Jedi Woo Woo or Real Science: And What Does Reiki Have to Do With Compliance?

Have you ever heard of energy healing? Maybe it brings to mind a beam of light and some serious Jedi woo woo. But you might be surprised to learn that research results have been promising enough to warrant further scientific exploration (which as you know means that enough studies have shown positive results). Additionally, many leading hospitals like The Mayo Clinic offer energy healing. Specifically, Reiki (Ray-Ki).

What is Reiki?

According to, “Reiki is an energy healing technique that involves a Reiki master using gentle hand movements to guide the flow of healthy energy (what's known in Reiki as “life force energy”) through the body to reduce stress and promote healing.” It is not a replacement for conventional medicine, rather a complementary treatment.

Some studies have shown that Reiki is better than a placebo at improving patient outcomes. Which according to an article in the Atlantic, it “ is particularly vexing to naysayers because Reiki delivers demonstrable salutary effects without a proven cause.”

What Does Reiki Have to Do With Compliance?

Recently, our compliance expert and Compliance Conversations host, CJ Wolf, kicked off a series on integrative health so that compliance experts can stay ahead of the curve. As integrative health continues to permeate the very thick walls of conventional medicine, and as science increasingly supports the efficacy of things like acupuncture and yoga, it’s our duty as compliance professionals to be in the know. Especially because integrative health has unique compliance risks and healthcare professionals are found non-compliant for holistic or integrative medicine.

On this episode of Compliance Conversations with CJ Wolf, An Introduction to Integrative Health For Compliance Officers: Understanding Energy Healing and Reiki, I spoke with two Reiki practitioners, Justin Larsen and Julie Crane R.N. about the history and practical uses of Reiki. Download this episode for your daily commute and learn all about the history of Reiki and energy work, common uses of energy healing, specifics of a Reiki session, and the research on energy healing.

If you’d like to reach out to our guests for questions, comments, or appointments, please contact them directly:

Justin Larsen: Phone: (801) 380-0896.

Julie Crane: Phone: (208) 431-9120.

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Episode Transcript

CJ: Welcome everybody to another episode of Compliance Conversations. This is CJ Wolf with Healthicity, and today we have a couple of guests I think you’ll really enjoy and a topic that is really interesting. Justin Larsen and Julie Crane are our guests today. Welcome to both of you.

Julie: Thank you, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Justin: Yes, it’s a pleasure.

CJ: Excellent, Justin and Julie one thing that we usually do on the podcast is usually give each guest an opportunity to briefly introduce themselves, you know, especially as it pertains to the topic we’re going to talk about. So why don’t we start with Justin and then we’ll let Julie introduce herself.

Justin: Yeah, of course. My name is Justin Larsen, I’m actually an employee of Healthicity and have some experience and training in Reiki so it’s an extra pleasure to be here today on our own podcast to talk a little bit about that and how those two worlds collide for me, so thanks for having me on the show, CJ.

CJ: Yeah, welcome Justin. I’m looking forward to your expertise and experience on the topic and Julie’s.

Julie: Yes, I have a background in nursing. I have a master’s degree in nursing. Most of my experience is in women and children. And I became interested more in the, I guess, what you’d call the energy therapy world, around ten or so years ago. Feeling like there needed to be more to assist people to gain wellness and that’s when I became trained in Reiki and a few other modalities. So that’s kind of my story.

CJ: Excellent, well good, I’m excited to jump in. I want to kind of preface the topic today with, at the end of October in 2021, we at Healthicity had a webinar on integrative health and you know at Healthicity we are all about compliance programs and management and we spoke about the ever-emerging and ever-increasing use of integrative health techniques and then we talked a little bit about some of the compliance risks. So if you haven’t listened to that webinar, it might be something of interest. But we decided to do this podcast as a deeper dive into one of those many topics that we brought up on the webinar and we’re going to talk about Reiki. And that’s why I’m excited to have Justin and Julie on the podcast, because they do have this expertise and so let’s just jump right in. I’m glad I pronounced Reiki the right way and you can correct me if there’s a more appropriate way to pronounce it but let’s just start and ask this question:

Question: What is Reiki and where does it come from?

