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Reiki: What is it and its origin

Updated: Dec 21, 2023


What is Reiki

You might have heard of Reiki from a friend but don’t relatively know what it is. Perhaps you’re considering Reiki but aren’t sure whether it’s right for you. Or maybe your doctor has suggested Reiki as a form of therapy needed for your medical treatments. Whichever your case is, Reiki is a treatment that can be highly beneficial to your whole body (click here for testimonials).

Reiki is a unique technique that stimulates the body's natural healing abilities and promotes emotional, mental and physical welfare. It is a healing technique that promotes relaxation, eases pain, reduces stress and anxiety by targeting the energy field around your body. Reiki practitioners use their hands to deliver energy to your body, improving the flow and balance of your energy to support healing.

Overview of Reiki Treatment

Reiki or energy healing is a form of meditative therapy that promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes a positive mental state. It is a way of guiding the energy through the recipient’s body to boost self-healing abilities.

It is believed among Reiki practitioners that they are not the cause of the healing, nor are they the source of that healing energy; they’re a channel through which the energy flows — just like the way a garden hose acts as a channel for water. It’s not a religion and is not associated with religious practice.

There Are Five Core Types Of Reiki Namely:

  • Usui Reiki (Western Method)

  • Jikiden Reiki (Eastern Method)

  • Karuna® Reiki

  • Lighterian™ Reiki

  • Sekhem or Seichem Reiki

What is the history of Reiki

 A. Origins

Reiki (pronounced “ray-key”) is an ancient Buddhist practice that originated in Japan in the early 20th century.

The word "Reiki" is derived from two Japanese words: "Rei," which means "universal”, or “higher power" and "Ki," which means "life energy." Reiki practitioners believe that there is a universal energy that flows through all living things and that this energy can be channelled to promote healing and well-being.

Also known as Usui Reiki, the history of Reiki starts with its founder, Dr. Mikao Usui. Sometimes called the Usui Sensei, Dr. Mikao Usui was born into a wealthy Buddhist family in 1865. His family was able to provide a well-rounded education for their son at the time. Dr. Usui learned martial arts, swordsmanship, and the Japanese form of Chi Kung, known as Kiko in a Buddhist monastery.

During his education, Dr. Usui had a keen interest in medicine, psychology and theology. It was this interest that spurred him to find a way to heal himself and others using the laying on of hands. It was his desire to find a method of healing that was unattached to any specific religion and religious belief so that his method would be available to everyone.

During his training years in the monastery, Dr. Usui created his own training rediscovery course in a cave on Mount Kurama. For 21 days, Dr. Usui fasted, meditated and prayed. On the morning of the twenty-first day, Dr. Usui had an experience that would change his life forever. He saw ancient Sanskrit symbols that helped him develop the method of healing he had been struggling to invent. Usui Reiki was born.

After his spiritual awakening on Mount Kurama, Dr. Usui founded a clinic for healing and teaching in Kyoto, Japan. As the Usui Reiki practice began to spread, Dr. Usui became famous for his healing practice.

 B. Development

Mikao Usui founded his first Reiki clinic and school in Tokyo in 1922. He taught several Reiki masters to ensure that his system would not be forgotten in the event of his death. Among them was a former naval officer named Dr. Chujiro Hayashi. Usui Sensei had asked Chujiro Hayashi Sensei to open his own Reiki clinic and to grow and develop Reiki based on his previous experience as a medical doctor in the Navy. Inspired by this demand, Hayashi Sensei initiated a Reiki school and clinic called Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai (Institute).

At his clinic, which was located in Tokyo, he kept careful records of all the illnesses and conditions of his Reiki patients. He was also great at keeping records of which Reiki hand positions worked best to treat each illness and condition. ​​Hayashi Sensei also modified the way Reiki sessions were given by changing the position of a client when receiving treatment. Instead of the sitting position Usui Sensei had used, Hayashi Sensei had the client lay on a treatment table and the Reiki treatment was performed by several practitioners at a time.

Dr. Hayashi further developed the Usui system of Reiki by adding hand positions to provide more cover to the body. Dr. Hayashi also made modifications and refined the attunement process. With his improved system, he was able to train several more Reiki Masters, including a woman named Hawayo Takata. Mrs. Takata was a Japanese-American woman who originally went for healing at Dr. Hayashi’s clinic.

In Tokyo in 1935, Mrs. Takata was very sick and needed surgery, but she had a strong feeling within her that she didn’t need that surgery to be healed. After asking her doctor about alternative treatments for her condition, she was told about the Reiki practitioner in town. This was the first time Mrs. Takata had heard of Reiki, but she scheduled an appointment, even though she was a little bit sceptical. Following her first meeting with Dr. Hayashi, Mrs. Takata began to see Dr. Hayashi on a day-to-day basis. She found the sessions to be relaxing and pleasant and, most importantly, healing.

Over time, Mrs Takata learned several Reiki methods. She then returned to the United States, where she continued to practice Reiki and went on to become a Reiki Master. Much of this happened near the commencement of World War II. With the ambition of spreading her healing methods, Mrs Takata travelled around the U.S. mainland and other parts of the world teaching and giving treatments. She became a powerful healer who attributed her success to the fact that she performed a lot of Reiki on each client. She would often perform multiple treatments, each sometimes lasting hours and treat difficult cases every day for months until the client was healed. To help with this process, she often encouraged the members of a client’s family to learn so they could give Reiki to the client as well. She made changes to her Reiki practice and then used Reiki to help heal many others in the United States.

Modern Reiki

Thanks to Mrs Takata, today, Reiki practitioners use the techniques developed by Dr. Usui, the founder of Usui Reiki. The genius of Reiki is that practitioners can use Reiki to help heal themselves and for their own health and enhanced well-being. In fact, working on self-healing is a requirement for offering Reiki healing to others.

Modern Reiki masters can offer Reiki energy to others through mild light pressure touch or no touch at all, using the specific traditional Reiki hand positions. It works over long distances as well, there is no need to even be in the same country. Reiki healing complements many medicinal therapies and traditional medicine and can be used to help aid in the potential healing of people suffering from pain, illness, disease and more.

Modern Reiki is becoming increasingly popular as time goes by, and the lineage of Reiki masters is growing daily. With Usui Reiki, many people are using this traditional treatment to heal themselves and others.

Animals also love Reiki, they are very open to energy, and even show the body parts where they need healing. I have uploaded a few videos to YouTube and to my website when I am treating pets via Zoom (distance healing) so you can have an idea of how it looks. You can read my blog post about the benefits of Animal Reiki and animal communication and/or find out more about how Reiki can help your furry companion.

If you would like to read more about my work as a Reiki practitioner, you can read more on my website here.

Gabriella Davidovics

Psychotherapy I Hypnotherapy | Reiki | Animal Healing & Communication


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