Attunements Give You the Ability to Channel Reiki?!

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 15 Comments

Rose rain

IF this is true, then it follows that … without the attunement you cannot channel Reiki.

What do you think?

When an existing Reiki teacher, who was studying with us for the first time, was asked by Frans to explain what an attunement was, this is what he said, “The attunement gives you the ability to channel Reiki and therefore, without the attunement, you cannot channel Reiki.”

After he made this statement, Frans walked over to the window and stood looking quizzically outside. The student asked him why, in the middle of the course, he was simply staring out of the window. Frans answered, “Well, I’m looking for all the dead people in the street!” The student looked very confused.

At this point Frans asked the student what the word Reiki meant for him. The student said, “Well, ‘universal energy’ but properly translated it stands for ‘spiritual energy’”. Then Frans asked him to replace the word ‘Reiki’ in the statement he had just made with either of his meanings.

The student said: The attunement gives you the ability to channel universal energy (or spiritual energy), therefore, without the attunement, you cannot channel universal energy (or spiritual energy).

The student’s mouth dropped open as he suddenly understood what he had been saying for all these years.


If we can only channel Reiki (universal energy/spiritual energy) after having received an attunement, then people who have not received an attunement would surely be dead. We all exist of this universal energy or spiritual energy. No matter what we call it – it is the essence of what we are made of. 

There are those that think that Reiki is a very specific energy and different to other energies, but this is definitely not the case from a traditional Japanese perspective. From a spiritual perspective this is also not completely sensical.

All spiritual traditions talk of Oneness or the realisation that the universe is you and you are the universe. Although it might be called by different names in different traditions, in essence it is still the same. In Buddhism there is the realisation that you are a Buddha, in Taoism you realize that you and the universe are One, and in the Bible it is said that each of us is made in the image of God.

If all humanity is to realise Oneness then how can the essence of everything be different?

You can see it like a bright light shining through a prism; the light is reflected into different colors of green, red, blue etc… but the essence of these colors is still the bright light. Blue might look different to green but their essence is the same. And the essence of a sentient being is Reiki/universal energy/spiritual energy.

The attunement doesn’t give you the ability to channel Reiki, you are Reiki already. We have just forgotten how to consciously work with it, that is all. The system of Reiki was developed to support you in evolving your skills of working with Reiki.

This doesn’t mean that the attunement is not valid, it just means that it is often misunderstood in the modern system of Reiki. Traditionally, in Japan, the attunement has its own form and is called ‘reiju’, which means ‘spiritual blessing’ of ‘offering’. It doesn’t say anything about attuning someone to a specific energy as the English word ‘attunement’ infers.

So when looking at the meaning of attunement we need to go back to the origins of the system of Reiki and to the Japanese word ‘reiju’ (spiritual blessing/offering) rather than creating a modern interpretation for it.

It is interesting to note that not all languages translate the word ‘reiju’ into ‘attunement’. In France, for example, the process is called l’initiation (initiation) and often in Holland it is given the same meaning with the Dutch word, initiatie. Initiation may well be a better word than attunement…

During the reiju a student has an initial (initial coming from initiation) experience of his or her own true nature (Reiki). This experience is a seed. By watering this seed with the five elements of the system of Reiki (precepts/meditations/hands on healing/symbols and mantras/reiju), this seed can then be brought to fruition.

One other important aspect is that when we look at the Reiki precepts we also see that the statement of, “The attunement gives you the ability to channel Reiki and therefore, without the attunement, you can not channel Reiki”, does not make sense. 

As an example, let’s look at one of the precepts: show compassion to yourself and others.

Now ask yourself this question: Is it compassionate to state that only you, as a Reiki teacher, can give people the ability to exist of, and work with, Reiki (universal energy/spiritual energy)?

No, of course not. Within true compassion you see people as equal and not as if you have something (Reiki) that they do not have.

Again this is not to say that the attunement is not necessary! Yes it is, but not from the perspective of attuning someone to a specific energy which they currently do not have.

To practice the system of Reiki properly we need to utilize all five elements taught traditionally within the system, then we can truly say that we are practising the system of Reiki.

Comments 15

  1. Avatar of paula

    i am still not understanding why you need an attunement. if the energy is within us and all around, why the attunement? i have only heard one reiki master say you do not need an attunement. i have only had level one attunement and i can say it did honestly effect me and something did happen. (hard to explain) my reiki teacher said the attunement is so the student can tune in to the reiki. so what is the point of level 2 and 3 attunement? if reiki is within us all, then shouldn’t it be noted that with practice and persistence rieki will develop without additional attunements?

  2. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Paula,
    The traditional word for attunement is reiju which literally translate as spiritual blessing. So the attunement is a spiritual blessing, it helps you to have an initial experience of your true self/reiki.
    When we have this initial experience we can use it as a seed / platform to work from, using the rest of the tools within the system of Reiki.
    Most of us find it hard to remember our true self/reiki this is why the attunement helps, it helps us to remember our true self/reiki.
    Hope this helps.

