Origins of Reiki

Origins of Reiki: Unveiling the Ancient Healing Practice

Reiki is an ancient healing practice believed to have originated in Japan, focusing on channeling universal life energy to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Developed by Mikao Usui in the early 20th century, Reiki has evolved, incorporating various techniques and traditions. Usui’s teachings, however, remain a cornerstone of this holistic health approach.

The origins of Reiki can be traced back to a combination of Japanese spiritual practices, Buddhist philosophies, and traditional healing methods. Usui’s discovery of Reiki stems from his spiritual awakening during a meditation retreat on Mount Kurama. This experience led him to develop a healing and personal development method, later known as the Usui Reiki System.

In the decades following Usui’s life, his teachings have been passed on to various students and practitioners. Many Reiki masters learned directly from Usui, such as Chujiro Hayashi, who established the Jikiden Reiki Institute. As Reiki has spread globally, it has been adapted and modified by practitioners worldwide, resulting in numerous variations and schools. Despite these differences, the core principles and techniques established by Usui continue to guide and inform the practice of Reiki today.

History of Reiki

Mikao Usui

Reiki originated in Japan with its founder, Mikao Usui. He was a scholar and spiritual seeker born in the late 1800s. In his pursuit of spiritual growth, Usui Sensei studied various disciplines, such as Buddhism, Shintoism, and martial arts. During a meditation retreat on Mt. Kurama, he attained a powerful spiritual experience, leading him to develop the Usui Reiki healing system. He started teaching this method in Tokyo and gained immense popularity due to its effectiveness in healing.

In 1923, after the Great Kanto Earthquake, Usui Sensei and his students offered Reiki healing sessions to the injured and suffering population. This selfless service earned Reiki even more recognition and respect throughout Japan.


One of Usui Sensei’s remarkable students, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, played a crucial role in Reiki’s evolution. A retired naval officer, Dr. Hayashi learned Reiki from Usui Sensei and then opened his own Reiki clinic in Tokyo. He developed the hand positions used in Reiki healing sessions and organized the teachings into a more structured system. Dr. Hayashi focused on the physical healing aspects of Reiki while preserving its original spiritual essence.

Hawayo Takata

Reiki’s further expansion beyond Japan can be attributed to the efforts of a Hawaiian woman named Hawayo Takata. Mrs. Takata was of Japanese descent and, in the 1930s, traveled to Japan to seek medical treatment for various health issues. She discovered Reiki at Dr. Hayashi’s clinic and underwent a successful healing transformation. Inspired by her experience, Mrs. Takata learned Reiki, and upon returning to Hilo, Hawaii, she started practicing and teaching the modality.

Over time, she trained 22 Reiki Masters, who played an essential role in spreading Reiki across the globe. One such Reiki Master, William Lee Rand, helped promote Reiki further by publishing books and establishing the International Center for Reiki Training.

The history of Reiki spans over a century and has evolved through the teachings of Mikao Usui, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, and Hawayo Takata. It has grown from its roots in Japan to become a widely recognized and appreciated healing modality available to people of various cultures and backgrounds.

Reiki Practices

Reiki Sessions

Reiki is a healing practice involving energy transfer from the practitioner to the client. During a Reiki session, the practitioner places their hands either directly on or slightly above the client’s body in specific positions, allowing energy to flow and help facilitate healing. Clients often report experiencing feelings of warmth, relaxation, and overall well-being during and after a session.

Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai

The Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai is an organization founded by Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki. The organization’s purpose is to preserve and promote the original teachings of Usui Reiki and provide a community for Reiki practitioners to share and learn from one another. The Gakkai emphasizes the importance of self-healing, spiritual growth, personal development, and the physical healing aspects of Reiki practice.

Reiki in Hospitals and Clinics

In recent years, Reiki has gained recognition and acceptance as a complementary therapy in various healthcare settings, including hospitals and clinics. Healthcare professionals like nurses and doctors are incorporating Reiki into their practices to support patients’ recovery and well-being. Additionally, some hospitals and clinics offer Reiki training to their staff, enabling them to provide energy healing to patients alongside conventional medical treatments. This growing recognition of Reiki in the medical community demonstrates its potential as a valuable adjunct to traditional healthcare.

