The History of Reiki: Timeless Energy Healing

history of reikiReiki is something that a lot of people have heard about but may not fully understand. And despite its humble beginnings, it has turned into a worldwide phenomenon.

In fact, it’s estimated that over 1.2 million Americans have participated in the practice.

Curious how Reiki went from local Japanese energy healing treatment to the major alternative medicine juggernaut it is today? Well, don’t worry. Continue reading and we’ll walk you through the entire history of Reiki.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a form of energy healing. It has no affiliations with any sort of religion or belief system.

Reiki is the energy that flows through everything that is alive. Reiki practitioners understand that this energy can be used to help heal people. By utilizing certain hand movements, they can direct the energy to different parts of the body.

Mikao Usui

Reiki, as we know it today, started with a man by the name of Mikao Usui.

Born near what is currently Nagoya, Japan in the year 1865, Usui came from a wealthy Buddhist family. Growing up, he traveled to China as well as Europe and learned a variety of disciplines including psychology, religion, medicine, and the art of divination.

As he got older, he dedicated more time to trying to discover the meaning of life. During this search, he learned about An-shin Ritus-mei, which is a kind of enlightenment.

He believed that if he could achieve An-shin Ritus-mei, he would achieve his purpose in life.

For three years he practiced Zen with the help of a teacher, hoping to reach enlightenment. Unsatisfied with his own progress, the teacher suggested that Usui should try a more severe practice.

Usui needed to be willing to die for An-shin Ritus-mei.

Achieving An-shin Ritus-mei

In February 1922, Usui trekked to Kurama Yama, a sacred mountain near Kyoto. His plan was to fast and meditate until he finally passed away.

After 21 days of fasting and meditating, Usui was confronted by a very bright light and he quickly passed out.

He awoke the next morning. But whereas he felt weak in the previous days, now he felt energetic and filled with joy. He had achieved An-shin Ritus-mei.

Filled with excitement, Usui ran down the mountain so that he could tell his teacher. As he was running, he tripped and banged his toe. When he grabbed his toe, he realized that the pain quickly started to go away.

He was somehow able to transfer healing energy from his hands to his injured toe.

That’s when he realized that he had found his purpose, which was to help heal people and train others. And with this Usui Reiki was born.

Usui Reiki Healing Method Society

In April of 1922, Usui moved to Tokyo and founded the Usui Reiki Healing Method Society. After the Great Kanto earthquake of 1923, Usui worked to quicken his techniques so that he could help more people.

Reiki became so popular and successful that Usui ended up traveling all over Japan. He started setting up more schools and healing facilities.

While he was traveling to Fukuyama in 1926, Mikao Usui suffered a stroke and died.

Dr. Hayashi

Mikao Usui had trained several Reiki masters who would take over after his death. One of those men was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a former naval officer.

After visiting Hawaii sometime before the Pearl Harbor attacks, the Japanese government asked Hayashi to give them intel on what he observed there.

Hayashi refused to give them information and he was deemed a traitor. Having dishonored his family, Hayashi had no choice but to commit seppuku, a form of ritual suicide. Hayashi performed seppuku in May of 1940.

Prior to his death, Dr. Hayashi went on to train several Reiki masters. One of those masters was a Japanese-American woman, Hawayo Takata, who originally was a patient of Hayashi’s.

She took the practice back to Hawaii where she established several Reiki clinics.

Hawayo Takata

Eventually, Takata brought Reiki to the United States mainland. Soon after, she traveled the world, giving lectures and offering treatment to those in need.

Believing that the original Reiki method was too difficult for Westerners to learn, she developed a simpler technique. This consisted of 8 hand positions.

This and other methods that she practiced differed greatly from the teachings of both Usui and Hayashi.

It is important to note that if it was not for Dr. Takata, Reiki may have become lost in obscurity. This is because, after World War II, the US demanded that all healers in Japan be licensed.

The practitioners of Reiki opposed licensing and went on to conduct their treatments in secret. This greatly limited the number of people they could treat.

Because Takata was teaching and practicing outside of Japan, she was able to keep the healing treatment alive.

Modern Reiki

Before Takata died, she attuned 22 Reiki masters. These masters have helped to keep the practice alive and well to this very day.

Everyone can benefit from the power of Reiki. If you decide to undergo Reiki treatment, just remember that your practitioner is everything.

Understanding the History of Reiki

Now that you have a firm understanding of the history of Reiki, hopefully, you can develop a greater appreciation for this revered and storied practice.

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