Reiki is a Japanese form of healing that is becoming increasingly popular worldwide but has been around for thousands of years. Reiki involves the transfer of energy through the practitioner to patient to enhance the body's natural ability to heal itself through the balancing of energy. Reiki utilizes specific techniques for restoring and balancing the natural life force energy within the body. It is a holistic, natural, hands-on energy healing system that touches on all levels: body, mind, and spirit.

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese word representing universal life energy, the energy which is all around us. It is derived from rei, meaning "free passage" or "transcendental spirit" and ki, meaning "vital life force energy" or " universal life energy".

Reiki practitioners channel energy in a particular pattern to heal and harmonize. Unlike other healing therapies based on the premise of a human energy field, Reiki seeks to restore order to the body whose vital energy has become unbalanced.

Reiki energy has several basic effects: it brings about deep relaxation, destroys energy blockages, detoxifies the system, provides new vitality in the form of healing universal life energy, and increases the vibration frequency of the body.

In Reiki the healer places their hands above the recipient; however, it is the recipient that draws the energy as needed. Thus, in this case, the individual being healed takes an active part in the healing process as opposed to having a passive part as in traditional medicine. The individual takes responsibility for his or her healing. The recipient identifies the needs and caters to them by drawing energy as needed.

Reiki treatments do not require actual touching. The practitioner can hold his or her hands a few inches or further away from the patient's body and manipulates the energy field from there. Reiki practitioners will ask before touching a patient so that the patient is always in control.

Reiki energy is regarded as life force energy at its most effective-with the maximum vibration. It is considered to have an almost divine quality and as such includes everything, in a world where problems and disorders are deemed to be due to the feeling of detachment from the world. There is no division of Reiki energy into positive and negative forms but when a person undergoes a session of therapy, they allow the energy to be taken into themselves with beneficial effects. Essentially, those receiving Reiki energy decide subconsciously just how much of the life energy is taken in.

Those who use Reiki regularly often find they are more joyful, lively and their own energy is enhanced-almost as if their batteries had been fully charged! Existing conflicts within the person are broken down and there is a greater vitality, leading to relaxation and a stimulation of the body. As this improvement develops, the natural processes of renewal and removal of toxins are enhanced and rendered more effective, ultimately opening up more of the body to the life energy.

Body organs such as the skin and protective systems such as the immune system are improved provided that the individual is prepared regularly to undertake Reiki and to undergo an attunement or initiation into Reiki energy. The initiation is merely a means whereby the universal life force energy is bestowed through the Reiki master. The master acts as a channel and a link with the Divine, the universal life force energy, spirit guides, reiki guides and all the healers kind enough to help to pass on the healing power.

Contrary to what some people believe Spiritual healing and Reiki healing are using the same universal life force energy to channel and heal, but Reiki is more effective because of the attunement and the symbols. There are many symbols and the symbols vary depending on the kind of reiki. The symbols which I use in Usui Reiki are for specific areas, such as mental healing, distant healing and various others. I have also found symbols along the way which are just as effective, if not more and I also use those when I teach reiki. I never limit healing, therefore I use others symbols which I find to be effective also. This will only increase the power and healing. To learn Reiki an attunument is necessary and it allows the individual access to the universal life force energy, which is used rather than their own life energy. An attunement allows you to channel the energy more effectively, without draining the person giving the reiki if they are grounded properly. Reiki also provides a protective mechanism against any negative manifestations.

Reiki is taught in three levels or degrees. In Level I or First Degree, the participant receives attunement or initiation to the Reiki energy by the Reiki master. This permanently guides the person to greater healing power. The student learns how to do full body treatments on themselves and others.

In Level II or Second Degree, the participant receives attunements which increase the strength of the practitioner's Reiki energy. This primarily involves learning the symbols which are used in advanced Reiki bodywork and absentee healing.

With Reiki Master, the participant receives third-level empowerment and the ' final symbol'. It is taught mainly for personal growth, but increases the power tremendously when healing. A person who has completed Reiki Master is able to give Reiki attunements and teach.


