can you learn reiki from books or do you need someone to show you?
you need to be attuned by a Reiki Master .... or so they say.
You are working with the universal energy and if you are a healer, you will be able to heal regardless. Reiki is just a name for a path of healing. I was healing in my own, completely uneducated, way long before I knew about Reiki.
Reiki is one form of Healing may I would suggest if you wish to Heal you may want to look into what I feel is a much simpler and still very effective form of Healing-that of a Spiritual Healer. This www site can assist you. http://www.nfsh.org.uk/
What do you think?
Can you learn how to take blood from a book or do surgery or is it best to have someone show you?
Edit: And exactly why has this been given the thumbs down? Who would you prefer to remove your appendix someone who read how to do it in a book or someone who has been diligently shown and practiced extensively?
If I wanted a Reiki session I'd want someone who'd done more than read how to in a book.
DVDs and CDs have more impact
As others have said you would need to be attuned to reiki, but with focus and positive intent you should be able to connect to the universal energy that assists the body to heal anyway. I believe that we are all natural 'healers' some of us are just a little more experienced than others. Books will give you a great insight into reiki, but if you are really wanting to go down that path, you would need to be attuned by a reiki master teacher.
Hope this helps.