Ian Parkin is the author of this post.

Reiki Healing: The Foundation, Principles, Practices, And Benefits

Reiki healing is a spiritual practice that encourages balance and promotes holistic wellbeing. The life of its founder, Mikao Usui, the principles he established, and the continued global expansion of the Reiki system attest to its profound impact. While scientific research continues to explore its benefits, personal experiences speak loudly to its potential in stress reduction, pain management, and emotional healing

The Life of Mikao Usui and the Global Development of Reiki

Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki healing, was born on August 15, 1865, in the village of Yago in Japan. Despite many myths surrounding Usui's life, we know that he was a spiritual seeker, studying various disciplines including medicine, psychology, religion, and spiritual development.

The system of Reiki was conceived during a moment of spiritual awakening in the early 20th century. During a 21-day retreat on Mount Kurama, Usui underwent a mystical experience where he was bestowed with the Reiki healing energy. He called this system "Usui Reiki Ryōhō."

Usui began to teach this healing practice and his first students included naval officers and priests. After his death in 1926, his students carried on the legacy, developing different branches of Reiki. One of his students, Chujiro Hayashi, played a vital role in passing on the Reiki lineage to Hawayo Takata, a Hawaiian woman of Japanese descent.

Takata brought Reiki to the Western world, teaching the practice throughout the United States and Canada from the late 1930s until her death in 1980. Since then, Reiki has proliferated globally, evolving into various schools and interpretations, yet always keeping the core principles established by Usui.

The Practice Of Reiki Healing

The Five Principles of Reiki

The five principles, or Gokai, of Reiki are fundamental to its practice. They are:

  1. Just for today, I will not be angry.
  2. Just for today, I will not worry.
  3. Just for today, I will be grateful.
  4. Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
  5. Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.

These principles serve as a moral compass, guiding practitioners to live in the present moment, cultivate positivity, and promote ethical conduct.

Reiki Healing: Hand Placement and Symbols

Reiki healing primarily involves the practitioner placing their hands over the client in various positions, facilitating the flow of energy that can balance and heal the body, mind, and spirit.

Reiki also uses symbols in its second and third degrees. These symbols are considered sacred and are used to enhance the healing energy. Some commonly used symbols include the power symbol (Cho Ku Rei), the mental/emotional symbol (Sei He Ki), the distance symbol (Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen), and the master symbol (Dai Ko Myo).

The Symbols Of Reiki Healing

The Symbols Of Reiki Healing

4 Engraved Amethyst Reiki Healing Symbols

Set of 4 Stones are etched with the following traditional Usui Reiki symbols: Cho Ku Ray (Power),Sei Hei Ki(Purification & Harmony), Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen(Connection),& Dai Ko Myo (Empowerment & Enlightenment)

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Known Benefits Of Reiki Healing

Promotes Harmony & Balance: Reiki is often used as a tool to bring balance to both the mind and body, which can enhance the body's natural healing abilities.

Relaxes and Releases Tension from the Body: Many people use Reiki for stress reduction and relaxation. Stress can lead to a weakened immune system and exacerbate existing health conditions. Relaxation can help manage stress and improve overall well-being.

Breaks Down Energy Blocks and Balances the Mind, Body, and Spirit: By helping to remove energy obstructions, Reiki may assist in balancing the body's energy centers, known as chakras.

Cleanses Body of Toxins and Supports Immune System: Reiki healing is sometimes used to strengthen and heal the internal organs and functions of the body, including the immune system.

Helps Spiritual Growth and Emotional Healing: Reiki can also promote emotional and spiritual healing, helping individuals to better manage emotional stress from experiences such as grief, trauma, and depression.

Enhances Focus and Clarity: Some Reiki practitioners report improved mental clarity and a greater ability to focus after their sessions.

Improves Sleep: Many people find that Reiki helps them sleep better. Improved sleep can have wide-ranging health benefits.

Accelerates the Body's Self-Healing Ability: Reiki can sometimes be used in conjunction with conventional medicine to help the body recover after surgery or manage the side effects of treatments like chemotherapy.

Helps to Alleviate Mood Swings, Fear, Frustration and Even Anger: Reiki may help individuals better manage and release negative emotions.

Relieves Pain and Reduces Symptoms of Certain Health Conditions: Some people use Reiki to help manage symptoms of conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and other chronic pain conditions.

Aids in Meditative Practices and Promotes Personal Awareness: Reiki can complement meditative practices and can assist in personal growth and awareness.

Science On Reiki Healing

Several studies have illuminated the benefits of Reiki for physical and mental health. A study published in 2014 to calculate the effect of Reiki therapy for pain and anxiety in randomized clinical trials concludes that Reiki healing could reduce pain and anxiety in patients. Additionally, a 2017 review in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine suggested that Reiki might be an effective adjunct to traditional pain management methods.

Moreover, a 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that Reiki could potentially improve heart rate variability, suggesting its role in promoting relaxation and stress reduction. Similarly, research published in 2016 in Asian Journal of Psychiatry suggested that Reiki could help reduce depression and anxiety.

Reiki is also applied in contexts such as cancer care for symptom management and to enhance wellbeing, as indicated in a 2016 review in Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

  • Remember, while Reiki healing can offer many benefits, it should not replace any professional medical treatment you're receiving. Always consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or therapy.

Levels Of Training In Reiki Healing

Reiki Level I (Shoden): The first degree focuses on self-healing and learning to channel energy to others through direct touch. Students learn the history, principles, and basic hand placements of Reiki.

Reiki Level II (Okuden): In the second degree, students learn to use the Reiki symbols to enhance energy flow and provide distance healing. They also delve deeper into emotional and mental healing aspects.

