What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that
also promotes healing. It is based on the idea that an unseen "life
force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive.
If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely
to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of
being happy and healthy.
The practice of Reiki works on every level, not just the physical.
The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words - Rei which means "God's
Wisdom or the Higher Power" and Ki which is "life force energy".
So Reiki is actually "spiritually guided life force energy".
Reiki healing is believed to have originated in Tibet, and was rediscovered
by the Japanese scholar and Minister Mikao Usui in the late nineteenth
The History of Reiki
The origin of Reiki can be traced back to ancient Tibet, thousands of
years ago. This technique was rediscovered in the late 1800's - early
Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan.
Dr. Mikao Usui, or Usui Sensei, as his students in Japan call him, is
the founder of the Usui System of Reiki.
He was born August 15th 1865 in the village of Yago in the Yamagata district
of Gifu prefecture, in Southern Japan.
He was destined to become a scholar, philosopher and a healer.
He was educated by missionaries and became a Minister as well as Principal
of a boy’s school in Kyoto. After a sermon in 1822, a student
asked if he literally believed in the Bible and he answered “yes”.
The student asked him to demonstrate his belief by performing a miracle
as Jesus did. Dr. Usui was not able to do this and so was told he
had blind faith and this was not good enough to bolster the faith of the
students. He told the students not to lose faith and resigned his
position and traveled to the West where he would learn how to do the miracles
He went to Chicago University in America to study the Christian scriptures
concentrating on the healing miracles. However, after several years,
he could not learn how Jesus healed and so turned to other great world
Thus he returned to Kyoto and looked into the Buddhist writings, as he
knew that Buddha and his early disciples had performed healing.
Dr. Usui met a Zen abbot and spent many years with the monks. He
studied the writings in Japanese at first and felt that some of the meaning
had been lost in translation and so since Buddhism had been brought to
Japan from China he learnt Chinese and again he questioned the translation
of the writings and so went on the learn Sanskrit since Buddhism had originally
come from India!
He became a Sanskrit Master and it was in this language that he found
what he was looking for in the writings of the Tibetan Buddhist Sect.
The secrets of healing were his! He had found the symbols.
But he did not know what to do with them or how to use them.
He decided to meditate and fast, believing that he would be shown the
meaning of the information he had found. He went to a Sacred Mountain
of the monks, holy Mount Kuri Yama, for 21 days. He only drank water
during this time. To keep track of the days he placed 21 stones
beside himself and moved one stone each day. In the very early morning
of the last day a very bright light rushed towards him and struck him
on the forehead and he lost consciousness.
He came too several hours later and was aware of beautiful colours, all
the hues of a rainbow. Intense white light and then transparent
bubbles, each containing one of the symbols, followed this. As each
bubble moved into his field of vision the instruction for the use of the
symbol was given.
He now had the secrets he was looking for. He knew this was the
Universal Life Energy, which he called “Reiki” and thus the
Usui System of Natural Healing was born.
Full of energy he strode down the mountain to return to Kyoto.
On the way he stubbed his toe quite painfully. He put what he had
learnt to the test. As he grasped his toe he experienced instant
He was very hungry, after 21 days of only water, and stopped to have
some food at a roadside food stand. A young woman who had terrible
toothache brought the meal. Her face was swollen and she had a cloth
tied around it. Dr. Usui asked her permission to touch her cheek
and the pain immediately ceased and the swelling went down.
Dr. Usui was delighted to have more proof of the truth of his instructions.
He returned to the monastery to find that the abbot was suffering much
pain from arthritis and was in his quarters. So after bathing, to
remove the dust of 21 days on the mountain, he went to see the abbot who
was very happy to hear that the secrets of healing had at last been revealed
to Dr. Usui. The abbot asked for a demonstration and was immediately
relieved of his pain.
The two men discussed what should be done with this knowledge and Dr.
Usui decided to go to the vast slums of Kyoto and offer healing to the
beggars. He spoke to the leader of the beggars and offered healing
for the people in return for a place to sleep and to do his work, along
with three bowls of rice a day. His request was accepted and he
moved into the area giving healing.
