What is Reiki?
According to the Japanese healing technique known as Reiki (pronounced "ray-kee"), when your “Ki” -- or life force energy -- is low or disrupted, you’re more likely to feel stressed or sick. High levels of Ki lead to health and happiness, and it is upon this principle that Reiki exerts its healing effects.
Composed of two Japanese words -- “Rei,” which means “God’s Wisdom or the Higher Power” and “Ki,” which means “life force energy” -- Reiki can be translated as “spiritually guided life force energy.” This gentle, energy healing technique works by helping to clear the negative energies that are blocking the flow of your vital life force energy and is becoming increasingly practiced in hospitals, hospices and other health care settings.
How Does Reiki Work?
A Reiki treatment generally involves working with a Reiki practitioner who will access your life force energy and allow it to flow freely. This is done by placing their hands palms down on or just above your body in up to 15 different positions. Each position is held for two to five minutes, or until the practitioner feels heat and tingling sensations dissipate, which signals that the flow of energy has stopped.
Each Reiki session lasts anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, and patients generally receive multiple sessions. It is also possible to receive Reiki long-distance, in which Reiki is performed on clients who are not physically present. Although there are reports of beneficial effects of Reiki performed at a distance, it is generally considered preferable to visit a Reiki practitioner in person, if possible.
A Gentle Form of Body medicine
“A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you. Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind and spirit creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing. Reiki will improve the results of all medical treatment, acting to reduce negative side effects, shorten healing time, reduce or eliminate pain, reduce stress, and help create optimism.”
The energy that is channeled from the hands of a Reiki practitioner is said to “break up and wash away” negative thoughts and feelings that are stopping the flow of your life force energy, leading to improved mental and physical health.
“Reiki heals by flowing through the affected parts of the energy field and charging them with positive energy. It raises the vibratory level of the energy field in and around the physical body where the negative thoughts and feelings are attached. This causes the negative energy to break apart and fall away. In so doing, Reiki clears, straightens and heals the energy pathways, thus allowing the life force to flow in a healthy and natural way.”
Because Ki is influenced by your thoughts and feelings, Dr. Mikao Usui, who rediscovered the ancient healing art of Reiki in Japan in the early 1900s, also developed five Reiki principles that complement the healing technique.
To improve your mind and body, Dr. Usui recommended repeating the following, out loud and in your heart, each day, morning and night:
Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings. -(Being thankful brings joy into the spirit.)
Just for today, I will let go of worry. -(Letting go of worry brings healing into the body.)
Just for today, I will let go of anger. -(Letting go of anger brings peace into the mind.)
Just for today, I will do my work honestly. -(Working honestly brings abundance into the soul.)
Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing. -(Being kind brings love into the will.)
What Health Problems Can Reiki Be Helpful With?
Reiki is used for relaxation and stress relief as well as to relieve chronic pain, side effects from medications and medical treatments, and to improve overall health and well-being. The technique is increasingly being offered in U.S. medical settings, and it’s estimated that over 800 U.S. hospitals now offer Reiki as part of their services.
Research into Reiki can be difficult to rely on, as a system known as The Touchstone Process -- developed as an ongoing process to systematically analyze published, peer-reviewed studies of Reiki -- found in an analysis of 26 Reiki articles that only 12 were “based on a robust experimental design and utilized well-established outcome parameters.” Of them, “two provided no support, five provided some support, and five demonstrated strong evidence for the use of Reiki as a healing modality.”
Researchers concluded there is “a need for further high-quality studies in this area.” A separate study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine concluded “The serious methodological and reporting limitations of limited existing Reiki studies preclude a definitive conclusion on its effectiveness. High-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to address the effectiveness of Reiki over placebo.”
Still, to date there have been some intriguing studies published that have demonstrated Reiki’s potential healing effects, including:
Pain and Anxiety Relief Following Surgery:
Women who received three 30-minute sessions of Reiki along with traditional nursing care after abdominal hysterectomy reported less pain and anxiety and requested fewer pain medications than those who received only nursing care.
Improvements in Pain, Depression and Anxiety in Older Adults:
Older community-dwelling adults who received a 30-minute Reiki session once a week for eight weeks reported significant decreases in depression, anxiety and pain compared to those who received no treatment.
Management of Cancer-Related Pain:
In a study of advanced cancer patients, those who received Reiki in addition to pain medication experienced improvements in pain control and quality of life.
Significant Reduction in Pain from a Variety of Causes, including Cancer:
In a study of 20 people experiencing pain at 55 locations for a variety of reasons, including cancer, Reiki treatment resulted in a highly significant reduction in pain.