In Reiki the history of the system and how it developed has developed into an "important" part of the system.  Some hold to their version of "the history" as rigidly as some hold to the dogma or tenets of their religion.  Up until very recently (around 1998) the only information that was known were the teaching stories that Mrs. Takata taught about Mikao Usui's founding the reiki system.  Since 1998, a number of western reiki masters, namely Frank Petter, Dave King, Hiroshi Doi, Andrew Bowling, and Rick Rivard have made contacts in Japan and learned of reiki that continued on in Japan apart from the western traditions.  The history that they learned from the Japanese was more thorough and contained more factual information.

The most common reiki story in the western world comes from Hawayo Takata's teachings. This story is told in most all styles of reiki and by the Reiki Alliance. It should be understood that this story was Takata Sensei's teaching story.  Mrs. Takata was a Japanese American woman.  She was attempting to convey Japanese cultural ideas, practices and beliefs to Americans with a Christian cultural mindset and background.  In addition, this followed a historical period where Japan had been at war with the United States.

The traditional story, as told by Mrs. Takata,  is that Dr. Usui was teaching in a Christian university called Doshisha University in Kyoto in the mid 1800's. His students began to ask him if he believed that Jesus' could heal as in the bible. When he replied that he did, they asked him to perform such healing so they might believe as well. Dr. Usui did not know how to heal. He began to question church leaders, who also did not know how this was accomplished. So he set out on a quest to learn of these methods. As the story goes, he traveled through Japan, China, studied at the University of Chicago Divinity School and eventually came back to Japan.

According to the story, Usui had failed to find this great healing and so Dr. Usui climbed Mt. Kurama for a 21 day meditation and fasting ritual. At the end of the 21 days when Usui was about to leave, he saw a great light approaching him from the distance. He was fearful, but he stayed. The light struck him in the forehead (third eye) . This knocked him unconscious, but upon awakening, he saw millions of small glowing bubbles and the Reiki symbols were shown individually to him. The meaning and application of each Reiki symbol was then apparent to him.

Dr. Usui was then supposed to have healed his toe on the way down the mountain, as well as a girl, and then eaten a full meal after a 21 day fast. He began healing beggars in the slums of Kyoto. He found that those that he had healed would return again for treatment of the same illnesses. Usui found that many of these people held their illnesses and disease because they served them as useful. These people preferred to live with their illness because they were cared for by others, and various other reasons. It was then that Usui felt that treatment must include not only the physical, but also the emotional and spiritual. Usui also decided not to do Reiki for free after this, and that some form of energy exchange must occur.

It is taught that this system was passed on down to his chosen successor, Mr. Chujiro Hayashi who became the next "Grand Master" of reiki.  It is also taught that this mantle of "Grand Mastership" was passed to Mrs. Takata, which was passed onto her grand daughter Mrs. Phyllis Furumoto.  It should be noted that Takata Sensei did not ever refer to herself as "Grand Master", this was something that some of Takata Sensei's students did and was perpetuated into a belief and dogma in the early practices of the Reiki Alliance circa 1982-1983.

Research and information began trickling out of Japan in the mid to late 1990's. Dave King, founder of Traditional Japanese Reiki (TJR) met and trained with surviving masters of the Hayashi lineage and received copies of his manual as well as other materials.  Frank Petter, began teaching a western version of Reiki in Japan and began to learn of other lines that existed there and began to investigate the history.  Hiroshi Doi, was a master under Barbara Weber Ray in the west (i.e., Radiance Technique School) and began to correspond with several masters in the west.  Petter began writing books on the subject, and both Petter and  Doi Sensei have come to the United States and given seminars on techniques that are in the Japanese Schools.

These sources have revealed new information regarding Dr. Usui and the discovery of Reiki. Mikao Usui was born August 15th, 1865 in the Yamagata district of Gifu prefecture in a village called Yago. Usui studied Buddhism at the school and temple on Mt. Kurama as a child. It is also thought that he may have studied a Japanese form of Chi Kung and other oriental healing systems. Most stories of the History describe Usui as scholarly, and that he was a bright and hard working student. Usui was a successful businessman. Somewhere around 1914 he went to meditate at Mt. Kurama, and underwent a 21 day period of meditation and fasting. During this 21 day meditation the Reiki Energy entered his crown chakra. He discovered that he had received a great gift of healing. He knew that unlike his Chi Kung exercises which could deplete his own personal energy, this Reiki Energy would heal without draining him.

