The word reiki derives from the Japanese word reiki (meaning “mysterious atmosphere”), which was originally derive from the Chinese word língqì (“supernatural influence”). However, Reiki practitioners prefer to use “Universal Life Energy” as its translation.
Reiki is a system of natural healing which evolved in Japan from the experience and dedication of Dr Mikao Usui (d. 1926). Dr Usui, a Japanese doctor, developed or rediscovered Reiki towards the end of the 19th century while studying ancient Buddhist texts. He was inspired to develop this healing system from those teachings, spending many years of his life in study, research and meditation. Once Reiki was complete, he spent the rest of his life in the practising and teaching the system.
There are two main branches of Reiki, usually referred to as Traditional Japanese Reiki and Western Reiki. The main difference between them is that Westernised forms tend to use systematised hand-placements while the Japanese Reiki branches tend to have a more intuitive approach. Reiki has a three-tiered hierarchy of degrees, usually referred to as the First, Second, and Master/Teacher level, all of which are associated with different skills and techniques.
Reiki was introduced to the United States, in the 1970’s, by Hawaio Takata, a Japanese woman living in Hawaii. Takata having learned it from one of Usui’s pupils, Dr Chujiro Hayashi.
The Usui system of Reiki is a simple technique, using hands-on healing and sacred symbols that have been used for healing purposes for thousands of years. In using Reiki techniques, the vitalizing, intrinsic force of Universal Life energy is channelled from the universe and transferred, through the hands, to various energy centres in the receiver’s body.
Reiki is said to intensify vibration of body molecules so that blockages that may cause disharmony and disease are released. It helps with all kinds of physical, mental, emotional or spiritual issues as Ki energy permeates the physical, mental, emotional, and several spiritual bodies and is fundamental to their development.
Reiki is a spiritual path (not a religion) as well as a form of healing that enhances the wellbeing of both the receiver and the giver.
During a Reiki session, the recipient remains clothed and usually lies on a couch and relaxes. The practitioner gently places their hands non-intrusively in a sequence of positions which cover the whole body. Being a holistic system, it is the whole person that is treated rather than any specific symptoms. A full treatment usually takes 1 to 1½ hours.
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