Reiki, as it is known in the West today,  is a “hands on” healing modality that promotes relaxation and stress reduction, thus supporting and accelerating your body’s own ability to heal. Your body has it’s own natural healing process – when you cut yourself you heal, when you catch a cold/flu you recover, when you have surgery and are sutured up, you heal, but this natural healing process can only kick in or be activated when the body/mind is completely at rest, and you are calm and relaxed.


Reiki takes you to that calm, relaxed, even sleepy place so that this natural healing process can kick in. It is not uncommon for someone receiving Reiki to fall asleep during the session, we call this Reiki Slumber. Many people report that the sleep state they go into during a Reiki session is more restorative and relaxing then any kind of rest they have experienced in a long time, and then realize how much they needed it! With this comes the realization that they need to find a way to get back to that level of relaxation on a more permanent basis.


Reiki brings your body back into balance by opening, clearing and balancing the chakras and bringing all the systems of the body (physical, emotional, spiritual and mental) back into balance. Blockages of trapped negative emotional energy are dissolved and released during what we refer to as “a block release”.  The heat coming out of the practitioners hands “dissolves” the block, and the Reiki energy raises the vibration of the area where the blockage was to a higher, healthier vibration again. It’s not unusual for the practitioner to break out in a sweat and their hands to get very hot when this is taking place. One of the leading authors of Reiki books, Frank Arjava Petter, calls this “Reiki Fire”.  Additionally muscle tension is also released from the body expressing as little jerks or jumps in the body.


Reiki is also detoxifying.  Analogy: Imagine your body is a still, clear pond or stream. Even though it appears still on the surface, we know that it still has a muddy bottom.  Liken the body to the pond, Reiki comes in and stirs up the pond, bringing the mud up into the water (the mud being the toxins in the body). During this process, the toxins are released into all the eliminatory systems of the body, which is why we say that Reiki releases toxins just like having a massage does, thus you are urged to drink lots extra fluids after having a session for the next 48-72 hours to help flush the system.


Reiki allows everyone to tap into an unlimited supply of Divine Life Force Energy to improve their health and enhance the quality of their lives. Reiki was created and developed by Dr. Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1900’s. Usui Sensei had an “enlightenment” experience on one of the most sacred mountains in Japan (Mt. Kurama) where he received all the information about the system and how to use it after a 21 day fast and meditation known as the “Lotus Repentance Meditation” in Buddhism.


The Westernized version of Reiki that is practiced around the world today, with a strong emphasis on healing others is a far cry from Usui’s original system, which had more to do with self-actualization or self-enlightenment, (reaching “Satori”, a state of being where nothing that is going on around you affects you, you are completely at peace and doing what you came here to do this lifetime – your life purpose).


Historically, Reiki came to be spread all over the world today after Usui’s death through the efforts of Dr. Chujiro Hayashi and Mrs. Hawayo Takata. In the story of Reiki’s beginnings, we shift our attention to Dr. Hayashi after Usui’s death because of his having taught Mrs. Takata to be a Reiki Master Teacher, and changing the focus of Reiki to the”hands on healing” modality it is seen as in the West today. The Memorial Society that was established by Dr. Usui before his passing (USUI REIKI RYOHO GAKKAI or Usui Reiki Healing Method Learning Society), continues to thrive in Japan to this day, and is headed by elected Presidents. Its members still follow all of Dr. Usui’s methods as he originally taught them to the letter.  

It is thought that Dr. Hayashi is responsible for Reiki being seen as the healing modality it has become in the West. He was a retired Japanese Naval Officer and a Western trained Medical Doctor in the Imperial Japanese Navy. He tweaked Reiki into a healing modality to make it more accessible and acceptable to his fellow Naval Officers (also the Imperial Navy wanted it to be used on their Destroyers as a form of triage).

Dr. Hayashi is a player in the story of the origins of Reiki because he taught Japanese National Mrs. Hawayo Takata to the Master degree and sent her back to Hawaii where she came from to open a Reiki practice and later teach Reiki. I call her the “Mother of Reiki” because she is responsible for Reiki being spread all over the globe today. There are now millions of Reiki Practitioners in the world! Mrs. Takata tried to make Reiki more palatable to the Americans and Eastern Europeans living in Hawaii where she opened her practice by dressing Reiki up in Christian clothes when she claimed that Dr. Usui was a Christian. That story was debunked after her death – Dr. Usui was a Buddhist and descendant of an ancient family of Samurai. (I highly recommend all books by Frank Ajarava Petter on Reiki, especially his latest  “This Is Reiki.” for the “real story on Reiki and it’s origins.)


