REIKI (pronounced Ray-Key) is a spiritual energy healing system that was created in early Twentieth Century Japan. The word Reiki is loosely translated into English as 'spiritually guided universal life force energy.'

The system, also known as the Usui System of Natural Healing, was developed by Mikao Usui. According to Reiki history, Usui studied in a Tendai Buddhist monastery as a child. He held many positions during his lifetime and was learned in Chinese and Western Medicine, Ki Ko (Japanese Qi Gong) and reached the highest levels of Menkyo Kaiden in martial arts by his mid twenties. He was knowledgeable in many subjects including psychology, history, divination, physiognomy (face reading) and various religious texts. He also studied the Chinese and Sanskrit languages. Usui's memorial in Tokyo also states that he traveled in Europe and America.

In his teaching manual, Usui stated that the Reiki system was created after accidentally discovering the ability to heal during a fast and meditation retreat on Mt. Kurama, seventeen miles outside of the sacred city of Kyoto. It is believed that this meditation intensive took place prior to 1922, which was the date that he officially opened his first teaching establishment in Tokyo. The 21 day meditation on Mt. Kurama is legendary in Western Reiki history as the event that led to Usui's great satori, or enlightenment from which his Reiki system was created.

According to Mrs. Hawayo Takata, the first Western Reiki Master, for many years Usui studied the Bible and various ancient Sanskrit and Japanese Buddhist texts in search of the meaning of life and the methods of healing used by Buddha, Christ and other great Spiritual teachers.

Usui stated in his manual that he was not taught the system by anyone. He said that even though he was the founder of the system, which was an 'original therapy' and not like anything else in the world, he found it difficult to explain. He stated that 'his method used the power based on Reiki, which is a Universal power in the Universe.' Usui also said that "there were no similarities to other methods such as hypnotism or religious methods. Reiki is not like a psychological or other mental method of treatment. The Usui method is to help body and spirit with intuitive power," which he claimed to receive after long and hard study.

Information has come to light during the past several years that has added to and even changed our knowledge of the history of Reiki and Mikao Usui. It seems as though every time we think we have found the whole truth of the history of Reiki, we discover new fascinating information.

We do know that Usui began teaching the Reiki system sometime around 1922 and that he died of a stroke in March of 1926. Therefore, he only taught Reiki for four years as a system of healing. He did however teach a spiritual system known as Usui-do prior to the Reiki teachings as we know them. Apparently, shortly before and after Usui's death, some of his students went on to make changes to the original system, placing more emphasis on Reiki as a physical healing modality. It seems that Usui originally taught a system of spiritual transformation, not physical healing, although healing was a natural extension of the system. He also made changes to his teaching system as he went along.

When asked, he stated in his manual that there were three levels to the system. They were Shoden (First Degree), which was taught to anyone; Okuden (Second Degree), which he would teach to anyone who was sincere, dedicated to Reiki and of good character; and Shinpiden (which is known as the 'Master' level in the West.)

Usui stated that "the purpose of the Reiki system was to bring peace, happiness and health to oneself and then, with the mind of God or Buddha, to others." His memorial states that he purposely created a simple system that could be learned by the common layman, regardless of their religious belief, or lack thereof.

This is the system that was brought to the West by Mrs. Takata. She called it Usui Reiki Ryoho, or sometimes, Usui Shiki Ryoho. The great majority of Reiki practitioners are trained in this system. For an explanation of Reiki from the personal writings of Mrs. Takata, see the link below, (Excerpts from Takata's Diary.)

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Reiki is a powerful, yet gentle, non-invasive system that has been mainly taught in the West as a physical healing modality. It is now also recognized as a powerful Spiritual path, with physical healing being just one aspect or benefit of the system. We know that in his early dojo (school), Usui taught meditation techniques and perhaps Ki Ko to his students. We know that Reiki has its roots in Buddhist and possibly Shinto esoteric practices.

Reiki is a gentle therapy that can assist in healing on all levels: emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. The Reiki system is not in itself a religion, although it could be considered a spiritual path. Although the system has roots in Buddhism, the direct application of 'Universal Life Force' or 'Chi' for healing has been used for thousands of years by most cultures throughout the world. One need not practice any form of religion in order to be a Reiki practitioner. Reiki will however, align with any religious philosophy that allows for the understanding of a Higher Power or Healing Universal Life Force.

Some practitioners may find a general knowledge of the Buddhist context within Reiki to be helpful in understanding Usui's intent in creating the system. This may be particularly true for those students who advance to the Okuden level (second degree) of training. One need not be Buddhist to appreciate the compassionate wisdom and teachings of the Buddha.

In Mrs. Takata's version of Reiki history it is said that, at the end of a 21 day meditation, Usui received Divine empowerment and enlightenment, or a 'Satori.' Describing this experience, Usui later said that he felt "one great Reiki over his head." It was during this experience that he came to understand the meaning of life and the use of the knowledge within the religious texts that he had so diligently studied for years. After further study and practical use of the Reiki energy for healing, he formulated a method to empower others into his system. This empowerment is known in the West as an 'attunement.' It was at this time that Usui developed a teaching method, which he called the Usui System of Natural Healing, or Usui Reiki Ryoho.

