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Online Reiki Abuse – Raising Awareness

Article by Reiki Master Yvonne Brewer

In a climate where women say #MeToo, we have to look closer at the realities of #MeTooReiki also.

Over the past five years it has happened once too many times for me to ignore it that someone has opened up to me and told me of a very negative experience as a result of receiving distance Reiki or attunements from an online Reiki practitioner. What began as an arrangement for online distance Reiki or attunements soon developed into something else, something that became an abusive situation leaving a lot of emotional trauma for the recipients.

Now I feel that it is part of my own spiritual path and development to raise this issue so that others can be made aware of the dangers and possibly try to stop those who think they can emotionally torment, harass and abuse people online under the safety net of a beautiful spiritual modality such as Reiki. It’s wrong! It’s wrong to abuse but it’s certainly wrong to prey on people under the pretence that you are a trustworthy, spiritual person and abuse the energy of Reiki in such an unethical manner.

The energy of Reiki is pure, spiritual, healing and as a Reiki Master myself I am not suggesting that Reiki is to blame. Nor am I suggesting that online Reiki is wrong as there are so many positive experiences for people in receiving Reiki this way. What I am clearly stating is that those who use the Reiki and Reiki groups in order to satisfy their personal, emotional and sexual needs is wrong. Very wrong.

Victims of this type of abuse have been subjected to further abuse when they tried to confront their abuser and in some cases when they tried to tell others about their experience or report the individuals they ended up being treated as if they were the ones victimizing the person who was in fact their abuser! As a result they feel a great sense of shame and fear and wish to remain anonymous.

However, for the purpose of this article, they have agreed to have the general experiences shared but not their names or locations. Also, it is important to note that the names of the abusers are not going to be mentioned in this article. This is purely an awareness-raising discussion. The points raised in this article are therefore based on the experiences and lived stories of a small group of women who experienced online abuse from Reiki Masters.

Online Reiki Abuse

What is inappropriate behaviour for an online Reiki Practitioner **

  • It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to ask about your personal life or marital status.
  • It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to constantly refer to your physical body such as telling you that you are sexy, referring to your female features etc.
  • It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to contact you first thing in the morning, during the day and at night time. Regular contact like this seems to have been very common for all the women victims.
  • It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to ask you about your sexual fantasies or sexual practices.
  • It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to request photographs from you especially naked photos or to send you photos of themselves.
  • It is inappropriate for your Reiki practitioner to send you Reiki or attunements for free but to expect payment to be made in other ways such as sex.
  • It is inappropriate for your Reiki practitioner to suggest that Reiki symbols be used by you or him/her in acts of sexual pleasure.
  • It is inappropriate for your Reiki practitioner to suggest meeting you for sex. It is inappropriate for a Reiki practitioner to make threats if you confront them with the issues that have caused you concern or emotional upset and request that they stop.
    **(please note the term Reiki practitioner is used to refer to any individual practicing Reiki and includes Reiki Masters, Reiki Teachers and anyone engaging with individuals online in the context of sending Reiki or attunements)

Who can become a victim of online Reiki abuse?

  • Everyone.
  • You.
  • Everyone who is a member of an online Reiki group.
  • Abuse can happen to anyone!

As a Reiki Practitioner how do I help a client who tells me that they have experienced online Reiki abuse :

  • Believe them.
  • Listen.
  • Provide healing to help with their self-love, as victims blame themselves.
  • Help them to detach from the individual and focus on their own healing.
  • Help them feel safe and trusted.
  • Help them to renew their connection with Reiki as it is common that they turn against Reiki and feel Reiki caused their pain.
  • Refer them to a suitable counselor/medical/ health professional or organisation who support victims of abuse.

Issues Arising from this discussion:

  • Is there any way of reporting Reiki Masters when there is an online issue such as the one discussed in this article? So far I have not been made aware of any monitoring or governing body where reports can be made. As a result, the only way these women have protected themselves is to leave the groups on Facebook or LinkedIn and block the Reiki Masters in question.
  • How can we as Reiki Masters protect our clients and protect the Reiki from being used as a tool that is allowing individuals to hide behind Reiki and use it for such dysfunctional and disturbing practices? This is something that all of us who are practicing Reiki online and engaging with clients online need to reflect on for ourselves.
  • How can we as Reiki Practitioners/Masters/Teachers ensure that our behavior online and towards our clients will not have an emotionally damaging effect? We need to be conscious at all times of why we are working with clients online – are we driven by our ego? Are we benefiting or are the clients benefiting? Are we ensuring that the basic principles of Reiki are the cornerstone to our practice at all times? Are we ourselves in need of healing and carrying unresolved trauma? How are we going to resolve this in order to present ourselves to clients as better healers?

It is important to note that the Reiki Masters who subjected women to this type of online Reiki abuse that has been referred to in this article to date are still participating in or are administrators in online groups mainly on Facebook.

The women who have bravely overcome their abusive experiences have created a facebook page to continue raising the awareness.

