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Beginners Guide and History of Reiki Healing

Updated on March 26, 2019
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Claire studied at The Open University and has a level three diploma in crystal healing. She has also been attuned to reiki levels 1 and 2.

Reiki written in kanji script.
Reiki written in kanji script. | Source

Reiki is a Japanese word that is used to describe a form of healing that uses spiritual energy. Reiki is a completely safe, gentle and non-intrusive form of healing that can be used with adults, children, animals and even the earth herself. It can be used safely by all people regardless of whether they have health issues, special needs or disabilities. Reiki healing can be received in person by visiting a reiki practitioner or it can be sent over distance to any person or place in the world. Reiki can be used to balance, heal or harmonise all aspects of a person.

In order to perform reiki the healer only needs to place their hands on or a little above the receiving person, there is no massage or manipulation involved and you do not have to be touching for reiki to work. The reiki energy flows from the healer and into the person they are healing.

Reiki can be studied in groups with a reiki master.
Reiki can be studied in groups with a reiki master. | Source

The Teaching of Reiki

Usui Reiki Ryoho can be used in many ways to greatly benefit a person and their lives. It is well known for its ability to heal physical ailments but it can also be used to aid mental, emotional and spiritual issues, whether these are caused by present difficulties or things we have experienced in the past. Reiki can also be used in space clearing, cleansing objects such as crystals and to infuse items with soothing healing energy.

When learning reiki, students are also taught meditation and energy-cleansing techniques. They are also taught the five principles for living a good life;

• Don't get angry (Okoru-na)

• Don't worry (Shinpai suna)

• Show appreciation (kansha shite)

• Work hard (Goo hage me)

• Be kind to others (HIto ni shinesetsu ni).

Although we refer to studying reiki healing as being taught, reiki cannot be learnt as we would academic subjects. Reiki is not knowledge based and possessing a large amount of knowledge on the subject does not mean you can use the energy in healing. Reiki is very much experience based and the ability to use it in healing yourself and others is a skill that is passed on from a reiki master to the student through a process known as attunement.

That said books, lectures, videos etc. are still useful in introducing people to reiki and in teaching the practical aspects of reiki practice, such as hand placements and how to drawn reiki symbols.

Mikao Usui and Reiki

In the western world the term reiki is generally used to refer to a system of healing the mind, body, spirit and emotions that was discovered by a Japanese Buddhist priest, Mikao Usui. His method became known as Usui Reiki Ryoho which translates to Usui spiritual energy healing method.

Mikao Usui began his Buddhist studies as a small child and became an expert in a variety of martial arts. Through his studies and practice he developed a very strong understanding of the life energy found within all living things, known as Ki. In his fifties, Usui experienced a time of enlightenment. He had visions of sacred symbols and received the gift of healing powers. At this time he was also given the knowledge of how to pass this healing gift on to others who wished to learn. Usui practiced and further developed this healing system and began practicing in 1922. After the Tokyo earthquake in 1923, Usui and his students where thanked by the Japanese emperor personally for their help in aiding and healing the wounded.

In 1926 the organization known as, Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Usui reiki healing method learning society) was created and was dedicated to keeping the teaching and use of reiki alive. The organization remains open today and its members still follow Usui's teachings closely. These are taught from the two manuals he wrote detailing the healing method. Usui personally taught reiki healing for four years before his death in 1926. During this time he taught many people the first level of reiki healing (Sho-den), around 50 of his students reached level two (Oku-den) and 17 acquired the highest level of training known as Shinpi-den. This final level of reiki attunement is also known as master level and gives the student the ability to pass the gift of reiki on to other people who wish to learn.

One of Usui's students that reached the level of Shinpi-den was Chujiro Hayashi. Hayashi went on to start a clinic where he treated many patients using reiki healing. One of his patients was Mrs Hawayo Takata who had been diagnosed with a tumour while visiting her parents in Japan. Mrs Takata received daily reiki treatments while waiting for an operation to remove the tumour. However the tumour disappeared before her operation was scheduled and this experience lead her to become interested in learning more about the healing powers of reiki. She went on to learn the first two levels of reiki, Sho-den and Oku-den from Hayashi before returning home to Hawaii. Once Mrs Takata returned home she opened a clinic of her own and offered reiki healing to others with great success. She later went on to achieve Shinpi-den (master level) and began passing on the knowledge of reiki to people across America and Canada. Mrs Takata renamed the levels: first degree; second degree and third degree and before her death she was able to guide twenty two people through to the third degree. From this reiki spread over the western world.

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How to Learn Reiki

Anyone can learn reiki and no prior experience of energy work or healing is required. Reiki is taught in three stages during which you will be taught information and techniques to further your practice. A new attunement is received at the end of each stage and a break is taken between each. Level one focuses on the basics of reiki and how it is used in hands on healing. Level two includes learning about the techniques that are used in distance healing and finally at level three you study deepening your connection and use of reiki. You do not have to be attuned to all three levels of reiki in order to work with the healing energy. However only those who have studied for and received the level three attunement may teach reiki to others.

If you are interested in learning reiki yourself there are two ways in which this can be done: by studying with a reiki master in person or via distance, for example through an online course. Some people believe that studying and being attuned to reiki in person is superior to doing so over distance but many successful reiki healers and practitioners have trained in this way. It is also more accessible for many people, for example if you cannot find a reiki master nearby or have difficulty travelling. In the same way that reiki can be sent over distance when used to heal, so can the attunement to the energy. There are many places online that offer courses in reiki but take care to read reviews and do some research beforehand to ensure that they are reputable and that the course materials cover what you wish to learn. It is also important to check that attunements are included as without these you will not be able to connect to and use reiki energy.

Reiki can help to bring tranquility and peace to your life.
Reiki can help to bring tranquility and peace to your life. | Source

If you decided that you would like to learn from a reiki master in person it is still important to check that the person is reputable and to be sure of what will be included. In some cases you can study alone and receive just attunements in person, but this will be no help if you are brand new to reiki.

Organisations such as The International Society of Reiki Professionals, Reiki Pages or The Federation of Holistic Therapists are good starting points for finding reputable reiki practitioners. There are many sites that offer online courses including specific colleges and associations for spiritual learning such as The Sunshine Academy of Metaphysics and Natural Therapies and BSY.

As well as the traditional Usui Reiki Ryoho method of reiki healing there are other systems of reiki such as crystal reiki and Now reiki. There are also many different types of reiki attunements that help you connect and use various types of energy within reiki healing. Some of these can be used independently and are healing methods in themselves but some require that you have been attuned to a set level of Usui Reiki in order to be used correctly.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Claire


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