Justin: Yeah, Julie do you want me to take that one, or do you want the first shot at it?

Julie: Go for it.

Justin: Alright, so Reiki is like you mentioned CJ, it’s a subset of integrated health therapy. It falls under what’s usually called the energy therapy kind of category. In the past and in some other circles it is called energy healing but I think the community is leaning more towards energy therapy than healing when categorizing it. So Reiki is an energy therapy discipline that originated in Japan in 1922 that's discovery was attributed to a man named Mikao Usui ,and his branch of Reiki actually continues today but similar energy therapy was used in places in Japan and other parts of the world long before that. And so Reiki is administered by the Reiki practitioner to the recipient by the laying on of hands, or light touch, but it can also be administered without touch. And the idea is that the practitioner channels “ki”, which is part of the word Reiki which basically means life force energy, through the body and out their hand to be received by the received. And in terms of the benefits what the manuals, well I have a quote from the one that I had in my last training right here. It says, “Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.” And I think that part about that it doesn’t heal but that it promotes healing is a really key piece of how it works.

CJ: Yeah and you know we talked yesterday about, kind of, conventional medicine, I think I shared a quote. When I say yesterday I’m talking about the webinar that we did that I mentioned in the beginning. Where conventional medicine is sometimes just focused on one organ system or one problem and, not that it on purpose ignores the rest of the human but you know if you’re not consciously trying to integrate all aspects of the human into your healing and into your treatment then you might be missing something so I think what you mentioned there hits on that point.

Question: Julie, do you have anything to add about what Reiki is and where it comes from?

Julie: Just to go off of what you were just mentioning, is that it is really about creating or adding to systems that we look at. So, traditionally western medicines look very much at the physical system. But within the physical system, there are other systems, like your cardiovascular system, your muscular system, your skeletal system, and we forget that we do have a system that’s an energetic system and that system is, surrounds us, we are energy, we are created from energy. Energy is around us all the time so it’s not really that it’s “wooey”, or something crazy, it’s just we have gotten so habitually used to addressing the physical system. So this just encompasses our energetic systems and just like things can get kind of hung up and create disease within our physical systems and can also occur within our energetic systems. And oftentimes that can be where our problems that are exhibited by our physical system actually begin are within the energetic system.

CJ: Yeah, interesting. Before we get a little further, I am sure there are people wondering. So Reiki, there are other maybe cultures or nationalities that also try to address this energy in healing and health. Is that true? Are there other ancient Chinese types of approaches to energy and things?

Question: We’re going to focus on Reiki today but if you know could you just mention other types of energy approaches to healing and therapy?

Julie: Well, certainly there are, you know, from the Asian perspective. Whether Japanese, this is more of a Japanese based, there are Chinese based, Indian based if you have ever heard of “chakras” or some people pronounce it “shakras.” Those are again energy systems and those are more from the Eastern Indian perspective and I’m sure there’s even more than that that I’m not familiar with.

CJ: Okay, Justin, are you aware of anything? Would you like to add to that?

Justin: No, I think that’s spot on. So the traditional Indian medicine I believe it’s pronounced “ayurvedic medicine.” Relates to the chakra system and there is a very large, well I mean it’s a completely holistic style of medicine as I understand it and a big emphasis on the human energy system. And then in Chinese medicine you’ve got “Shiatsu” and the “meridian system” which some people may be familiar with. It’s a system about the internal energy channels of the body, how energy flows through the body. And the only other thing I’d want to add to that is, because I come from a very western medicine-oriented background, and to be very frank I am a very skeptical person. So as I’ve come into having experience with Reiki over the last few years it was and often still is a surprise to me that I find myself where I am and that’s largely because of my personal experiences with it. But the more I look into it, and like you mentioned these older medicine approaches and healing approaches from different cultures, what I am seeing or how I interpret this kind of resurgence and interest in Reiki and other kinds of integrative therapies today, I see it more as a return to something that we may be lost or passed over in western culture at some point. So to me, it feels a little bit more like a return to older ways of looking at the human system and health.

