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Sending Reiki without Permission

Article by Angie Webster

Is it appropriate to send Reiki to someone without their knowledge? Is that in the best interest of the recipient? What about the healer? Since I first began doing Reiki, my own opinion has changed a few times regarding this issue as I have experienced different points of view.

Let’s explore the 3 main perspectives around sending Reiki without permission or knowledge:

It is appropriate to send Reiki to anyone at all, at any time, even without permission, as Reiki only works in the highest good. The perspective of the healer is often that they are being a proper healer by sending Reiki to anyone who is hurt, ill, or in any sort of distress. Deep sympathy and pain in the heart of the healer often prompt sending healing to those who are not aware of the healing, with the belief that they are doing the right thing. Other times, fear of being told “no” or of being embarrassed by those who may not understand Reiki keeps them from asking for permission.

It is best to have permission, but if you don’t you can send Reiki to the person’s Higher Self and let them decide if it is appropriate, allowing what is not appropriate to flow where it is needed (the Earth, another person, a situation, etc.). This is based on the belief that the individual’s best and clearest state of mind (Higher Self) will make the decision regarding what is best. The belief that Reiki flows where it’s meant to is a factor in this perspective for many, as well.

Reiki should never be sent without permission, except possibly in the case of an emergency where the person is unable to speak for themselves. The belief is that the healing process must be entered into with full knowledge. It acknowledges that some people are unready to heal, even though that may be difficult to accept for the healer or for their loved ones. This perspective has a strong belief in free will, and the responsibility and personal choice to step into the healing process when (and if) a person is ready.

Sending Reiki without Permission

Image by NJ..

At this point, I have come to believe that it is best not to send Reiki to another without their express permission. I have come to recognize that when I feel I should send Reiki to someone and I don’t have their permission, it usually has more to do with my own overwhelming feelings than what they want. It can be difficult to feel the pain of another, yet we need to disentangle from the immersion in it and the need to “fix” it.

The truth is, I can’t know what another wants and it is unhealthy for me to make the assumption—even to assume they would want to be healed. It is a difficult thing to go through the healing process, and subconsciously we know that. It requires releasing our old identities and habits, which is very life altering. It is not my place to trigger that process for another before they have fully accepted their part in it and made the decision, somewhere within themselves, to move ahead.

Reiki is often compared to prayer, and there are similarities and parallels. Both make a big difference in lives and both have been shown to have an effect on healing. Both work through intention. However, Reiki is actually directing a powerful energetic frequency toward a person. This can usually be felt by the client and practitioner and it has been measured by Kirlian photography and other means1. To send such a powerful energy to someone without their knowledge seems like an invasion. Loving intention and positive thoughts, such as prayer, can be sent without directing a frequency as powerful as Reiki.

When we send Reiki to someone without their knowledge, we may be addressing our own needs and pain at least as much as the other person’s. Yet when the pain is not truly our own, it won’t actually heal. Pain that originates in someone else can only heal when they are ready to heal it. We have to disentangle from their journey and contend with our own healing—and allow them room to do the same. We don’t help anyone when we try remove all the discomfort and struggle from their journey. Helping when asked can greatly benefit someone on the path to healing, but removing all obstacles for someone eliminates their need to grow and learn—a huge disservice and very draining, as well. Think of a baby whose mother carries it everywhere, never allowing it the chance to crawl or attempt walking, saving it the struggle and the pain of falling. Though she is saving it hardship, she is denying it the chance to explore the world and build its muscles, to learn new ways of experiencing life. This mother will also deplete herself. It isn’t good for anyone.

In my own journey, I have had to learn to more clearly define my boundaries. I am learning to see that this is the kind a loving thing to do, not just for myself, but for all involved. It allows me to honestly see the places in me that still need healing, and it opens space for me to let go and allow others the room to just experience their own journey—without rescuing or interfering.


1 http://www.bewellworld.com/article.cgi?id=Reiki/Energy_2121&pagenum=1 

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Angie Webster
Angie Webster

Angie Webster is a Reiki Master, Teacher, and Author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She teaches online classes on energy healing, flower essences, herbalism, and personal growth. Angie often works with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Animal Reiki: How it Heals, Teaches & Reconnects Us with Nature and Reiki from A to Z. You can follow her at: angie-webster-healing.teachable.com and on Facebook (facebook.com/angiewebsterhealing).

