Distance Healing – Permission or No Permission?

Bronwen and Frans StieneArticles, English 33 Comments

sun shining trees

Does the sun ask permission to shine? Does a fire ask permission to radiate heat?
No.These things just occur naturally.

“When we send the energy of love and compassion to another person, it doesn’t matter if they know we are sending it. The important thing is that the energy is there and the heart of love is there and is being sent out into the world. When love and compassion are present in us, and we send them outward, then that is truly prayer.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

There is often a lot of debate about the need for permission to send “distant” healing to a person, people or place. 

Do you have to ask people permission to “send” them healing?

This depends completely upon what your intent is when you perform the “distance” healing. As you can see we place the words “send” and “distance” between inverted commas, this is because when you truly connect to universal or spiritual energy you realise that there is no “distance” in the first place. The essence of universal energy is non-dual which means that everything is interconnected; there is no separation. It is only our limited understanding that leads us to see things as separate.

Looking at “distance” healing from this viewpoint it is already possible to know the answer to this article’s question: there is no need to ask permission. As a Reiki practitioner you are not really doing or giving anything, you just have to BE.

In a state of Being you are the purity of a beautiful, radiating light. You are the sun.

The sun does not ask permission to shine, it just shines and yet people take accordingly from the sun. Some like to lay in the sun all day, some want to sit in the sun during their lunch break, while others stay indoors enjoying its natural light. Each person takes what he or she needs from the sun, not what the sun thinks they should have.

Or you can think of it like a camp fire. A camp fire just burns and radiates heat. The people around take from this heat accordingly. Some want to sit close to the fire, while others sit a bit further away, and yet others do not want to be near the fire at all. The people take from the fire whatever they need, the fire does not decide this. 

The sun and the fire are without judgement; they just shine.

If, as a Reiki practitioner, you can recognise this state of mind as well – just Being the energy without judgement – then all you need do is set your intent that the person, people or place receives whatever he or she may need. That is it.

In setting this intent there is no need to ask permission because, as a practitioner, you are just shining your light and the person, people or place takes accordingly.

The symbols and mantras taught in Okuden Level II of the system of Reiki will help you to be in this open, interconnected space. They are there for you as a practitioner to remember this state of mind, they are not for your client. The more you remember this interconnectedness, the deeper the connection will be with the spiritual energy and with your client; ultimately bringing you into a state of Oneness.

BUT,  if you try to manipulate the energy of a person or people by entertaining certain judgements then you are performing something quite different to that described above. In such a case you are actively trying to change something about someone else and therefore the person needs to know what is happening. You are in fact forcing something upon the person and if this person is not aware of it then that is not a healthy energetic connection. As soon as you begin to make judgements about what a person needs to receive then you are attempting to heal rather than allowing healing to occur. Deep personal healing comes from a place of non-judgement and complete openness.

Everything and everyone is interconnected already. All we need do is remember this. 

When we see human life only in terms of ordinary time, where everything is chopped into separate pieces, then our eyes aren’t open to see life in terms of universal time, where we are interconnected and interpenetrated with all sentient beings.
From Each Moment Is the Universe – Dainin Katagiri

Comments 33

  1. Avatar of Kathy Kelly
  2. Avatar of seema
  3. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  4. Avatar of Lagan

    Thank you so much for this article.  It frees us up about trivial thoughts like:  the person must ask for Reiki or that we must have their permission before sending them Reiki.  It all comes back to oneness and connectedness and this article simplifies all thinking regarding permission.

  5. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Lagan,
    yes it is all about realizing that we are all connected in the first place. It is only in our mistaken mind that we think we are separate and therefore need to ask permission.

  6. Avatar of Lorinda Weatherall

    Hi Frans,
    You shared this thought in New York 2012 at a Reiki Workshop, and I have similar views regarding the interconnectedness of humans. However, a client has the right to informed consent and as practitioners if we neglect this responsibility would we not be in breach of that client’s “right to accept or refuse treatment and underlined rights to self-determination and the right to be left alone – even if choices seem poorly made to others.”

  7. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Lorinda,

    To find your answer we have to look within the precepts. Precepts are instructions, so the precepts taught within the system of Reiki are instructing us how to practice the system.