He then spent seven years in the Kyoto. He opened a school in Tokyo, where he trained students in his Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho. It is thought that he trained about 2000 students to the practitioner levels and sixteen to teacher level. He died on March 9, 1926.

Usui himself founded a Reiki Society. Mikao Usui was the first President of the organization which he called Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. Usui died in 1926. There have been six presidents of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai since Usui's death. None of them were Dr. Hayashi. None of them called themselves "Grand master" or lineage bearer. Usui was succeeded in order by Mr. Ushida, Mr. Takatome. Mr. Wantanabe, Mr. Wanami, Mrs.Koyama, and the current President Mr. Kondo.

Additional information was revealed regarding Chujiro Hayashi.  Dr. Chujiro Hayashi was made a Reiki Master in 1925 and was a student of Usui. Dr. Hayashi was a retired officer from the Japanese Navy. He opened a Reiki clinic which was more along the lines of a medical model. Dr. Hayashi made some modifications in the system and most likely developed the 12 standard hand positions from in use in the west today. These hand positions allowed Reiki to be given by several practitioners at once. This group healing technique was used in his clinic and it was believed this maximized the flow of Reiki to the patient, and sped up the treatment time.  In Hayashi's clinic, Students would work in his clinic treating the sick for a period of time in exchange for learning Reiki I. Those who were talented and dedicated healers were taught Reiki II, in exchange for a longer period of service and training. The most dedicated were taught Reiki III. One of Hayashi's Masters was a Japanese American woman, living abroad in Hawaii, Mrs. Hawayo Takata.  Hayashi was a respected master, who was the one who continued working and running in Usui's clinic following Usui Sensei's passing.  It is reported that Mr. Hayashi left the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai due to a disagreement.

Mrs. Hawayo Takata was born in 1900 on the island of Kauai in Hawaii. Her parents were Japanese immigrants. She married and had two daughters. Her husband died in 1930. Approximately 5 years later, she developed severe abdominal pains, lung problems and subsequent nervous conditions. She returned to Japan to visit family, and to receive medical treatment. According to Mrs. Takata, she was found to have a tumor and an appendicitis. While on the operating table, she reported that she heard a voice tell her that the operation was not necessary. She asked the doctor if there was another way her problems could be healed. The doctor told her about Dr. Hayashi's reiki clinic, and she decided to go there. She received treatments at Dr. Hayashi's clinic. Ms. Takata wanted to learn reiki and requested that Dr. Hayashi teach her. He eventually agreed to teaching her. In 1936, Mrs. Takata received her first degree in Reiki. At the end of a year of training she received her Reiki II. She went back to Hawaii and began to practice Reiki. In 1938, while Dr. Hayashi was visiting Hawaii, he initiated Takata as a Reiki Master. She was the thirteenth master initiated by Dr. Hayashi. Her certificate, notarized on February 21, 1938 gave her the status of a Reiki Master and authorized her to teach the system. Mrs. Takata initiated 22 masters. Most of these 22 masters are alive and still practicing and teaching Reiki today.

At some point the Reiki system taught to Takata from Hayashi changed. Many of the meditative and spiritual practices (that are now being rediscovered as they are released from Japan) were missing. It is unclear as to why this was done. It is unknown if she was not taught them by Hayashi, or if they were dropped because Westerners could not understand them. In any case, there were not passed along to the vast majority of practitioners in the west. Perhaps this is why so many people attempted to add spiritual practices from Tibet and other places in an attempt to "fill in the gaps" that they perceived were missing. Reiki in this Hayashi - Takata Tradition is most commonly known as "Usui Shiki Ryoho".

After the death of Mrs. Takata, Reiki in America split into two main schools. They were the Radiance Technique (aka "Real Reiki") founded by Barbara Weber Ray, and the Reiki Alliance founded by Phyllis Lei Furumoto (Takata's grand daughter) and the remaining Masters of Mrs. Takata. Mrs. Furumoto began to claim as time went on, that she was now the "Grand master and Lineage Bearer" of Reiki, and recently that she held the "spiritual lineage". The Alliance and its members acknowledge Phyllis Furumoto as the current "Grand master" and "lineage bearer" of Reiki. While Mrs. Furumoto is certainly the current head of the Reiki Alliance, and of the lineage of Usui-Hayashi-Takata, which brought Reiki into the United States and much of the world, there clearly exists no Grand master designation that Usui passed onto anyone.