{ 56 comments… add one }
  • Rinku Patel April 23, 2016, 2:50 pm

    One of ur very best article Angie… Superb..

    • Angie Webster April 23, 2016, 3:13 pm

      Thank you, Rinku. It comes from the heart, after much self-examination.

    • Patricia Michele Johnston August 31, 2016, 5:38 pm

      Nice article…thank you.

  • Celeste April 23, 2016, 4:01 pm

    Fantastic article, in working with my guides, they always say to me to ask for the conscious permission of someone before any healing can take place. There are beings I work with who always reiterate that there is a need for conscious permission otherwise it is bad ju ju for them and anyone else.
    So yes I agree, do NOT send Reiki or guides or any form of healing without asking the person’s conscious permission. Otherwise you are overstepping the boundaries of a person’s conscious free will.

  • Dorothy April 23, 2016, 4:40 pm

    What about animals? I was taught t ask the owner’s permission but if you have an abused animal it is unlikely the owner will be interested in providing comfort. Also if someone abuses or neglects an animal I feel they forfeit any right to claim “ownership”. And do human “owners” own a pet’s sul/spirit?

    • Serenity Energy Healing April 25, 2016, 6:19 pm

      Hi Dorothy. Animals are the owner’s of their own soul and are quite capable of letting you know if they do or do not want Reiki. In my opinion, generally speaking, you should ask both the animal and the animal’s caretaker. Animals will approach you readily if they want to receive Reiki, often even before you begin to send it. If they are not interested, they will run or back away. That is your signal to stop. Another signal might be a strong sense internally that the Reiki is not flowing, or a feeling of wrongdoing or a barrier. If an animal is truly in an abusive situation Reiki might not be the best first measure to try. Rather, it may be better to first help through appropriate action. Later you can offer the animal Reiki to help soothe and heal.

  • Corrie April 23, 2016, 6:10 pm

    What about babies and toddlers, who probably would not understand the concept of having to be “open” to the healing or giving permission? What about sending to large groups in disaster situations, like the recent earthquakes?

    • Serenity Energy Healing April 25, 2016, 6:29 pm

      With small children, it is important to discuss treating with Reiki with the parents first, just as you would discuss doing any other form of treatment on a child with the parents.

      This is my opinion on sending to situations, as I have processed it in my journey: When we send Reiki to a situation, we are not directing the energy at a particular person. The situation is sort of like a large bubble of energy and we direct Reiki to that bubble of energy. Sending Reiki to that bubble soothes the overall energy of it, calming it down, as long as it is for the greatest good. If there are individuals within the situation who subconsciously wish to draw on the Reiki, it is available for them in the bubble, though it isn’t directed at any one person.

  • Angela April 23, 2016, 7:58 pm

    Excellent article, thanks for the explanation. It makes sense even though I was taught the second perspective in Level 2. Sending Reiki that way does usually have more to do with my feeling than theirs. I like the analogy with the baby……..we all need to find our own path in life. A stronger person is made when they forge their own path with guidance and help when they ask for it.

  • ellie590 April 23, 2016, 10:42 pm

    I am new to Reiki so am learning here, but as a white witch I would never attempt spell work for someone without their request to me to do so and although Reiki is quite different, I would think the principle to be much the same

    • Serenity Energy Healing April 25, 2016, 6:36 pm

      Thank you for that perspective, Ellie. Yes, I would agree that the principle is much the same. Own and work with your own energy first and foremost, so that it doesn’t interfere with your work with energy overall, and never force energy of any kind on another–always work with permission.

  • Annmarie Martinrie April 24, 2016, 6:09 am

    I believe that sending Reiki is always a good thing to do. If it is not being received at this time, the higher self will let it sit in a bubble until the person is ready. If it is not welcome, it will always return to you where you will reap the benefits you sowed. Reiki can only be used for good, so no harm is done ever with Reiki.

