Someone from an Reiki internet group that attunes people to Reiki for free contacted me recently about having an in person attunement to Reiki versus a distant one. By the questions she was asking and the responses she was getting in the group, it was clear to me that being distantly attuned leaves a lot of gaps in your education as a Reiki Practitioner, I liken it to being in Kindergarten. To advance in your practice, you need to be under the physical guidance of a Reiki Master Teacher who enters into a mentor like relationship with each and everyone of the students they attune and more.
I understand that having a distant attunement may be someone's only option (finances, distance or unavailability of a teacher within range of where you live), but there are soooooooooooo many reasons why it is a very poor substitute for having an "in person" attunement and becoming a part of a physical Reiki community. Here are just some of things you won't get from getting by being attuned distantly:
l) Joining a local community of fellow practitioners and regularly attending the Reiki Shares your teacher hosts, where you are constantly provided with new information, new techniques and are carefully watched over, guided and corrected. Ex: If your hands are improperly positioned, your applying too much pressure, or your stance at the table is improper ergonomically, etc.
2) Being shown how to properly do aura sweeping: I demonstrate 4 different varieties of that in my classes including one using a selenite wand. Even when I teach people the techniques and they see me doing them over and over again at shares or in classes, there are still people doing them improperly and needing to be corrected, especially if they have never done anything like this before.
3) Learning how to properly scan: Sure you can read about it in a book or watch someone on YouTube do it and play with it, but nothing compares to having your teacher show you how do it and working with you until you get it right. Scanning is an art. It takes a lot of demonstration, time and teaching for a student to master this and many other Reiki techniques.
4) It has become apparent to me in recent years, that the sheer presence of a Reiki Master Teacher influences those around her/him, possible because they are vibrating at such a higher vibration. Another teacher I just talked to felt that at some point we are just radiating Reiki out of our every pour all the time at this level. So, just being in the physical presence of a Reiki Master Teacher has huge benefits.
5) Being connected to a community of Reiki practitioners: You might meet one or several people at a Reiki share that you resonate with and end up becoming fast friends, then you two can get together outside of the Share and do Reiki on each other, read Reiki books together and do all the experiments in them with other like "you send me Reiki and tell you what I felt/saw etc., and then I do the same for you".
Many of my students complain that they have no one to talk Reiki with outside of the classroom and the shares. Their family members, spouses, close friends even are clueless or just can't wrap their heads around all that Reiki is about and they feel isolated and alone. A Share gives you an opportunity to be with like minded individuals and share your experiences and hear about others experiences, so that you don't feel so alone or misunderstood.
6) Be able to practice Reiki on others and build up your confidence: Many of my students complain that their partners, children, family and friends are too spooked by their belief systems (religious especially) to let them do Reiki on them. Being able to do Reiki for others whether physically or distantly is a very large part of being Reiki in the West. A Reiki share gives you the opportunity to hone your skills and practice what you've learned to build up your confidence. If you are thinking about becoming a professional, how are you going to do that without working on others, especially strangers? You don't have a physical community of Reiki brothers and sisters on the internet, so this extremely important component of being Reiki is not possible.
I could go on and on and I think I've made my point- nothing compares to being part of a physical community of like minded individuals exploring and experiencing together something as vast, amazing, beautiful and miraculous as Reiki.