 years. During this period, I have never charged anyone for the healing because I don’t do it on a full time basis. I only do it when someone close to me needs healing. I have given Reiki to complete strangers without asking for any monetary exchange. Whenever I see someone getting healed or feeling better because of my actions, that itself gives me peace and satisfaction. Whenever I am in a difficult situation, I seek help from Reiki and I have never been disappointed. If someone insists that they want to pay something, I ask them to feed somebody or to help someone in need. But since Reiki is not my primary source of livelihood, I can afford to do healings during my free time.

    Thank you for your insights.


    • Deborah Lloyd August 12, 2015, 10:15 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I especially love the part about asking someone to feed somebody or help someone in need, as a way of paying it forward. This is another way of energy exchange that is so important, and needed, in today’s world. One of the things I have done, when I give a discount, is to ask the client (if they are comfortble to do so) to tell others about my work, place brochures in a public place, etc. Both of us are helping each other!
      Many blessings to you,

    • Denise Ralloff August 26, 2019, 7:16 pm

      wow that is awesome that you do it for free and you tell someone to help someone else in need wow your awesome that is why i want to win the lottery so i can do it for free too and since your in sales any advice on HOW to do a flyer to get people to come and see me

  • Alan October 22, 2015, 8:59 am

    After I finished Reiki master training, I started to giving the Free Attunement for my friend. At that time, I felt charging for Reiki that is not naturally. Then all my friend started to educate me about charging that is common sense. After that, I charged in lower price, and my intention is getting more experiences.
    In 2008, I immigrated from Hong Kong to Los Angeles. I didn’t know how to develop my reiki services and I didn’t know about the Reiki marketing in Los Angeles. Then I started to research and find out the answer while I processed my college education. I provided lower price reiki class and free reiki class, someone called me, but I had not idea why they didn’t called me again. I asked Kwan Yin “What American want from me ?”
    In 2014, I started to build my own website. My soul sister gave me an idea about Charity Reiki and Free class for lower income person. This plan still in process. Right now, I’m providing charity reiki class for a LGBT organization, but sound like they do not want to provide any transportation fee and place for me. I have no idea is it good or not. I only provide Usui/Tibetan Reiki for free. Karuna Reiki® cannot for free because need Karuna Reiki® manual. Money Reiki cannot provide for free because this is the rule of working money spiritual energy.

    • Alan October 22, 2015, 9:12 am

      According my experiences, its sound like I cannot make profit through providing Reiki services.
      Master Deborah Lloyd, do you agree ? Any suggest for me ?

  • Deborah Lloyd October 24, 2015, 5:40 pm


    It seems as if you are truly committed to teaching Reiki and bringing healing to the world. I know very little about Reiki in Los Angeles, but I think there must be other Reiki practitioners in your area. Why don’t you contact a few of them and see what they have done to become known in your area. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to rent a space with other healing arts practitioners – such as massage therapists, acupuncturists, aromatherapists, other Reiki practitioners, etc. Another idea is to make presentations about Reiki, in an established business or at metaphysical festivals.

    I do believe it is possible to make a profit in offering Reiki services.

    Many blessings to you,

  • linda October 29, 2015, 4:27 pm

    i have given my services free over the years , i am now 66 and have come to the conclusion that if you dont value yourself neither will others , i spent out thousands studying Reiki and hypnotherapy , you pay for your insurance , belonging to to governing bodies , attending , meetings , premises ect . God gave us all gifts and yu would not expect a carpenter to work for nothing or any other professional. i had a notice up to say that it had cost me a lot of money to study both subjects and that i had to pay out for insurance ect , i asked that the people be fair and donate the money that they would earn in the time spent with me . i found that people on benefits and low incomes often left me far more than those who were wealthy . In the old days healers were paid with the exchange of goods , food or services of another , it is the exchange of a energy , and money is a energy . i know feel differently i feel you need to set a price for your time and energy , and make discounts for those of low income . people value and respect things more when they have to pay for it , and take for granted that which is given free .

    • Deborah Lloyd October 31, 2015, 2:56 pm


      Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom. When we place value our time and service, others will too.

      Blessings to you in your work,

  • janie November 21, 2015, 2:52 pm

    Thank you for this article. It is so informative. My friend has helped me with my healing through doing Reiki. I do Angel readings so she swop. I loved Reiki that much I have done my Reiki one. I have practised on friends and got some amazing results. Xx

    • Deborah Lloyd November 21, 2015, 3:18 pm


      Congratulations on doing Reiki I! You shared a beautiful example of the benefits of bartering with a friend, as it led you to Reiki. Since you already do angel readings, I believe adding Reiki to your life will only benefit all your healing work even more!!

      Many blessings to you,

  • Ravidamodaran January 22, 2016, 5:06 pm

    Excellent article
    “no one can question you because you are correct”
    With love and gratitude

    • Deborah Lloyd January 23, 2016, 12:45 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, Ravidamodaran.

      Many blessings,

  • Graham March 31, 2016, 6:39 am

    Perfect article and makes a lot of sense thank you

    • Deborah Lloyd April 2, 2016, 1:09 pm


      Thank you so much for taking the time to make a comment!

      Blessings to you,

  • Denise Ralloff August 26, 2019, 7:26 pm

    wow Deborah your AWESOME too thanks do much for doing this article as i WILL READ all of your emails FOR SURE NOW it is really informative thanks so much agsin and i hope you are truely blessed one question i want to know more about reiki energy for money i never knew it existed to get money through reiki i got your book about money the only problem is it doesn’t tell you about the symbols i actually asked my reiki instructor but she knew nothing about money and reiki or do you teach a course in it and i am from canada just so you know thanks again for the beautiful article on reiki denise

  • Mel March 31, 2020, 10:27 pm

    What a simple and important point. I have a client who actually told me that I under charge by miles and that after years of meds and therapy it was the first time he actually started to understand the world we live in and our amazing energetic bodies. This is also one of the reasons I coach and heal as a lot of people get energy healing confused with ‘magic’ and one can not disprove a negative especially when there really are miraculous healings that do indeed happen sometimes. Value is the key and my time is valuable – courses are not free for either the students or the masters. We are just so lucky that the original Reiki course fee is no longer in place or there would be very few of us in this amazing field. A bling watch can set you back a full salary and gives no healing… Thanks for your thoughts!

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