Roots and Beginnings: The History of Reiki

Reiki’s roots and beginnings can be traced back to 20th century Japan, where several different styles of Reiki healing were already being practiced. Before Mikao Usui, the founder of Usui Reiki, developed his style of Reiki, there were already at least four other styles of Reiki healing being practiced in Japan. These styles included Reiki Ryoho created by Mataji Kawakami in 1914, Reikan Tonetsu Ryoho created by Reikaku Ishinuki, Senshinryu Reiki Ryoho created by Kogetsu Matsubara, and Seido Reishojutsu created by Reisen Oyama. However, Usui Sensei’s style of Reiki, which he called Usui Reiki Ryoho, became the predominant form of Reiki practiced throughout the world due to the work of Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki to the West.

Usui Reiki is based on the experience Usui had on Mount Kurama, where he was spiritually awakened and received the ability to heal using the Reiki energy. Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a former naval officer, further developed the Usui system of Reiki by adding hand positions and refining the attunement process. Hawayo Takata continued to practice and teach Reiki in the United States, ensuring the spread of Reiki to the West. Today, Reiki is widely practiced and used as a complementary therapy in various settings for healing and wellness.

Key Takeaways:

  • Reiki’s roots can be traced back to 20th century Japan.
  • Multiple styles of Reiki healing were practiced before Usui Reiki became predominant.
  • Hawayo Takata played a crucial role in spreading Reiki to the West.
  • Usui Reiki is based on Mikao Usui’s spiritual awakening on Mount Kurama.
  • Dr. Chujiro Hayashi added hand positions and refined the attunement process.

Predecessors of Usui Reiki

Before Usui Reiki emerged, there were already several styles of Reiki being practiced in Japan, such as Reiki Ryoho, Reikan Tonetsu Ryoho, Senshinryu Reiki Ryoho, and Seido Reishojutsu. These styles, created by different Reiki masters, contributed to the rich history and development of Reiki as a healing practice.

Reiki Ryoho, founded by Mataji Kawakami in 1914, was one of the earliest forms of Reiki. It focused on using energy to heal and balance the body, mind, and spirit. Reikan Tonetsu Ryoho, developed by Reikaku Ishinuki, emphasized the use of heat and energy transfer to promote healing and well-being.

Senshinryu Reiki Ryoho, created by Kogetsu Matsubara, integrated Reiki with martial arts principles, incorporating physical movements and energetic techniques for healing. Seido Reishojutsu, founded by Reisen Oyama, emphasized the use of concentrated energy through hand positions to facilitate healing and spiritual growth.

Style of Reiki Founder Main Focus
Reiki Ryoho Mataji Kawakami Healing and balancing body, mind, and spirit
Reikan Tonetsu Ryoho Reikaku Ishinuki Heat and energy transfer for healing
Senshinryu Reiki Ryoho Kogetsu Matsubara Integration of Reiki with martial arts principles
Seido Reishojutsu Reisen Oyama Concentrated energy through hand positions

While these styles of Reiki laid the foundation for the practice, it was Mikao Usui who developed Usui Reiki Ryoho in the early 20th century, which became the most widely recognized and practiced form of Reiki worldwide. The contributions of these predecessors, however, still hold significance in the history and evolution of Reiki, showcasing the diverse approaches within the realm of energy healing.

Mikao Usui and the Birth of Usui Reiki

Mikao Usui, the founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho, had a transformative experience on Mount Kurama that led to the birth of his unique system of Reiki healing. It is said that Usui Sensei spent several weeks meditating and fasting on the mountain, seeking enlightenment and a way to help others in need. It was during this time that he experienced a powerful spiritual awakening and gained the ability to channel healing energy.

According to Usui’s teachings, Reiki is a natural healing method that involves the transfer of universal energy through the practitioner’s hands. This energy is believed to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual healing by balancing the body’s energy centers, known as chakras. Usui Reiki Ryoho emphasizes the importance of self-care and personal development, as well as the practice of hands-on healing for others.