    • Serenity Energy Healing April 25, 2016, 6:57 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Annamarie. While I once felt the same way, I have come to feel that there is simply no reason not to ask permission to send Reiki, except in an emergency. After all, if I really feel that it won’t do harm, then why would I not ask permission to send? Once I started sitting with that question, I began to see that there were no real reasons not to ask for permission. The things that came up had to do with me being fearful to ask or feeling justified because I was “helping”. But how much help does healing someone that isn’t aware of and participating in really do? And is it really “helping” when the person doesn’t want that help, or was it about my need to feel like a better person? Was I interfering? These were things I asked myself.Healing or helping of any kind certainly does more lasting good when the recipient is a partner in the process, rather than having something “done to them,” especially without their knowledge. Also, while Reiki doesn’t do harm, it can cause a healing crisis, so that alone is enough to warrant permission. If we truly feel that Reiki makes big and lasting changes in people’s lives–and I do– then we have to give them the opportunity to decide if they are ready for that. Those changes deeply affect a person. Both their conscious and subconscious minds need to find the right path for them–even if that includes no healing at all.

  • Hemadri April 26, 2016, 9:54 am

    Wonderful article.
    Over the years when I have sent Reiki to negative situations (according to me) in which people were caught up, without their permission or someone else’s permission on behalf of them, it has not given the desired results that I thought it should.
    I found that after a short interim time period (for which Reiki was channeled to them/situation), the person RETURNED (seemingly happy) to that exact situation and the company of the negative people, that I thought I was saving them from.
    While this surprised me, I always attributed it to my lack of consistency in sending the healing. But today reading your article, there came a revelation to me!!
    How can I not get this?! The person WANTED AND CHOSE to be in the situation and with the negative people. As soon as the healing stopped (which honestly only made a marginal difference in them), they returned to the situation WITH THEIR OWN FREE WILL. Amazing!!

    Thank you so much for this article, Angie! Truly a pleasure for me to realize I do not have to solve every situation and rescue everyone!!

    With love and light, may glory be to God!

    • Serenity Energy Healing April 26, 2016, 7:32 pm

      Yes, I had the same experience. This was one of the things that made me begin to question sending Reiki without permission. I also noticed that I felt drained when I did this, or any time I was caught in the “saving” mode. I think you have to let people choose their own path. It is best for them and you. For me, I had to let go of being able to see WHY it might be best for them to be on that path. It’s really not my business and I just have to accept that there is a great deal in this world that I don’t and can’t know.

  • Graham M'M May 1, 2016, 4:51 am

    Greetings. I have also given much thought to this question and answer it as such.
    Reiki is about Intention. Not about the Reiki giver nor receiver.
    When you pray to God for your family or friends, or even the world, you do not ask permission of these entities.
    Your intention is to let the universe and God heal the areas that need healing.
    We as Reiki practitioners, are only the conduit, asking the Reiki energy to flow to a particular person or event.
    So to keep my answer short, no I do not believe we have to ask permission to heal others.
    Reiki and God will only heal for the bennefit of the Highest Good, not what we think is good or bad.
    Reiki and healing goes way beyond our human wants and desires. This is Universal healing and it is given where healing is needed.
    Again I say, no permision is needed at all.

    • Serenity Energy Healing May 1, 2016, 7:03 pm

      Thank you for your comment. It is appreciated and valued. To me, if we feel that God and Reiki works for the highest good, then there is no reason not to obtain permission, other than our own wishes, needs and fears. We can trust that the highest good will allow for a yes to come at the appropriate time for each person, if it is ever appropriate for them at all.

  • Patty Penner May 1, 2016, 12:38 pm

    Reallllly liked this one. I totally agree and this issue has come up many times in my practice as well.

  • Ashley Ortiz June 26, 2016, 9:33 pm

    Beautifully articulated. I’m so glad to see this point of view out there. Bravo to you for voicing this opinion! I’ll be passing this along to a few of ART students.

  • Manpreet June 27, 2016, 3:57 am

    Can we give to reiki to someone who is not aware of it but his/her parent or spouse might have asked for it from reiki practitioner?

