Reiki is the practice of natural healing that had its origin in Japan in the early 20th century. By letting the healing energy flow through the palms, Reiki is able to give self-treatment to the practitioner and even treatment to others. Those who receive Reiki treatment may be healed of diseases and certain ailments. The name Reiki is Japanese for “universal life energy”. Rei means spiritual while Ki is the same as the Chinese word for energy.
Due to lack of written documentations, there are some uncertainties about the history and validity of Reiki. It is certain that Reiki was discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui, who some historians claim to be a Christian monk, while others say he was a Buddhist. One account told that Usui was on a journey in search for the answer to his question: how Jesus did his healing miracles.
He began an extensive twenty-one-year study of the healing phenomena of history's greatest spiritual leaders. He also studied ancient sutras (Buddhist teachings written in Sanskrit). He discovered ancient sounds and symbols that are linked directly to the human body and nervous system which activate the Universal Life Energy for healing. Usui then underwent a metaphysical experience and became empowered to use these sounds and symbols to heal. He called this form of healing Reiki and taught it throughout Japan until his death around 1893.
When he returned to Tokyo, Usui began his practice of healing the sick. Usui developed his plans and as a result, he worked not only on physical healing but on spiritual healing as well. He traveled around the countryside and shared his healing practice to other people. Usui met in one of villages he visited was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a Naval Commander in the Naval Reserve. Hayashi was very willing to learn and began traveling and training with Usui. He went on to take over teaching of Reiki when Usui died in 1926.
Hayashi went back to Tokyo and continued to teach the practice of Reiki. He also opened a clinic for healing the sick. When he died in 1940, he passed on his leadership to the Hawaiian Mrs. Hawayo Takata.
Mrs. Takata, who was trained by Hayashi, was the one who introduced Reiki to the west in 1938. Because of the condition of war during the time when she was teaching Reiki to other practitioners, she taught in a very rigid way. She told her students to teach others in the way she taught them and that they should only have one Reiki master. At that time, she didn’t provide her students with printed materials. Mrs. Takata’s way of teaching was more on preserving the tradition of Reiki rather on the healing process itself. In the 1970’s, she was able to train 22 Reiki masters.
As the decades passed, Reiki also changed in some ways. New Reiki techniques have been developed, and hundreds more masters and practitioners followed. Unlike the traditional practice that Mrs. Takata taught, Reiki masters can now develop their own personal style to further improve their healing abilities. Because of the efforts of these three people, Usui, Hayashi, and Mrs. Takata, and the other Reiki masters who trained under them, Reiki continues to give hope to many.