The History of Reiki – The New Kid on the Block

Reiki is a common household word among energy healers. Reiki, however, has only been around since the mid 1800s, and could be thought of as the new kid on the energy healing block. Energy healing is understood by many to be a universal truth that has been a part of our inner knowing for thousands of years to which we return time and time again. Different forms of energy healing are known and practiced around the world. 

India and the famed yogis have utilized energy healing for the last 5000 years with the use and application of what they call “Prana”. It is known as the breath of life. 

In China, there are written records dating back to 3000 B.C. that detail the use of the life-force called “chi” and the technique of acupuncture to help clear blockages that allow a person’s chi to flow freely for optimum health.

The exact origins of Reiki are shrouded in mystery and reported slightly differently depending on whom one references, but all agree that Dr. Mikao Usui’s techniques form the foundation of the practice guiding modern day practitioners of this energy healing modality. While Dr. Usui was teaching at a university in the latter part of the 1800s, one of his students asked him how it was that Jesus could perform the miracles of healing. This fateful question inspired Dr. Usui to embark on a quest to discover the answer. At one point in his search he underwent a 21 day fast which he believed would help him attain higher states of consciousness. On the last day of the fast, it is told, he was filled with a spiritual energy and became “enlightened” as a result. He now focused his teaching practice on passing on the knowledge of Reiki.

One of Dr. Usui’s students, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, started training in 1925, a mere 10 months before Usui’s passing. Dr. Hayashi carried on the teachings and opened a Reiki clinic which became famous throughout Japan and operated until 1940. 

One of his patient’s, Mrs. Hayayo Takata, a Japanese-born Hawaiian had traveled to Japan to seek alternative healing modalities for her afflictions for which she did not want to undergo the recommended operations. Over the next several weeks, Mrs. Takata’s health improved so profoundly that she asked Dr. Hayashi to teach her, and is one of only 13 Reiki Masters he taught. When she returned to Hawaii in 1938, after studying with Dr. Hayashi for two years, she opened her own clinic where she continued to practice and eventually teach Reiki. By the time she transitioned in 1980, Mrs. Takata had taught 22 Reiki Masters who continued to spread the knowledge of this healing modality throughout the West.