Finally, If you have been affected in any way by this discussion please speak to someone you can trust or a medical or health professional.

Yvonne Brewer
Yvonne Brewer

Yvonne Brewer lives in Cork, Ireland. She is a Reiki Master and Reflexologist and Mother to two sons. She is a graduate of University College Cork with a Bachelor of Social Science (1994) and a Masters of Social Science in Youth and Community Work (1996). Motherhood has brought her down a creative path and in 2013 she published an e-book “Breathe and Bloom. Soul Mother Meditations” and currently is working on producing a collection of poetry.
Yvonne also wrote an article for Reiki Rays in 2014 “Reiki Families: Sharing Reiki With Children.” Contact Yvonne on facebook www.facebook.com/yvonnebrewery or email brewer_y@yahoo.ie

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Prashasti Patel February 19, 2018, 11:47 am

    This is a great article. I am not aware of this things so now I know this also happens behind the name of reiki . Much needed article. Thank you for sharing Yvonne Brewer.

    • Yvonne Brewer February 19, 2018, 12:20 pm

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read the article. Your comments are very much appreciated. Namaste. Yvonne

  • Barbara Aguilar February 20, 2018, 6:52 am

    perhaps the abuse could be reported to facebook

    • Yvonne Brewer February 20, 2018, 11:50 am

      Thank you Barbara. Yes, in some cases it is helpful to report to facebook. However, while I do not wish to go into individual cases here it seems that though some were blocked or reported they opened new accounts, sometimes under a new name. It is a complex issue but the important issue now is to make people aware and try to prevent the abuse that way. Similar to religious institutions in the past, sometimes people do not expect spiritual people to be abusers and therefore there is a lot of trust given before it is apparent what is happening. Thank you for reading the article.

  • Niveditaa February 20, 2018, 9:15 am

    Actually we have taught in our class that Reiki doesn’t do any harm It is an intelligent energy which flows only where it is needed the most.There must be another activity in the name of Reiki which caused harm to these victims
    Love light and peace to all

  • Yvonne Brewer February 20, 2018, 11:55 am

    Yes Niveditaa! That is so true and thank you for mentioning this as I hope that message came across in my article also that Reiki does not do any harm. It is correct to say also that there is another activity that caused harm to the victims of online reiki abuse. In my opinion, the Reiki Masters who inflicted the abuse are also in need of emotional help as they obviously have personal problems. That is a discussion for another day of course! There are a lot of issues arising and I hope that in time that there will be much more support or system in place to support people who experience this type of abuse. Thank you for reading the article and for taking the time to reply. Namaste.

  • Willow Reiki February 20, 2018, 6:51 pm

    This is unbelievable … truly … thank you Yvonne for shining light on this! To address a couple of the questions you raised on how to deal with this issue: I belong to the Canadian Reiki Association, which has a Code of Ethics which every member must sign and agree to abide by, if it’s found out that they break this Code their membership is revoked. I think most countries have similar professional associations for Reiki practitioners. It’s a bit like the medical profession – you wouldn’t expect a doctor to abuse, but sadly there are some who do. We need to be vigilant, and diligent in our oversight of our fellow practitioners.

    • Yvonne Brewer February 20, 2018, 11:25 pm

      Thank you so much Willow Reiki for contributing to the discussion. I am wondering if online Reiki is part of the code of ethics you refer to ? I am not an expert at all in this area and welcome any information that can keep us all well informed and uphold the ethics and principles. It is an area that is very difficult to prove in the online world but I do feel that there must be a way forward to protect our clients and all who wish to share and spread the love and light. Awareness I feel is at least one positive step forward . Namaste

  • Lionel Lonnie Ruland February 22, 2018, 3:20 pm

    Wonderful article. I’m saddened when I hear things like this are happening. I try to remain professional at all times. Even when giving my wife a treatment, I treat her no differently than a client off the street.

    • Yvonne Brewer February 24, 2018, 4:54 pm

      Thank you very much for reading the article and for taking the time to reply Lionel. It is good to know that there are wonderful Reiki practitioners out there and all we can do is to keep shining our lights. Namaste.

  • Donna Kay Miller February 23, 2018, 5:23 am

    Wow, in 30 years of energy work I have been fortunate enough to not have run across such abusers in the reiki world. They were there in other energy modalities, but not any of the oriental healing arts. I am sorry anyone has had to experience abuse.This is a very good article about boundaries that can be applied to any energy work one experiences. The client practitioner relationship should not be treated lightly. One book some might be interested in is “Practice Energy Healing in Integrity” by Midge Murphy.

    • Yvonne Brewer February 24, 2018, 4:55 pm

      Thank you so much Donna for your comments. I will certainly look out for that book! Thank you for the recommendation. Namaste !

  • Naresh March 11, 2018, 9:13 am

    Thanks for highlighting this issue, Yvonne. This is something which has been going on for sometime now, not only online, but in real life too. I have had reports of females being asked to undress fully for some “special” healing to be done on their Chakras, and so on.