Reiki has evolved substantially since the time of Takata's death in the western world. Reiki has spread throughout the United States and Europe, and India. Many masters have added or taken away some techniques and modified the teachings. Some have added Tibetan Techniques, Chi Kung, Wicca, New Symbols and whole new styles have been created. There are now styles such as Raku Kei Reiki, Vajra Reiki, Essene Reiki, Karuna Reiki Ô, Seichim Reiki, Tera MaiÔ Reiki, as well as several non-traditional Usui Variants. The vast majority of practitioners are Independent Reiki Masters.

So there you now have the history of reiki.  Try to remember, as you read this, that none of it matters one iota.  The reiki history, was Usui's journey and realization, of *what is*.  His journey is our journey.  He experienced Satori, and from his experience of *what is*, set out this system as a pointer to the truth.  The history is now.

Did Reiki Come from Tibet?

It is commonly taught these days that reiki was "rediscovered" by Usui. This is taught most commonly in the Usui/Tibetan Schools and found in such books as "Essential Reiki" by author Diane Stein.  Some, noticing some similarities between reiki and the Tibetan practice of empowerments by a master and Tibetan practices such as Medicine Buddha, began to claim that Reiki predates Usui's discovery and is in reality from Tibet. Still others developed new sources for this "tibetan history", and began to "channel" spirits, guides and other beings who told them reiki was indeed from Tibet (or Egypt, Atlantis, the Mayans, the Lemurians, etc. depending on which spirit you happen to be channeling).

The earliest statements regarding reiki coming from Tibet that I have been able to find, appear to come from Arthur Robertson's work in Raku Kei Reiki.  Raku Kei Reiki was an invention of Arthur Robertson.  He was a student of Iris Ishikuro who  was herself a Master student of Mrs. Takata.  This style was invented in America after Mrs. Takata has passed away in 1980.  Raku Kei incorporates the Hui Yin (i.e., microcosmic orbit), the Breath of the Fire Dragon (Violet Breath, golden breath technique) and other Tibetan practices.

Usui states in his own words, in the Usui Reiki Hikkei (Usui Reiki Manual given to his students) that, "My Usui Reiki Ryoho is an original, it's nothing like this in the world.  So I would like to release this method to the public for everyone's benefit and hope for everyone's happiness.  My Reiki Ryoho is an original method based on intuitive power in the universe.  By this power, body gets healthy and enhances happiness of life and peaceful mind."  Going on he states that, "I've never been given this method by anybody nor studied to get psychic power to heal.  I accidentally realized that I have received healing power when I felt the air in mysterious way during fasting.  So I have a hard time explaining exactly even I am the founder.  Scholars and men of intelligence have been studying this phenomenon but modern science cant solve it.  But I believe that day will come naturally."

From his own words, Usui states that his art is original and like nothing else in the world.  He does not mention Tibet, Lemuria, Atlantis, Guides, Jesus, Buddha, chakras, spirit guides  or anything else that is commonly taught along with reiki.  He also does not mention that he "rediscovered" it.

It is also commonly taught that Reiki comes from Tibet, Atlantis, Lemuria, the Mayans, the Ascended Masters, the Galactic Council, the Federation of Light, the Brotherhood of Light and even the space aliens.  Usui's own words from his manual would seem to be in contradiction to these claims.  Others have claimed that Reiki has roots going back well over 2,500 years, as well as those that speculate that it is the same healing system used by Jesus, Krishna, and the Buddha. Indeed some even make the claim that Jesus ventured into Tibet and India and learned Reiki from Tibetan Masters (see Diane Stein's "Essential Reiki").  Still others claim Reiki is from Egypt, Atlantis, and even from Lemuria over 100,000 years ago.  Tibet has several touch healing systems, none of which are Reiki and it is inappropriate to call them Reiki.  There is no historical evidence that Reiki ever existed in Egypt.  There does not appear historically to have ever been any touch healing systems like Reiki or Seichim in Egypt.  Atlantis disappeared and took her secrets with her. Atlantis and Lemuria, while the subject of great interest, if they existed, took their secrets with them when they were destroyed. There is no reason to believe that Reiki existed before Usui.