Easing Anxiety in Prostate Cancer Patients:
A pilot study found that Reiki therapy may help reduce anxiety in men being treated with external beam radiotherapy for prostate cancer.
Reduction of Pain and Anxiety During Colonoscopy:
A pilot study suggested that Reiki therapy may reduce pain and anxiety, along with the need for pain medication, during colonoscopy.
Other research suggests Reiki may also:
Impact autonomic nervous system functions such as heart rate, blood pressure and breathing
Reduce symptoms of depression and stress
Improve mood and energy levels among people recovering from stroke
Reduce perception of pain and fatigue, and improve quality of life among cancer patients
Improve behavioural and memory problems in people with mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease
Help HIV/AIDS patients to reduce pain and anxiety
Mikao Usui (臼井甕男, 15 August 1865 – 9 March 1926, commonly Usui Mikao in Japanese) was the founder of a form of spiritual practice known as Reiki, used as a complementary therapy for the treatment of physical, emotional, and mental diseases. According to the inscription on his memorial stone, Usui taught Reiki to over 2000 people during his lifetime. Sixteen of these students continued their training to reach the Shinpiden level, a level equivalent to the Western third degree, or Master/Teacher level. Usui died on 9 March 1926 of a stroke.
Mikao Usui was the founder of the Traditional Reiki system of hands on healing. He lived in a Zen Buddhist monastery where he found the texts describing the healing formula, which he could now read in their original Sanskrit.
The material did not include, however information on how to activate the energy and make it work. As this information had been obscured and that was intentional, done to keep the often powerful material from hands not ready to know and use it properly.
Mikao Usui went into studying the Sanskrit, and when he later studied very hard to master it, he found a formula. Just as plain as day. Nothing hard, but very simple. Like two and two equals four. And so he said, very well, I've found it. But now, I have to interpret this, because it was written 2500 years ago ancient. But I have to go through the test.
The test was a three week period of meditation, fasting and prayer on Mt. Koriyama in Japan. He chose his meditation site and piled twenty-one small stones in front of him to mark the time, throwing away one stone at the end of each day.
On the final morning of his quest, in the darkest hour just before dawn, Usui saw a projectile of light coming toward him. His first response was to run from it, but then he thought again. He decided to accept what was coming and the answer to his meditation, even if it resulted in his death.
The light struck his third eye and he lost consciousness for a time. Then he saw millions and millions of rainbow bubbles, and finally the Reiki symbols as if on a screen. As he saw each of these symbols he was given the information about each of them to activate the healing energy.
It was the first Reiki attunement, the psychic rediscovery of an ancient method.
Mount Kurama - 2016
Kyoto Prefecture~ 京都府, Kyōto-fu ~ Honshu ~ Japan
On my visit to Mount Kurama in 2016 I stopped for a moment or two to capture the tranquility and beautiful energies of Mount Kurama. Mount Kurama is a mountain to the north of the city of Kyoto. It is the birthplace of the Reiki practice, and is said to be the home of Sōjōbō, King of the Tengu. It was supposedly the Tengu who taught swordsmanship to Minamoto no Yoshitsune.
Chujiro Hayashi (林 忠次郎 Hayashi Chūjirō, (15 September 1880 – 11 May 1940), a disciple of Mikao Usui, played a major role in the transmission of Reiki out of Japan and for turning it into a less mystical practice.
Hayashi was a naval physician and employed Reiki to treat his patients. He began studying with Usui in 1925. The following year, he took over Usui's clinic after the master's death and moved it from Nakano, Tokyo to Shinano-machi. In 1930 and 1931, Hayashi made significant changes to Usui's system and renamed it Hayashi Reiki Kenkyū-kai.
Hayashi's system stressed physical healing and taught a more codified and simpler set of Reiki techniques, stressing manual treatment.
Among Hayashi's contributions was a set of fixed hand positions to be used in the course of a treatment; Usui often preferred a more mystical[clarification needed] means of diagnosing the patient's problem.
Hayashi initiated and trained Hawayo Takata and helped her bring Reiki to Hawaii. As some of the popular history of Reiki consists of Takata's alleged fabrications, Hayashi is often considered to be Usui's chief disciple and the second Grand Master of Reiki history. In 1940, Hayashi performed seppuku rather than join the war.
