Reiki: Using the Religious or Spiritual Defense

Many Reiki practitioners have chosen to become ordained ministers as a way to protect themselves from the Medical Practice Act (practicing medicine without a license). The value of this method of legal defense is questionable. The article below outlines several key issues necessary for Reiki to be considered ones religion. However, even if one can prove that Reiki is ones religion, it still does not guarantee that this will be a viable legal defense. See Reiki and Religious Freedom for a more complete discussion of this issue.

(This is one reason that some groups have taken the time to create new legislation to exempt Reiki practitioners and other alternative/complementary health practitioners from the medical practice act in their states. Please see this web site for more info on this subject:

In order for Reiki to be legally considered your religion, you must actually accept the religious philosophy and be a practicing member of the church you have become a minister of. In addition, you need to advertise this and your Reiki clients need to understand that the Reiki treatments you give are part of your religious practice.

One of the churches Reiki practitioners have become ordained through in an attempt to gain protection from the Medical Practice Act is the Universal Life Church (ULC). The following excerpt from a sermon by Brother Daniel Zimmerman of the ULC Monastery, Tucson, Az further explains the requirements and limitations of this:

"There is another issue that I want to address today and that is Reiki and Polarity and other alternative healing arts and ULC ordination. The church has long been aware that practitioners of alternative healing arts have used the ordination status of the ULC minister to practice their arts by utilizing the "laying on of hands" practice of ministers. This is a controversial practice. While it is clear that they are practicing healing arts, they want some type of "protection" and that is all they want. They are not interested primarily in religion and that is sad because in religion they have a higher power to assist them even if only the power of belief. The protection, if any, is there only if they are actively practicing their beliefs and not if their practice is in the healing arts. Clearly this is an area where some state will want to test its laws. We do not in any way "protect" anyone or encourage any individual to circumvent any laws. The laws are there to protect the public and we support each and every law.

We are saddened each time we learn about individuals attempting to utilize our ordination practices as a "cover" when we know they could do the same thing and work with beliefs and have a stronger base and stronger power even if it is only the individuals power of beliefs. The "laying on of hands" means just that and nothing else; no manipulation of any flesh or muscles. There is no exemption for ministers from any laws on the practice of medicine so individuals wishing and umbrella or protection need to reconsider their hopes in the ordination because it is only their belief that they are allowed, only a belief. That is what religion deals with; beliefs and not medicine.

I am explaining this openly because I know that there are thousands of Reiki practitioners using the ordination to practice their healing arts and I want them to know that they are NOT protected in any healing art and only if they were practicing their religion would the practice be covered. The question is simple; is Reiki their religious belief or is Reiki their healing practice? The second question would be to ask their client. That is where the truth would be told. If the client answered they believed the practitioner was utilizing their healing art; there is no protection as they are practicing medicine. If the client states the practitioner is practicing their religious belief then the laying on of hands would come into consideration. Reiki practitioners need to be aware of this and weigh it seriously.

It is the responsibility of each minister to know the state law for each state in which he/she performs the marriage ceremony. Recently there have been individuals call me and ask if certain states are registration states or not. This upsets me greatly because they should invest in the ULC TEXTBOOK so that they can have a listing of the laws for each state. A listing of each state's laws is available in the RESOURCES section of the website. If an individual performs a marriage and is not registered in a state which requires registeration, there is serious problems to be faced. The church is not responsible for the actions of individual ministers."