  3. Avatar of Danica

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this wonderful post! I am thrilled to find others who think this way! Reiki is YOU and you are REIKI! Reiki is OUR higher self, which is ultimately connected to EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING!!
    When I first became attuned to Reiki, I believed that it was a force outside of myself – 3 years later I know better 😉
    I believe the attunment “dials” you into the energy, which some may have a hard time to do otherwise, especially if they are not spiritually “aware”. I definitely felt more connected to the Universe, God, All-There-Is after receiving my attunments, but I know that they are not needed to give Reiki.

    Thank you again 🙂

  4. Avatar of seema

    I have to say when I did my Reiki teacher in 2008 this is exactly what my thought process was , how ever I didn’t started to teach until last year and although wasn’t still clear I knew that time it is not the outside force ( although I have to say it was based on what I had read ) but now with Ihreiki reiki teachings and having experienced myself “direct experience” I know better , how it can feel to be “Reiki” when you are same space with your teacher -still long ways to go to have a deeper connection with students and clients but its getting better every day..with practice , thank you 🙂

  5. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  6. Avatar of jim


    I took my Reiki classes in the mid 90’s including Master Teacher(I use this term with a laugh)  After teaching a few classes I became disillusioned with the concepts and falsehoods of Reiki back then and quit using Reiki.  Much has changed since those days and much new insight has come to light.  I have enjoyed your articles and information.  They answer and clarify a lot of my past confusion.  I wish I had learned this info way back then and have started using Reiki once again.  I look forward to experiencing more of your programs.

  7. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Jim,

    Yes many people say confusing things which doesn’t make sense and therefore we start to stop our practice which is a pity in a way.
    Hope you get something out of the article.
    Enjoy your journey.

  8. Avatar of paul

    Hi,  I just wanted to thank you for your answer on the need for attunements. I have been a Reiki Master for several years and practiced martial arts and used ki for many years longer.  I have struggled to understand why the attunements are necessary when in other disciplines people access ki without attunements.  I too have read books where they say Reiki is a unique or special form of ki.  I like your answer that we are all one .  And that the attunement merely helps you remember that.  Thank you so much for your insight.  Namaste

  9. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  10. Avatar of Diederik van der Boor

    I can add to this that an attunement is indeed not necessary. After receiving a Reiki treatment I was already able to perform Reiki on myself. Compared to a level 1 student it was still a small “flame”, but in a year time it kept growing while I was using it. The initiation/attunement of the level 1 class surely ignited this fire, and make it stronger, but the seed was already there.

  11. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  12. Avatar of Jawahar Mehta

    Who is a healer?
    Healer is a person who helps you realize your own potential to heal yourself. He or She is a channel or a medium to awaken your inner power to Heal Emotional or Physical pain and misery. The channeling does NOT mean mysterious dark forces. It is sun shine, open fresh air and all the beauty around you. Natural forces has granted us all that in abundance. We as humans make it very complicated
    What is healing, exactly?
    It is hard or trying to describe Divine or spiritualism. It’s better to have a personal experience of it.
    Every One in their life time experience it.
    It feels deeply nurturing and peaceful. The basic definition of healing is the process of becoming whole.
    People use different words to describe healing, like: presence, love and consciousness. Healing is to release—physical, emotional, and mental blocks and behaviors.
    During healing a person often receive clarity and insight about their life path.

  13. Avatar of Bronia Sandell

    I’m so happy that you identify the energy as one but taking many names and spiritual practices. This is definitely my experience and belief . I hate it when people try to make a distinction between say Spiritual healing and Reiki. To me they have the same source just use a different vehicle for delivery to the recipient . Thank you 🙏

  14. Avatar of cathleen.bonvento

    There so often seems to be confusion related to the use of different words/terminology to describe the same thing. I like how this article points out different translations into various languages, and a variety of words that can be used to describe the same concept.

    When I first learned Reiki levels 1 & 2 in the Western tradition about 25 years ago, the words “initiation” and “attunement” were both used, and it was also explained that these were necessary in order to be able to personally channel Reiki energy to yourself and others. In addition, it was taught to us that whatever attunements you received in each level of Reiki study, never needed to be repeated. I can now see that these were more limited explanations of the practice of Reiki, based on what those teachers had, themselves, been taught by their teachers. Along the way, some things had been “lost in the translation” — literally.

    Through my more recent studies with the IHR, I learned the Japanese word “Reiju” and the concept of spiritual blessings, enlightenment, and uncovering the already present great bright inner light. My understanding and experience has deepened. It is as if there were some missing puzzle pieces; and now I have found those pieces and inserted them into the puzzle for a more complete view of the picture. None of this invalidates my initial experience of Reiki teachings including receiving of “attunements” and my subsequent many years of practice; however, my view is now more expansive and my understanding more profound.

    1. Avatar of Frans

      Hi Cathleen,
      Wonderful to hear. Yes, we can always go deeper and deeper till we see the essence of the teachings.

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