In essence, whenever you receive any type of spiritual communication, it is considered a form of channeling. However, the term channeling normally means that a person is being used as a human loudspeaker to communicate information from a particular spirit that wants to convey a message to one or more people and sometimes to the world at large.
There are two types of spirit channeling — trance channeling and conscious channeling. Trance channelers are able to set aside their conscious selves in order to loan their bodies for communication with another energy form. These energy forms have many names: spirit guides, spirit entities, Ascended Masters, and so on. Conscious channelers do not give up their conscious selves entirely when they allow information to be channeled through them. Communications that are the result of conscious channeling will have a certain percentage of distortion because it is censored to some degree by the channeler's personality.
Reiki healing is a form of channeling, but rather than serving as a megaphone or loudspeaker through which words are projected in channeled communications, the Reiki practitioner is more like a pipeline or conduit through which healing energies are transferred.
The more common conscious channelers and the much less common trance channelers could easily be classified as skilled psychics. Depending on their fields of expertise, psychic specialists will refer to themselves with such labels as medium, spiritualist, and medical intuitive. Here is a short list of the most famous channelers of the past and present:
Alice A. Baily, occult teacher
Caroline Myss, medical intuitive
Donald Neal Walsch, conversed with God
Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet and founder of the Association for Research and Enlightenment
James Van Praagh, medium
Jane Roberts, trance channeler
John Edward, medium
J. Z. Knight, Ramtha, or the Enlightened One
Paula Muran, medical intuitive
Sylvia Browne, medium
During the Reiki attunement process, the avenue that is opened within the body to allow Reiki to flow through also opens up the psychic communication centers. This is why many Reiki practitioners report having verbalized channeled communications with the spirit world. In some cases, practitioners claim to have received additional information regarding the Reiki system through their channeling. You can read more about channeling Reiki in Chapter 1.