CJ: Yeah, I think that’s a great perspective. Also, I wonder and this is anecdotal but a lot of us have experienced where this conventional western medicine hasn’t solved all the problems right? So it may be taking care of some issues but I think some individuals may still feel stressed or depressed or anxious or lack energy and these types of things. And we’re searching for other approaches that can make us more whole. And so I think that approach and that type of thinking are probably in a lot of people’s minds and I think it’s why some of these modalities are increasing in frequency and people have an increased interest in them.

Question: So I’m sure a lot of people are wondering what a session in Reiki looks like? Do I go somewhere? What are they doing? Could you maybe explain from when a person shows up to someone who practices Reiki to the time they leave and the frequency of which they visit? What does the session or treatment schedule look like?

Justin: Yeah, Julie I’ll pass that one off to you first if you’re okay with that.

Julie: I’m happy to take that. I think it can look in a variety of ways. I personally have received Reiki treatments before I went on and learned it. In those treatments, I went in and I had an hour where I basically laid down on a table listening to some meditation music feeling incredibly relaxed as the practitioner went ahead and did Reiki at that time. And you kind of have this sense of almost euphoria and balance after it’s complete. Kind of like a massage. Just that really, other than euphoria I don’t know how to describe that, but you just feel really good. I use it, I also do faith-based life coaching and other types of things and so I just kind of incorporate mine into whatever I’m inspired to do with that particular person that day so mine don’t always look like the traditional Reiki session. So I think as practitioners become more familiar with how they want to incorporate it into their practice it can look in a variety of ways. Often it also is associated with some other kind of modality or treatment. I know some that use them with singing bowls, which is a vibrational healing source, or again meditation or music. All of those types of things help provide. I think what we’re looking for as we struggle with the word healing is what Reiki and other similar modalities do is it’s trying to bring the body back into balance because the body is out of balance for some reason and if you can bring the body back into balance than the body has an opportunity to heal itself. So it’s not that Reiki heals anything it just helps to bring the body back into balance so that the body can take care of itself.

CJ: Yeah, you know the body is an amazing thing right, and one thing I learned in medical school [laughs]. The first thing they told me is first to do no harm, get out of the way, the body can do a lot, and don’t do something to somebody that’s going to make a situation worse or prevent the body from doing what it does well. We’ve evolved over thousands and thousands of years. Our bodies are pretty good at helping us survive. Before I let Justin comment.

Question: Can you comment on, is the practitioner touching you? Are you flipping over, kind of like halfway through a massage, are they talking to you, is it better if you’re quiet and thinking of something else? What are some more mechanics about the session?

Julie: Well, you don’t have to be touched in order to receive a Reiki treatment. So if that’s something that you’re uncomfortable with you can just let the practitioner know that you prefer not to be touched. It can involve touch. So what I do with the clients that I work with, I usually just visit with them a little bit to see what they’re comfortable with, if they’re okay if I touch them or they prefer not to. Most of the time I do not have clients rollover. Cause I don’t want to disturb the balance we’re creating and what I do can be done with that. So just through intention, so basically it can just be a session where you just came in. I know on several when I had them I just fell asleep and it was wonderful [laughs].

Justin: Yeah, that’s the best when the receiver falls asleep right?

Julie: Right.

All: [Laughs]

CJ: Justin, what are your thoughts about what a Reiki looks like? It sounds like there can be some variation too.

Justin: Totally, and I think each practitioner has a little bit of their own flavor that they build into their practice. Since I’ve gotten into it I have had more exposure to receiving energy work or being present for it from other practitioners and common things, like Julie mentioned, is most sessions start out with a short interview, especially if it’s the receiver’s first time with that practitioner. You know if they need to have background information about Reiki, answering some of the questions we’re answering here. Explaining how it works and setting those expectations, explaining what’s going to happen in the session, and discussing that person’s reason for coming to receive energy therapy. And then at a certain point, a person will typically get into a comfortable position. It can be sitting, it can be lying down, I think most practitioners use massage tables and that’s when the session really begins and if the person has opted into light-touch Reiki practitioners will typically touch the person like on the shoulder, places on the head, briefly and lightly transmitting that energy to them. And from there, outside of that as a basic template, like Julie said it can be all over the place. I use a lot of sound therapy instruments in my practice and stones and crystals as well which I found to work really well for people who receive. And then other practitioners might integrate all kinds of different things into it, including talk, that’s one of the things you mentioned, guided visualization, guided relaxation. Relaxation is a big piece of Reiki. What else was I going to say in relation to that?

