What is Reiki?

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What is Reiki?

Can the mere touch of another¿s hands cure an ailment? Astonishingly, that¿s just what Reiki, an ancient Japanese method of healing, claims to do.


In Japanese, Reiki consists of two words. ¿Rei¿ for ¿divine wisdom¿ or ¿mysterious power¿ and ¿ki¿, meaning ¿life force¿. Together, the words translate as ¿spiritually channelled life force¿.

Reiki has its roots in an ancient form of Tibetan Buddhist healing therapy. Sometime between the late 19th and early 20th century, Dr. Mikao Usui from Japan developed the technique as it is known today. In 1922, he founded the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, a centre for Reiki healing.

In time, Reiki diversified, falling into two main schools. The first, Traditional Japanese Reiki, is derived from Usui¿s original system.  In the twentieth century, Hawayo Takato, a Japanese-American from Hawaii travelled to Japan where Reiki treatment helped her recover miraculously from major ailments. Hawayo learned Reiki from her healer Dr. Hayashi, set up her own practice in Hawaii and taught Reiki for 30 years. She is known as the founder of Western Reiki.

Five Precepts

Mikao Usui, in his wisdom, felt that people should consciously adopt the path of self-improvement to maximise the power of Reiki healing. 

An admirer of the Japanese Emperor Meiji, Usui incorporated some of the Emperor¿s ideas into a set of principles. It is virtually standard practice now for students and practitioners to abide by these Five Reiki Precepts:

Just for today
I will not be angry
I will not worry
I will be grateful
I will work with honesty
I will show kindness to all living things

 As simple as they appear, these principles are rooted in sound, practical thought. Negative thoughts and emotions block the flow of ki. Positive actions, ideals and honest work bring spiritual balance into one¿s life, benefitting both body and mind.

Reiki Healing
In a typical healing session, a patient wears loose clothing and lies down on a flat surface. The healer, after some moments of meditation, places his hands for a few minutes on specific parts of the body. In Western Reiki, these conform to the position of the chakras or subtle energy centres along the spine. Traditional Reiki practitioners intuitively ¿scan¿ the body for localised areas of disease. During the healing, ki flows through the practitioner¿s hands into the recipient and restores the energy balance, thereby eliminating disease. At the end of a session, recipients usually feel enormously relaxed. The number of healing sessions required varies with individual cases.

While science raises a sceptic eye at Reiki, it has grown increasingly popular worldwide and is now an accepted line of alternative healing therapy.

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