Money, and other dirty words

Bowyer_Bible_Old_Testament1On occasion the topic of accepting money for Reiki or other healing work crops up in forums and many times I am a lone voice saying- “Actually, I do ask for money for doing healing work.” Oftentimes, those who don’t charge come across as thinking that to charge is somehow obscene, or wrong. Now, I’m sure this isn’t their intention, but they do raise some interesting points.

These are some of the reasons for not charging that I have come across, and my response to each.

Your ablity to heal is a gift from (fill in the name of your favourite Deity here) and you should give it away for free.

Response: You see this argument not just for people who do healing work, but for artists as well. The expectation that musicians and sculptors and painters aren’t doing “real work” but are expressing a takent that was given to them by Deity. So they shouldn’t ask for money for their work. As though asking for money somehow taints their work.

My abilities as a healer are both a gift and a skill. I have some inborn ability but I have also spent a lot of time honing and developing those skills. I didn’t just wake up one day with knowledge of what skills I possess sitting at the forefront of my memory and the experience to know how and when to use it. I have gone through many years of training, working, and developing these abilities.

I’m just a tool for healing, I don’t actually do the healing.


Am I a tool for healing? Yes, I believe so. When I am doing healing work I am very much aware that I am not the one doing the actual healing. I am, for want of a better analogy, the straw through which healing energy flows. The mistake is made in thinking that because I am merely the straw, my presence is not important. Quite the opposite in fact, my presence is of vital part of the healing process.

The pipe between the mains water supply and my kitchen tap serves no purpose but to get water from point A, a pipe out by the road, to point B, my water glass. It isn’t, strictly speaking necessary for me to have water. But it’s sure easier than carrying a bucket to a well and filling it multiple times a day.

I may be just the vessel, but my presence is necessary, and important.

People shouldn’t be excluded from healing just because they can’t pay.

Response: People, generically, associate “free” with “not worth anything”. When you say – I do what I do for free, then deep in the subconscious mind, some people (not all, but a significant number) begin to think- if it’s free, it must not work, it must not be worth anything. If I didn’t ask for some sort of payment, I would be devaluing my worth as a healer.

I believe in order for a healing to be most effective some sort of exchange in energy needs to take place. Does it have to be in the form of money? No, however it is the easiest form of exchange, and the best recognised in today’s society. And again, there is the matter of finding worth in the exchange.

This form of exchange can be in the form of money, of service (I do treatment A for you, you do treatment B for me), or even an exchange of cooperation. When I worked as a nurse I regularly offered Reiki to co-workers without asking for anything in return. This was because we worked together on a near daily basis and these was a constant exchange of energies already in place. I do Reiki and other healing work for family and friends for the same reason.

There are people who for whatever reason can’t afford to give money for a treatment, or who can’t afford the full fee. This is where flexibility in offering a sliding scale fee is important. £20 (1/3 my normal fee) is a lot of money for someone who is trying to live on £100 a week.  And if they decide to save up that £20 over 4 weeks in order to receive healing work, they are going to value it that much more.

Sometimes, asking for payment is not appropriate. I have certainly been tapped by the Gods/spirits on this a few times, but I know they won’t ask this of me unless it is needed.

So-n-so from X culture doesn’t ask for payment, so you shouldn’t either.

Response: Many times, people read “Healers from X culture didn’t ask for payment.” and then they stop reading. If they continued on invariably they would find this proviso. While they don’t ask fo payment, there is an unspoken understanding that the person receiving the healing work will give a gift in exchange. It may be in the form of food, or supplies, tobacco, gunpowder, a rifle, or something else of value but it is given in exchange. Don’t give this gift, and the healing in many cultures will either not be given or will be withdrawn.

This is how society worked even in England less than 100 years ago. My children’s grandmother tells stories of her mother, who served an unofficial village healer up in Lincolnshire. She didn’t use a title as such, but if a knee needed dressed or a new mum needed help with her baby, or any other of the various troubles that could befall a small village, someone would go round and ask her mother to look in. Her mother never asked for anything in return, but a day or so later they would find a dozen eggs, or a few rabbits, or perhaps a bit of fresh cured bacon left on the back step.

Now, if I were to come across someone who said, I can’t pay you in money but can we set up a barter exchange, I would certainly consider it. And if what the person had to barter was something I needed, I would accept it. I’ve done this with Reiki training in the past. I teach you something, you teach me something. This wouldn’t work for every single client though. Last time I checked, the gas man still wasn’t accepting eggs as payment.

My reward comes from the good feeling I get inside from doing the healing work.

Response: Good feelings are nice. I get a good feeling inside as well when I know I have made a positive different for someone, but the man at the corner shop won’t accept good feelings in exchange for my groceries.

Image credit: By Phillip Medhurst (Photos by Harry kossuth) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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