Reiki History



There has been a lot of speculation about where Reiki came from, but there has been little confirmation of most of these theories. Some say that Reiki originated from Buddhism or that it contains Buddhist concepts or techniques. I spoke with a Japanese Reiki master who is also a Buddhist and has done a lot of his own historical research into Reiki in Japan. He said that he could see no connection between Reiki and Buddhism and that he felt that Reiki is religiously neutral. While Dr. Usui may have been a Buddhist, he had also studied Christianity and had lived with a Christian family for a time. It is clear he had a very broad background in many religious teachings and philosophies

The clearest and most authentic understanding we have been able to discover is that Dr. Usui originated the system of healing he taught and practiced based on his mystical experience on Mt. Kurama and by making use of his studies in many different areas of knowledge. It has no connection to Buddhism or any other religion. This is validated by his own writing in which he says, "Our Reiki Ryoho is something absolutely original and cannot be compared with any other (spiritual) path in the world." (Taken from his Reiki Ryoho Handbook)


Reiki in the West
After coming to the west, the Usui System of Natural Healing has evolved over time. In its current state, it is much more organized and structured than the simple, flexible, intuitive method practiced by Dr. Usui. The following is a description of the evolution of the Usui System of Reiki.


During his mystical experience on Mt. Kurama, Dr. Usui received the ability to do Reiki treatments. Later he added the Reiki Ideals. Dr. Hayashi added the standard hand positions, the three degrees and their attunement processes. Mrs. Takata added the fee structure previously mentioned. The required waiting periods between classes were added by several of Mrs. Takata's Masters after she passed on. Actually according to Mrs. Yamaguchi who became a Reiki teacher under Dr. Hayashi, Dr. Hayashi taught that Reiki treatments should be given for free. This is why he taught mostly to wealthy students who could afford to practice without charging money. So, while some say payment must be received, we know that this is not a requirement and that it is really up to the practitioner to decide if they want to charge a fee or not for Reiki treatments.


After Mrs. Takata's transition, a few teachers began making changes in the way they taught Reiki. Most of the changes were beneficial, and included the addition of knowledge and healing skills the teachers had learned from other systems or had acquired from inner guidance. However, some changes were restrictive, making it more difficult for students to progress. Some took the Third Degree and divided it into several small parts, calling each new part a new Degree and charging additional money. Often, the fact that they had modified the Usui system was not mentioned and when their students became teachers, they began teaching what they thought was pure Usui Reiki when in fact it was not. In this way, many varieties of Reiki have developed with some thinking they have the only authentic version of Reiki when actually what they are teaching is a modified form. Much of the information on the web about the history of Usui Reiki and how it is taught and practiced has not been well researched and people are simply publishing anything they have heard without attempting to find the source or check references.


The editors of this FAQ and The International Center for Reiki Training which provided much of the source material for this FAQ support all Reiki schools which adhere to the original spirit of Reiki. See our Purpose and Philosophy and The Reiki Ideals - The Ethical Principles of Reiki. At the same time, we encourage all those researching Reiki to understand that not everything published on the web about Reiki has been researched and one needs to find authentic sources if one is to gain a clear understanding of the Usui Reiki Ryoho.

taken from an article on




Camille Gallant Gotta
7701 Gayle Ave.
Charlotte, NC  28212

(704) 891-0584