    So we can ask ourselves:
    Do we need to ask permission to: not be angry with someone?
    Do we need to ask permission to: not to worry about someone?
    Do we need to ask permission to: be humble to someone?
    Do we need to ask permission to: be honest with someone?
    Do we need to ask permission to: be compassionate to someone?

    The system of Reiki is about love, as you can see in the precepts, so we can also say: do we need to be asking permission to someone to be loving to them?

    But what is very important is our intent, our intent is always that the person receives whatever they need, not what I think they need. So if they do not want anything they do not get anything. This is very important.

    Many Reiki practitioners and teachers, say: my client needs an emotional/mental symbol or a power symbol, but that is an ego trip, how do we really know what they need? Plus this is not being compassionate either, being compassionate is not about judging someone, being compassionate is about letting the person take what he/she needs.

    And what about all the Japanese Buddhist practitioners and teachers, (or all Buddhist or Christians who light a candle) who set their intent that all sentient beings receive what ever they need during, for example Goma, or their own meditation. Are they going to ring everybody to ask for permission? What about ourselves as Reiki practioners or teachers who set their intent during their own practice that they do it for all sentient beings and that all sentient beings receive whatever they need, do they need to ring up everybody?

    Of course if we do a physical hands on healing than it would be different, we can not just touch everybody. But we can smile at everybody, we can open our heart to everybody.
    Some might say a smile is not Reiki, but that is a misunderstanding, look at the precepts, the precepts say: smile, smile with an open heart, with love…

    Hope this helps.

  8. Avatar of Michele

    Thank you!  This has cleared up the last of the lingering doubts.  The western-style Reiki I originally learned was all about permission.  It was drilled into our heads.  It was in essence actually working against the precepts which were given to me at the Level I class – it was generating fear and setting a place of separation instead of oneness.  It created a great deal of fear and fear-based patterns of thinking- i.e. protection etc.  Working with the precepts since your class has really helped me to see how the fear was entering and helped me to start letting it go.  The intent is so important.  It does not place me at the center of it and allows me to sit in that place of oneness.  The intent places the healing with the person if they choose to open to it or not- I am only the conduit for the energy. Thanks again Frans.  This is a wonderful journey of discovery and growth.

  9. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Michele,
    Yes many teachers teach fear based stuff. For example protection, if i protect myself it is based on fear and when i do that i put a wall between me and others.
    However when we look at the precepts we find that there is no need for protection, that we need to purify our mind. This is why it is so important to work with the precepts.
    Many teachers just read them aloud in their class and that is it, but we need to go much deeper, we need to embody the precepts. When we start to do this then we start to see that we are all interconnected, no need to ask permission because we are all interconnected anyway. It is only in our confused mind that we think we are individual beings and that what we do does not effect anything? But this is not the case, we are the air, we are the water, we are the earth, we are all one.
    Wish more teacher would let their students meditate on the precepts.

  10. Avatar of lorinda

    Hi again Frans,
    I went and spoke to my ethics mentor regarding sending healing without permission and they were quite adamant. In a Hospice or Hospital situation we need permission. If we get our clients to sign a consent release form when in person, then we also need the client’s consent when offering distant Reiki.

    Way back in the early stages of Reiki towns were smaller and the inhabitants knew their neighbours so asking permission may not have been so important. Unfortunately, in our modern age we don’t know our neighbours and therefore need that permission.

    I totally agree that we as a human species are all one. In fact I would go further that all sentient beings on Earth are one but ethically when we touch or distantly touch another we need permission. Maybe it is as simple as the Mary Brown advising Charlie Green that she is going to be placing Charlies name on a distant healing list.

    It is my understanding that when a Goma rite is performed the officiant is aware of the individual who is requesting the rite because that individual is in the need of some form of purification.
    Thank you for the discussion but I think we can say – we agree to disagree. Gassho.

  11. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Lorinda,

    I think that the big difference is that you see it as doing Reiki, like sending, rather than being Reiki. If I be Reiki how can I switch it off? Reiki means our true self, it is something who we are, again how can we switch it off, or why would we want to switch it off in the first place.

