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What is Reiki?

By Sonia Keffer, with some A.I. generated content

You may be wondering what Reiki is and how it’s similar or different from massage, healing touch and other healing modalities. In this post I’ll share a condensed history of this universal healing modality. In the next post, I’ll compare Reiki with a few other healing modalities.

The History of Reiki:

Reiki, a form of energy healing, has captivated the interest of many seeking alternative and holistic health solutions. Its history, spanning several decades, is both fascinating and rich with cultural and spiritual significance. This post delves into the origins, development, and global spread of Reiki.

Origins in Japan: The Birth of Reiki

Reiki, meaning "universal life energy," traces its roots to Japan, and may be as old as the universe. The Reiki that many think of and practice in the world today was founded by Mikao Usui or Usui Sensi.  In 1922, after a 21-day retreat of fasting and meditation on Mount Kurama, Usui experienced a profound revelation. He claimed to have received the ability to heal through the laying on of hands, a practice that became the cornerstone of Reiki.

Expansion and Evolution: From Japan to the World:

After Usui's death in 1926, his disciples continued to spread his teachings. Notably, Chujiro Hayashi, a retired naval officer and one of Usui's prominent students, played a crucial role in systematizing and preserving Reiki practices. It was Hawayo Takata, a Japanese American woman who would later introduce Reiki to the Western world.

Modern Reiki: A Global Healing Practice

Today, Reiki has evolved into various styles and branches, yet its core principles remain rooted in the teachings of Mikao Usui. Practitioners around the world continue to use Reiki to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Principles and Practice

Reiki is based on five foundational principles known as the Reiki Precepts, which encourage a way of life filled with gratitude, honesty, diligence, kindness, and calmness. The practice involves channeling energy through the hands to the recipient, intending to balance their energy fields and promote self-healing.

Reiki Today

Reiki continues to thrive globally, embraced by people from diverse cultural and spiritual backgrounds. Its appeal lies in its simplicity, non-invasiveness, and the profound sense of peace and relaxation it often provides.


Reiki's journey from a small Japanese spiritual practice to a global phenomenon underscores its enduring appeal and versatility. As interest in holistic health grows, Reiki serves as a testament to the timeless human quest for healing and harmony. Whether approached as a spiritual discipline, a healing art, or both, Reiki remains a compelling and accessible path for those seeking to enhance their well-being and connect with the universal life energy.

Reiki's rich history is a tapestry of spiritual discovery, dedicated practitioners, and cross-cultural exchange. From its inception with Mikao Usui to its global spread through dedicated practitioners like Chujiro Hayashi and Hawayo Takata, Reiki has touched countless lives. As it continues to evolve, Reiki remains a powerful reminder of the potential for healing and transformation inherent in us all.

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