Usui Reiki

Dr Mikao Usui was born in the small village of Yago, Southern Japan, in 1865 into a prosperous family. A keen and talented student, he travelled widely, including to Europe and China, and studied history, medicine, psychology and the Taoist, Buddhist and Christian scriptures. In young manhood, be became a successful businessman. But in his fifties, his health and his businesses began to fail.

Legend has it that Mikao Usui discovered the Reiki principles while meditating and fasting on top of Mount Kurama, believed to be a sacred mountain. He felt an incredible energy, and soon after found he could heal himself and others by laying his hands on them. This led to his rediscovery of the ancient hands-on healing method that he named ‘Reiki.’ Reiki means ‘universal life energy’.

He opened a clinic in Tokyo in April 1921.People came from far and wide. He also gave workshops to spread the knowledge. In 1923 a dreadful earthquake shook the city, and he gave Reiki treatments to the survivors. The clinic became so popular that it couldn’t handle the numbers, so he built a larger one and was honoured by the Emperor for his work.

He founded an association called Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho. It had 2,000 students and 21 trained Masters by the time of his death.

Usui was said to be a warm and gentle man, modest, humble and courageous. Contemporaries said that people were drawn to him for his charisma and wisdom. He did not see healing as separate from his spiritual teachings.

In 1926, at 61, he suffered a fatal stroke. By then, there were Reiki centres throughout Japan.

Dr Hayashi

One of Usui’s students was a medical doctor and retired naval officer, Churijo Hayashi. He was initiated as a Reiki Master in 1925. He opened a clinic and adopted a scientific method to his practice. He carefully logged his treatments and results and used this information to create the ‘Hayashi Healing Guide’ which included detailed treatments for specific conditions. These included specific positions on the body on which the hands re to be placed to facilitate flow.

Mrs Takata

One of Hayashi’s patients was a Hawaiian, Hawayo Takata (1900-1980). By her mid-thirties she was desperately ill. On a visit to Japan she was taken into hospital to be treated for gallstones, a tumour and emphysema, but she claimed she heard a voice telling her that the operation was unnecessary, discharged herself and consulted Dr Hayashi. She received daily treatments for four months as was completely cured. Impressed, she persuaded Dr Hayashi to teach her Reiki and was initiated as a Reiki Master in 1938[1].

She worked tirelessly to take Reiki to the USA, from where it spread to Europe and around the world. She initiated 22 Reiki Masters, who taught others and spread the teachings.

There are now an estimated million Reiki Masters in the world. The Reiki taught by Mrs Takata was a somewhat watered-down version of Usui’s original methods, designed to be more palatable to the West. Many Reiki practitioners regard Hayashi and Takata as a kind of lineage; others set up splinter groups of their own, each claiming to be the authentic successors of Usui. However, there is no evidence that Usui himself intended to initiate such a line.

Today’s Reiki is much more structured than the intuitive method practised by Usui, for example, the hand positions now taught originated with Dr Hayashi and were developed by Mrs Takata.

Moreover, Usui did not approve of taking a fee for giving Reiki – Mrs Takata overturned that and spawned a whole industry. Even Reiki Masters have to make a living!

©David Lawrence Preston, 18.3.2017

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[1] For further details, see William Rand, The Healing Touch, Vision Publications, Southfield MI, 1991

Basic Principles of Reiki

Reiki is an ancient healing art rediscovered and popularised by Dr Mikao Usui in the early years of the last century. Reiki is a form of energy healing. Anyone can use it, and it is easily learned. It involves the practitioner ‘channelling’ energy into the biofield of the patient, thereby restoring the flow of energy and information to support healing and wellbeing.

One of the most important principles of Reiki is that the practitioner must set aside their own desires, will and ego aside, and allow the Reiki energy to direct itself to where it is most needed. The giver is never drained, because it is not their energy: this is the secret. The energy flows through not from the healer into the person being healed.

Healers often report feeling ‘at one’ with their clients, of being with the client in an energy field that transcends their physical presence. Patients too often report a feeling that they are in the presence of a third party, something bigger than themselves.

You can also draw on this energy for yourself, whether you’re ill or in need of a boost, by learning Reiki.

Training is normally given by a Reiki Master, who gives the basic instruction and attunes the students to the Reiki energy. Reiki 1 enables the student to practice on themselves, family and friends; Reiki 2 qualifies him or her to practise professionally.

Scientific Explanation for Reiki

Scientific studies provide an explanation for Reiki. This explanation has been presented as a testable hypothesis by Dr James Oschman, a scientist with a conventional background who became interested in the practice of energy medicine. In the Winter 2002 issue of Reiki News Magazine, he discussed a number of studies that point to a scientific basis for energy medicine based on the laws of physics and biology.

The basis of Dr. Oschman’s hypothesis is the electrical currents that run through every part of the human body. These currents are present in the nervous system, organs, and cells of the body. For instance, the electrical signals that trigger the heartbeat travel throughout all the tissues and can be detected anywhere on the body.

Ampere’s law indicates that when an electrical current flows through a conductor, an electromagnetic field is produced that reflects the nature of the current that created it. Tests with scientific instruments indicate that electromagnetic fields exist around the body and around each of the organs of the body, including the brain, heart, kidneys, liver, stomach, etc. The heart has the strongest field, which has been measured at a distance of 15 feet from the body.

The fields around each of the organs pulse at different frequencies and stay within a specific frequency range when they are healthy, but move out of this range when they are unhealthy. The hands of healers produce pulsing electromagnetic fields when they are in the process of healing, whereas the hands of non-healer do not produce these fields. When a healer places his or her hands on or near a person in need of healing, the electromagnetic field of the healer’s hands sweeps through a range of frequencies based on the needs of the part of the body being treated.

Faraday’s law indicates that one electromagnetic field can induce currents into a nearby conductor and through this process, induce a similar field around it. In this way, a healer induces a healthy electromagnetic field around an unhealthy organ, thus inducing a healthy state in the organ. A detailed explanation of Oschman’s hypothesis, including descriptions of the scientific studies, diagrams, and references is presented in the journal cited above.

Five Principles for Happiness

Usui believed that the recipe for a happy life is to work on what could be improved and accept what can’t be changed. He wrote:

‘The secret art of inviting happiness, the miraculous medicine for all diseases:

At least for today, do not be angry.

Do not worry.

Be grateful.

Work with diligence.

Be kind to people.

For improvement of mind and body.’

Dr Mikao Usui.


©David L Preston, 18.3.2017

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