Reiki & Terminal Illness: A How-To For Practitioners

You’ve received a very special request for Reiki from Maggie, a sweet, funny woman who has stage 4 cancer.

You’ve never worked with anyone who has a terminal illness, but you know that Reiki can do so much to reduce pain, bring comfort, and help Maggie rest!

You really want to help, but how do you create a treatment plan and set fees for this work?

Wooden deck on a green leaves background

Designed by Kjpargeter –

First, your plan will depend upon Maggie’s current condition and prognosis.  Consider the length of sessions, frequency of sessions, number of sessions, rate, treatment needs, Maggie’s comfort with both Reiki and you, and comfort needs.

Second, consider your own needs, such as time, compensation, and emotional support.  It’s important for you to be supported too!  You’ll show up more fully, and you’ll have more to give, if your cup is overflowing.

Now, let’s look at each of these separately.

Treatment Sessions

*  30 – 60 minutes per treatment might be just right.
*  1 – 2 treatments per week might be enough if death isn’t imminent.
*  If Maggie is in crisis, daily sessions might be beneficial for 3-4 days.
*  Number of total sessions depends upon prognosis, frequency, and Maggie’s preference.  Create a starting plan, and re-evaluate as you go.  Make changes as needed.


*  I typically offer a bulk rate for multiple sessions, paid in advance.  Negotiate the rate with Maggie based on length of sessions, your compensation needs, and Maggie’s budget.
*  Consider your level of training, experience, and years of practice.
*  What are other Reiki practitioners, spiritual healers, and massage therapists charging for similar types of sessions in your area?  This gives you a range to work with.

Treatment and Comfort Needs
*  Focus each treatment on what’s needed in the moment.  Maggie might want greater peace, comfort, pain relief, or rest.  She might also be dealing with grief or unfinished business.
*  Hand positions, if you’re touching Maggie directly, depend upon pain levels and locations, the best position for her body, and the comfort level of each of you.

3D background of leaves with vintage effect

Designed by Kjpargeter –

Comfort with Reiki and with You
*  Is Maggie comfortable with Reiki or does she have questions/concerns?  Address those first to help her relax and allow for the most benefit from the treatment.
*  Does Maggie know you and feel comfortable with you?  This might take some time.

Your Needs
*  How much time and you give generously?  Be honest with yourself and don’t over-schedule yourself.  Maggie will benefit most from you feeling relaxed and ready to serve, no matter how many sessions you provide, nor how much time you spend with her.
*  You have bills to pay and you need to feel supported subconsciously.  It’s easy to want to give without receiving, but this creates imbalance and you will both suffer for it.  Be honest with yourself.  What payment amount can you receive that allows you to show up generously instead of from a place of responsibility?  As you discuss options with Maggie, notice openness and contraction in your body.  Let this guide you.
*  Working with Maggie, and others like her, can take it’s toll on you.  You might lose energy, become irritable, or feel more emotional.  Be sure to take time to replenish yourself, have some fun, and talk to people about how you’re feeling so that you can go into your next session with your cup overflowing.

Working with someone like Maggie is so rewarding!  Taking the time to set up a plan that works for both of you will keep your heart full and will make her transition sweeter.


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