Reiki originates from an ancient healing system accessing life essence or Universal Life Force Energy to restore equilibrium and symmetry to the body, mind and spirit. The Japanese tradition may have been passed down by spiritual people in India and Tibet, remaining relatively unknown to the western world until recently.
The divine life essence is referred to by many different names depending on the tradition of the culture and/or religion: life energy, universal force, life force, chi, qi, ki, taksu, orgone, prana, kundalini shakti, source, soul, The Holy Spirit, The Beloved, etc. It is precisely this divinity that is accessed when energy healing transpires.
The story of the rediscovery of Reiki begins with Dr. Mikao Usui, a mystic, sage and scholar from Kyoto, Japan. In the late 1800’s, Dr. Usui embarked upon a several-year quest to find out more about this ancient healing system, inspired by the hands-on healings performed by many saints across the millennium of multiple cultures reporting healing of mind, body and the emotional self through spiritual means. His experience culminated on Mount Kurama in Japan, when after a 21-day period of meditating and fasting, Dr. Usui experienced a ‘satori’ or awakening when he received the Reiki symbols and instructions on how to activate the healing process in others. Not long after a devastating earthquake in Japan, Dr. Usui took to helping to people, traveling throughout Japan teaching and healing people. After establishing a clinic ‘shinryōsho’ in the 1920’s and implementing the Reiki Gakkai, he partnered with a well respected Japanese medical doctor. Enthusiastic about their partnership as Dr. Hayashi brought clinical credibility to the Reiki clinic, before his death, Dr. Usui taught 2000 pupils, 20 of which were initiated as Reiki masters. Near the end of his life, Dr. Usui initiated Dr. Chujiro Hayashi as Grand Master to carry on in his memory.
After Usui’s death, Dr. Hayashi became Dr. Usui’s primary successor establishing another clinic in Kyoto, Japan. It wasn’t long before Dr. Hayashi was recognized by the Emperor of Japan who decreed Reiki to be a national treasure. Dr. Hayashi continued to pass the knowledge of Reiki on to 13 Reiki masters before his own death in 1940. This included the first female Reiki masters, Chie Hayashi (Chujiro’s wife) and Hawayo Takata of Hawaii. Hawayo’s initiation in to Reiki was exceptional as she was the only foreigner taught by Dr. Chujiro and the only person trained in Reiki to teach outside of Japan. It was Hawayo Takata who brought Reiki to Hawaii and established a small clinic for nearly a decade on the Big Island of Hawaii before moving to Oahu to reach a broader audience.
Before Takata’s death in 1980, she mentored and initiated 22 Reiki Masters in the Japanese tradition of Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki spreading Reiki throughout the islands and to the mainland United States and Canada. After Hawayo’s transition, her grand daughter Phyllis Furumoto became the Spiritual Lineage Bearer of Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki, a position she held for four decades, holding the Essence of Reiki. Phyllis committed her life’s work to teaching and sharing Reiki with the global community upholding the Japanese traditions of Reiki as they were passed directly down to her through her grandmother from Dr. Chujiro Hayashi.
Through Phyllis’s continued dedication to her grandmother’s teachings, she preserved the unique Japanese traditions of Reiki taught in the Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki lineage. With Phyllis’ global work in the Office of the Grand Master, students and practitioners of Reiki have grown exponentially. Before Phyllis passed in 2019, she turned the reigns over to Johannes Reindl of Austria who remains the Spiritual Lineage Bearer of Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki carrying on the traditions of the Grand Masters that have come before him representing the Usui Method of Natural Healing.
Those trained in Reiki have had the energy channel activated by a Reiki Master enabling them to provide hands-on healing to others. Accepted globally and commonly used to treat emotional and mental distress as well as chronic and acute physical problems, the practitioner uses light hand placements to transmit healing energy to balance, harmonize and heal by replenishing the Universal Life Force Energy that becomes depleted from stress, emotional upheaval, disease and trauma, all of which compromise the immune system, lead to fatigue and depression and are pre-dispositions to illness.
Reiki does not stem from or require any particular religious belief, though stories of Buddha, Jesus Christ and other mystics acknowledge that hands-on healing is both a sacred and an ancient healing tradition.
Reiki provides an opportunity for the body to reset itself, to come in to alignment with Universal Life Force Energy. When stressed, the body, mind or spirit can become depleted of vital chi or qi energy, in Hawaii known as ‘mana’. Reiki restores any lost vital energy which allows for the body, mind and spirit to return to balance. In this way, Reiki releases pent up energy in the body that is not serving its higher good and charges the body with Source energy for a boost of the mind, body and spirit. Reiki works by filling a vibrational gap and restoring the body to wholeness. In this way, if you are experiencing a Reiki session for the first time, you will have a more impactful experience if you save it for when you are depleted rather than when you are feeling at the top of your game.
For more insights on what you might expect from a full Reiki session, click here.
The *Five Principles of Reiki:
Just for today, do not anger.
