Interview with Reiki Master and Teacher Leo Maria Holmes

by Ethical Emily
In my interview with Leo she explains what Reiki is and how with our very own hands we can heal each other by connecting with the universal energy. She also offers some sound advice to those that are considering the Reiki level 1 course and of becoming practitioners themselves.

For those who haven’t heard of Reiki, can you explain what it is Leo?

Reiki is a Japanese energy palm healing technique but it is also a spiritual path for those who wish to follow it. It can be used by people of all faiths and those of none and is both a complementary and alternative therapy. In English, Reiki translates as ‘divine universal life force energy’. In my experience as a practitioner, it brings relief from pain, supports emotional and physical healing and is comforting during end of life care.

Why is Reiki sometimes called light healing?

I practice Usui Reiki founded by Mikao Usui who, after 21 days of meditating and fasting on Mount Karuma, felt a connection to the light – the source of everything. He said he saw nothing but light – the highest vibration of all and this is why Reiki is sometimes referred to as light healing because the practitioner is facilitating a connection to that light for the recipient.

Can you give a science-based definition of how Reiki works?

There is no doubt of the existence of an energy field that emanates from the body as we can now photograph it and quantum entanglement explains why distance Reiki works. I won’t explain quantum physics here, mainly because I don’t fully understand it myself!  And, although the science is interesting, we don’t really need to understand Reiki at mind level as it is experiential.  Many have had the experience of thinking about someone they haven’t been in contact with for years, seconds before they telephone.  In ‘The Divine Matrix’, Gregg Brayden expands on this interconnectedness.

The Reiki Academy London run a Reiki Science course which is based on Torsten’s scientific experiments with Reiki and water.  Given that the human body is around 70% water, the implications of this are extraordinary.  You can find more information about Reiki and the science behind it on my website 

How did you begin your Reiki journey and what inspired you to become a Master? 

In 2003 I took the Level 1 course.  When working with clients, sometimes I could feel heat in the palms of my hands and I wanted to learn how to focus this in the right way.  After Level 1 I used Reiki occasionally for self-treatment and with friends and family, but did nothing else with it for some time – something I advise my students not to do!

OK, well I wish I could tell you that I did Level 2 for altruistic reasons but the truth is … I was working in a clinic as a naturopathic nutritionist and a client came in to ask if we did Reiki treatments.  The manager recommended me as she knew that I’d done Level 1.  However, in the UK you are not insured to practise professionally until you have done Level 2, so I promptly signed up for the Level 2 course in order to expand my work options and to give me another tool in the naturopathic healing box.  On both a personal and professional level this was a turning point as it deepened my connection to Reiki and reopened the way for me to do some much-needed inner work. 

Having experienced this change and having had Reiki treatments that supported me through a serious health crisis, I wanted to continue my studies, so I did my first Reiki Master course in 2009 and in 2017 the Reiki Master/Teacher course.  I really enjoy teaching, passing on what I’ve learnt and seeing others be able to use this simple yet amazing healing tool.


We don’t really need to understand Reiki at mind level as it is experiential.



From an ethical perspective does Reiki help in any way with environmental issues?

Well, that’s an interesting question and I can only speak from my experience.  Many come to Reiki for relief from pain and other physical symptoms.  Sometimes after just one treatment and sometimes after a course of treatments, there is no longer the need for pain relief medication and under supervision of their GP, other medications are often greatly reduced or discontinued.  We have to remember that we are not medically qualified and that we never attempt to diagnose or make suggestions about medical treatments.  The changes that the client experiences are for them to discuss with their health care provider. 

So, you could say that the environment is benefitting from Reiki because the reduction of medications, from the manufacturing process, emissions into the sewage system from human consumption through to disposal of unused medicines, is paramount.  Torsten Lange, whose Reiki course content I teach, has written in more detail about this very question.  Here is a link to his article



I really enjoyed doing the Reiki level 1 course with you Leo.  After and during the attunements I released a lot of emotion … I cried a lot which was an uncomfortable experience for me but I really felt it helped me move on.  What is an attunement and why did I feel so emotional? 

Reiki is taught in a different way to most other healing techniques because it is transferred to the student by the Reiki Master during an attunement process.  This initiation creates a link between the student and the Reiki source.  The Reiki attunement starts a cleansing process that can be felt in the physical body, mind or emotions with some students reporting increased clarity of mind and intuitive awareness. Toxins that have been stored in the body may be released as well as feelings and thought patterns that are no longer useful.  