Reiki Level III/Master (Shinpiden): The third degree, often split into two parts (IIIa and IIIb), involves learning the master symbol, training in advanced techniques, and learning to attune others to Reiki.

Learning and Practicing Reiki

Those interested in Reiki can seek out certified Reiki Masters who offer courses in various levels of Reiki training. Some practitioners even offer online courses. However, many emphasize the importance of in-person attunements (energy initiations), especially for beginners.

One can start with self-practice and slowly progress to treating others. Regular practice is encouraged, along with adherence to the five Reiki principles. It is important to approach the practice with an open mind and heart, ready to embrace the idea of an interconnected universe where healing energy flows through all living things.

Complete Reiki Level 1, 2 & 3 Training

Become a Certified Reiki Master Teacher

Complete Reiki Level 1, 2 & 3 Training - Accredited by the Reiki Healing Association

  • Whether you are a energy newbie, or experienced Reiki Practitioner, the Reiki Healing Association will guide you through all levels of Reiki, so you have the practical skills and knowledge to get started right away.

  • Learn how to prepare for, conduct and end a Professional Reiki Session - from start to finish.

  • Develop your confidence working with paying clients and students, with energy activities, video demonstrations and advice on starting and building your Reiki Business as a fully Certified Reiki Master Teacher.

  • Learn how to plan, setup and structure your own Reiki workshops and attune others to Reiki to share this incredible healing therapy with your own students and run your own successful training school.

Click here to learn more about online training with the Reiki Healing Association


In the silence of our being, a whisper gently calls,
An echo from the universe, beyond the earthly walls.
A path of light and energy, a journey to embark,
With the wisdom of the ages, Reiki leaves its mark.

Just for today, we shall not fret, nor will anger sway,
In gratitude, we'll tread the path, work honestly each day.
Kindness to all life we meet, a mantra to uphold,
The principles of Reiki, in our hearts, we'll enfold.

Hands gently hovering, in spaces high and low,
In this dance of healing, love's pure energy does flow.
Symbols drawn in silence, in air and thought entwined,
Unlock doors of distance, healing bonds they bind.

One begins with self-love, the light inside to see,
The second stage, a further reach, in love's infinity.
The Master level calls us forth, to share the sacred flame,
To attune the hearts that seek this path, in Reiki's hallowed name.

A journey deep within, to the heart's own sacred song,
Where pain subsides, and peace abides, and spirits grow strong.
Blessed by the universe, in Reiki's tender care,
We find our truth, our inner light, a gift beyond compare.

FAQs About The Practice Of Reiki Healing

What is Reiki energy healing?

  • Reiki energy healing is a form of alternative therapy that originated in Japan in the late 19th century. It centers on the idea of a universal life force energy, which Reiki practitioners aim to channel to facilitate healing and well-being. This is often done through the hands, with the practitioner lightly placing them over or slightly above the client's body in various positions, with the intent of directing energy to support the body's natural healing processes.

What is Reiki used for?

  • Reiki is used as a holistic healing method that aims to balance the mind, body, and spirit. It is often used to promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, enhance overall wellbeing, and support the body's natural healing processes. Some people use Reiki alongside conventional medical treatments to help manage symptoms and improve recovery time, while others use it as part of a general personal wellness regimen.

What is a Reiki master?

  • A Reiki master is a person who has undergone extensive training in Reiki energy healing and has reached the highest level of proficiency. This includes learning advanced techniques, receiving several attunements (a process to open one's ability to channel Reiki energy), and often learning how to teach and perform attunements for others. Being a Reiki master implies not only a high level of skill and experience but also a commitment to uphold the ethical principles of Reiki.

How can I learn Reiki?

  • To learn Reiki, you would typically take a course from a certified Reiki master. Reiki training is divided into three levels or degrees. The first degree focuses on self-healing and basic techniques, the second introduces distance healing and specific symbols used to focus energy, and the third degree, also known as Reiki master level, involves learning advanced techniques and how to teach Reiki to others. Courses may include in-person workshops, practice sessions, and possibly online components, depending on the teacher's approach.

What are the symbols of Reiki?

  • In Reiki, symbols are used as a focus tool to help direct healing energy. There are traditionally four main symbols in the Usui Reiki system. The Cho Ku Rei, or Power symbol, is used to increase the power of Reiki and focus it in a specific area. Sei Hei Ki, or the Harmony symbol, is used for emotional and mental healing. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen, or the Distance symbol, allows for distant healing across space and time. Finally, Dai Ko Myo, the Master symbol, represents enlightenment and is typically only used by Reiki masters.

How do you start a Reiki business?

  • Starting a Reiki business involves several steps. First, ensure you have the proper training and certifications to practice Reiki professionally. You may also want to gain experience through volunteering or interning under a Reiki master. Once you have sufficient training and experience, you'll need to create a business plan that outlines your services, pricing, and marketing strategies. Depending on your location, you may need to register your business and obtain necessary licenses and insurance. Finally, setting up a comfortable, quiet, and professional space to practice Reiki is crucial. Marketing your services, both online and within your local community, can help attract clients.

What is the connection with Reiki and psychic ability?

  • Reiki and psychic abilities are often associated due to the focus on energy and intuitive awareness in both practices. While Reiki itself is not a psychic practice, during Reiki sessions, practitioners may develop or enhance their intuitive awareness or sensitivity as they tune into the flow of energy. This enhanced intuition can sometimes be perceived as a psychic ability, as practitioners may become more attuned to their clients' emotional and physical needs. However, it's important to note that having psychic abilities is not a prerequisite or an automatic outcome of practicing Reiki. They are distinct phenomena, though potentially interconnected in the broad context of energy and intuitive practices.

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