    • Angie Webster June 27, 2016, 5:15 pm

      In my opinion, it is best with an adult who is capable to speak for themselves to speak with them about the treatment prior to sending it. If the spouse is too ill to speak or is unconscious, then a loved one such as a spouse can request on their behalf. Parents can request on the behalf of children, and in fact, parental permission should always be obtained. However, pay attention to signs from the child and if the child doesn’t want the treatment or becomes restless during the session, then stop.

  • Elsa June 27, 2016, 5:12 am

    Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing it.
    From my experience, I have noticed that since I am a Reiki practitioner, more and more people talk to me about a relative being sick or about their own health or mental problems. As I believe in the law of attraction too, there is no coincidence that I have been informed about those issues. Hence, I would offer distant healing treatment for free when I receive all the necessary information about the person suffering. I would send healing for the highest good of all parties involved, asking the Higher Self for permission. Only if the Higher Self of the patient accepts, the treatment would start.

  • Maria Richmond July 29, 2016, 10:03 am

    Thank you Angie, I always love your articles.
    I was asked by the aunt of a young man who was in a coma to send healing this was when I was a level 2 Usui Reiki practitioner. (This was distance healing). It was an amazing experience.
    I was taught by my reiki teacher to always ask for permission first. If the person is not available – in this case he was not in front of me and was in a coma on the other side of the world.
    As I was asked by his aunt who was so upset, I thought I would try to send the reiki and if there was no reply I would send reiki to the situation and those who were caring for him if they would accept the reiki. I knew his aunt would accept it so I figured that was a start.
    I was amazed (as I still to this day am constantly amazed with reiki) that he said yes. He was very confused and felt disconnected to his body. Everything I saw, his hospital room, and how he explained his accident was as his aunt had later confirmed to me. It seems the reiki settled him down – his energy was disconnected and erratic.
    I believe those we send healing to also teach us so as reiki practitioners we can continue work with the universal life force expanding to more and more people of varying backgrounds and needs.
    Still amazed – just love it.
    Thank you for your heart felt articles Angie.

    • Angie Webster August 2, 2016, 4:12 pm

      Thank you for sharing that experience, Maria. And also for you kind words. I completely agree that we are taught by those we send healing to and by each situation in which we work with energy.

  • Prakash K July 29, 2016, 11:25 am

    Thank you. This question was always on my mind.

    How do we take permission from plants, earth and rivers? I was taught to give reiki to these whenever possible.

    • Angie Webster August 2, 2016, 4:10 pm

      Hi Prakash,
      When you give Reiki to plants, the Earth and rivers (or any body of water) you can connect in you heart to the spirit, or energy of what you are sending to. That can often help you get a sense for the connection you have with it and how much energy it wants or needs. If you are careful to tune in and slow down, you may even be able to notice physical signals that the energy is being received and welcomed. I have noticed this in plants, in particular. Often they will tremble during Reiki, much like animals often do. I try to pay attention to both these signals and the way my heart feels while giving Reiki to any being that does not have the same method of speech as I do. I have never offered Reiki to a Nature element and felt that is was not welcome, only that it is more readily received at some times than at others.

  • Rena September 3, 2016, 11:34 am

    Recently I visited a friend’s elderly father in the hospital. Through communication with higher self, I found that he Did not want Reiki but would accept prayer and I honored his wish but not imposing Reiki.

  • Beena George October 19, 2016, 6:18 am

    Thank you so much for such an informative article. However i need a clarification.

    1. If I have a scheduled meeting with a person can i send reiki to that person only for the highest good of him/she with the intention to have a pleasant meeting?
    2. If my dear one is having a meeting with another person how can i send reiki ? I can get permission from my dear one only but not from the unknown person whom they are meeting? If not, how can i send reiki to that meeting?
    Thanks & regards

    • Angie Webster October 19, 2016, 8:50 pm

      Hi Beena, You can send Reiki ahead to the situation in both instances, without actually sending Reiki directly to any person involved. To do that, you can simply ask Reiki to flow ahead to the situation so that it may benefit the greatest and highest good. Allow the energy to flow without specific direction to any person or for any specific desired outcome, other than the highest good.

      • Beena George October 20, 2016, 3:40 am

        Thank you so much dear Angie. Have a blessed day.

  • Carmen November 12, 2016, 8:08 pm

    Is for their best and highest good so why permission? My mom is sick and I send her reiki without asking, didn’t know that was wrong.