“I accept what is and what isn’t.”
Just for today, do not worry.
“I project a positive future.”
I earn my living honestly.
“I am honest.”
I honor my parents, teachers and elders
“I am respectful and respectable.”
Show gratitude to all living beings.
“I am kind.”
*These principles are adapted from “The Reiki Handbook” by Larry Arnold and Sandy Nevius (Harrisburg, PA, PSI Press,1982). Variations of the principles have evolved over the generations, still the basic precepts remain synonymous amongst the different Reiki lineages. Below the principles, the affirmations indicated by quotation marks are written by and a daily practice of La`Ren Kristen embracing the heart of Reiki presence.
If you are located outside of the Hawaiian Islands and interested in pursuing Reiki treatments or training, start by identifying Reiki Masters or Reiki Master Teachers in your area. You may consider starting with the International Association of Reiki Professionals. Once you locate healers or teachers in your area, you might consider reaching out to them directly.
If you are primarily looking for a teacher, you might begin by gathering information about the content of their Reiki curricula. Questions to consider might include their professional background and Reiki lineage, how long they have been teaching, pre-requisites for each class, how many levels of classes are offered, how many hours of instruction are required at each level, is a certificate granted at the end of each class, how many initiations or attunements are provided at each level? Are the initiations one-on-one or are they conducted as a group? How much time is dedicated to each initiation and how much time is dedicated to the hands-on practice of Reiki?
Be mindful of teachers who are willing to hastily move students from one level to the next; look for teachers who teach in the tradition of the early Reiki Grand Masters. For example, be aware of classes that are taught in a single day or classes that include multiple levels in one training. Reiki training should be offered over two or three consecutive days and be comprised of a minimum of 12 -14 hours.
Look for teachers who offer the proper number of initiations or attunements at each level; for instance a Level I class should consist of four initiations or attunements – some classes consist of only one attunement which opens the Reiki channel but shortchanges the student from the additional three attunements that cleanse, strengthen and balance that channel, likewise levels II and III should include two additional initiations or attunements each. Avoid large group class scenarios that are inherently limiting and often offer a group attunement; small classes offer more time for learning and for hands-on practice and provide ample time to receive all of the initiations in the Usui tradition. One-on-one initiations or attunements provide the key not only for activating the Reiki energy within but also for stabilizing and balancing the energy within the kundalini, the auric field and the energy system as a whole.
While history, theory and concept are easy enough to convey remotely, there is no substitute for one-on-one personal initiations or attunements. If online training is your only option, be sure the online workshop is live and interactive and limits the number of participants so there is ample time for the Reiki Master Teacher to share individual attunements remotely with each participant. Many students who choose an on-line course report a lack of connection to the Reiki energy. When presented in the spirit of the Grand Masters, an intimate personal Reiki training establishes an authentic connection to Universal Life Force Energy or Reiki. Students appreciate first hand the profoundness of the Reiki energy, something not easily conveyed from prerecorded or written material alone.
Above all, listen to your heart and you will be guided to the right person. I like to work with teachers and healers with whom I have an easy rapport. Working with Energy Medicine, connect with a person with whom you resonate. A good Reiki Master will encourage time for quiet reflection at the end of a treatment session. One insightful question of the Reiki Master might be to inquire about their lifestyle, how do they nourish their mind, body and spirit? Reiki is a path of purity. Personally, I am very selective about whom I allow to work on me. I prefer to work with those whom make healthy lifestyle choices, are drug and alcohol free and ideally enjoy plant based nourishment. I strive to be the clearest conduit I can possibly be and seek others who do the same.
You might also ask how often he or she practices self treatments and how the Five Principles of Reiki are integrated. This provides tremendous insight on their relationship and understanding of Reiki and directly reflects their ability to share Reiki with others. A healthy Reiki self care practice might include two or even three treatments per day, a minimum of one hour for the day with a meditation on The Five Principles of Reiki, which are at the foundation of Reiki practice. The daily self practice is at the heart of Reiki and is how one heals oneself. Self healing is integral to the practice of Reiki and a consistent self care practice allows one to move through the challenges of life most effectively and to guide others to do the same. A Reiki Master who practices daily self treatments never goes more than 24 hours without going within and connecting to Universal Life Force Energy. Honoring the wisdom of the elders through The Five Principles of Reiki yields a deep understanding , connection and reverence of Reiki. A Reiki Master dedicated to his or her own self treatments will be more effective in passing it forward to others and will convey the importance of self care to maintain balance and well-being.
While finding the best Reiki Master may seem challenging, you can ease any effort on your behalf by giving thanks to the Universe for guiding you to the perfect person to work with. Trust you will be led to the right person. In time, you will likely find yourself pleasantly surprised, receiving Reiki healing and/or training from the Reiki Master that is meant for you.
Reiki is not meant to be a substitute for a one-on-one relationship with a qualified
medical professional and is not intended as medical advice. Results vary widely;
Reiki is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.