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Reiki Certification

Approved for 8 Online Continuing Education Units/Credits (CEU's) for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists

Receive Your 8 CEU's Now

Approved for 8 Online CEU's for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists. Cost $100.00 / Certificates Awarded Upon Completion.

Please allow time for your purchase to process. We will contact you via email with instructions to access the online course as soon as your payment is complete. Please make sure your email address is correct. Thank you for your patience. 


Reiki is an ancient hands-on healing technique that has roots in India, Tibet, and most notably in Japan. The word Reiki means universal life force energy and comes from two words in Japanese: rei, meaning “spirit or soul,” and ki, meaning “energy.” When we speak about Reiki, we are actually referring both to this energy and to a gentle bodywork technique that helps balance mind, body, and spirit. Reiki is used throughout the world today by millions of people in homes, private practices, schools, and hospitals for bringing greater well-being to themselves and others. An extremely user-friendly modality, Reiki can be easily learned and applied, leading to expansion and growth within both the recipient of Reiki and the Reiki practitioner (Figure 15-1).

FIGURE 15-1 ​Reiki: healing with universal life force energy. (Photo by Angelique Myrick.)

Because Reiki stems partly from an oral tradition, slightly differing information on the subject may be found, especially regarding the history of Reiki. For people new to Reiki, these nuances can sometimes be confusing and even a bit frustrating. However, when we consider that Reiki involves an abstract spiritual component and that the history was to a large extent transmitted orally, we understand why the variations exist. Finding this variety actually enhances and enriches the Reiki path. In addition, each of us is ultimately led by our own intuition, guided to follow what is best for our individual path, led to the Reiki teacher and teachings that are most suitable for us. Because we continue to change and evolve, we also find merit in new, expanded ways of looking at Reiki, discerning what is most appropriate and leaving aside that information which does not seem to positively influence our journeys with Reiki (Figure 15-2).

FIGURE 15-2 ​Japanese kanji characters for “Rei-ki.”

In its most pure form, Reiki is a beautiful and simple touch healing method that taps into our innate ability to offer healing and comfort through the hands. What is 280wonderful about Reiki is that anyone can learn the technique for there is no need to have a special predisposition to healing or any particular gifts. Like a muscle, Reiki will expand and blossom within the practitioner, revealing not only a healing method that is readily available whenever needed but also, because of Reiki’s spiritual components, a new path in which we experience life differently, entertaining a broader view about who we are, why we are here, and how we may best serve our unique purposes.

Although the basic techniques of Reiki may be learned from a book, the actual energy of Reiki is traditionally transmitted to the student by the Reiki Master through an initiation process in which the flow of this energy is activated. There are several levels (also called degrees) of Reiki, with each one expanding on the previous one and offering the practitioner more energy and varied ways of working with Reiki, culminating in Reiki Mastership in which one learns how to teach and initiate people into Reiki.

Reiki has been a guide for many of us who have chosen to embrace it as part of our lives. Reiki continues to reveal new ways of being and insights not only about healing but also about life in general, as we attempt to understand the mysteries of navigating this material earth as spiritual beings.

Mikao Usui (1865-1926)—the Founder of Reiki (in the West referred to as the first Reiki grandmaster)

Mikao Usui, a Buddhist scholar and spiritual seeker, is considered to be the founder of Reiki because he rediscovered this ancient healing art and propagated its teachings throughout Japan beginning in 1922. He brought Reiki out of secrecy and eventually paved the way for Reiki to come West. Traditionally, Usui was referred to as “Dr. Usui.” However, as research into Reiki continued, the title “Dr.” came to seem incorrect, since there is no proof that Usui was a medical doctor nor did he hold a doctoral degree, although he was indeed a very well-educated man.10 As a respected teacher, Usui would have been called “Sensei” or “Usui-san,” both typical Japanese ways of offering respect. The term Sensei and the suffix san were probably lost in translation when Reiki came West, so that today many Reiki practitioners still refer to Mikao Usui as “Dr. Usui.” For simplicity, and in keeping with the tradition of offering respect, we refer to Mikao Usui here as “Usui-san” (Figure 15-4).

FIGURE 15-4 ​Mikao Usui (1865-1926), the founder of Reiki.