    • Angie Webster November 12, 2016, 9:27 pm

      Hi Carmen, It isn’t a judgement at all. Just an observation I have come to make regarding Reiki and how energy works. My view is this–if you feel that it is OK to send Reiki and for their highest good, then why not ask and allow the person to be part of their own healing process? Healing is so much more effective when the person is aware and involved, even if only by giving their permission and the intention to heal.

  • Francine LoStocco December 19, 2016, 4:15 pm

    My teacher advised never to send energy without permission. If you do, you are interfering with the person ‘s karma. You can heal them, but you will have to assume their karma. So do not do so without permission. You can pray for them, but no healing without permission.

  • Debra Ann January 16, 2017, 6:20 pm

    I was taught this philosophy but have had some interesting experiences that changed my perspective. I am a nurse, a trauma nurse, and so I am by trade caring for injured patients, some very critically injured. At times Reiki will just come out of me without me even thinking about it. My thoughts during resuscitations are mostly very task oriented. I have been surprised more than once to find when I touch a patient Reiki will flow. I have seen heart rates drop immediately and patients calm with a touch. Neither I nor the patient asked for Reiki. It does what it wants. I do not believe now that Reiki cares about conscious permission. Energy flows where it is needed. Go with your intuition. If you think of Reiki then that is your answer.

    • Angie Webster January 16, 2017, 7:37 pm

      There are many situations, such as the ones you described, where Reiki absolutely flows on it’s own. I have had it kick on in a grocery store when around a baby crying–or for no apparent reason at all. In those situations, clearly the Reiki knows what it is doing and certainly when a person needs help and can’t speak for themselves, I would not hesitate to give Reiki. But my experience with longer term healing is that it is best for those involved when there is full participation on the part of the recipient. Greater results and a more complete healing is achieved and it is less draining for the practitioner, who can sometimes feel they are working without results.

  • Suzanne Leitch April 22, 2017, 10:01 am

    Thank you sincerely for this article. It has clarified for me, all the confusion I have felt around having or not having, permission. I also appreciate the replies you have given to others with differing points of view. It really is very simple, isn’t it. We must always respect the free will and autonomy of each & every individual does. The Universe, Higher Power, Source, God, whatever we may call the Creator, also respects our free well, absolutely, so it follows that we must too.

    • Angie Webster Healing May 2, 2017, 2:43 pm

      Yes, this is how I feel too, even though it was not always. Respect for another’s path and how they wish to participate in it is important.

  • Blake June 3, 2017, 2:40 pm

    But if you are just sending good energy to make people FEEL better or give them good luck or send your angels to another person? (I’ve attracted so so so many angels one time and I felt I didn’t need it as much so I sent them to a special needs boy who really could use the protection as he was really jumpy and could have hurt himself) Things like that, also…. I send them back in time through seeing pictures and videos. Don’t question the methods as they are from my highest good, also I don’t ever heal unless they’re already accepting healing energy in that moment of space and time.

  • Elizabeth Percy June 10, 2017, 6:40 am

    I don’t think you should ever send Reiki to someone who has not given permission or you don’t know well. Why because whatever else it is possible this person is a type 1 diabetic and you could harm them.

  • Chris July 11, 2017, 9:28 am

    Thank you – so well thought through, sensible, balanced insight and clarity

  • Andrea September 15, 2017, 9:22 pm

    I have a question: Do you need to schedule a set date/time to offer Reiki? For example, if I asked someone who is not a believer in Reiki who needs healing if they are open to it and they shrug and say “go ahead” (I got permission), can I send distant Reiki at any moment and would it be successful? Or do I need to set a date/time for them to receive it? (like when they go to sleep).

    • Angie Webster Healing September 16, 2017, 12:38 am

      Strictly speaking, it isn’t necessary to schedule a time for you to send and them to receive. However, my experience has been that when a time is set up for the session, a better connection is achieved and the session is better received by the recipient. In other words, the treatment goes far better and the results are much more significant than when this is not the case.

