Before we define what an attunement is not, maybe it is easier to define what an attunement is. A Reiki attunement is a special form of initiation into Reiki at a certain level. During the attunement, the Reiki Master traps the energy into their body and pass it onto the student. This usually involves a form of ceremony or initiation, for example by leading into a meditation or having soft music. The attunement is said to tune the student into the Reiki channel, pretty much like we would tune a radio to a particular frequency.

Then there are Reiki Masters that give attunements over a distance. These range from get-rich-quick schemes over the internet to genuine caring Reiki Masters who believe in what they are doing. So is a distant attunement real? Well, one usually does not get a certificate with distant attunements, the time to practice self-healing and healing others in a supportive environment, in-person after-care in case there is a rare abreaction to an attunement, or guidance on how to incorporate Reiki effectively into the student's life. And whilst there are many genuine Reiki Masters out there who give excellent distant attunements, with most, you may well wonder if the attunement was actually done. After all, the Master may have been reading a book or cutting their nails or cooking instead of doing your attunement! A distant attunement often works and is real, but Reiki training consists of more than just the attunement. A good course or workshop will guide you in using your new-found skill and support your development and growth, whether on a personal or professional level. There may also be legal or association requirements in your country about whether your attunement can be a distant one.

People who have had both usually find the in-person attunement more fulfilling. However, sometimes a student is disappointed by an in-person attunement. Maybe the student and Master do not gel, or perhaps the Master is having an off-day. Some would say that attunements always work. What may happen is that the student is not aware of any change or may be unconsciously blocking the process through their own fear. Reiki is known to only work with you if you let it, so it makes sense that this extends to the attunement process too. Some students feel nothing, others see lights and hear angels, others are transported to a magical place, and some just feel relaxed. Just because a student does not feel the attunement does not mean that it did not happen. Each person will have their own experiences. Having said that, it is not about what sensations the student feels during or after the attunement itself, but whether they can effectively channel the Reiki afterwards that shows whether they have been attuned properly. A complication arises with natural healers, who can channel the energy anyway, so it is not always easy to tell. However, a good and experienced Reiki Master can often tell if the student has been attuned or not. It is the responsibility of the Reiki Master to attune the student correctly. Some systems even allow for mistakes made in the process, with the Reiki Master having to repeat the process to make sure that the attunement takes hold.

As well as the above considerations, how can you tell what is real Reiki that you are supposedly being attuned to and what is not? For example, there are 142 recognized and valid Reiki disciplines in the UK alone. There are new variations on Reiki all the time, so your attunement could well be so far removed from Reiki that is is no longer a Reiki one. It helps to talk to your Reiki Master first and ask them about the attunement process. For example, you may wish to ask them how strict the process is, what variations they use, or if they can give you your lineage tracing back to Mikao Usui.

Like anything else, recommendation is the best way to make sure you get the Reiki attunement you seek. Otherwise, do your homework first. You can go and speak to your Reiki Master, have a treatment from them, and many have a newsletter or regular Reiki shares in-person or over the internet, so you can get to know them better and make an informed decision about your attunement.

Author's Bio: 

© Suzanne Zacharia 2010. My name is Suzanne Zacharia and I am committed to spreading the word about health options. A virus caught at university at the end of 1986, plus medical negligence, meant that I got smokers lung at a relatively young age. In desperation for help with my symptoms and quality of life, I turned to complementary therapy and am now a complementary therapist, author and trainer, helping others achieve health and happiness. Want to use this article? You can, as long as you credit me with it and invite your readers to get my FREE book "7 Real Truths of Energy Psychology" at or my free course "5 Days To Change Your Life" at