What are Reiki Healing Practices and How Did They Begin?

Reiki Healing is often referred to as energy healing and it is growing in both popularity and accessibility in the United States specifically.

Many hospitals have even begun to include these non-western medicine options alongside some of the most western practices. 

The practice begins for many modern novices with text written by William Lee Rand in 1991. This book called Reiki The Healing Touch is utilized in a majority of classes for teaching the rituals of Reiki healing.

Firstly in this article, we will explain what and how the Reiki healing practices work including, the history of Reiki, Reiki music, Reiki therapy, and similar forms of energy healing. 

Next, we will go over the history of these energy healing practices and how similar options evolved as well.


What is a Reiki Master: Healing Practices Background

Japanese Hillside with man overlooking the sea.

A Reiki Master is somebody who can work with Reiki and more specifically teaches others the art of Reiki.

One of the best ways to begin your journey into Reiki Healing is to be mindful and to be present with our thoughts.

Keeping questions about how these new ideas and practices will change your life and questioning if you want these specific changes are great ways to begin.

Without keeping these ideas in mind one can find themselves placed in scenarios that do not link with their inner desires. Without this inner motivation to work at Reiki techniques and ideals, there will be no success or peace found.

Reiki translates roughly from "Rei" meaning "Universal", with "Ki" meaning "Energy". There are many other ways to define Reiki and it will likely change from person to person.

At a point in your journey through Reiki, there will be an awakening that slowly occurs. It has been said that Reiki is found in most other cultures or religions in any of the spirits or divine energies. 

This awakening can occur at any point whether it was before you had heard of Reiki before or after. 

There are three main positive ideals that Reiki bases itself around. These include honesty, compassion, and forgiveness between yourself and others. These seem very similar to many ancient and modern religions/ideals.

People may ask the question if Reiki is technically a belief system, religion, or organization. But the idea behind Reiki means universal life energy that flows between and through everything. So the answer is no, it is it's own idea separate from organized beliefs.

It may sound corny and out of context but the easiest way to describe this to someone who knows Star Wars would be the force. It is in everyone and everything so therefore the idea behind it is that every religion takes parts of this into its belief systems.

This is not our opinion of what Reiki is and it should not be interpreted to discredit or credit any specific religion. 

Essentially the basics of Reiki healing techniques include a Reiki Master placing their hands on or above the areas of the body that need healing. The idea is that the healthy energies from the Master who controls and understands their universal energy can share this energy with the one being healed.

There is also a system including energy blocks which can cause all types of issues in life from health, relationships, or finances. Reiki Masters can see these things and try to defend against them by sharing their positive energies.


History of Reiki Healing

Traditional Japanese tower overlooking Kurama Mountain

Reiki has a strong history that arguably has always been a part of many different societies. But in the sense of history based on current texts, modern reiki was created by Mikao Usui in the late 1800s.

It is said he studied all forms of theology and climbed Kurama Mountain in Japan to meditate and fast with all the information he learned.

On his way down the mountain, he hurt his foot in some way and performed his first healing practice on himself. Using what is now known as Reiki hand positions he found that his foot no longer hurt.

Mikao taught over two thousand students in his lifetime his systems of healing. He was given an honorary award from the Emperor for healing during the aftermath of a magnitude 7.9 earthquake in 1923.

Before Mikao died in 1926 he brought a few people to the same level of Reiki Master as himself. One of those included Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, who was a Naval officer previously. He set up a clinic in Tokyo and expanded on the Usui theories and ideas.

As Usui Reiki expanded and grew it began to reach the United States and west before World War Two. Hawayo Takata was one of Hayashi's students and as she was healed by him he imparted all of his teachings onto her. 

Hawayo Takata is credited with bringing the modern Reiki to the United States and culture outside Japan.

The history of Reiki healing includes the passing on of knowledge but also the growth of new ideas and strategies. As time goes on it seems to be improving its chances of healing and helping people through spirituality.


Reiki Healing How It Works

Rocks balancing on each other near ocean

Reiki healing has been studied in many clinical trials. In these trials, it is referred to as a complementary alternative medicine technique. There are many confusing studies that either confirm or deny the efficacy of Reiki healing.

In specific groups of cancer patients, it has been found to help alongside traditional western treatments. There are many informative peer-reviewed articles like, "Effect of Reiki Therapy on Pain and Anxiety in Adults: An In-Depth Literature Review of Randomized Trials with Effect Size Calculations" by Susan Thrane.

The conclusion of this article declares that further study is necessary to reach a definitive answer but the statistics lean toward the idea that Reiki works for some people. 

There are many different ways that people can use spirituality to improve their mental health. Through the centuries many cultures have praised the connection between physical and mental health. 

In the modern age, more and more people are coming to the same conclusion that mental health may be the pinnacle of health overall.

Being able to control this part of one's life with practices like meditation, therapy, and spirituality is thought by many to improve the overall quality of life.

A large part of the Reiki healing process is trust and positive vibrations(moods, emotions, and feelings). If these parts are not prevalent in the process it is said by many that healing will be very hard if not impossible.

There are many large hospitals in the US that have begun using Reiki. One Washington Post article by Brianna Sacks discusses how mainstream Reiki has grown and it was written nearly a decade ago.

Some of the most influential US cancer hospitals have begun using this including MD Anderson Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Mayo Clinic.


Reiki Healing Massages

Woman Recieving Reiki Massage

Anyone who has had a good or great massage knows how different your body can feel almost immediately.

Whether it is because of the endorphins and serotonin produced from physical touch or the use of modern techniques there is always something to be praised about a massage.

Massages are one of the oldest methods for medical treatment of bodily ailments. More than 2000 years ago there are records in China of massages.

Reiki involves significantly less physical touch than a massage. It is a completely different type of massage and many people would not even consider it to be a type of massage.

But, there is a great overlap between the healing powers of both. There is a larger spiritual part to Reiki massages though. 

Reiki can or should include charging a massage oil like Sweet almond or jojoba with Reiki energies.

Next, the Reiki Master or Reiki follower will use basic or advanced hand techniques.


Reiki Healing Music

Rocks Balancing on Japanese Seaside

Reiki music can be used for Reiki healing or in a normal meditation or anything else involving relaxation. It is not a genre but can be any music that is made for or used for creating a calming or relaxing feeling.

There will be no harsh notes or sudden changes in the sounds. It will often be played at a low volume as well.

Some groups of Reiki Masters believe that Reiki music can also provide relaxing benefits to animals experiencing stress or anxiety.

Generally, Reiki music contains soothing instruments or notes. The music will flow smoothly between natural Reiki movements.

There will rarely be vocals but if there are any they will be a light chanting with no distinguishable words. These voices will be used as another instrument instead of vocals.


Reiki Healing isn't one of the usual western practices, but it's becoming popular and accessible nowadays. It's surely an interesting alternative which could benefit you, by helping releaving the stress of both body and mind. Have you tried it?