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!