What is Reiki

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

The practice of Reiki is an original method of healing and spiritual development which was developed by Mikao Usui in Japan, early in the 20th Century. Reiki translated means 'Universal Energy'. This energy is every present and is the force which surround all things. A lot of people will confuse Reiki by teaching that it is something outside of themselves which one must reach for where in reality Reiki is and always will be with you. Reiki is the screen that you are looking at to read this. It is the seat that you are sitting on.


Eastern medicine has always recognized and worked with this energy, which flows through all living things and is vital to our well-being. This energy is also known as 'Ki' in Japan, 'Chi' in China and 'Prana' in India. Reiki is a non-invasive therapy that is used to treat the person holistically and to restore harmony to the physical and spiritual bodies.

Dr. Mikao Usui was born in the village of Yago, located in the Yamagata district in Gifu prefecture, Japan on August 15, 1865. He studied in a Tendai Buddhist monastery as a child and was known as a talented student. It is written in his memorial that he was knowledgeable in psychology, medicine, fortune telling and the theologies of religions around the world. He married a woman named Sadako, and they had two children, a son and a daughter. Usui was fortunate enough to travel to China and several western countries to study. He worked as a public servant, an industrialist, an office worker, a reporter, the secretary to a politician, a missionary and as a supervisor to convicts.

Mikao Usui took time to become a Tendai Buddhist monk and it was during one of his lengthy meditations on Mount Kurama that it is said he received the inspiration for his Reiki system of healing. Some think that he was also inspired by teachings he learned in China and Tibet as well as acupuncture and other healing systems. Usui experimented with his healing system for some time before opening his first school and clinic in April of 1922 in Tokyo. Usui wrote a small manual outlining his recommendations for the placing of the practitioner's hands and how the healing method should be used and It was recently translated into English under the name "The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui". This handbook gives today's practitioners a much clearer picture of Usui's original concepts of Reiki.

Usui's healing skills became well known in Japan. He treated people of all classes for free or a small fee. Students may have paid for their training or worked in exchange for the teaching. It was important to him that people learn to heal themselves. This is still a central tenet of Reiki teachings today and the Academy of LivingReiki Therapies honours and abides by the same principle as that of Usui. Mikao Usui and his healings became even more famous due to a 7.9 earthquake near Tokyo in 1923. He and his students treated all who came to them. Many had been injured and over 140,000 people were killed in the earthquake and the resulting fires. By 1925, Usui was so busy that he opened a larger school in Nakano. He travelled extensively, healing and teaching. His senior students remained at the clinic to continue their healing work. During his few years healing with Reiki, he trained over 2000 people, but only a handful became teachers themselves.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi became his successor when Usui died on March 9, 1926 at the age of 62. He was laid to rest in Tokyo. At a later point, his students paid for a large memorial stone that told of his accomplishments. It is the translation of this memorial that has added much to what we now know of Usui's life. While many types of Reiki have been developed, many still practice Usui Shiki Ryoho, as passed from Usui to Dr. Hayashi, then to Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who brought it to the western world. Learning the art of Reiki and hands on healing is very simple and only requires your intention to activate the energy and symbols. Reiki's natural healing energy works on every level, not just the physical, and promotes the body's regenerative self healing ability.

The energy of Reiki can be used to great effect in many ways. Whether one is suffering from stress or tension and the many symptoms associated with the previous, or just an ache or pain within the body, Reiki can help. Reiki can also help in improving the quality of relationships at home or work. The beneficial effects of Reiki occur on many levels, but the main purpose of Reiki is for spiritual progression. Reiki can accelerate the healing of any physical problems, balance out emotions, and free us from restrictive mental attitudes. It can also provide a closer connection with an inner wisdom/inner voice which we all have but too often ignore. Reiki encourages and supports positive personal change, such as improving a diet, having more rest and exercise or leisure time. It can sometimes also help with the reduction of alcohol and tobacco use. Reiki can allow us to respond more calmly to all events, and build on a more resourceful state of being. Reiki is a very gentle energy and may be used safely by all ages, including the newborn, pregnant mothers, surgical patients, the frail and also the elderly.

Reiki can also enhance everyday life, and regular healing sessions can help to ward-off illness and fatigue. It is a non-invasive therapy that can be used without fear of any side-effects or overdose. The only slight side-effect after a reiki treatment, and also with reiki attunements is a little clearing of old energy patterns which can manifest as light cold/flu like symptoms or a stomach upset, but these will subside within a few hours, a day at the most. Reiki may be used with confidence alongside conventional medication or natural remedies because it acts in a complementary way.

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