Hawayo Takata - (Mikao Usui's first student)
Hawayo Hiromi Takata (December 24, 1900 - December 11, 1980), a Japanese-American born in Hanamaulu, Territory of Hawaii, helped introduce the spiritual practice of Reiki to the Western World.
As a Nisei fluent in the language and culture of both Japan and the United States, she was well-suited for this task, and her contributions in this area are widely acknowledged.
Takata, however, remains a source of controversy in the Reiki community for her efforts to maintain the practice as a sort of pay-for-access franchise under her leadership.
Takata's introduction to Reiki was due to a medical crisis. Soon after her breakdown, one of her sisters died. Takata journeyed to Japan via steamship, with her sister-in-law, for the dual-purpose of informing her parents and also seeking medical care. After visiting her parents, she went to a Tokyo hospital and was diagnosed with several life-threatening conditions including gallstones and a tumor. She was given some weeks to recuperate from emphysema, before being admitted for surgery for appendicitis and her other gastrointestinal problems.
On the operating table, just before the surgery was to begin, Hawayo heard a voice. The voice said, "The operation is not necessary. The operation is not necessary." She had never heard a voice speak to her like this before. She wondered what it meant. The voice repeated the message a third time even louder. She knew she was wide awake and had not imagined the voice. It was so unusual, yet so compelling that she decided to ask the doctor. She got off the operating table, wrapped a sheet around herself and asked to speak to the doctor.
Takata asked the chief surgeon about non-surgical alternatives and was given the address of the clinic run by Chujiro Hayashi, later described by Takata as Reiki's "Grand Master". Under Hayashi's care:
Mrs. Takata received daily treatments and got progressively better. In four months, she was completely healed.
Impressed with the results, she wanted to learn Reiki. However, it was explained that Reiki was Japanese and that it was intended to stay in Japan. It could not be taught to an outsider. Mrs. Takata talked to the surgeon at the hospital and convinced him to ask Dr. Hayashi to allow her to learn Reiki. Since Dr. Hayashi wanted to teach Reiki to another woman besides his wife, and since Mrs. Takata was so persistent, he decided that she should be the one. In the Spring of 1936, Mrs. Takata received First Degree Reiki. She worked with Dr. Hayashi for one year and then received Second Degree Reiki.
In 1937, Takata returned to Hawaii in good health to set up what soon became a very successful Reiki practice. Hayashi and his daughter visited her there when Hayashi went on a tour to promote his art. In 1938, Takata became the thirteenth and last Reiki Master initiated by Hayashi.
“I believe there exists One Supreme Being - the Absolute Infinite - a Dynamic Force that governs the world and universe.
It is an unseen spiritual power that vibrates and all other powers fade into insignificance beside it.
So, therefore, it is Absolute - I shall call it “Reiki”.
Being a universal force from the great Divine Spirit, it belongs to all who seek and desire to learn the art of healing.”
Hawayo Hiromi Takata
Phyllis Lei Furumoto- (Hawayo Takata's granddaughter)
Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Mrs. Takata's granddaughter, grew up in the Midwest of the United States. Initiated into Reiki at an early age, it was her duty to treat her grandmother when she came to visit the family.
Her conscious journey with the Usui System of Reiki Healing, Usui Shiki Ryoho, did not begin until many years later. After studying psychology at college, Phyllis worked in a psychiatric hospital and later as a university administrator.
At the age of thirty, she decided it was time to dedicate her life to a meaningful purpose and accepted an invitation to travel and work with her grandmother. She was initiated as a master at the start of their trip in April 1979.
For the next year and-a-half Phyllis apprenticed with her grandmother, as Takata gave treatments, taught first and second degree classes, and trained and initiated masters.
After Mrs. Takata's death in 1980, Phyllis was recognized by the Reiki Master community as her grandmother's successor in the lineage. Phyllis sought ways to bring masters together for mutual support and sharing.
From this initiative, The Reiki Alliance was founded in 1983.
Before Phyllis transitioned from her earthly life in Green Valley, Arizona on March 31st, 2019 she traveled world-wide in her work to foster the practice of Usui Shiki Ryoho. She appeared at Reiki student gatherings and was especially devoted to working with Reiki Masters.
Her Japanese roots and Western upbringing combined to give her the insight necessary to bridge an Eastern healing art into the context of a Western culture.
She was faithful to her grandmother's teachings while remaining flexible and moving with the times in the ever-growing world community.
Jeannette Andrea Jackson
My Reiki Lineage
“Unity arises out of the absolute Tao, and from unity there appears cosmic duality, and from such duality,trinity springs forth into existence,
and trinity is the primal source of reality