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Intro to Reiki: A History and it's Application

Reiki is an ancient Japanese healing art, pronounced “ray-ki.” Rei means “the spirit of god or other higher power.” Ki is the Japanese word for life force energy, akin to the other Eastern terms “Chi,” and “Prana.” The practitioner does not create Reiki energy, but rather opens themselves as a channel for the energy to pass through. Reiki energy can do no harm.

Dr Mikao Usui

Dr. Mikao Usui was the first to receive the Reiki energy download. Born on August 15th, 1865. He traveled the western world and China and was a devoted student. One day, he attended a 21 day retreat on Mount Kurama to fast and meditate. At the end of this experience, he received Reiki energy through the crown of his head and later developed the healing system. He tested the energy on himself first and his family second.

In 1922, he opened a clinic. Patients traveled from far and wide to receive the healing energy from Dr. Usui. In 1923 the Kanto earthquake devastated Tokyo. He traveled to the city to heal the wounded and when he found that his clinic was overwhelmed with patients, he opened a second in 1925. Dr. Usui suffered a stroke on March 9th and passed away in 1926 at 62.

Reiki not only heals physical ailments, but also positively impacts the spiritual, mental and emotional subtle energy bodies. Dr. Usui developed the five pillars of Reiki to encompass this. It is meant to be said daily. Once in the morning and once in the evening.

To do this, one is asked to fold their hands in the “Ghasso,” position at your heart. This is akin to the “Namaste,” pose. Repeat the phrases, “For just today, I will not worry. For just today, I will not anger. For just today, I will be grateful. For just today, I will be honest in my work. For just today, I will treat all beings with compassion.” Dr. Usuis method involved a collection of hand placements. There is a collection for self practice and a collection for practice on others. 90% of reiki we see today is the Usui method.

Dr Chujiro Hayashi

Dr. Hayashi was the Japanese ex-naval officer responsible for bringing Reiki to the Western Hemisphere. He started training under Dr. Usui in 1925 at 47. He is believed to be one of the final “masters,” attuned by Dr. Usui. He developed a hand placement system based on Chinese medicine. Based on this, he believed it was only necessary to treat the head and the body. The meridian system allegedly carries Reiki to the extremities. He treated the head position only, then treated any specific ailments in the body. He developed the series of positions most commonly used in westernized Reiki. Chujiro Hayashi ritually ended his life by committing Seppuku' on May 10th 1940.

Mrs. Hawayo Takata

Mrs. Takata was born on December 24, 1900 on the island of Kauai to Japanese immigrants. Her husband passed away and left her to raise her 3 children. She worked tirelessly to do so. This resulted in her developing severe abdominal pain, a lung condition and led to her nervous breakdown/mental health crisis.

Her family insisted she travel to Japan to mourn the loss of her sister. On that trip, she visited Dr. Hayashis’ healing clinic. With twice daily treatments, all of her conditions were healed in four months. She was so moved that she decided to learn Reiki herself. In 1936 she received Shoden. She worked with Dr. Hayashi for one year before receiving Okuden. In 1938 herself and Dr. Hayashi traveled to Hawaii, where she was initiated as a Reiki “Master.” She was the final student to be Initiated by Dr. Hayashi. The reiki tradition continues. Today there are 10’s of thousands of initiated masters, or Shinpi-den.

It’s important to note that her involvement with reiki gave way to many myths being perpetuated. At one point, she gave out handouts and allowed students to take notes. As her teaching progressed, she insisted on the “oral tradition,” and that students may only pass down information orally. She taught with basic body positions. Her take on Reiki gave way to scanning and beaming methods.

Attunement and Symbols

Anyone can access Reiki, but to receive the download of the Reiki energy one must be attuned but someone who has completed their Reiki training and been certified to teach. Only then may they learn the secret and sacred symbols.

Dr. Usui had 6 levels of training. Shoden (4 levels), Okuden (2 levels) and Shinpi-den. The final level that some refer to as the “master,” level is Shinpi-den (mystery/secret teaching). Very few reached the final level.

Three Elements of Reiki Healing

The Aura

The Meridians

Modern Methods/Downloads

There are countless modern Reiki methods. Below are a few that resonate with me personally. Some say that it is possible to heal each part of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual body by performing reiki on the base of the spine. I call this “express healing.”


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