    Happy that you have brought it to light.

    • Yvonne Brewer March 12, 2018, 2:06 pm

      Thank you Naresh for eading the article and for contributing to the discussion. Yes, it is not nice to think about this issue as we would all like to live in a world where love and light protected us all from any trauma or bad experiences such as this. However, we are all human and even Reiki Masters are human! So we are not going to be without faults and all are capable of hurting or getting hurt in this life. It is however important for us all to be aware of these issues and to take our own individual responsibility to address such issues if they are brought to our attention. Thank you again Naresh. Love and light to you, Namaste.

  • Marie April 20, 2018, 12:06 pm

    It is very sad to think that Reiki is being used in this way. I am glad you have highlighted this issue.

    • Yvonne Brewer May 12, 2018, 7:46 pm

      Thank you Marie for taking the time to read the article. Your comments are appreciated. Namaste.

  • Sean Hall April 20, 2018, 12:26 pm

    You aim this article at women which I find outrageous in todays equality rights. This can happen to men too. I also have to say all that you have written are in Reiki codes of conduct which your reiki master must give to a student or give proof by the members of public if asked.

    • Yvonne Brewer May 12, 2018, 7:58 pm

      Thank you Seán for taking the time to read this article. Of course abuse happens to men. I am totally aware of that. For the purpose of this article I only focused on the experiences of people who shared their personal experiences with me and it just so happened that it was women only who spoke to me about online reiki abuse. Women can be victims, women can be abusers. Men can be victims, men can be abusers. As someone who has worked with and supported men, women and children who have experienced all types of abuse it would take me a very long time to write about everyone’s experiences. As Reiki Rays publish issues related to reiki this is why reiki and the codes of conduct are referred to. Thank you for raising these points and my apologies if you or any other men are offended by being excluded from this article, it certainly was not my intention. Namaste.

  • Gus M. April 20, 2018, 5:37 pm

    Sometimes I live in LaLa land!!? I just can’t imagine anything like this could be going on. But I suppose the online predators are everywhere. Why would Reiki not be affected? My heart goes out to anyone affected by this.

    Gus

    • Yvonne Brewer May 12, 2018, 8:02 pm

      Thank you for your empathy Gus. LaLa Land is a great place and yes we would all like to live there and avoid facing realities such as the one discussed in this article!!!! Gratitude and blessings on your path, Namaste.

  • Donna April 20, 2018, 11:13 pm

    Very unfortunate, it is being reported across a few modalities. Also clients that will call Reiki practitioners and ask to have the session naked!!
    People can screen shot conversations and report to police or expose these people on FB. I know they will be blocked doing it in the group but they could PM the entire group a screen shot of messages. It the moving past the shame to feel ok to name these people otherwise it will keep going.
    This happens in yoga, tantra, a womb healing teacher/healer has just been exposed and reported. It is time to be brave and report these people.
    Thank uou for your article.

  • Yvonne Brewer May 12, 2018, 8:06 pm

    Thank you so much Donna for the points you have raised. I agree , yes it happens too that clients can be abusive towards the Reiki practitioners just as I discussed in another conversation above that women can equally be abusers and men can be victims of abuse. It is important to mention as you have about screen shots as evidence. Yes, it is so important to move past shame and name people. I pray that all involved will be given the insight and strength to continue raising the issue and coming forward without shame. Namaste.

  • Patty M May 23, 2018, 5:22 pm

    I was not aware that these type of abuses of Reiki healing were occurring. I’m sorry for those that have been affected by it. Although unexpected in any type of healing modality, or in any situation at all for that matter, we must learn to be vigilant and listen to our intuition when it tells us something is “off” or not right. If we allow ourselves to stay in the situation and become “victimized”, that is our own fault. We must also learn to accept responsibility for our own actions in any situation, and not always count on others to save and/or protect us. As we transition from a 3D mentality to a 5D mentality, I believe we will be able to drop the “victim” mentality, and be able to stand up and face these things when and if they occur. Tell these turkeys to take a hike and leave you alone! They are Reiki practitioners in name only (another place RINO fits). Reiki in it’s pure form does no harm. Find yourself a practitioner who will do you no harm. If you had a doctor or a vet who wasn’t living up to your expectations, wouldn’t you find another one who does? It’s the same in any situation. We must learn to stand up and protect ourselves. “WE are the ones we’ve been waiting for!!” Stop playing small!!! We are all powerful, Divine beings having a human experience. Namaste’

  • Yvonne Brewer July 2, 2018, 2:42 pm

    Thank you Patty M for your comments and participation in this discussion. Thank you for your positive words and attitude. Yes! We are all powerful Divine beings !! Blessings, Namaste, Yvonne

  • Robyn Ann Housemann August 30, 2019, 8:27 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I do teach about ethics and inappropriate behavior in my classes so I hope that people remain in their truth and practice reiki from a place of love!

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