Usui’s system of Reiki became widely popular in Japan, and he established the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, a society dedicated to the practice and teaching of Reiki. After his passing, one of his students, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, further developed the Usui system by introducing hand positions and refining the attunement process. These additions helped to systematize the practice of Reiki and make it more accessible to a wider audience.

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Today, Usui Reiki continues to be practiced and taught worldwide, thanks in large part to the efforts of Hawayo Takata. After receiving Reiki treatments from Dr. Hayashi, Takata became his student and eventually brought Reiki to the United States. She played a crucial role in preserving the lineage of traditional Usui Reiki and ensuring its spread to the West. Her contributions have had a lasting impact on the practice and perception of Reiki in the modern world.

Key Figures Key Contributions
Mikao Usui Founder of Usui Reiki Ryoho, spiritual awakening on Mount Kurama
Dr. Chujiro Hayashi Introduced hand positions, refined the attunement process
Hawayo Takata Brought Reiki to the West, preserved the lineage of traditional Usui Reiki

“Reiki is a natural healing method that involves the transfer of universal energy through the practitioner’s hands.”

Usui’s teachings and the subsequent developments by Dr. Hayashi and Hawayo Takata have paved the way for the continued evolution and practice of Reiki. Today, Reiki is recognized as a complementary therapy that can be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatments to support healing and promote overall well-being. With its rich history and enduring legacy, Reiki continues to have a profound impact on individuals and communities around the world.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi and the Development of Usui Reiki

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi played a crucial role in the advancement of Usui Reiki, introducing significant elements such as hand positions and enhancing the attunement process. He was a former naval officer who, after receiving Reiki training from Mikao Usui, dedicated his life to further developing and spreading the practice of Reiki.

One of the key contributions made by Dr. Hayashi was the introduction of hand positions in Reiki healing. These specific placements of the hands on different parts of the body allowed for a systematic approach to channeling Reiki energy and facilitating healing. By using hand positions, practitioners were able to target specific areas for healing and provide a consistent and structured treatment experience.

In addition to hand positions, Dr. Hayashi also refined the attunement process in Reiki. Attunements are the initiation ceremonies in which Reiki practitioners receive the ability to channel and transmit healing energy. By developing a more structured and formal process for attunements, Dr. Hayashi ensured that the Reiki energy would be passed on in a reliable and consistent manner.

Dr. Hayashi’s contributions were instrumental in shaping the Usui Reiki system as we know it today. His dedication to enhancing the healing practice and his efforts in training and certifying Reiki practitioners further helped to establish Reiki’s reputation and expand its reach beyond Japan.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi’s Contributions to Usui Reiki
Introduction of hand positions
Refinement of the attunement process
Training and certification of Reiki practitioners

“Dr. Hayashi’s work in developing Usui Reiki has provided practitioners with a structured framework for healing and a reliable approach to attunements. His contributions continue to shape the way Reiki is practiced and taught today.”

As we move forward in exploring the history of Reiki, we will now delve into the significant role played by Hawayo Takata in bringing Reiki to the West and ensuring its spread around the world.

Hawayo Takata and the Spread of Reiki to the West

Hawayo Takata, a key figure in Reiki’s history, played a vital role in introducing and preserving the practice of Reiki in the United States and beyond. Born in Hawaii in 1900, Takata was of Japanese descent and became a student of Chujiro Hayashi, a prominent Reiki master who had trained with Mikao Usui himself. Under Hayashi’s guidance, Takata became a Reiki master in 1938.

Takata’s journey with Reiki began when she sought healing for a serious illness. Impressed with the effectiveness of Reiki, she dedicated herself to mastering the practice and spreading its benefits. She not only helped to establish Reiki centers in Hawaii and the mainland United States but also trained 22 Reiki masters, who in turn spread Reiki across the world.

“Reiki belongs to no one nation, race or religion. It is universal in its scope, in its message of love and its benefits.” – Hawayo Takata

Throughout her lifetime, Takata emphasized the importance of maintaining the integrity of Reiki practices and preserving the Reiki lineage. She insisted on teaching Reiki only to those who were committed to its principles, ensuring that the practice was passed down in its traditional form. Her dedication and efforts laid the foundation for the widespread adoption of Reiki as a complementary therapy in the Western world.