  • Ljupka September 23, 2017, 8:39 pm

    May I send distant Reiki without Reiki symbols as I am Reiki Level 1 practitioner? Ànd how long does one session last? What is the position of the hands when you do distant Reiki? I am very new inthis Reiki world (3 months only). I am enjoying the experience I have and am learning daily from your articles. Thank you Angie from the bottom of my heart. ❤

    • Angie Webster Healing September 27, 2017, 7:10 pm

      Hi Ljupka,
      Welcome to Reiki! Yes, you can use Reiki at a distance, even at level 1. I did so and so have many of my students. Once you have been attuned to the distant symbol, the connection will become even stronger, but you can certainly work with situations, friends, and family now. Most people send a full distant Reiki session for about 45 minutes. However, the length of the session may vary, depending on the person’s needs. You may also simply wish to send a short bit of Reiki to someone far away, which can last only a few minutes.

  • Sarah Mueller October 27, 2017, 5:55 pm

    thanks so much, Angie, for this excellent article. it is something I have been concerned about and your insight is very helpful.

  • Rajesh Gambani January 20, 2018, 3:46 am

    I dnt agree wd the permission concept…if the persons brain is not working he is bed ridden or in coma hw ru supposed to take permission we cn only say wd permission of his highest self…which person doesnt want to be healthy n live more…. if he cld hv spoken he wld hv ofcourse given the permission….who likes to suffer on a hospital bed….dats d bottomline….infact in karuna reiki u dnt even need permission since that works on soul level….

  • Dan January 30, 2019, 11:54 am

    So, by your way of thinking and based on your logic you should not be using Reiki on an inanimate object that others could interact with. As that energy will have an effect on them, without their knowledge.

  • BeanSoup September 25, 2019, 8:49 pm

    I don’t think any of the three options are the right ones all the time, it depends on the situation. In some cases it might be helpful to ask permission, in others to ask the higher self and at times we don’t need to ask anything at all.

    To say that it is bad or that we mess with a person’s karma or even take on their karma, I don’t think this is something to worry about as long as the intention is pure. In any case, when the intention is pure there is nothing to worry about.
    What about sending an anonymous envelope with $ 100 to a person? This might definitely create a change in their life, in their actions, caused by you, without their permission. Now, with money it is uncertain whether this change would be for the good, but with Reiki, being an intelligent and loving energy, must we doubt? Furthermore, if the gift money was spend on something bad, can we hold ourselves responsible for the deeds of the receiver?
    Anyway, so it seems like this is a matter of whether you are into surprises or not. I am, so I’m fine with receiving unexpected healing or finding money laying on the street, unexpectedly meeting a long lost friend, surprise cakes or running into a very cool movie in a strange place.

  • Antoinette October 11, 2019, 4:58 pm

    This article did make me think…! I wonder what you would think Angie of sending Reiki to a “situation/dilemma” for the highest good outcome for all involved without the express permission of all participants.

  • Michelle Remeny November 5, 2019, 4:58 pm

    Thank you for this, Angie. It’s how I was taught, and I stand firm on this for all the reasons stated above. Also, I’ll add that I don’t feel Reiki flowing when someone asks me to help their spouse with Reiki in lieu of direct communication (that’s been requested more than once!). It feels like free will instead of Reiki flow, so I tell them I can only do that when the person is unconscious. And even then…I’m reluctant. Again, thanks for the validation. Sending gratitude and love to you!

  • Nirmal Mozumdar November 12, 2019, 7:27 am

    The truth is, I can’t know what another wants and it is unhealthy for me to make the assumption—even to assume they would want to be healed. It is a difficult thing to go through the healing process, and subconsciously we know that. It requires releasing our old identities and habits, which is very life altering. It is not my place to trigger that process for another before they have fully accepted their part in it and made the decision, somewhere within themselves, to move ahead.
    I agree to your inputs wholly , In my 20 years of self healing and 15 years in in you professional healing, I have also had these experiences and formed my boundaries, whether to send healing without asking for not . Thanks for your research and sharing.
    Love you.

  • Joan November 12, 2019, 5:22 pm

    This article was extremely helpful.
    Since my neighbors, “Senior Housing”, seem very needy, I find just chatting with them seems to allow the Spirit to move where ever she wills. I just make myself available. “Reiki healing” scares them.

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