CJ: Let me ask while you’re thinking about that. So are these things that you typically schedule as somebody comes in once a month? Do people come in once or twice and they’re done? I suspect it’s something you repeat. But what are your thoughts on frequency?

Question: Are these things that you typically schedule like somebody comes in once a month? Do people come in once or twice and they’re done? I suspect it’s something you repeat. But what are your thoughts on frequency?

Justin: I think that it’s best when a person can be on a regular schedule on a regular schedule on it. It depends on the person. Somebody, if their need is really acute they might want to come in once every week or every other week. What I’ve found most common is people do it once or twice a month if they’re going to be doing it on an ongoing basis. And sessions, that’s something else, that’s what I wanted to mention. Session lengths can be all over the place depending on what the person wants or needs. Sometimes it’s as short as half an hour, I’ve had sessions that lasted two and a half hours, if that’s what the client needed and wanted.

CJ: Okay, yeah interesting. When we were on the webinar in October of 2021 talking about this I mentioned that there are clinical trials. Right, so a lot of us that come from this conventional western medicine approach, a very academic type of approach or an approach where evidence-based medicine where you leave out the anecdotes and you study it in populations to see does this have a real effect for certain types of populations. And I mentioned that the Mayo Clinic was involved in a clinical trial on Reiki. I shared some sites from the NCCIH, which is a government site on integrative health. What’s your knowledge of those kinds of studies and are you aware of findings so that people who might not, like this might be out in the left field for some people just because we’ve been trained to look at medicine a certain way.

Question: What kind of evidence have you found or that you’re aware that research is being done in this area?

Justin: I’ve done a little bit of digging into that. I was really closeted about my practice of Reiki because, like I mentioned before, I’m a pretty skeptical and empirically-minded person. And I was really practicing, in secret, if you will, I mean on myself for a couple of years until I went back and received another training and that’s when I was alerted to the fact for the first time that there had been quite a bit of study around Reiki. And since then, I’ve done some digging into that and tried to understand the lay of the land in what evidence is out there. And what I’ve found is that there are many studies that point to the efficacy of Reiki. Some suggest, hard scientific proof, that it improves health and medical treatment results beyond just the placebo effect with having control groups and all of that. But like with so many other things, you can Google this stuff and you can find a counterpoint for almost everything that’s out there. And I think if a person’s used to doing that kind of research I think it’s important to dig into how each study is done. Most of the ones, even the ones that are counterpoints to its efficacy, there’s usually a fair-minded statement about how that study was done and why it may not have produced the results that were hoped for or expected. But what I would say as long as a punchline, or at least as I interpret that landscape of research is that most people, and more and more recent studies, are pointing to the need for more studies and more tightly controlled studies because there seems to be sufficient evidence to warrant it.

CJ: And that’s so true with anything in medicine. Even like cancer trials. One study doesn’t dictate future treatment usually because in science you’re trying to control all the variables except for one and that’s the variable you’re studying. That’s the implementation of a certain therapy and I like the way you put that. It’s really a body of evidence over time that moves us in a direction to kind of fine-tune the research, make sure that the research study is designed appropriately, and like you said in any good study there’s always going to be a discussion at the end of the paper that says these were the drawbacks of the study. This is what future studies should focus on. This is where, you know, we may have missed things and so that’s really good. And maybe Justin on the podcasts notes we can include some links to these studies. That might be interesting for folks.

Justin: Definitely. Yeah, we can make sure that happens and I completely agree with what you just said.

CJ: And Julie do you have any comments on this?