    Here is an example, say Thich Nhat Hanh or the Dalai Lama visit a hospital are they going to switch off their compassion, their wisdom, their open expanded energy? Of course not, they just walk in and the people will take whatever they need. They are like the sun, radiating out love.

    When we go deeper within the system of Reiki we realize that we are Reiki rather than doing Reiki, this is a very important point.

    And what about this: a person in a coma or a baby, do you ask permission to do healing? Ok now people will say, I ask my higher self or intuition if it is okay or not, but lets be honest, how often is our intuition or higher self right? If it is always right your life would be very different, we know our intuition is clouded by our own attachments etc… As teachers we have to really think about this elements.

    When I walk into a hospital do i need to ask people permission to smile and be kind to them? Do I have to ask them to sign something so that I am allowed to have no anger, no worry, be honest, be humble, and be compassionate with them? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. This is what the system of Reiki is about, being compassionate, being open, and if we are this goes pared with a healing energy emanating from your being.

    Goma can also be for all sentient beings, world peace, or some people give sticks with stick peoples name on it, some might not have asked the person for permission, these sticks are then being burned in the fire.

    And again what about all the Mahayana Buddhist who state after each practice that the energy they have accumulated during their meditation might help/heal/serve all sentient beings?

    Reiki = Love = True Self = Openness = Energy = Compassion = Bright = Healing = No Anger = No Worries = Being Honest = Being Humble, would you like to switch this off? If so we have to ask ourselves why?

  12. Avatar of lorinda

    hi Frans,
    Your example is easy to follow.
    When visiting a hospital yes, we can be open, loving and compassionate. If others benefit or notice a difference within themselves because of our radiant presence this is truly a wonderful gift we have shared. It is the observer who has chosen to change, whether consciously or unconsciously.
    However, with distant healing the absentee client is unaware of our benevolence and may feel violated depending on how energy sensitive that individual may be.
    Thanks again.

  13. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Lorinda,
    Again we are not the doer when we practice “distance” healing, but of course this depends on the intent of the practitioner.
    If the practitioners just say that the client receives whatever they need it is all up to the client. You offer something and the client can just walk by and leave it alone.

    It is like offering cookies, they can take the whole bowl, just one, or none, we do not force the cookies in their mouths.

    And what about this, just posted on our facebook page:

    A bit more on permission or no permission.
    (sorry about the language but it is true)

    Do we ask permission or consent when we think or say:
    (and as we know energy follows thoughts)

    My teacher is a bitch
    The Dutch are bastards, after they win the world cup 🙂
    That politician sucks
    My husband is an asshole
    That guy is a MF
    I hate the world and everybody on it.
    Wish he would fall dead
    I going to eat some meat (ok tricky one, but think about it)

    No, nobody ask for permission to say these things.

    Yet many people say that we need to ask permission if we want to think compassionate and loving thoughts to another,
    like: that the person receives what ever they need for their healing.

    Really, really think about this.
    Isn’t this all a bit strange, the human mind is so confused sometimes.

    PS I could have come up with even more things but it might have shocked some people, and yet we think and say these things.

  14. Avatar of michelle m triska

    i would like to request healing again michelle m triska
    7600 broadview rd apt 206-2
    parma, ohio 44134
    healing for pancreatic enzyme insufficency gas flautence, hernia, pain, quit smoking blessings. please send it as long as possible if you can thank u . also for anger and stress. protect from evil long life change good luck. friends, blessings, car library more. please send for a extended period of time.  HEALTH, LOVE, PEACE, HARMONIOUS RELATIONSHIP NEW JOB PROSPERITY. MONEY FREE THINGS. LONG LIFE. HEALING. IN BODY MIND MENTAL STABILITY. NO PSYCH WARDS ALL EVIL DONE TO ME GOES BACK TO THAT PERSON.

  15. Avatar of Dailey

    I agree with the idea of BEing Reiki, or of emanating. However, I also see that asking permission is a wonderful way to bring someone into awareness of what you’re doing, and to empower them to make decisions about what they receive. A mother might make decisions for a small child, but as they get older, that child is able to exercise free will, which allows them to develop uniquely on their path. A mother may not stop being a mother, and emanating that being, but her intentional mothering actions will become more permission based out of respect for the personal authority of that child.