The plan had been that the younger beggars would go to the monastery
to be trained by the monks in skills where they could earn a living.
However, Dr. Usui began to notice familiar faces as he went through the
neighbourhood and asked why they had returned to the slums. The
reply was that earning was much harder than going out to beg each day!
Upon hearing this Dr. Usui felt a great failure and left the slums at
once. He again meditated on what had happened. He realized
that although he had been very successful in balancing the physical bodies
of the beggars, he had had no concern for their spiritual health.
At this time he then added his Five Spiritual Precepts:
Just for today:
I will not worry
I will not be angry
I will do my work honestly
I will give thanks for my many Blessings
I will be kind to my neighbour and all living things
From then on Dr Usui determined never again to give Reiki to anyone who
did not appreciate it.
He then traveled through out Japan teaching others Reiki. . He was a
wise and clever teacher. Arriving in a town he did not know
he would walk through the market place carrying a lighted torch.
The people would make fun of this silly man carrying a torch when the
sun was shining. However, he captured their attention and so arranged
meetings to tell the people about Reiki.
He developed a large following of students and in the mid 1920s met Dr.
Chujiro Hayashi. They traveled together and when Dr. Usui died from
a stroke March 9th 1926 aged 61 Dr. Hayashi continued in Dr. Usui's tradition,
traveling, teaching, and dedicating his life to Reiki. Dr Hayashi
in turn passed on the Reiki teachings to a woman Mrs. Hawayo Takata of
Hawaii, before he died. Mrs. Takata was instrumental in spreading
the teachings of Reiki to the United States and Canada.
From these 3 people all Reiki practitioners have descended.
The tradition of Reiki was an oral one, and was passed on by master-to-master
and student-to-student by word of mouth. The story most likely has been
dramatically embellished by each storyteller over the years to emphasize
the wonder and beauty of the legend of Dr. Usui.
How can Reiki help me?
People use Reiki to:
||Relax and strengthen their well-being
||Cope with stress
||Reduce anxiety and fatigue
||Help manage symptoms
||Reduce side effects of medications
||Support recovery after injuries or surgery
Reiki can be a wise first step in any treatment plan because people generally
start feeling better very quickly with Reiki treatment.
As anxiety and pain lessen, and people feel hopeful about regaining their
health, they feel more able to incorporate other needed health interventions
or make needed lifestyle changes.
In this way, Reiki can help people become more actively involved in their
Reiki can be safely practised on people of all ages, including the newborn,
pregnant mothers, surgical patients, the frail and the elderly in any
Reiki is a wonderful way to manage stress and so helps one to be relaxed
and calm and thus able to see things in their true perspective.
Reiki can enhance everyday living, and regular sessions may help to promote
development of a healthier, more resourceful state of being.
What happens during a Reiki Session?
A Reiki treatment is administered by the laying on of hands. It is a
non-diagnostic, non-interventionist and non-manipulative treatment.
No pressure is applied.
A session is carried out with the recipient lying down, in a comfortable
and peaceful environment. There is no need to remove any clothing
as Reiki energy passes easily through all material, including plaster
The practitioner places their hands gently on or over the body.
The recipient automatically draws in only as much energy as is needed,
using it in whatever way is most appropriate at the time.
Reiki may be experienced as a flow of energy, mild tingling, warmth, coolness,
other sensations or nothing at all.
Reiki is deeply relaxing and has a profoundly calming effect.
It is advisable to rest for a while afterwards and to drink plenty of
water over the next few days. Be responsive to your body’s
needs. Rest if you feel tired, so allowing the energy to continue
its work in the days following the session.
The beneficial effects may be felt for several days.
Reiki is a gentle yet powerful complementary therapy that may be used
with confidence alongside orthodox healthcare. As such it expands
Reiki is not, however, an alternative to conventional medicine.
You should therefore always consult a GP about acute or infectious conditions
and in connection with problems of an urgent nature.
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