What is Reiki?

Reiki is an ancient Japanese healing modality rediscovered and developed into a science by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Buddhist teacher, sensei and healer in the early 1900’s in Japan.

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 is intelligent and intuitive so it knows exactly where to go for optimal healing and is incapable of doing any harm.

Reiki is founded on the principal that when we experience stress, trauma or illness, our natural life force or Ki becomes blocked and is not able to flow freely throughout the body. Reiki helps to release these blockages and promotes a profound sense of well being, relaxation, balance and peace. Reiki heals not just on the physical, but on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

Reiki is channeled through the palms of the practitioner and offered to the client through the laying of hands on the client’s body. The practitioner hovers over or gently touches various meridians, chakras and healing points on the client’s body. Reiki is performed with the paritcipant fully clothed on a massage table and is non invasive.

Reiki is a simple, natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. Reiki is not a substitute for traditional medicine but works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.

Reiki is not taught in the usual sense, but rather is "transferred" to the student through an "attunement" given by a Reiki master (teacher). This attunement allows the practitioner to tap into an unlimited supply of "life force energy," which they can use to improve their own and other's health and quality of life.

Reiki does not depend on the practitioner's intellectual or spiritual capacity or state of development. There is no body of esoteric knowledge to be mastered. Once a practitioner is attuned, the healing energy just flows through her/his hands (when they are being used for healing.)

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 well being. Many have experienced and reported miraculous results.

The History of Reiki

Mikao Usui was born on August 15, 1865 at the beginning of the Meiji Restoration in Japan in a village called Miyamo cho in Gifu Prefecture. His family was "Hatamoto Samurai" or the highest rank in the Samurai system. His family was Tendai Buddhists and later in his life Usui became a lay Tendai Buddhist priest absorbing many of the secret practices of the religion. Also influencing Usui was Shinto, a way of life which believes everything is imbued with spirits and Shugendo Buddhism which promoted going on mountain retreats and hands-on healing, and the repetition of mantras (all part of the current Reiki Healing System). In fact it was on Mount Kurama, that Usui received "divine inspiration" (according to his headstone in Japan) to create the system of Reiki.

In 1922, Usui founded the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Usui Spiritual Energy Healing Method) school and most members of the society were originally naval officers. Usui only added the practice of hands-on healing to the system in his last couple years before his death in 1926.

Chujiro Hayashi was a retired naval doctor and surgeon when he joined Usui's school in 1925. Five years after Usui's death, Hayashi opened his own school, the Hayashi Reiki Kenkyu Kai (Hayashi Spiritual Energy Research Society). In 1935, Hawayo Takata (the woman who eventually brought Reiki to the West) came to Hayashi's clinic where she miraculously improved from a condition that doctors had previously said would require an operation. She stayed for 6 months of treatment and stayed another year after that as a volunteer and Hayashi taught her the Reiki healing system. Takata was Hayashi's 13th and last Reiki Master that he created. Hayashi helped Takata set up the first Reiki clinic in Hawaii in 1938. Hayashi tragically committed suicide in 1940 because he did not want to enter WWII.

Takata brought Reiki to the mainland in the 1970's and created her first Master student in 1976. Before her passing in 1980, Takata created 21 Masters who initially spread Reiki creating the worldwide phenomena that exists currently.

It is important to note that when Takata taught Reiki, she changed some of the history and details about Mikao Usui to make Reiki more palatable to Westerners. She taught that Usui was a Christian instead of Buddhist and that he was a Doctor instead of a Sensei. She made these changes for the purpose of having people accept the system and it is not without these vital changes that Reiki would be as popular as it is today.. Takata, an avid storyteller, also told miraculous stories of Usui's discovery of the Reiki Symbols which struck him in the third eye by a lightening bolt on Mount Kurama.

Though there are many schools of Reiki, the Usui Shiki Ryoho (Usui System of Natural Healing) comes from the spiritual lineage of Usui-> Hayashi->Takata-> Furumoto. This is the school and lineage that Brittany Barger is a Reiki Master in.

*Adapted by Brittany Barger from The Reiki Bible by Eleanor McKenzie (2009)*

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