Reiki, (ray-key) is an easy to learn, simple to use method of natural hands-on energy healing that promotes health and well being in both practitioners and recipients. To have and use Reiki, a person need do nothing more than be attuned by an empowered Master and have the intent to make healing energy available whenever they put their hands on themselves or someone else. It is that simple--and everyone can do it. Reiki is not a religion; it has no arcane dogma, no religious tenets; it requires no rigorous ascetic practices or rituals. Anyone, everyone can be a conduit for Reiki healing energy.

Reiki, which is both a name for theUsui 1 Universal Life Energy and for the specific method of connecting people to that energy, was discovered in Japan in the early 1920's by Dr. Mikao Usui, a man deeply interested in the benefits derived from meditation and other forms of natural healing. In 1935, Mrs. Hawayo Takata, an American woman born in Hawaii of Japanese parents, was healed through Reiki of a life threatening medical condition while on a visit to Japan. Convinced of the effectiveness and importance of this completely natural healing method,Takata Mrs. Takata pleaded to be allowed to learn Reiki even though it was (and still is) held in an elite Japanese society called the Gakkai, with membership restricted to native Japanese. Undaunted by cultural differences, Takata persisted until finally her earnest desire for Reiki and her gentle demeanor opened the way for her to be trained by Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, the last Reiki Master directly initiated by Dr. Usui before his death.

After a year of training in Dr. Hayashi's clinic, Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii the first "outsider" to be taught Japanese Reiki and the first westerner to be made a Reiki Master. From its quiet debut in 1939 in Mrs. Takata's clinic on the big island of Hawaii, Reiki in its westernized form has spread world wide, with Masters and practitioners in over forty countries on every continent. In one of the ironies of history, Reiki as it descends from Takata's lineage of training is now the principle form of Reiki available in Japan as the Gakkai still does not make Reiki widely available.

With millions of practitioners across the world, and more trained daily, there is little doubt in the minds of Reiki practitioners--or of those who receive it--that Reiki is a powerful healing energy and the Reiki Method an easy, accessible way for everyone to enjoy health and quality of life. While evidence of Reiki's healing properties is still mostly anecdotal, scientists are beginning to explore the effects of Reiki healing in a more formal context (see Research). We at the Traditional Reiki Institute believe we are at the very beginning of an amazing journey of discovery as research into subtle energies, and Reiki in particular, opens the way for new methods of integrating the best of western medicine with the best of eastern medicine for the benefit of all. In the meantime, the last seventy-five years of Reiki healing has demonstrated we can use these energies safely and effectively without scientific understanding of how Reiki heals at the cellular level. We already know all we need to use Reiki for powerful healing while we wait for scientific explanations to catch up.

The ability to channel Reiki healing energy to ourselves and others is not a learned "skill" acquired through study, practice, or some natural gift. Reiki ability is an "energetic empowerment" opened in the hands of everyday normal people by a Reiki Master trained in the subtle energy technology of Reiki attunements. Once a person is attuned, using Reiki is a very simple, pleasant, non-verbal, energetic "experience" that makes verbal explanations difficult to formulate and ultimately unsatisfactory. Just as describing joy bears little connection to the experience of joy, so too the words used to explain Reiki, while necessary for communication, are mere shadows of the energetic reality. When word descriptions are necessary, the easiest explanation begins with the word Reiki itself.

The word Reiki in its English form is both a noun and a verb. As noun, Reiki is the name of the ancient healing energies discovered in the early 1920's in Japan by Dr. Mikao Usui. It is also the name of the method of natural healing developed around those energies and practiced by millions of people all over the world.

Kanji Reiki To understand Reiki as a verb, as the dynamic process through which energy rejuvenates and heals us, we must look at the word in its kanji form, that is, in the Japanese ideographic system of writing borrowed from the Chinese a thousand years ago. "Reiki" as written in kanji is composed of two ideographs, Rei and ki. Understood together these ideographs are a fluid expression of the relationship between the universal life force behind all creation, the energies of our bodies, and the mystery and method of Reiki healing.

Rei,, the first ideograph, interpreted as Transcendent Spirit andRei Essence of Life denotes the Universal Life Force that creates, surrounds, and sustains all matter. In western terms, it signifies the non-visible quantum energy field that underlies all matter and energy. In terms of the world's belief systems, it is the Source of Creation as that concept is expressed in the many names for God found throughout our cultures.

Ki (Chinese chi, Hindu prana, Indigenous mana) denotes the unique and individualized aspect of that Life Energy, the Inner Source, Life Force, or kipersonalized form of the Universal Energy that both creates and sustains every individual being. Ki (chi) is the Universal Life Force (Rei) stepped down in frequency to create the material world in linear time and space. The Ki of each person vibrates with unique frequencies of the Universal Life Force that are specific to the individual body and spirit. Like snow flakes everything that exists--from amoebas to humans and rocks to planets--has a unique vibration that comes from and is supported by the Universal Life Force. In the human body Ki is the energy of our cells, our DNA, our brains, hearts, and nervous systems, of our seven chakras. Ki is the energy within our meridians and nadiis and the energy of our auric fields. In its most primal and intense form it is referenced in Hindu tradition as kundalini.

Rei joined with ki to form Reiki becomes a perfect description both of the Reiki healing system Reiki and the Reiki healing process whereby a Reiki Practitioner acts as intermediary to join the Universal Life Force (Rei) with an individual's life force (Ki) to return the ailing body to energetic balance and harmony, thus activating the body's enormous power to rejuvenate and heal. The message Reiki healing energy carries to body and spirit is the message of Unconditional Love, of our great value in the universe. Surrounded and infused with Reiki energy, the wounded spirit heals, the vibrancy of our Ki is restored, our intent to live and love is reinforced. As the denser energies of fear, self-hatred, despair, and anger are released, as ki is replenished, the body finds the strength and the will to heal itself.

Dr. Usui received a method of energy healing unmatched in the history of the world for simplicity and directness of experience. Healing energies as they appeared in the past fit the definitions, beliefs, and restrictions of the cultural, racial, or religious structure from which they sprang. ReikiReiki accommodates our need for healing outside of a specifically defined religious or cultural context yet reinforces the truth found in all religious and cultural beliefs. People of all ages, all religions, all belief systems, even die-hard skeptics and those with no beliefs at all have become Reiki practitioners. Reiki, as Dr. Usui received it and as Mrs. Takata passed it to the world, is uniquely suited to modern--to western--sensibilities: it is deeply spiritual yet outside of all religion. It is easy to learn, simple to use, and effective. It is the system of energy healing for the twenty-first century and beyond.

from Reiki and the Science of Subtle Energy
Suzanne Parnell, Ph.D., RM 2002.
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