I teach two styles of Reiki, one being Traditional or Usui Reiki (Usui Shiki Ryoho), the original system created by Dr. Usui, and the other being Karuna Reiki®.  Karuna is a Sanskrit word meaning compassion or compassionate action. Karuna Reiki® was developed by William Lee Rand, the founder of the International Center for Reiki Training in Michigan (USA) along with several others at the Center. I believe and feel that Karuna Reiki® is the next evolutionary step up in power of the original Usui Reiki system, and find it to be more intense than the gentler Usui Reiki.  Karuna Reiki® is said to heal on a DNA deep cellar level.



Karuna is a Sanskrit word and is used in Hinduism and Buddhism. It is translated to mean any action that is taken to diminish the suffering of others, and can be translated  to mean “compassionate action.”  When individuals experience enlightenment, they report that all beings are known as one.


Therefore, it is natural to extend compassionate action or Karuna to everyone without distinction, because we are all one. As we help others and aid them in their healing process, all beings benefit. Because of the oneness of all beings, it is understood that Karuna is not only extended to others out of love, but also because it is an entirely logical thing to do. In the same way that you would want to heal your own wounds, you would also want the wounds of others to heal.  It is also stated in the Buddhist literature that Karuna must be accompanied by parjna or wisdom in order to have the right effect.


Karuna is the motivating quality of all enlightened beings who are working to end suffering on Earth. They continually send an unlimited amount of healing energy and guidance to us, but not all are receptive to it. As you develop Karuna in yourself, not only are you helping others, but you also become more receptive to the Karuna that is being sent by all enlightened beings. Thus your healing is quickened as well.


Karuna Reiki® opens you to work more closely with all enlightened beings Like Kwan Yin (inserted picture above) Jesus, Mother Mary, Buddha, etc). This includes those enlightened ones who are physically present as well as those in spirit.


I have now been a Karuna Reiki® Practitioner & Teacher for several years and I personally find that the energy healing sessions I do incorporating Karuna Reiki® are much more powerful then the sessions I did before using only Usui Reiki. The energy comes in stronger, the releases are bigger and more frequent, and the intuitive information that I receive during sessions is becoming stronger and more profound.

Reiki is evolving just as it should, just as everything and everyone does.  There are hundreds of new forms of Reiki today and Karuna Reiki® is just one of them, and I am sure that there will be more and more especially as we all shift as human beings into the higher dimensions (Mayan Calendar – 2012). 



It is very difficult to translate the Japanese Kanji characters that we are all familiar with that represent Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key), into English. The older set of these characters can be interpreted to mean the source of the Reiki energy to be “Divine or Spirit life force energy uniting with our personal energy (chi or ki),” and the a newer, more modernized versionof the Japanese language that can be interpreted to mean it is just “universal life force energy,”  the energy that everything in the Universe is made up of.  I personally lean more toward the older translation.


As someone who has studied and practiced T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Qigong for more than two decades, both of which utilize or cultivate universal life force energy, or Chi (the energy that is all around us, in the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breath, nature exudes it, etc.), I feel very strongly that Reiki comes from the source of what one might call the Divine (whatever the Divine means to you – Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Kwan Yin, Great Spirit, God., etc) and refer to it as Divine Life force energy.

Mikao Usui

(Dr.) Mikao Usui was born into an ancient Samurai family and at an early age, as is traditional, was sent away to a Buddhist monastery to study. Among the many things he learned there were KiKo (Japanese Qigong) and martial arts (he achieved very high status in grappling/swordsmanship, and many other forms of martial arts). A rich new story about Usui and Reiki’s real origins has come to light in the last two decades or so through the efforts of many Western and European authors of Reiki books and high ranking Western and Peruvian Reiki Master Teachers like Chris Marsh, Frank Arjava Petter and his wife Chetna,  James Deacon, Don Beckett, Jessica Miller, William Lee Rand and many others, who traveled to Japan expressly for this purpose.  “This is Reiki”, one of the latest book out there on Reiki by Frank Arjava Petter is full of the most current information available. I highly recommend it and all of Frank’s books.


With the help of such people as Hiroshi Doi (a Japanese Reiki Practitioner/Teacher and former member of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai – the organization of Reiki Practitioners  Dr. Usui set up before his passing which is still in existence today in Japan), and several 100+ year old Buddhist nuns that Usui himself is said to have trained in Reiki, much new information is coming to light. We also now know that the Christianized story of Reiki’s origins that Mrs. Takata created and told all her students was debunked after her passing. Dr. Usui’s main aim in creating the system was as a self-actualization system.   In other words, this system was originally created as a way to achieve personal perfection not as a healing modality. Dr. Chujiro Hayashi and his fellow Naval Officers and Mrs. Hawayo Takata changed the system into the healing modality we know it as today.