Reiki Techniques

Meditation and Balance

Reiki techniques primarily focus on promoting healing and well-being through meditation and balance. Practitioners aim to channel the universal life force energy (Reiki) into their clients to facilitate physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. Reiki sessions usually involve the patient lying down in a comfortable position, while the practitioner places their hands either lightly on or just above the patient’s body in specific hand positions. This is done to channel reiki energy to the patient, helping to restore balance and harmony within their energy field.


Reiki techniques strongly emphasize balancing the body’s energy centers, known as chakras. There are seven primary chakras, each representing a focal point for the flow of universal life force energy. Practitioners work to identify any imbalances or blockages in the chakras and aim to restore balance by channeling reiki energy. This process stimulates the body’s natural healing abilities, fostering overall well-being. The seven primary chakras are:

  1. Root Chakra: Located at the base of the spine, this chakra is associated with physical survival and grounding.
  2. Sacral Chakra: Positioned just below the navel, this chakra is linked to emotions and creativity.
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra: Located around the stomach area, this chakra is connected to personal power and self-confidence.
  4. Heart Chakra: Situated in the center of the chest, this chakra is associated with love and compassion.
  5. Throat Chakra: Positioned at the base of the throat, this chakra is related to communication and self-expression.
  6. Third Eye Chakra: Located in the center of the forehead, this chakra is connected to intuition and insight.
  7. Crown Chakra: Positioned at the top of the head, this chakra is associated with spiritual awareness and enlightenment.

Karuna Reiki

Karuna Reiki is a modern form of Reiki that introduces additional symbols and techniques to the traditional Reiki system. Developed by William Lee Rand in the 1990s, Karuna Reiki practitioners believe that it allows them to channel a more refined and compassionate energy, enhancing the efficacy of treatments. This form of Reiki places greater focus on personal spiritual growth and aims to facilitate deeper transformations in the patient. While the basic principles and techniques remain similar to traditional Reiki, Karuna Reiki introduces new symbols and practices to address specific issues or challenges the patient may be facing.

Reiki in Different Cultures

Reiki is a healing technique in Japan that has since gained popularity across different cultures worldwide. It involves the transfer of universal energy from the practitioner’s palms to the patient, promoting emotional and physical healing. This section will focus on Reiki’s influence on Spanish-speaking communities and its international expansion.

Reiki en Español

Reiki en Español, or Reiki in Spanish, has grown in popularity in Hispanic and Latino communities. Just like in other cultures, it is widely practiced for its potential health benefits and spiritual growth. Practitioners learn about the various Reiki techniques and the symbols used in this healing art.

With the increasing number of Spanish-speaking Reiki practitioners and enthusiasts, many resources, events, and classes have been developed for this community. These resources include:

  • Books: Several books on Reiki have been translated into Spanish, making it more accessible for Spanish-speaking individuals.
  • Websites: Numerous websites offer Reiki information, articles, and resources in Spanish.
  • Training: Spanish-speaking Reiki masters provide classes and workshops tailored to accommodate the linguistic needs of their students.
  • Community events: Local Reiki groups and events are organized to cater to Spanish-speaking communities, facilitating cultural exchange and mutual support.

International Reiki

The practice of Reiki has expanded beyond Japan and has been embraced globally. Several organizations and events promote Reiki’s international expansion:

  • Worldwide Reiki organizations: Many international Reiki organizations have formed, such as the International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP) and the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT). These organizations work to set standards, provide resources, and connect Reiki practitioners globally.
  • Cross-cultural training: Reiki training has become widely available in various languages, allowing practitioners from different cultures to learn and share their knowledge with others.
  • Global events: International conferences and gatherings dedicated to Reiki are organized to promote networking, learning, and sharing ideas among Reiki practitioners from different cultural backgrounds.

Reiki has become a global phenomenon, transcending cultural and language barriers. As the practice continues to expand, its healing techniques and spiritual development will likely continue to enrich the lives of individuals across the world.