Most people involved in this sort of work will say that healing involves a shift in consciousness and this is exactly what happens during a Reiki attunement.  Because we are all unique, each student will be affected in different ways but it will be exactly what is needed for that person at that time.

It seems that whether consciously or unconsciously, most of us are very good at avoiding difficult or painful feelings.  Excess use of alcohol, technology and being overly busy are just a few of the distractions we use to avoid and/or deny the pain of what is really going on with our feelings and in our relationships.

During the attunement, when we receive the connection to Reiki in an atmosphere of peace with no distractions, suppressed feelings may surface. Following the attunements there is a period of adjustment during which this process may continue.  As you said, it can be uncomfortable and is sometimes very painful but tears are a release and working in this way, with awareness, can free us to move forward.  At this time, some find it helpful to have the support of psychotherapy.  I don’t believe that there is a quick fix or that you can spiritually bypass the inner work.


It seems that whether consciously or unconsciously, most of us are very good at avoiding difficult or painful feelings. 


Since doing the course I have felt very driven and through this process created this website ‘EthicalEmily’.  How does Reiki initiate change and transformations within us? 

With the attunements and the shift in consciousness, also comes insight, a deeper connection to our inner
world – a blowing away of the cobwebs that can cloud vision.  It is not unusual for students to make life changes
following a Reiki course so I’m not surprised that you have gone forward with the ‘Ethical Emily’ website.


Because we are all unique, each student will be affected in different ways but it will be exactly what is needed for that person at that time.


How do you know if and when you connect with Reiki?

Just follow the process you learnt during the course; the connection is there whether you feel it or not. Initially,
some students don’t feel the sensation in their palms but the recipient does feel something. This also changes
as we work on our own energetic blocks. I believe that the clearer we are in our own energies, without being
self-obsessed, the better the practitioner we are … we don’t want to be unconsciously using our clients to fulfil
our needs. Alice Miller in ‘The Drama of the Gifted Child’ explains this perfectly: “Not only as parents but also
as therapists, we must be willing to face our history. Only after painfully experiencing and accepting our own
truth can we be free from the hope that we might still find an understanding, empathic ‘parent’ – perhaps in a
patient – who will be at our disposal”.

How do you know if you can do Reiki, or can anyone?

Yes, anyone can do Reiki but meditation helps us deepen the connection.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their journey as a Reiki practitioner?

Get as much experience as you can – practice, practice, practice on any willing being. Don’t ‘try’ to feel the
connection or control what happens with the mind because the energy will go just where it is needed. I think
it’s important to have the humility to remember that it is not us doing the healing, we are merely the
conduit and that we are there to help others, not to bolster our own egos when we get good results.
On a practical level you can start as a freelance practitioner where work tends to come from personal
recommendation. The other option is to work from a clinic where they will advertise your work and provide
clients. Whichever way you choose, it’s really a matter of building your client base ‘poc a poc’.


I believe that the clearer we are in our own energies, without being
self-obsessed, the better the practitioner we are..


Leo Maria Holmes is a Naturopathic Nutritionist and Reiki Master/ Teacher working and teaching in London and Menorca. You can go directly to Leo’s website 


+44 (0)7961 817202

Please leave a comment. We would love to know what your thoughts are about Reiki. x

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Michelle Genevieve Kelly July 15, 2021 - 1:32 pm

A friend of mine practiced Reiki on me earlier on this year for the first time and it was such a beautiful, unexpected experience which I plan on repeating soon. Love the interview, keep up the great work!

Ethical Emily July 18, 2021 - 9:13 pm

Thanks for sharing Michelle! Yes it is a wonderful healing technique. I’ve been practicing for a year now, it’s helped me with so much in so many ways. I wanted to share the information with other people xx

Federico January 29, 2022 - 9:24 pm

I am just starting my Reiki path. This article has motivated me a lot , thank you so much.
Practice, practice, practice. That part resonated inside of me.

Ethical Emily February 21, 2022 - 12:10 pm

Hi Frederico. Thank you so much for your comment. It’s great to hear that the interview motivated you. Congratulations on starting your exciting journey with Reiki!


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