I can never get a straight answer on whether or not Reiki in Florida is permitted without a LMT certificate. Everyone always directs me back to an article that was posted in 2002. Anyway, so that I don’t get in trouble with the law…what if I offer my services for a "donation". Would this be ok?
Straight answer, as a massage therapist trained in FL, the answer is no. The board has defined Reiki as a form of massage, therefore it is considered massage in the State of FL, which requires a massage license. Yes, the law is strict, perhaps even excessive, but that’s the way it is.
Compensation is compensation – I wasn’t even really allowed to accept a sandwich for doing massage in FL while in massage school. Never mind an understanding of "I accept donations". Doing it for friends and family, or otherwise not accepting compensation, would make the law not apply.
As for likelihood of enforcement, if no one complains then there is minimal likelihood that the FL Massage Board will know you exist. It doesn’t make it legal. It just means that you might be able to practice quietly for years before anyone noticed or cared.
Some states have an informal understanding of not enforcing massage regulations on massage therapists – NH is currently one state that this applies. Other states have specifically written legislation that exempts Reiki Practitioners from massage regulation, my opinion (without legal training) is that the current MA regulations and some proposed NH regulations will exempt Reiki from massage regulations.
Otherwise, I have three recommendations – you can find another place to practice where the laws are in your favor. You can talk to your representatives and try to have the law changed. You can go learn lots of cool things in massage school and become a massage therapist that practices Reiki.
I chose to become a massage therapist after starting with Reiki when I wanted to do bodywork for a living. Two reasons – I learned lots of cool things I use in my practice and I will never have to wonder if I might lose my right to practice.