Reiki Resources

Books and Manuals

There are several informative books and manuals available for those interested in learning about the origins of Reiki and its practice. Some noteworthy examples include:

  • Reiki for Dummies – This book provides introductory information on Reiki, including tips on where to study and how to practice self-Reiki.
  • The Reiki Sourcebook – This comprehensive guide delves into the different levels of traditional Japanese Reiki and its origins and traditions.
  • Reiki for Life (Updated Edition): The Complete Guide to Reiki Practice for Levels 1, 2 & 3 – This book serves as an essential resource for Reiki practitioners in the 21st century, helping individuals at any level to reach their full potential as healing channels.

Reiki Gifts and Products

Apart from books and manuals, a variety of Reiki-themed gifts and products can also be a valuable resource for practitioners and enthusiasts. Some popular items include:

  • Reiki lapel pins – These small, symbolic pins can be worn on clothing or accessories to represent one’s participation in the Reiki community.
  • Reiki brochures – Informative brochures can be used to educate others about the practice and benefits of Reiki, as well as promote one’s Reiki services.

In conclusion, many valuable resources exist for individuals interested in learning about and practicing Reiki. With an arsenal of reliable materials, enthusiasts can confidently and knowledgeably navigate the world of Reiki while maintaining a neutral and clear perspective.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Dr. Mikao Usui develop Reiki?

Dr. Mikao Usui, the founder of the modern Reiki system, rediscovered this ancient healing art in the early 20th century in Japan. His personal experiences, extensive studies, and meditation practices inspired Usui. He developed a self-healing technique called Usui Reiki Ryoho, combining spiritual growth with energy healing.

What are the Tibetan connections to Reiki?

The Tibetan connections to Reiki are primarily found in the symbols and techniques used in certain Reiki practices. While Reiki does not have direct roots in Tibetan traditions, some practitioners believe that the healing symbols used in Reiki are similar to ancient Tibetan symbols. However, the historical evidence supporting these connections is limited and not definitive.

What role does religion play in Reiki?

Reiki is not a religion, nor is it affiliated with any specific religious doctrine. It is a healing practice that believes in a universal life force energy that can be accessed and channeled for healing purposes. Reiki practitioners come from various religious backgrounds and often integrate their personal beliefs into their practice, but the core principles of Reiki are nonsectarian and can be adapted to fit different spiritual beliefs.

How does the history of Reiki differ in Eastern and Western cultures?

In Eastern cultures, Reiki was initially taught and practiced by Dr. Usui and his students in Japan. Hawayo Takata, a Japanese-American woman who studied with Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, one of Usui’s direct students, later introduced it to the West. As Reiki gained popularity in the West, it gradually adapted to Western culture, and some practices and teachings evolved to suit the needs and expectations of Western practitioners. While the underlying principles of Reiki remain the same, some differences in practices and emphasis can be observed between Eastern and Western Reiki traditions.

What are the primary Reiki symbols and their origins?

The primary Reiki symbols are sacred energetic patterns that represent specific qualities and functions in the practice of Reiki. The four main symbols used in traditional Usui Reiki are:

  1. Cho Ku Rei: The power symbol amplifies or focuses energy.
  2. Sei He Ki: The emotional and mental healing symbol, used to balance emotions and mental states.
  3. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen is the distance healing symbol that sends healing energy across time and space.
  4. Dai Ko Myo: The master symbol, used to attain spiritual enlightenment and heal at the soul level.

The origin of these symbols can be traced back to Dr. Usui and his teachings, although their exact origins and connections to ancient symbols are still debated among Reiki practitioners.

What is the relationship between Reiki and science?

The relationship between Reiki and science is complex, as Reiki is a spiritually-based energy healing practice that relies on concepts not easily measured or quantified by traditional scientific methods. However, numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the efficacy of Reiki on various physical and mental health conditions. Although results vary, some studies show promising evidence supporting the potential benefits of Reiki as a complementary therapy. Further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms behind Reiki’s effects and establish its scientific rigor.