History of Reiki
How it began
Mikao Usui (1865-1926)
From a journey of enlightenment and spiritual studies and skills based on philosophy and medical sciences Mikao Usui developed the healing system of Shin-Shin-Kai-Zen Usui Reiki Ryo-Ho. In Western healing systems this is commonly referred to as “Usui Shiki Ryoho” or Usui Reiki Rhoyo”, meaning “The Usui Reiki Treatment Method for improvement of Mind and Body”.
In April 1922 Mikao Usui established a healing society named Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. He opened Reiki clinics in Harajuku, Aoyama and Tokoyo where he treated patients and taught The Usui Reiki Treatment Method openly to the public.
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In September 1923 following the great Kanto earthquake Mikao Usui treated the people with his Reiki healing system which had been affected by the devastation. It was around this time due to the tremendous work involved that he further developed his Reiki healing system to teach other people to become Usui Reiki Masters and practitioners.
Mikao Usui reputation as a healer grew and demand for Reiki grew throughout Japan. It was around this time when the Japanese Government acknowledged his work as a healer and issued Mikao Usui the “Kun San” for honourable work by helping others. Mikao Usui continued his work as a Reiki healer and teacher until his death in 1926.
How it developed
Dr. Chujiro Hayashi (1880-1940)
Prior to Mikao Usui death and instruction, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi a former Navy medical doctor and student of Mikao Usui formed the “Hayashi Reiki Kenkyukai Institute” to continue and promote the “Usui Shiki Ryoho” healing system.
Based on Mikao Usui original healing principles and teachings he continued to treat patients and began to carefully record all the conditions and illnesses patients presented to him. Dr. Hayashi also recorded the various Reiki hand positions when treating patients with different types of conditions to see which method worked best. From these records and findings Dr. Hayashi devised the “Guidelines For Reiki Healing Method” (called the Reiki Rhoyo Shinshin) which became part of the Reiki teaching manual.
This revolutionised the way patients were to be treated by developing a new and more effective system in the way Reiki can be taught and practiced.
Following a trip to Hawaii between the year 1937-38 prior to the Japanese invasion on Pearl Harbour Dr. Hayashi was requested by the Japanese military to forward information regarding locations of warehouses and other key targets in Honolulu. As a Reiki teacher and healer this went against his principles and refused and committed ritual suicide (seppuku) to avoid his family from being disgraced by Japanese society. Dr. Hayashi died honourably on the 11th May 1940.
Its progress over the years
Hawayo Takata (1900-1980)
Mrs Hawayo Takata a former patient of the Hayashi clinic due to suffering from long term health issues. A widow with two daughters she travelled from her homeland Hawaii to Japan to inform her parents of a family bereavement. Whilst visiting Japan it was also the opportunity to seek medical attention for her long term health issues which was later diagnosed requiring further medical intervention.
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Mrs Takata ignored the advice she was given and went to visit the reputable Hayashi Reiki clinic to which gave a similar diagnosis where she was treated and recovered following a course of treatments. Following her successful recovery, Mrs Takata learnt Reiki under Dr. Hayashi guidance until eventually she became a Reiki Master practitioner and teacher in February 1938.
Mrs Takata went on to practice Reiki in Hawaii and founded several clinics some of which were based in Hilo the Big Island where she became recognised as a Reiki healer and teacher. Due to her popularity and reputation she travelled the world to continue to promote and teach the Usui Shiki Ryoho healing system based on Mikao Usui and Chujiro Hayashi original teachings and principles.
Mrs Takata began to teach patient’s family members Reiki so they could continue giving Reiki to loved ones in her absence. It was not until the 1970’s when Mrs Takata began to initiate and teach Reiki practitioners to become Reiki Master practitioner’s to continue her good work, reportedly charging in excess of $10,000. The excess charges for Reiki practitioner’s to become Reiki Master practitioners was not part of Usui Shiki Ryoho healing system however she justified her treatment charges by stating “One should never do treatments or provide treatments for free but should always charge a fee or get something in return”.
Mrs Takata not only popularised Reiki but also began to Westernise and modernise Reiki by eliminating many of the Japanese Reiki techniques. Mrs Takata also simplified Dr. Hayashi standardised Reiki hand positions so that every treatment would be the same. This became known as the foundation treatment which contained eight hand positions.
Prior to her death Mrs Takata initiated twenty two Reiki Master Practitioners to continue and promote Reiki worldwide. This led to many other initiations and Reiki Master practitioners throughout the world. Due to Mrs Takata hard work and predecessors, today Reiki has become a very popular therapeutic complementary therapy.
Furthermore the healing society that Mikao Usui established in April 1922 the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai still remains to this day.
The information given is for educational purposes only. It should not be taken as a substitute for professional or medical or psychological advise, diagnoses or treatment. Please refer to your primary care provider for concerns regarding your health.
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“Earthquakes Tokyo-Yokohama,” Encyclopedia Britannica (1997), CD-ROM.
Frank Arjava Petter, Reiki Darma Newsletter Number 31, January 1, 2011.
Patsy Matsura, “Mrs. Takata and Reiki Power,” Honolulu Advertiser, Feb. 25, 1974.
Vera Graham, “Mrs. Takata Opens Minds to Reiki,” The (San Mateo) Times, May 17, 1975.
Walter Lubeck, Frank Arjava Petter, William Lee Rand, The Spirit of Reiki (Twin Lakes, WI: Lotus Press, 2003),
Yamaguchi T, Light on the Origins of Reiki, (Lotus Press, 2007)