It is believed that Usui taught over two thousand people in the practical use of Reiki. He also initiated approximately 19 known students to the Shinpiden, or teaching level. A few of those Shinpiden went on to open their own schools throughout Japan, subsequently spreading the teaching of Reiki to thousands of people. Several of those lineages back to Usui are still in existence in Japan today.

* * * Mrs. Hawayo Takata was certified as a Reiki master in 1938. Her Reiki master, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, was one of Usui's last Shinpiden initiates. He took over Usui's clinical practice after his death in 1926. Mrs. Takata practiced Reiki in America for over forty years. Prior to her death in 1980, she initiated a total of 22 masters in Canada and the United States to carry on the teaching of Reiki throughout the world. The great majority of Western practitioners trace their lineage to Usui through her. Since her death many independent schools and variations of Reiki have been formed.

It is my experience that the energy that we call Reiki, this 'Universal Life Force,' is a pure energy. I believe that it connects us to the 'Source' of all life. It is the 'Light within the Atom,' the 'Primordial Vibration' so often spoken of in cultures around the world. Throughout history this healing energy has been given many names...OM, AUM, Prana, Chi, Ki, Orgone, to name just a few.

Reiki can be experienced through all of the human an 'Inner Light' with the Third Eye, or the brow chakra. It can be heard through meditation as an internal sound, commonly referred to as 'Celestial Music' or 'Inner Harmony.' It can also be felt and shared with human touch through Usui's Reiki healing system.

Reiki, the healing modality, is very easy to learn. However, it cannot be learned from reading a book. One thing that sets Reiki apart from most other systems of energy healing is the attunement process. To directly access the energy of Reiki for healing, one must receive the attunements from a qualified Reiki master/teacher. The attunement is a ceremony that can be likened to an initiation. It creates a connection between the student and the Reiki energy all around them, opening their energy channels and clearing any blockages that they may have. The attunement helps the student to 'remember' that they ARE Reiki energy. Most people have simply forgotten this, or were never made aware of it. To read an article about the attunement process, see the link below, (What are Attunements?.)

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Usui stated that all creatures have healing power; animals, plants, trees...but especially humans. He said that his system of attunement heightened a person's ability to connect with Reiki, allowing them to use their hands, eyes, and even their breath as powerful instruments of healing. The attunement process makes that connection for the student. It is a simple, yet very special and sacred process that can be very empowering and healing for an individual on many levels. Through the attunement process, the practitioner becomes a facilitator, or channel, for the healing energy. They themselves are not the healers.

Reiki is a way of life. It is not a dogma or a theory. It is a practical experience in which the Universal Life Force is channeled through the master to the student via the attunement process. Once attuned to Reiki, one can never loose the ability to use it. Attunements are a celebration and recognition of our birthright to heal ourselves on all become whole...and then to share that healing with others.

For me, above all else, Reiki has become a journey...a path to understanding and loving myself...a way to go deep within and reconnect with and heal myself on every level. I see it as a lifelong process. Reiki must be personally experienced to understand and appreciate. It is not a 'concept' or a visualization technique. Upon receiving Reiki attunements from a certified Reiki master, one will feel the healing energy in their hands and with practice, throughout their entire being.

Many studies are now being conducted on the use of Reiki throughout the world. It is used successfully in many hospitals and hospice settings for everything from pain relief to faster recovery after surgery. Several major studies are being done, testing the benefits of using Reiki with HIV/AIDS, Cancer and Fibromyalgia.

There is a saying that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I also understand that without the student, there is no need for the teacher! Being able to share and teach Reiki is the greatest gift that I can offer in service to others. It is also my greatest joy!

I am always grateful for the opportunity to teach. I would be happy to speak with anyone who is interested in attending Reiki classes.

I am now teaching the traditional three levels of Usui Reiki Ryoho in my home, which is the GAINESVILLE CENTER FOR REIKI TRAINING. Having recently completed additional training as a Threshold Reiki Master with Richard Rivard, I am also able to teach Threshold Reiki, to those who are interested, as well. For specific information about Threshold Reiki, visit Rick's wonderful web site via the link below (The Reiki Threshold.)

My Classes are held upon request and a First and Second Degree class is also scheduled monthly. Please contact me via my email address below for more information, or check out my school page (link below.)

Currently, I am offering to teach free First Degree classes to anyone who is HIV+ because I believe that Reiki can truly help them live healthier, happier lives. This is one way that I have chosen to give back to my community. If interested, please contact me for more information.

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I thank Usui Sensei and all Reiki masters for keeping the Reiki flame alive and for making this wonderful opportunity available to all of those who desire to embrace healing in their lives!

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Many Thanks to Rick Rivard for historical information found on this web site.


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