    Whatever energy we send has an effect, including negative thoughts. Of course we do not ask permission to think. We also do not ask permission to BE or emanate Reiki. If however we as humans hold specific intention toward another, such as sending a “distance” healing to a loved one, I do believe there is great power in asking, as on some level we are intending them to receive that healing, whereas when we are thinking, we don’t intend those thoughts to be heard.

    Sometimes people do indeed want to burrow deep and isolate in order to process, and they may not want intentional energy, even if it is loving. I believe we honor them if we respect those boundaries and ask before sending intentional energy.

    Ultimately, it seems like a non-issue to me. If we default to asking for permission, we have another chance to engage consciously with others about healing, life, and love. I choose always to ask permission. By doing this, I’ve noticed that when I’m “afraid” of asking, or feel that I “shouldn’t” or that the person in question “wouldn’t understand,” more often than not, it’s a sign of something fear-based or hiding within myself, OR a sign that I’ve made a judgement (ie, “Oh this person really NEEDS my healing”) and that ego stuff needs to be addressed. I might not have noticed that if I just sent without permission. I have found that asking permission often opens up new dialogue, insight, and appreciation. It helps people feel connected, and allows for a beautiful process of feedback and growth.

    In other words, why NOT ask? 🙂 Again, as practitioners we will always BE Reiki. But when we choose to do, then doing so with consciousness, respect, and kindness is so powerful. I would much rather know when people are sending me Reiki rather than receiving it without knowing. And honestly, if it really needs to be sent, it does without permission or not, anyways.

    Thank you for this wonderful article and meditation on permission. 🙂 Dailey

  16. Avatar of Frans Stiene

    Hi Dailey, Yes asking permission is nice but often when I am in meditation people or animals will just appear for healing. They might be in Europe while I am in Australia and it is night there so better not call for permission.

    If we just shine like the sun and our intent is that they take whatever they need, not what I think they need, then we are free.

    Of course it is nice when the other person is part of the session, this creates a deeper bond in a way.

    We can also see it the other way around. I have students who remember the interconnectedness with me ask for healing without informing me, and that is fine too. Because in essence we are all interconnected from beginningless time.

  17. Avatar of Cate

    Being Reiki is having a sense of the sacred embodied in the no anger, no worry, humble, honest, compassionate living we are practicing in all our encounters seen and unseen. The purity of the reiki energy will be. I appreciate and love that my healing happens in part because of unknown loving connections.

  18. Avatar of Gino Leonardo

    Regardless of permission, the most important thing is the benefit one can get from this type of healing energy. As we know this is the most ancient and effective healing procedure, one may try to get some mental or physical cure by the distance healing techniques.

  19. Avatar of MYLES

    What a beautiful message and lesson. I love to share these ideas with my Reiki students to stimulate the kind of deeper understanding that only strengthens our connection to Reiki energy and Universal love

    Namaste, Guru’s

  20. Avatar of cathleen.bonvento

    As I am nearing completion of my Transition to Shinpiden training, I have been reading, with interest, all of the comments preceding mine, in response to the article about whether or not to request permission when “sending” Reiki or during “distance healing.”

    When I first learned and was trained in Reiki levels 1 & 2, in the “Western” style (back in the 1990’s), I was taught to seek permission when sending to anyone I did not know personally or had never met. However, for a family member or close friend, or even for “situations” — I was instructed that it was “okay” to send without asking the individual’s permission. For a young child or a person in a coma or someone not mentally competent, I was advised that permission should be requested from a family member or guardian. So, this seems to be a kind of “hybrid” of different approaches that various schools of Reiki teach.

    What I have appreciated in the IHR’s approach is the concept of us all being interconnected. Yes, we are physical beings living on this Earth, and may be separated by physical distance — whether by only a few miles/kilometers or an entire continent or across an ocean. And — yes — we are also interconnected through our minds, emotions, spirits even though our bodies may not be in close proximity.

    In various religious traditions, prayer for another’s healing or for the best outcome in a difficult situation, is common and encouraged. Sometimes, you let the person know that you are praying for him/her. Sometimes, you just send prayers and hold another person up to their highest good, without saying anything. So, this is a parallel to the concept of distance healing without asking for permission.

