Reiki, Pay It Forward

by Laurie Goldstein

The client lies down on your table. The Reiki begins to flow and a beautiful session ensues. Your client is now blissfully relaxed and is even finding relief from a troublesome physical condition. The session concludes, and it is time to accept payment.

Some Reiki practitioners find collecting payment from a client a simple task. For others the exchange of money can be accompanied by uneasy feelings. As professionals we offer a valuable service to our clients that is undoubtedly worthy of compensation. Yet somehow the higher consciousness of Reiki can seem inconsistent with the material world of money.

In an effort to bridge this gap, I have found a method of moving the energy flow of the Reiki table into the payment process. I offer my clients the option to pay it forward.

It is really quite simple. When it comes time to pay, I remind my clients of my rate. I then explain they have the option to pay for some or all of my next client’s session as well. By covering the next client’s cost they not only make someone else’s day but also receive good karma and foster the flow of generosity in the world. In essence pay it forward offers an opportunity to ignite a ripple effect of positive energy that benefits all of us.

As so often happens, I received the inspiration for pay it forward while in the midst of a client’s Reiki session. Since I am generally not someone who quickly dives into change, I decided not to mention it to my current client on my table. I thought I would ponder it a bit and initiate it at a later time. However, it seemed The Universe had other ideas. When it came time to pay, my client wrote her check for more than the amount of the session. When I pointed out the discrepancy, she assured me it was intentional and a reflection of how much she enjoyed the Reiki. I then told her about my pay it forward inspiration during her session and excitedly thanked her for being my first participant.

Since then my clients have continued to pay it forward. In fact as of this writing I have more than a session’s worth of pay it forward funds. This means I am in the delightful position of explaining the pay it forward option and telling my clients that their session has already been covered by my previous client. The reaction to this news is always the same: a furrowed brow and a confused exclamation of “what?” I then kindly explain once again how pay it forward works and that they do not owe me anything. Their confused expression then turns to disbelief and then finally to joy.


My clients have been deeply touched that an anonymous individual wanted to cover the cost of their Reiki session. Thus far they have all chosen to pass this gift along to my next client by paying for my next individual’s session. Some day, perhaps sooner or perhaps later, an individual may choose to accept this lovely gift from my previous client and decide not to pay it forward. While I honestly do enjoy when my clients decide to build on this energetic link of treating my next Reiki recipient I do not maintain any expectation or attachment to their decision whether or not to do so.I also do not advertise the pay it forward option. All of my first-time clients are aware of my rate by the time they book their session. For most of these individuals, their time on my table is their first experience of the healing and relaxing effects of Reiki. I would rather they experience Reiki without any expectation or awareness that they may not need to pay the full amount. I prefer instead that they consider the pay it forward option within the context of the beautiful Reiki energy they have just received. To me, Reiki and pay it forward are all part of the same whole.

I fully support and encourage other Reiki practitioners to incorporate a pay it forward option into their own practices. Varying work arrangements and businessmodels may not allow this option to be feasible in some practices. However when pay it forward resonates and fits in with your business structure it can create a healthy connection between your clients that opens the heart and adds to the healing each receives from his or her Reiki sessions.

By embracing this tradition, my clients have built an energetic link to one another of kindness and generosity. I am the grateful steward of this link, and I now look forward to the payment process as much as I do to the Reiki session itself.

This article appeared in the Winter 2012 issue of Reiki News Magazine.