Usui-san hailed from a village near present-day Nagoya and most likely came from a rather wealthy family as he was well educated, studying at a Buddhist monastery world religious philosophies, including both Christianity and Buddhism, and also martial arts, medicine, and psychology. He was also well traveled and visited China, Tibet, and Europe. Although Usui-san worked in various professions, he was drawn to studying such topics as meditation, spirituality, metaphysics, and the healing arts, and opened two schools of healing, the first in 1922 and the second in 1925, both in Tokyo.11 When he formulated his healing system he named it Shin-Shin Kai-Zen Usui Reiki Ryoho, which became shortened to just Usui Reiki Ryoho or the Usui System of Natural Healing.12

How Usui-san Rediscovered Reiki

Although the brief biography of Usui-san is important, some aspects of the traditional story of Reiki as we know it from Takata and from the inscription on Usui-san’s tombstone should also be recounted. Perhaps some of this is myth and some is fact; we will never know for sure. But the story has become such an inherent part of Reiki that it would be incomplete not to include it here.

Usui-san was a spiritual seeker who had read about higher states of consciousness and healing but had failed 284to access these energies himself. Over the years, Usui-san studied Chinese, English, and Sanskrit, seeking answers. The Sanskrit writings showed Usui-san keys that related to old healing methods; however, he still lacked both the knowledge and the actual energy itself. Having searched outside of himself for answers about healing, Usui-san was prompted to look within and studied zazen meditation at a Kyoto Buddhist temple for 3 years.13 He finally decided to make a pilgrimage to a sacred spot on Mount Kurama, outside of Kyoto, where he planned to fast, pray, and meditate in a 21-day ritual and hopefully access both answers and energy directly.14

Usui-san remained on the mountain in introspection, and on the early morning of the twenty-first day he saw a white light in the sky that eventually anointed him on the crown chakra, drawing him into a transcendental state in which he received a vision of healing and access to special energies. Upon returning to normal consciousness, Usui-san became enthusiastic, knowing he had received answers and the energy he had been seeking. He descended quickly down the mountain, where it is said that three incidents occurred causing him to believe in Reiki. First, he stubbed his toe on a rock and, touching his foot, he felt energy in his hands and the pain disappearing. Second, Usui-san stopped at an inn to eat his first meal after his 21-day fast and consumed a large Japanese breakfast with no ill effects. And third, Usui-san touched the face of the innkeeper’s granddaughter, who had been suffering with a toothache, and the girl immediately felt better.15

Upon returning home, Usui-san used Reiki on friends and family and soon was prompted to work with beggars, giving Reiki energy to this community and sending the beggars back into society to work regular jobs. However, when some of the beggars eventually began returning to the homeless quarter, explaining that working was too difficult, Usui-san realized that he had overlooked the spiritual components of healing. By giving Reiki away freely to the beggars, he had actually reinforced a pattern of “taking” in them. In order for a sense of balance and appreciation on the recipient’s part to be maintained, an exchange of sorts was needed. Also, Usui-san decided that a practitioner should never impose healing on another in order for the Reiki to make a real difference.16 Influenced by the literature of Emperor Meiji, Usui-san created what are known as the five principles of Reiki as a guide for living (Box 15-1).

There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth, beyond us all, beyond the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our hearts.

The Upanishads, Vedic scriptures of India

As our world becomes seemingly more chaotic and stressful, there is a strong need in all aspects of life for anything that fosters calmness. In search of this peace, people are turning to alternative methods of healing, and one day soon these techniques will no longer even be called alternative. Many times I have walked into a hospital and wondered why the powers that be do not create an environment that is more appealing and soothing to the senses. With the expansion of Reiki, yoga, meditation, and other modalities that are now moving into mainstream medicine, these changes are indeed taking place. But although Reiki certainly is to be valued as a healing modality easily applied to an array of conditions, I sometimes think that Reiki’s spiritual components are its most profound offering to us. Although Reiki helps on many levels, it is the opening of the heart that occurs when doing Reiki which may be its most important gift. For as we do Reiki on ourselves and others, we become kinder and more understanding, no longer seeing ourselves as separate from those around us but rather recognizing our interconnectedness. All of the most important religious teachings, musical lyrics, and poetry tell us simply that love is the answer—no matter what the question. I believe that Reiki fosters love within every Reiki practitioner and recipient, opening up a stream of positive energy that naturally disperses into the world, little by little affecting the collective consciousness like ripples of light on an earth that can sometimes be challenging to the spirit.

See this technique in practice

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Receive Your 8 CEU's Now

Approved for 8 Online CEU's for Pennsylvania Licensed Massage Therapists. Cost $100.00 / Certificates Awarded Upon Completion.

Please allow time for your purchase to process. We will contact you via email with instructions to access the online course as soon as your payment is complete. Please make sure your email address is correct. Thank you for your patience.