    On the other hand, if a Reiki practitioner is working in a hospital or health care facility, there are many legal rules and regulations governing what they can or cannot do. (I say this as a Registered Nurse in the USA who has worked in hospitals, and for many years in home health care as a visiting nurse.) So, in reading Lorinda’s posts, listed above from several years ago, I can understand her situation, concerns, and her need to adhere to established protocols.

    There were many years when I was working as a visiting nurse, going from one house or apartment to another, and conducting skilled nursing visits in patients’ own homes. Given the guidelines of my job description, and time constraints, I was not “allowed” to conduct a Reiki session with my patients. Nor would I have had time to do so when I had multiple home visits to conduct in one day, followed by documentation and coordination through meetings, phone calls, etc. Neither was I permitted to “solicit” clients in order to offer separate Reiki sessions on my own time — that would have been a conflict of interest and grounds for being fired.

    However, what I used to do, very simply, was “give” Reiki through a simple touch of my hands when, for example, I was checking someone’s blood pressure, listening to their heart or lungs, conducting any other kind of physical assessment, or providing wound care. My “finishing touch” was literally, just that — the “Reiki touch.” I didn’t have to say anything, or ask permission, since my job already included permission to touch my patients as part of whatever task I had to accomplish. Some patients would notice and ask — “What are you doing?” or say, “Your hands are so warm.” Others would thank me for taking some extra time to sit, perhaps hold their hand or have my hand on their shoulder, while listening to them talk about whatever they needed to share.

    (This, of course, is a little different from the concept of distance healing, however, it still has to do with “permission” — and in this situation — involving hands-on touch.)

    Also, if I was going into someone’s home, where I knew that it was a particularly difficult patient or situation I would be dealing with, I would pause briefly at their front door, and focus on the Reiki healing energy that I would be bringing with me into the visit. It was a way of centering myself, remaining calm and focused for whatever the next hour would bring.

    Now, after my initial studies through the International House of Reiki, I can see that I was actually “being” or “embodying” Reiki without anyone actually having told me how to do that. It seemed to come to me very naturally — just Being and Allowing.

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene

      Hi Cathleen,

      Beautiful. yes we are Reiki, our true self, this shines through in all we do, no matter if we touch or not touch and people can take from this whatever they need.


  21. Avatar of VATSALA CHAUHAN

    Hi Frans,

    Thank you for your beautiful thoughts.

    I have been searching up on this topic since few days. My Reiki teacher tells me to take permission before sending distant healing. Now the people I wish to send healing are my loved ones who are not on talking terms with me for various reasons but I still wish for their well being and would want to see them do good in their lives. In this case asking for permission is not going to work out. But I still send them Reiki (love, compassion, well being and all of it).

    I am told that this way of distant Reiki is of no use as the recipients are not open to receiving Reiki. But I am still doing it, it somehow makes me feel connected with them and I strongly believe in intuitions, energies and right intentions to work when done with unconditional love.

    I saw a long discussion on your blog on this regard and thought of sharing my experience. I am pretty new to Reiki so I am trying to understand as much as possible.

    Love and Compassion,

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene

      Hi Vatsala,

      Most important is that we just shine love and not do it to change something in them etc… just the light of love.

      We are all interconnected already.

      If I have to ask permission to shine love then I have to also ask permission when I think negative thoughts about another person.


  22. Avatar of Christina

    As I go through the transition to Shinpiden course, I do have some questions about this.

    Your example of the sun doesn’t fully work for me, because the sun is not conscious and has no intention to direct its attention and energy to another person.

    However during a distance healing session, there certainly is a conscious intention to direct reiki energy to that person.

    I understand that we can simply be Reiki by emanating it if we are in the same room, and that person will naturally draw closer or close themselves off. But that is not the same situation as thinking of a specific person and having an intention to connect with them so that they receive something from us.

    Is there a different way that you approach distance healing?

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene

      Hi Christina,

      The intent is to just be like the sun. Within the Shinpiden Reiki III symbol and mantra we see the sun and the moon. Within the kanji of Reiki we see rain. All these natural elements point to how we have to practice.

