Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) is a Japanese word meaning "Universal life-force energy". Its history however, is somewhat obscure.
has it that the origins of Reiki are to be found in Tibet and that
after spreading through India, Asia, Rome and Greece, it passed into
obscurity until the mid-nineteenth century. At that time,
following a mystical experience while fasting and meditating on Mount
Koriyama, a Japanese Christian educator, Dr Mikao Usui, discovered
the formula for Reiki in Buddhist Sanskrit manuscripts. He took his
findings to Japan and the technique has been taught there ever since. A
retired naval officer and an advanced student, Dr Chujiro Hayashi took
over the responsibility for carrying on the movement when Usui died in
1893, operating a Reiki clinic in Tokyo.
Takata, a Japanese/Hawaiian woman, acceded Hayashi when he died in
1941, and introduced the technique to America in the 1930s where it
became both popular and financially lucrative.
Takata's death in 1980, the tradition passed on to her granddaughter,
Phyllis Lei Furumoto, who became Grand Master. As head of the Reiki
Alliance located in Cataldo, Idaho, she promotes "The Usui System of
Natural Healing". It is now offered in many countries throughout the
Western world with similar therapies such as Touch for Health and
former student of Takata's, Dr. Barbara Ray, promotes a form of Reiki
called "The Radiance Technique" in St. Petersburg, Florida.
is claimed to balance and strengthen the body's energy promoting its
ability to heal itself. There is no limit to the claims made on its
behalf — Reiki is used to treat all sorts of ailments from AIDS to
to beginning the treatment, jewellery is removed and the hands washed.
Following an invocation in prayer form, the therapist then "smooths"
out the aura with one hand while placing the other on his or her
next step involves the placing of the practitioner's hands on or just
above the patient's body or holding the client's hands in twelve basic
a series of "attunements", a Reiki master employs the ancient sounds
and symbols that supposedly attune an individual's nervous system to a
higher level of energy. This is claimed to established contact between
the two people's energy fields and prepares the patient for healing.
Energy is then supposedly channelled through the healer's hands to the
recipient's body in order to release energy into it thus promoting
healing. The main difference between Reiki and spiritual healing is
that, rather than sending out energy, the recipient draws it in. The
individual in effect takes responsibility for his or her own healing.
is a lot of politicking among the various Reiki organisations, but each
claims to be the only one teaching genuine Reiki. All have the
trappings of a New Age religion. It offers a "holistic" package of
alternative therapies, and New Age terms such as "expanded
consciousness", "spiritual awareness", "higher consciousness",
"transcendental awareness" and the "cosmic plane" permeate its
teachings. There is however, no scientific or medical evidence to
support claims that auras exist or that Reiki is an efficacious healing
also appears to be a money making business. In the May/June issue of
Natural Health, it was reported that various levels of learning can
cost anywhere between several hundred and several thousand dollars.
Daulby, M. and Mathison, C. 1996. A Guide to Spiritual Healing, Brockhampton Press, London.
Ray, Barbara. 1987. The Radiance Technique. The Radiance Technique Journal, January /March 1987.
------------------ 1985. The Reiki Factor, 2nd edition. The Radiance Technique Association International.
---------- & Carrington, Yesnie. 1984. The Official Reiki Handbook, T.R.T.A.I.
Reiki Alliance The Usui System of Natural Healing, Cotaldo, Idaho. (No date).
Reiki Healing Institute. Reiki: Healing Yourself and Others. Encinitas, California. (No date).
(Investigator 193, 2020 July)
From: Edwards, H. 1999 Alternative, Complementary Holistic & Spiritual Healing, Australian Skeptics Inc.