Julie: The only thing that I would share, and you did bring up the Mayo Clinic, and I think they actually implemented educating their nursing staff and teaching them Reiki. It’s probably been around ten years ago or so. And from what I understand, I don’t know if they’ve continued to do research on it but I believe they still actively are using it. Unfortunately, I don’t know that it’s spread to a lot of other healthcare, corporate-minded people yet but I think that it’s awesome that they’re continuing to do it and in different locations, you’ll find different things. I worked for a while in Montana and many of the physicians there were open to more alternative and complementary types of therapies to assist their patients too. And I’m sure there are other areas that are like that.

Justin: Yeah, here in Utah just from hearing it around the community the practitioners I know of. I’m hearing about it being integrated into addiction treatment therapies, into mental health services, all kinds of places which is really exciting.

CJ: Yeah, well anything that works right. That helps all of us come to a more satisfying life and a more healthy life overall. Not just focusing on taking a pill all the time. I’m really interested in both of your paths in this type of treatment.

Question: Tell us about the training a practitioner receives. I’m not sure if it’s a licensure or it’s just you go to a certain respected training session.

CJ: Tell me about how one becomes trained and how you know a practitioner is certified if that’s a thing or not.

Justin: Alright well I can tell you what it’s looked like for me and what my take is and how it tends to be for most people as far as I understand it. Reiki, there is a training aspect to it. It’s usually a series of workshops or classes. I would say maybe an average of eight hours of in-person classes per level. There are different levels of training in Reiki. And so there is a training aspect but for a person to be able, I mean per these traditions, for a person to be able to practice Reiki kind of the centerpiece of the training is what is called an “attunement” or a “placement” which is the ability to channel this energy has to be passed from somebody in this lineage of Reiki practitioners to somebody directly which is often just through a guided meditation and that kind of thing. There is no licensure for it in Utah at least. I’m not sure about other places in the country. I think that’s something we can definitely see on the horizon eventually but there is a certification so if you’re ever in doubt about someone proclaiming to be a Reiki practitioner you should be able to ask to see their certificate of having been trained.

CJ: And that certificate, does it come from one institute or something? How would somebody know? Like I could set up shop and pretend to be a Reiki training school.

Question: Who does it come from, that kind of certification?

Justin: Well the original branch started with that gentleman “Mister Usui” in Japan. That branch still exists today with a direct lineage of all of those practitioners who have passed this on to others. So if you’re really worried about it you can start there and look for people who have been certified in that branch. And all of this you can find on the internet too. Including,, or I think is another one. But since then there have been other branches that have branched off of the “Usui” tradition. I’ve been trained in both “Usui” and another one called “Holy Fire Three.” And I was also; being the skeptical person I am, like where are all these branches? And once I looked into it I felt a lot more comfortable about it. So basically, if you can tie a person’s certification back to an organization that’s a Reiki organization and they can express or document their lineage back to the “Usui” tradition I would feel comfortable with that myself personally.

CJ: And Julie any thoughts on that question?

Julie: As far as some kind of certification, I think that’s going to vary per state. I know there are states that if you’re actually going to be physically touching a client there are requirements around that. Whether it’s “split zoning” Reiki or whatever. If you’re literally going to touch a patient then there are certain requirements you’re going to have to meet. Idaho and Utah I don’t believe have those that I’m aware of. I think if you’re a massage practitioner then that does require certification but I don’t know that they’re as strict with the others. So for some, they may choose not to touch as part of their Reiki practice simply so it eliminates that need for that additional certification.

CJ: One thing that we mentioned in the webinar that I referred to a couple of times today is potential compliance risks. Whenever there’s some sort of newer modality insurance companies tend to lag behind and coverage and those sorts of things and people want to get paid. Are you aware of any type of coverage from insurance companies? I’m suspecting the answer will be no and if no, I’m assuming that patients pay out of pocket kind of thing. And from a client’s perspective, since this is a compliance conversation podcast, as compliance officers we need to be aware and be transparent. If insurance is not covering it and we want to provide these types of services then we typically will have to ask for patients to pay.

Question: Any thoughts on payment and coverage?