It is also commonly taught that Usui learned or discovered Reiki by reading the Buddhist Sutras.  It is often stated that since Usui discovered Reiki by reading the Sutras, it must therefore have been a buddhist art that predated his discovery of it. Since countless millions have read the Diamond and Lotus (and other) Sutras and not ever seen anything that described Reiki or discovered Reiki, It should be safe to assume that the sutras, while they may have been a great inspiration, were not the source of Reiki.

In all likelihood, Reiki was a combination of several different arts and techniques that existed and were in practiced during Usui's lifetime that he combined after he had a satori (enlightenment experience or moment of oneness).  Morihei Tanaka was alive at the time and in the same general area teaching his Dai Rei Do and his system used Rei Shi Jitsu or Universal energy to heal.  My information also indicates that this school used Reiju as their empowerment process.  Reiju was the original process to empower students that evolved into attunements in the western systems of reiki.  (It was also rumored that Usui had studied with Tanaka but that cannot be confirmed.)  Another school developed at this time was called Omoto Kyo.  This was developed by Onisaburo Deiguchi.  His practices used eating healthy food and diet and energy healing.  Deiguchi's system was further developed by Mokichi Okada who developed Sei Kai Kyu Sei Kyo better known as Johrei and as the Johrei Fellowship Worldwide.  Johrei also uses Reiju to empower its followers.  Finally Ki Ko was the Japanese practice of Chi Kung.  Ki Ko techniques were widely known in Japan and found their way into many systems including Aikido which was developed around the same time that Reiki was.  Techniques such as hatsurei ho and other practices in the original Usui system were obviously from Ki Ko.  It is most likely that Reiki evolved from these and other practices in Japan that Usui learned and studied.

This section is the simplest to write of the whole manual.  No one knows.

See I told you it was simple.

Anything other than, "no one knows", is purely speculation and belief.

There are those that speculate that it activates the hara line.  Others believe it opens the chakras.  Still others believe that it reconnects you to the divine energy.  There are many theories.

In the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, the manual he gave his students he says, "I've never been given this method by anybody nor studied to get psychic power to heal.  I accidentally realized that I have received healing power when I felt the air in mysterious way during fasting.  So I have a hard time explaining exactly even I am the founder.  Scholars and men of intelligence have been studying this phenomenon but modern science cant solve it.  But I believe that day will come naturally."  Even the founder seemed to be at a loss of how to describe it.

I will share with you, that I suggest that you not waste your time worrying how it works and give you the following suggestion.  Reiki cannot be grasped with the mind, it can only be known in the doing and being of it.  When you "do" reiki, it is not so much in the "doing" as it is a state of BEing.  In doing reiki you are in the moment of oneness that Usui shared.  In the movie, "The Matrix", Morpheus tells Neo, "...sooner or later you're going to realize, just as I did, there's a difference in knowing the path and walking the path".  Everything you have read to this point in this manual is "knowing the path".  In doing reiki, we are walking the path.

Reiki Level I is the first step in the Reiki Process. The ability to do Reiki is passed onto a practitioner by receiving an attunement or initiation from a Reiki master. This attunement is all you need to use Reiki healing energy in your own life and for those around you.

Reiki can be used on Adults, Children, Animals, and Plants. People generally like receiving Reiki and report that it is a relaxing and stress relieving process. A normal treatment takes about 45 minutes to an hour to do. With children and animals it generally goes much faster (they are also much less likely to sit still for an hour).

Energy Exchange

This concept of energy exchanges is one that was dogmatized into the practices of the The Reiki Alliance as they codified what their understanding of Reiki was in the first years after Mrs. Takata passed away.  The idea or concept of energy exchanges is the idea that if one receives a gift, such as Reiki, that there must be an equal exchange of energy to "balance" things out, so the universal balance is maintained. This philosophy was added to Reiki by students of Mrs. Takata.

