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Reiki is a form of spiritual practice used as a complementary therapy for the treatment of physical, emotional, and mental diseases. Mikao Usui developed Reiki in early 20th century Japan, where he said he received the ability of "healing without energy depletion" after three weeks of fasting and meditating on Mount Kurama. Practitioners use a technique similar to the laying on of hands, which they say will channel "healing energy" or "ki". Practitioners state that energy flows through their palms to bring about healing and that the method can be used for self-treatment as well as treatment of others.
The name Reiki derives from the Japanese pronunciation of two Japanese characters that describe the energy itself: rei
(meaning "unseen" or "spiritual") and ki
, here meaning "energy" or "life force"). In English, the meaning of Reiki is often given as "universal life energy" (a translation used by Hawayo Takata). The noun commonly refers to either the energy or the therapeutic method which uses the energy. Reiki is also used as a verb and an adjective. Japanese speakers use the term as a generic "spiritual power" while the Usui Method of Reiki Healing is specifically Usui reiki shiki ryoho. Similarly, the practice is sometimes called Usui-do or Usui-no-michi ("the Way of Usui").
Reiki teachings state that there is a universal "life force" energy, which can be accessed by practitioners to induce a healing effect. It is claimed by believers that anyone can gain access to this energy by means of an attunement process carried out by a Reiki Master.
The belief is that the energy will flow through the practitioner's hands whenever the hands are placed on, or held near a potential recipient, who can be clothed. Some teachings stress the importance of the practitioner's intention or presence in this process, while others claim that the energy is drawn by the recipient's injury to activate or enhance the natural healing processes. Going further, the belief is that the "energy" is "intelligent", making diagnosis unnecessary.
A second level of training, including another initiation, is said to equip the practitioner to perform Reiki treatments from a distance. This method, it is stated, involves the use of special symbols to form a temporary connection between the practitioner and the recipient, regardless of location, and then to send the Reiki energy. Techniques are also taught whereby Reiki can be sent to a specific point in time, either in the past or the future.
The energy involved in a Reiki treatment is said to be "from the Universe," rather than the personal energy of the practitioner, and is therefore inexhaustible. (Some teachings say that the energy enters the practitioner through the crown chakra at the top of the head, before being emitted from the hands.) As a consequence, Reiki practitioners are taught that they can treat themselves with Reiki.
Reiki is also used by practitioners as preventative medicine, as it is claimed that the energy encourages healing before any noticeable symptoms have emerged. Another consequence of the simplicity of Reiki is that it can be taught to children.
Some teachers state that if, on some level, the intended recipient does not wish to be healed, the energy will not flow.
Reiki is described by adherents as a holistic therapy which brings about healing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. It is said that healing may occur in any or all of these domains in a single treatment, without any conscious direction needed by either the practitioner or the recipient.
In a typical whole-body Reiki treatment, the practitioner asks the recipient to lie down, usually on a massage table, and relax. Loose, comfortable clothing is usually worn during the treatment. The practitioner might take a few moments to enter a calm or meditative state of mind and mentally prepare for the treatment, which is usually carried out without any unnecessary talking.
The treatment proceeds with the practitioner placing his hands on the recipient in various positions. However, some practitioners use a non-touching technique, where the hands are held a few centimetres away from the recipient's body, for some or all of the positions. The hands are usually kept still for 3 to 5 minutes before moving to the next position. Overall, the hand positions usually give a general coverage of the head, the front and back of the torso, the knees and feet. Between 12 and 20 positions are used, with the whole treatment lasting 45 to 90 minutes.
Some practitioners use a fixed set of hand positions. Others use their intuition to guide them as to where treatment is needed, sometimes starting the treatment with a "scan" of the recipient to find such areas. The intuitive approach might also lead to individual positions being treated for much shorter or longer periods of time.
It is reported that the recipient often feels warmth or tingling in the area being treated, even when a non-touching approach is being used. A state of deep relaxation, combined with a general feeling of well-being, is usually the most noticeable immediate effect of the treatment, although emotional releases can also occur. As the Reiki treatment is said to be stimulating natural healing processes, instantaneous "cures" of specific health problems are not usually observed. A series of three or more treatments, typically at intervals of 1 to 7 days, is usually recommended if a chronic condition is being addressed. Regular treatments, on an on-going basis, can be used with the aim of maintaining well-being. The interval between such treatments is typically in the range of 1 to 4 weeks, except in the case of self-treatment when a daily practice is common.
Localized Reiki treatments involve the practitioner's hands being held on or near a specific part of the body. Recent injuries are usually treated in this way, with the site of injury being targeted. There is great variation in the duration of such treatments, though 20 minutes might be typical.
Some practitioners use localized treatments for certain ailments, and some publications have tabulated appropriate hand positions. However, other practitioners prefer to use the whole body treatment for all chronic conditions, on the grounds that it has a more holistic effect. Another approach is to give a whole body treatment first, followed by a localized treatment.
Many practitioners use Reiki as the basis of a spiritual practice, or to augment other spiritual practices. The cornerstone of Reiki spiritual practice is a daily one hour self-treatment, conducted in a meditative frame of mind. As well as maintaining physical, mental and emotional well-being, this practice is understood to induce spiritual growth, potentially leading to self-realization.Origins of Reiki
A Japanese Tendai Buddhist named Mikao Usui is credited with discovering Reiki in 1922 after a twenty-one day retreat on Mount Kurama, involving meditation, fasting, and prayer. Usui claimed that by mystical revelation he had gained the knowledge and spiritual power to apply and attune others to what is called Reiki. In April 1922, Usui moved to Tokyo and founded the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai (Usui Reiki Healing Society).
Usui was an admirer of the literary works of Emperor Meiji, and, in the process of developing his Reiki system, summarised some of the emperor's works into a set of ethical principles, which later became known as the Reiki Principles. Many Reiki teachers and practitioners aim to abide by these five principles, one translation of which is:
"The secret method of inviting good fortune.
The marvelous medicine for all sickness
Just for today:
Do not be angry
Do not be worried
Work hard (on improving yourself)
Be kind to others.
Every morning and every night, sit in the Gassho position [hands held palm-to-palm] and speak these words out loud in your heart.
For the evolution of body and soul, Usui Reiki Ryoho" -- Mikao Usui, the founder.
Usui taught over 2000 students to use Reiki. 16 of his students continued their training to reach the Shinpiden level, equivalent to the Western third degree, or master level. After Usui's death, Chujiro Hayashi a former student of Usui left the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai and formed his own association. Hayashi simplified the Reiki teachings, stressing physical healing and using a more codified and simpler set of Reiki techniques.
Hayashi initiated and trained Hawayo Takata, who travelled widely in the USA, practicing Reiki and teaching the first two levels to others.