Energy Healing Reiki History

What Is Reiki?

In Reiki healing, practitioners lightly place their hands on a client—or just above a client—to direct healing energy. Using a series of specific hand positions, practitioners send energy to the client to boost the client’s own healing abilities, restoring a healthy balance and a sense of wellbeing.

Dr. Mikao Usui and the History of Reiki

Following a mystical experience during a 21-day meditation retreat on Japan’s Mt. Kurama in 1914, Dr. Mikao Usui started the first Reiki healing organization. He began doing Reiki treatments and developed the Reiki Ideals, Reiki symbols, hand positions and the attunement process. He also emphasized the importance of meditative techniques in his teachings.

Disagreement abounds about Reiki’s religious influences. Claims have been made for both Christian and Buddhist influences, but dissenters note that Dr. Usui was a very well-educated man who drew inspiration from multiple sources; they suggest that Reiki healing is a religiously neutral energy therapy.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi and Reiki History

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi was a naval commander who worked with Dr. Usui, both on the road and in a Reiki healing clinic in Tokyo. After Dr. Usui died, Dr. Hayashi took on a greater leadership role in the world of Reiki healing. He is credited with developing a more complex system of hand positions, refining the attunement process and taking the emphasis off of the meditative techniques.

Mrs. Hawayo Takata Brings Reiki Healing to the West

Mrs. Hawayo Takata was born in Hawaii in 1900, and discovered Reiki healing in the 1930s when she was treated for a serious illness while visiting relatives in Japan. After being cured of several diseases following multiple Reiki sessions, she was so impressed by the results of her energy therapy treatments that she implored Dr. Hayashi to teach her. Initially, he was reluctant because Reiki was originally intended to stay within Japan’s borders.

Eventually, Dr. Hayashi relented, and trained Hawayo Takata as a Reiki Master and leader in Reiki healing. Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii in 1937 and continued practicing and teaching Reiki healing. She further simplified the Reiki techniques and, before her death in 1980, moved to California and trained 22 Reiki Masters, who have continued to teach Reiki healing to others.

Reiki Energy Therapy in the 21st Century

Today Reiki is practiced throughout Japan, Australia, North and South America, Europe and India. Over 1,000,000 Reiki Masters practice worldwide, and millions of people have experienced Reiki healing. Reiki is used in hospitals to treat patients, and often results in quicker recovery times from surgery and shorter hospital stays. Reiki energy therapy continues to evolve and spread, and many different variants of Reiki exist around the world.


Herron, D. (n.d.). History of Reiki. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2009). Reiki: An introduction. Retrieved August 4, 2010, from

The International Center for Reiki Training. (n.d.). What is the history of Reiki? Retrieved August 12, 2010, from