experience with Reiki students and clients:
In my current Reiki practice, I am finding that the number of people seeking Reiki for healing is predominately in the 35-45 year old group. The range of ages is 18 to 70. Approximately 80% are female. They come from diverse philosophical backgrounds and religions. Almost every religion is represented except fundamentalist Protestant denominations. Major religious backgrounds are Catholic, Anglican, UCC, Methodist, and Jewish, with a fairly substantial number of non-practicing clients. There is a disproportionate large number who are Wiccan and/or Unitarian/Universalist. They have good educations [many from a college background, but many self-taught after high school] and varied life experiences, some significantly stressful. Economically, many tend to be of modest means. All seem to have a great curiosity about life, and are willing and eager to engage in philosophical discussions.
The reasons typically given are involved with seeking relief for persistent problems which seem to have defied current medical wisdom, or are serious and the client wishes to use a complementary modality as well. I always explain that Reiki is solely a relaxation and stress reduction modality, and that I do not accept clients who intend to abandon their current medical treatment. I do explain that often the reduction of stress and regular relaxation sessions will certainly free up their natural tendency to heal themselves. Many of my clients are "repeat business". They report noticeable benefit from their Reiki sessions. Generally, most of my students who take Reiki I do move on to take Reiki II. The number of Reiki students who do go on to Reiki Master is quite limited. Part of this are the conditions which I establish for becoming a Reiki Master; the rest is a certain hesitancy and reserve about the amount of personal work which will be required of the student to become a Reiki Master.
There is another growing group of clients who tend to become students of Reiki after having experienced it as a client. These students represent 10% of my Reiki clients. There are a limited number of Reiki students who seek me out directly without having become Reiki clients. This group represents about 60% of my Reiki students. The age distribution, as well as the philosophical backgrounds are about the same as for Reiki clients. The primary motivation of these students for learning Reiki is to help others in their healing process.
Some Reiki students have additional motivations for learning Reiki. These Reiki students are not as interested in the healing potential of using Reiki [although this is part of their motivation] as they are with the tendency of Reiki classes to increase their personal awareness of their own nature and problems. This desire for personal development through Reiki is new in my experience, having manifested itself in the past three years. Some students also seem to have an underlying religious/spiritual need which they expect that the study of Reiki will enhance, even though that Reiki is not a religious practice. There seems to be a new appreciation of the study of Reiki as a means to increase personal perceptions, solve problems, and enhance personal development, especially personal skills with paranormal abilities. Often, responding to these students of Reiki has caused me to improve my own understanding and energywork skills, so I welcome this kind of Reiki student. They represent about half of my Reiki students.
There is a final kind of Reiki student or client. This kind of person wants clarification about Reiki and other energywork as it relates to Reiki. Usually it is a Reiki practitioner or Reiki Master who wants to learn more or to clarify their understanding of Reiki. In this regard, I have become a sort of "consulting Reiki Master".
The source of most of these clients and/or Reiki students seems to be from personal contact, from referrals of current clients and students, and from reading this website. Almost no clients or students have been as a result of formal advertising or business cards left at various stores. Most clients and prospective students are already quite well informed about Reiki.
Although Reiki has been taught successfully to people from 10 to 90, probably the most effective and responsible age at which to learn Reiki is between 21 and 34, [although the majority of my Reiki students are between 28 and 40]. This gives adequate time in which to learn the skills for a lifetime of use, and enough maturity, independence and life experience to appreciate the subtle energies involved, as well as feeling comfortable with a direct touch modality. If I feel that the student is mature enough, as well as responsible and sincere, in certain limited cases I will accept a student at 18; there is no upper limit for acceptance as a student of Reiki. Also, regardless of the typical ages for best training, I encourage anyone who is interested at any age to learn Reiki. The fact of persistent serious interest in Reiki indicates a person who is at the right age to begin.
I will update this page as my experience and understanding improve.