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Name Year of Training Location
Iris Ishikuro 1973 Honolulu, Hawaii
Beth Grey 1975 San Francisco, California
Barbara Ray 1980 Canada
George Araki 1982 Los Angeles, California

Takata’s legacy continues to inspire Reiki practitioners around the world. Today, traditional Reiki, as taught by Takata and her students, remains widely practiced alongside various modern interpretations and techniques. The dedication and passion of Hawayo Takata have ensured that Reiki continues to serve as a powerful healing modality, promoting wellness and fostering a deeper connection with the universal life force energy.

Reiki’s Modern-Day Applications

Reiki has evolved into a widely practiced form of complementary therapy, finding applications in various settings to promote healing and enhance overall wellness. Its gentle and non-invasive nature makes it suitable for people of all ages and conditions, and it can be used alongside conventional medical treatments.

In healthcare settings, Reiki is often used to support patients undergoing medical procedures or dealing with chronic illnesses. It is known to reduce stress, anxiety, and pain, helping patients achieve a state of relaxation and facilitating the body’s natural healing process. Many hospitals and clinics now incorporate Reiki into their holistic care programs, recognizing its potential to improve patient outcomes.

Reiki is not limited to healthcare settings alone. It is also widely practiced in wellness centers, spas, and private practices, where individuals seek its rejuvenating and balancing effects. Reiki sessions are typically conducted in a serene and peaceful environment, allowing clients to unwind and de-stress. It is believed that Reiki works by restoring the body’s energy balance, promoting a sense of calmness and enhancing overall well-being.

Additionally, Reiki can be applied to animals and plants, offering a soothing and harmonizing effect. Many animal shelters and rescue organizations now incorporate Reiki into their care regimens to help animals recover from trauma or illness. Similarly, gardeners and plant enthusiasts use Reiki to promote plant growth and vitality.

Settings Applications
Healthcare Supporting patients, reducing stress and pain, facilitating healing
Wellness centers and spas Promoting relaxation, rejuvenation, and overall well-being
Animal care Aiding in the recovery of animals from trauma or illness
Gardening Promoting plant growth and vitality

Reiki is a versatile and gentle healing modality that has found its place in various settings, contributing to physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Its wide-ranging applications continue to expand, driven by its effectiveness and growing recognition in the healthcare and wellness communities.

The Global Influence of Reiki

Reiki’s influence has transcended borders and cultures, with an ever-growing global community of practitioners embracing its healing principles and techniques. This ancient practice, rooted in Japan’s spiritual traditions, has found its way into the hearts and hands of healers worldwide.

With its focus on channeling healing energy through gentle touch or hovering hands, Reiki has gained popularity as a complementary therapy in various settings. From hospitals to wellness centers, spas to private practices, Reiki is being integrated into healthcare systems, offering a holistic approach to healing and well-being.

Reiki’s international adoption and spread can be attributed in large part to the efforts of Hawayo Takata. After receiving Reiki training from Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, she brought the practice to the United States and dedicated her life to preserving the lineage and teachings of Usui Reiki. Today, Reiki practitioners can be found in every corner of the globe, contributing to the growing community and sharing their experiences and knowledge.

Country Number of Reiki Practitioners
United States Approximately 1 million
Japan Over 100,000
United Kingdom Over 50,000
Australia Over 30,000
Canada Over 20,000

Reiki’s global influence goes beyond just the number of practitioners. It has fostered a sense of community and connection among individuals seeking healing and spiritual growth. As people continue to experience the transformative power of Reiki, its legacy as a practice of love, compassion, and healing energy endures.

The Continuing Evolution of Reiki

Reiki continues to evolve, with modern practitioners exploring new techniques and approaches to enhance the healing potential of this ancient practice. As we delve deeper into the world of Reiki, we discover a vast array of innovative methods that build upon the traditional principles while introducing new elements to the practice.