      Without judgment or even directing it, we just let it rain and shine and the client takes from it whatever they need.

      If we direct it we are like this: we have a glass of water, open the clients mouth and pour it in. Not really kind and compassionate.

      If we are like the sun and the rain we just say, here is the glass of water take from it whatever you need.

      This is the most important element, unconditional undirected compassion and love. Just like the sun, moon and rain.

      “True compassion is undirected and holds no conceptual focus. That kind of genuine, true compassion is only possible after realising emptiness.” — Tsoknyi Rinpoche.

      This is what Mikao Usui pointed out in all his teachings. But we like to “do” things.

      Therefore already from the beginning of our practice we need to understand this undirected compassion and kindness. This is also why Mikao Usui used the word reiju, the traditional Japanese word of the attunement/initiation. Reiju stands for spiritual offering, we offer it, we do not force it or direct it, we offer it and the student takes whatever they need, This kind of undirected offering sets the practitioner and the client free and therefore there are more possibilities.


      1. Avatar of Christina

        Thank you for your explanation. What I understand from what you said is that we connect to that person but don’t direct the energy to them for them to receive. In that sense we connect and then simply radiate reiki allowing them to take what they need. Is that correct?

        Also, I understand we are already connected. But at some point we need to at least think of the person’s name to have the intention to have a session with them. This is what I mean by connecting. Otherwise we can simply radiate reiki without ever agreeing to do a session with someone, and it will benefit all of mankind, but not in the way someone is asking from me.

        What I’m referring to is that by having in mind to connect with them, I already am directing my attention toward them. And where attention goes, energy flows. None of the natural elements have this kind of conscious intent. I look forward to your reflection on this.

        1. Avatar of Frans Stiene

          Hi Christina,

          We are already interconnected. This means that if you feel the need to ask them permission for healing it would be the same as asking permission to think about someone, positive or negative, we do not do that either.

          We do not ask permission when we smile to someone on the street, we just smile and yet through that smile something can take place.

          What about in Buddhism for Christianity for example, when you hold all sentient beings in mind or light a candle. We can not call all sentient beings. And yet whenever we practice or in fact when we lead our daily life, each action we do has an affect on something, we do not ask permission for these actions either.

          The rain just fall, it fall undirected on the earth, but each person, or tree, or plant takes accordingly.

          We are not healing anybody, we just hold space – so to speak, in which healing can take place.

          When i think now about you do I ask first permission to think about you? When I suddenly think about my mother, do I first ring her up and ask her if it is okay to think about her? No we don’t and yet my thoughts have already an affect on it all.

          This is why Mikao Usui said, refer from thinking with anger and worry but think with gratefulness and compassion instead.


          1. Avatar of Frans Stiene

            Hi Christina,

            This is what we say, right: I project healing. I send healing. I think about the person. They receive it. I will fo it for them.

            Investigate this “I”.

            The deeper aspect of what Mikao Usui was trying to point out that healing has to be “ownerless.” No I. No subject and object.

            Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, for exmaple, stands for: my original nature is non-dual mind. Thus Mikao Usui points out, you and the person are already non-dual, and the more we have the direct experience of this then our healing becomes ownerless, undirected without any centre.


          2. Avatar of Christina
  23. Avatar of brendanrumph

    Beautiful. If I may relate it to my own spiritual tradition, it is exactly what is actually meant in the scripture of Christianity where Christ says “Be ye, therefore, Perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is Perfect.” the preceding verses describe what you are here; the shining of the Light upon all, regardless of their worthiness or station (according to our judgement), and here we find the command to do likewise: Shine the light we are given upon all, regardless of how we might judge them or their situation. He even brings to bear both the image of the light of the sun, but also the refreshment of rain into the allusion, something relevant to an understanding of the kanji of Reiki.

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene
  24. Avatar of Patricia Smith

    Your point about ‘just different words’ is so true. Lots of this discussion uses the phrase ‘sending Reiki’ or similar. But aren’t we actually sending love and compassion, with our friend taking whatever he, she or it needs? And ‘just for today’ = all the time. The precepts are so spot on: and by doing our best to embody them we are ‘healing without healing’. Phew.

    1. Avatar of Frans Stiene

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