It is said, that Mrs. Takata believed that Westerners would not value Reiki unless they paid dearly for the Training and so used this to charge the $10,000 price for Reiki Master training. Later masters added in the idea of "energy exchange" in order to justify this practice of high charges. This was never part of the original teachings of Usui.  Some of the masters trained by Mrs. Takata made their Master students promise to earn their living only from doing Reiki. While this had the effect of developing very dedicated healers, it also had the effect of making Masters very competitive. Additionally, they became very selective in accepting master students as a result. So as you can see, issues of money, business, and competition entered the picture and from all this developed the idea of energy exchanges.

Some advance the arguement that everything is energy and money "represents energy".  That is, that money is a form of energy that is used to get other things.   It is a form that is valued by others.  (If we wrote this in a formula, would it be: if money is "energy",  then money energy = spiritual energy?)

Some say that not keeping the exchange "creates a vacuum in the universe". Some say that if they do not charge they "dishonor reiki".  Others teach that if an exchange is not done there is a "karmic imbalance".  Others teach that people will not accept the worth of what you offer if you do not charge.  Still others feel that if they don't charge that the message you sent to the universe is that you are not worthy of receiving anything.   If you are a healer who makes their living healing others, it would be essential to charge and appropriate to do so.  But do not confuse honor with money.  They are not the same.  Charge if you wish, don't charge if you wish.

In one of Takata's teaching stories, she tells the story of Usui and the Beggars.  The story was that "Usui began to share this new gift with the beggars on the streets of Tokyo.  He found that they would repeatedly come back for healing and did not appreciate the gift he gave them."  It was then added that as a result that he vowed never to give reiki away again for free.

This story is used as a justification for the "energy exchange" and for the justification for having people pay dearly for receiving reiki. The teaching story Takata told, of Usui working in the slums of Tokyo is just that, a teaching story, whose moral was that some people refuse to change. Historically, Usui worked with people all over Tokyo following a major earthquake, poor or not. He did not charge for this. It is said that he maintained his own business. There was not a charge for being a member of his organization, the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, but a small monthly fee to help keep the club going. It exists to this day.   The moral of Mrs. Takata's teaching story has become so far removed from it's original meaning by the energy exchange position, it is all but forgotten.  The moral of the story of the beggars is that some people do not want to change.  It is easier to stay where they are, to take the easy (all be it painless) way then it is to change.  People who are reinforced for being ill will stay ill.

The universe *is*.  Reiki *is*.  What *is* does not need human ego to play energy Robin Hood to try to equalize and balance things.  If energy exchanges were so important to maintaining spiritual balances of energy in the universe one might expect other spiritual leaders to have mentioned them.  I have searched the Gita, the Vedas, the Bible, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, Buddhism and cannot find exchanges. One might think that if it was of such import that it might be mentioned. You can find many healings, acts of kindness, compassion. You can see the radical loving kindness and compassion of Jesus who says, "your faith has healed you", but he didn't add "now you owe me to balance this out".  In these many traditions of these great teachers, you don't see worthiness, money, balance, exchanges.  In reiki, the relationship of teacher and student is perfectly "balanced", just as it is.

Non-Traditional schools add in three additional symbols.  These are the Tibetan Master Symbol (i.e., Dumo), the Fire Serpent Symbol and the Raku Symbol.  The attunement processes are modified as well with various Tibetan breathing techniques and the chi kung  microcosmic orbit.  The Usui/Tibetan Schools and other various Independent Practitioners have added a Level IIIa in between Level II and the Master Level. Level IIIa is often called Advanced Reiki Training (ART) although these techniques are not "advanced" and technically neither are they reiki. Some of the techniques that might be included here are: Reiki Meditation using the symbols for problem solving and for manifesting goals, Reiki and crystals, making a Reiki crystal grid, using pendulums with reiki, Reiki meditation to meet you "reiki guide", Reiki Healing Attunement, the Tibetan Antahkarana symbol and a meditation for its use, the Hui Yin position and the Violet Breath. In this dichotomy, Level III/Reiki Master teaches the addition of three "Tibetan" symbols, and how to perform the attunements.