Julie: I believe you’re correct. I don’t believe there’s any payments source right now for that. It’s too bad because I think it would offer more options to patients to be able to choose things. But for now anyway in my business, it is a cash payment plan for folks if they choose to come have it. Justin: That’s been my experience too.

CJ: Okay and I don’t know if this is appropriate to ask but generally how much do these things cost for an hour session or something like that?

Justin: Well I have my personal experience with that with different practitioners I know. But I was curious; I had a feeling you were going to ask that question so I looked up what’s considered to be the average range at least in the US. And it can range anywhere from about $40.00 to $300.00 a session. And I do personally know some practitioners who will charge $200 to $250 for a session. So it can really range. What my experience has been with practitioners is even if it’s their single source of income the people who practice Reiki I think are really passionate about it and really interested in helping people so I’ve seen a lot of sliding scale types of payment plans for people. And basically, asking people to pay what they can for a session. So I do see a lot of that.

CJ: Julie any thoughts on that or do you feel Justin covered that pretty well?

Julie: I think he did a great job.

CJ: Okay great. I’m looking at our time here. These podcasts always go so quickly and we’re coming to the end but I want to give you both an opportunity to comment on something maybe I didn’t ask or I should have asked. Maybe a personal experience, maybe recommendations, anything.

Question: Any last-minute thoughts?

Justin: Sure, this is my chance to say the one thing I’ve got to say right? Like so many other people who reach out to integrative therapies. My reason for doing that was because I had a health issue and I really hit a dead-end in mainstream medicine with both treating it but also even diagnosing it and finding out what the source was which is why I gravitated to this and began to practice on myself. With that, I just want to share my personal experience. Of course, I’m here, I’m talking about it, I received further training because it’s been effective for me. I can’t say that the issue is a chronic pain issue, I can’t say that all my pain is gone but it is much improved and overall, and what was surprising to me is my quality of life and my overall health has improved dramatically since I’ve been practicing Reiki.

CJ: And that I think is so important. I think what you said where you never got the full diagnosis where the treatment helped a little bit but you were searching for more and I think that’s a common theme in all of these integrative health topics that we’ve been talking about on the webinar and trying to find this complete solution for individuals. I appreciate you sharing that.

Justin: Of course.

CJ: Julie, any last-minute thoughts or comments from you?

Julie: I would just share I think part of the reason that there is this resurgence and looking at these alternatives is that people are looking for something different than just medication. Medication does come at a cost; there are typically side effects that are not necessarily positive for their health. I would just encourage somebody if they have curiosity about to reach out to a practitioner or I would be happy to visit with anybody if they have questions or are curious about what it might be able to do to help them to step into a place where they can experience better wellness. I too have had some health issues and have found how Reiki has been able to help me and help others that I’ve worked on as they’ve been able to come into balance and create more of an environment where their body can start to heal.

CJ: I appreciate that and to your point, if both of you are comfortable would you mind sharing a way that people can reach out to you? We could also put links and email addresses in the show notes.

Julie: Absolutely, my email is My phone is (208)431-9120.

CJ: Thank you, Julie. And Justin are you comfortable sharing that?

Justin: Yeah absolutely. I’m located in Utah and I am happy to answer any phone calls or emails if people want to reach out but in terms of actually being able to practice it would be here local to Utah. My phone number is (801)380-0896. My personal email is and my practice is actually mobile so I don’t have a fixed location that might interest some people.

CJ: Yeah interesting. And Julie you may have mentioned this but you’re in Idaho correct?

Julie: Correct.

CJ: Excellent. Thank you both so much for sharing your experiences and your thoughts on this. Again, to those listening, this is kind of a deeper dive into the topics we explored in our October 2021 webinar on integrative health and maybe we’ll do some more of these. Appreciate your being here, both of you.

Julie: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you so much.

Justin: Indeed, thank you CJ, and very nice to meet you, Julie.

Julie: Nice to meet you too.

CJ: And to our guests who are listening thank you so much and we hope to have you back on another episode of Compliance Conversations. Until then this is CJ Wolf with Healthicity. Have a great day.

Questions or Comments?