One such technique gaining popularity is Crystal Reiki, which combines the healing properties of crystals with the channeling of Reiki energy. By placing crystals on or around the body, practitioners believe that the vibrational frequencies of the crystals work in harmony with the Reiki energy, amplifying its healing effects.

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In addition to Crystal Reiki, other forms of modern Reiki include Sound Reiki, where practitioners use sound vibrations through instruments such as singing bowls or tuning forks to facilitate healing, and Distance Reiki, which allows practitioners to send healing energy across time and space to individuals who are not physically present.

Table: Modern Reiki Techniques

Technique Description
Crystal Reiki A combination of Reiki energy and the vibrational frequencies of crystals for enhanced healing.
Sound Reiki Using sound vibrations to promote healing and balance in the body.
Distance Reiki Sending healing energy across time and space to individuals who are not physically present.

These modern techniques enrich the Reiki experience and offer practitioners and recipients alike a wide range of choices to explore and personalize their healing journeys. As the field of Reiki continues to evolve, it is exciting to witness the integration of new ideas and practices that expand our understanding of this ancient healing art.

Reiki’s Enduring Legacy

Reiki’s enduring legacy can be felt in the transformative healing experiences of individuals, the support it provides to communities, and its contribution to the field of healing energy. For many individuals, Reiki has been a powerful tool for promoting physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. The gentle yet potent healing energy of Reiki has the ability to restore balance and promote self-healing, leaving individuals with a profound sense of peace and rejuvenation.

Communities have also benefited from the presence of Reiki practitioners, who often offer their services and support to those in need. Whether it’s through volunteer work at hospitals, hospices, or community centers, Reiki practitioners have played a significant role in bringing comfort and relief to those facing physical or emotional challenges. The calming nature of Reiki can provide solace during difficult times and foster a sense of connection and compassion within communities.

The impact of Reiki extends beyond individual healing experiences and community support. Its contribution to the field of healing energy has led to a greater recognition of the mind-body connection and the importance of holistic approaches to well-being. Reiki has paved the way for the integration of complementary therapies in mainstream healthcare settings, as more and more healthcare professionals recognize the benefits of combining traditional medical treatments with alternative healing modalities. This recognition has opened doors for research and exploration into the potential of Reiki and other energy healing practices.

As we continue to explore the depths of Reiki’s enduring legacy, we discover how it has transformed lives, united communities, and shaped the landscape of healing energy. With its roots in ancient Japanese traditions and its evolution through the work of Mikao Usui, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, Hawayo Takata, and countless practitioners worldwide, Reiki’s impact remains undeniable. It is a testament to the power of healing energy and the human spirit, and its influence continues to grow as more people embrace the profound benefits of this gentle yet profound practice.


In conclusion, exploring the roots and beginnings of Reiki reveals a rich history of spiritual awakening, healing energy, and a practice that continues to make a lasting impact on individuals and communities worldwide.

The history of Reiki dates back to the early 20th century in Japan, where various styles of Reiki healing were being practiced even before Mikao Usui developed his own style known as Usui Reiki Ryoho. Before Usui, there were already four other styles of Reiki being practiced, including Reiki Ryoho, Reikan Tonetsu Ryoho, Senshinryu Reiki Ryoho, and Seido Reishojutsu.

However, it was Usui Sensei’s style of Reiki that became the predominant form practiced worldwide, thanks to the efforts of Hawayo Takata who introduced Reiki to the West. Usui Reiki is rooted in Usui’s spiritual awakening on Mount Kurama, where he gained the ability to heal using the Reiki energy.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a former naval officer, further developed the Usui system by adding hand positions and refining the attunement process. And with the tireless efforts of Hawayo Takata, Reiki spread across the United States, ensuring its global influence and preserving the lineage of traditional Reiki.

Today, Reiki is widely practiced and recognized as a complementary therapy for healing and promoting overall wellness. Its enduring legacy continues to impact individuals and communities worldwide, making Reiki a powerful force in the realm of healing energy.

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