Dr. Chujiro Hayashi

Dr. Hayashi was a Western trained Medical Doctor and retired Officer in the Imperial Japanese Navy.  He studied with Dr. Usui for approximately 9 months before Dr. Usui died. He and his Naval Officer buddies who also trained under Dr. Usui,  tweaked Reiki into the healing modality we know it as in the West today to make it easier for them to grasp as they were not coming at it from the spiritual aspects of Reiki that Dr.Usui was.  Dr. Hayashi,opened his own Reiki Clinic in Tokyo, renamed the system of Reiki he used, and wrote his own manual after Usui died.  He was reportedly a Christian.  ii who came to Japan for healing of various mental and physical conditions.


As war became eminent in the Pacific, Dr. Hayashi made the decision to transition out of the earthly plane knowing he would be conscripted to serve in the Japanese Navy in the coming War with the United States, or be killed if he refused. It is said this went against his Christian views and the principals of Reiki. There has been much speculation around his demise, some believe that he committed “seppuku”  or “hari kari” , the traditional form of honorable suicide in Japan, but the latest book out on Reiki eludes to his possible cutting his wrists.


Mrs.Hawayo Takata

Mrs. Takata is responsible for Reiki being taught and practiced all over the entire planet today, thanks to the 22 people she made Reiki Master Teachers before she passed. There are now millions of Reiki Practitioners spread all over the Planet at this time. Reiki, in the Western form, is now experiencing a resurgence in Japan.


Her parents were Japanese and immigrated to Hawaii where she was born.  They and or she worked on a sugar cane plantation and it is there that she met and married the bookkeeper of the plantation, and had two children. Her husband died very young of a heart attack and left her virtually penniless.  A small, frail women she was not able to do the hard labor required of sugar cane field hands and soon became quiet ill. The story goes that at this time, her sister living in Hawaii also, died and as is tradition in Japan, Hawayao was required to take her sisters ashes (or body possible) back to Japan for burial (this may or not may not be true – but this is the going story out there).  While in Japan she sought treatment for her many medical/emotional maladies.

It is said that when she was lying on the operating table awaiting surgery (in a book I just read by John Harvey Gray who knew her quite intimately, he claims she had gallstones, asthma and appendicitis), when she heard a voice directing her to “Get up, Get dressed and Leave, the surgery was’t necessary” over and over.  She looked around but no one was there.  When the surgeon came in she told him what was happening and asked him if there was another way she could be treated and he suggested Dr.Hayashi’s clinic.  She was treated and healed of all her maladies by Dr.Hayashi and his students. She begged Dr. Hayashi to make her Reiki and enlisted the aid if his wife, and finally he agreed.  Mrs. Takata went on to become what I call the “Mother” of modern day Reiki.

Reiki utilizes divine life force energy channeled through the practitioner’s body and out their hands to restore health and a sense of well being. The divine intelligence of Reiki adjusts to each individual’s needs, creating a customized healing session, and giving rise to the saying that it is an “intelligent” energy.  People who have experienced Reiki report a warm, loving energy wherever the practitioner’s hands are applied. Reiki creates a deeply profound state of relaxation, which releases blocked energy within and around the body for accelerated healing.


During a Reiki session, one lies on a massage table fully clothed under a sheet and/or blanket, and Reiki is administered with a gentle touch using a series of hand positions on the body called “holds”, or occasionally with the hands of the practitioner hovering a couple of inches above the body (we do not touch in private areas, so those are treated with the hands hovering about 3 to 5″ above the body).  Reiki also opens, clears and balances the chakras, and is said to have an analgesic affect (pain reliever).


For more info on the latest findings regarding Reiki’s History:

The Five Principles of Reiki or Gokai:     


reiki precepts


Mikao Usui devised a set of precepts to live by as Reiki Practitioners (we could liken them to Moses’ Ten Commandments) and are very much in the Buddhist tradition (Tendai). These precepts are chanted daily by the practitioner and are considered a path to live by. Here is one version:


  1. Just for today I will live an attitude of gratitude
  2. Just for today I will not worry
  3. Just for today I will not anger
  4. Just for today I will do my work honestly
  5. Just for today I will show love and respect for all living things


Further Resources On Reiki: