Usui Reiki, or Not Reiki?

In Japan in the mid 1920s, Mikao Usui started a unique spiritual practice that has come to be called Reiki. Usui said his practice was new and never before seen in the world. He did not refer to his practice exclusively as Reiki, and at the time, there were other Reiki practices.

Somehow the name Reiki stuck to Usui’s practice.

It was as Reiki that Hawayo Takata and Chujiro Hayashi, her Reiki master and Usui’s direct student, brought the practice to Hawaii in the 1930s. Takata later taught Reiki on the mainland U.S., in Canada, and Puerto Rico, before dying in December 1980.

Most of the 22 masters Takata trained continued to honor her standards, but within a decade after Takata’s death, at least one of them began offering expedited Reiki training.

Rapid expansion of Reiki healing came with loosening of Reiki practice standards

With a fast turnover from First degree to Reiki master, it didn’t take long for Reiki practice to spread around the world.

Few people would argue that global access to such a gentle, effective spiritual practice is a good thing, and this could not have happened so quickly if everyone adhered to Takata’s high standards. However, all rapid expansion coincides with a loss of standards, and this is the challenge that the global Reiki community faces today.

Perhaps the most critical question is this: Which practices are rightly called Reiki?

There is a reasonable expectation that any practice referred to as Reiki traces back to Usui—especially those practices called Usui Reiki—but we cannot assume this to be true.

Some practices marketed as Reiki have no basis in Usui’s practice. Those who sign on for such training usually don’t find this out until it’s too late.

The lack of agreed-upon standards in the Reiki community creates a buyer-beware market for the public. How can Reiki practitioners help the public navigate the sea of Reiki practices and identify those which are truly Usui-based? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

This article is available in Portuguese translation for you to download and use as is, without making any changes. Please do not circulate the pdf through email or post on your website. You are welcome to post a link to this file. Thank you for your support.


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Related reading:
Reiki Is Not Ancient
Reiki: Spiritual Practice or Energy Medicine?

We’d love to read your comments. Please keep them on point and in perspective so that we can have a thoughtful, respectful dialogue.


55 thoughts on “Usui Reiki, or Not Reiki?”

  1. No such thing as “Usui” Reiki, Pamela – that’s like saying there’s such a thing as “Australian Oxygen”. There’s the source of Reiki in the spirit dimensions which was designed for humans on earth to access by simply choosing to open themselves up to it and develop a relationship with it. But of course little Mr Reptillian Usui thought he’d stumbled upon a pot of gold when he found it and just like the Devil said to God when he stumbled across a ball of truth on the side of the rode, he said “Ah… give it to me and I’ll market it”.

  2. Hi Pamela
    Since we met in France many things happened. My practice about Reiki and the relations to Mikao USUI led me to understand that the way to be related to Mikao USUI is the “spiritual sensei journey”.
    Studying most of the various relevent style, studying a little bit japanese and japan way of life, visit the places Mikao USUI visted, study other spiritual practices to discover similarities and discrepancies, etc.,
    Melted all together those practices can built your own “spiritual sensei journey” to a conscious Usui Reiki Ryoho style.
    Many thanks for your actions and teachings, with love, kansha ??

  3. Thank you Pam for your clarity on this. I took Reiki I and II with Mary McFadyen beginning in 1988 or 89. Of course, I had to practice Reiki I for nearly a year before she would even take me as a Reiki II student. I took many classes with her and I can quote her right now: “Always add Reiki to what you’re doing; but do not add anything to Reiki.”

    1. Always happy to hear from one of Mary’s students, William! I love that quote from her. Do you remember any others?

  4. Pamela, your post is very interesting.

    The subject matter immediately brought me back to my childhood. Having been raised in a strict reformed baptist home, I was always very aware of other religions due to many, many discussion between my parents. The constant judgements and criticisms of their incorrect belief system and our Right one!!

    What I find interesting about the changes in Reiki, is that it reminds me somewhat of how individual religious organizations function. The baptist think they are right and the only way to to heaven, the Catholics think they are right and the only way. And each one constantly condemns the other for their incorrect belief system.

    Five months ago I also suffered a separation with my original master/teacher. She was so controlling with her belief system which is Usui Ryoho Reiki (everyone was wrong except her way) that I had to move on. I struggled with her regular judgement of others and how wrong their methods were.

    Having been trained and practicing Usui Ryoho Reiki now for nearly two years and also going through a massive spiritual awakening, I embrace everything and everyone no matter their belief.

    If we are all drawing from the same “pot” of universal energy so to speak, does it really matter what name or brand we give it? Like religious separations when it boils down we all believe in a divine being or source, so calling him/her God, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha, Krishna or Yahweh in my opinion is irrelevant.

    As long as the person is truly Reiki trained and sharing that universal energy does it matter the actual name assigned to their brand?

    Pamela, these are only my immediate thoughts on this post. I hope you do not misinterpret my comments as judgemental. Far, far from it. More a sharing of how I felt growing up being constantly exposed to severe judgements and opinions of other belief systems.

    I have read your book, follow your writings and enjoy opening myself to new ideas. Your many years of Reiki practice as well as what you have accomplished for Reiki are outstanding and I have the utmost respect for you.

    Please correct me if I am wrong. I am only a new babe in the amazing Reiki world, still studying, learning, finding my niche and working towards the goal of living and being Reiki.

    I guess what my comments boil down to is plain and simple acceptance, something that has been the largest part of my journey and healing through Reiki.

    With blessings, love and light

    1. Barb,

      Thank you for your comment, which I don’t find to be judgmental at all. Correct me if I have misunderstood, but it seems that you are grappling with a very important issue that has to do with diversity. I personally am all for diversity. (I am also in favor of truth in labeling.)

      Diversity is not easy. It quickly tests our understanding.

      Ultimately all is One and nothing matters, but in the relative world we live in, everything matters.

      Being human means making choices and taking responsibility for them. It seems to be human nature to have a hard time doing that.

      The tendency is to imagine that what is meaningful for us has to be meaningful for everyone, or that someone else’s choices are an indictment of ours. That’s all a mind play of judgmentalness.

      But it is also possible to contemplate and draw distinctions that are meaningful to us without judging others’ choices.

      And there is a huge difference between a choice to stay with facts — in this case, the initiation lineage and practice orientation — and being wedded to a belief system.

      All spiritual practices lead to the same Oneness, but our individual choice of practice matters very much to each of us as individuals.

      People frequently make choices about Reiki practice without thinking through the ramifications not only in their own lives but for the community and the practice itself.

      If those of us who practice Reiki without the add-ons do not articulate our perspective and make it easily accessible to the public when they research “Reiki,” then in very little time, it will be lost.

      That would truly be unfortunate.

      1. It seems to me (as Pamela has pointed out, too) that a lot of confusion in the public domain comes from the fact that people do not tend to distinguish between the energy we tap into when we practice Reiki (which is as old as the Universe and which other forms of healing in a different way tap into as well), and the unique and wonderfully simple method of accessing and harnessing it for healing, which Mikao Usui was able to create from an enlightened state of mind and being knowledgeable in many different areas and spiritual traditions.

        This combination of circumstances enabled him to take the simplest tools from different pre-existing contexts to accomplish a specific purpose respectively, and to incorporate these into his unique healing method, which Usui himself called ‘shin shin kaizen Usui reiki ryoho’: Usui Reiki treatment method for the improvement of body and mind.

        This fortunate set of circumstances put Mikao Usui in a position to create a teachable method that could easily be learned by anyone. Usui sensei rightfully prided himself in the simplicity of the method he crafted, and to my mind we would be foolish to think to ‘improve it’ and if anything, we are taking away from it by mixing it up with a number of different approaches.

        On the subject of diversity, perhaps we can learn to celebrate difference and to treat each other with respect and kindness, reserving the right to be clear about differences within this compassionate context, which is provided by one of the pillars of Reiki practice: the gokai.

  5. There were a lot of comments here to go through. If we could all agree to use the name of the system we are practicing and not simply the word “Reiki”, this would help bring clarity – eventually. Reiki is the Universal or Spiritual Energy, it is not the name of any particular practice. Just as the word “God” does not specify one specific religion.

    In other words, if you know Takata’s teachings, really know them – not just have Takata in your lineage – then use the phrase Usui Shiki Ryoho. If you are a Karuna person, use that. If you are a Komyo person or a Gendai person, or if you are Raku-kei Reiki use that.

    The following was taken directly from ICTR’s (William Rand’s) web site at:
    “The Reiki training offered by the ICRT has evolved over the years to include a number of methods. The style we teach is a combination of the Usui/Hayashi method as taught by Mrs. Takata combined with a style based on Tibetan shamanism called Raku Kai.”

    I would suggest to William Rand, to then call his system something specific, as he has done with his Karuna Reiki, and not simply refer to it as “Reiki”. To his credit, he does mention on his website that his system is a mixed bag of stuff.

    When knowingly mixing in other things into what was learned, it becomes something else. Think of making soup, let’s start with stone soup. If you start adding more and more ingrediants to it, what you have isn’t stone soup anymore. I would be disappointed if my stone soup contained brocholi, tomatoes, and beef for instance (whether I liked it more or not is irrelevant). I paid for stone soup, you said it was stone soup, but it wasn’t stone soup. It still is soup, yes, but not stone soup. This sort of thing leads to a lot of confusion.

    If what you have works, great. I am not going to say that any system is inherently better than another. Let’s start calling things by their names though – assuming we know what it is that we have. That is the real trick for most people.

    I always pose the question that if Usui could come back to life, sit in on one of your classes, would he be able to recognize his own system of Reiki (Usui Reiki Ryoho) being taught? If so, I would say that what you have learned is probably Usui Reiki Ryoho (on an audio tape this is the name Takata called the system Usui taught). Same goes with Takata, if she recognize what you were teaching was what she had taught, then the system is Usui Shiki Ryoho. (And by the way, there seems to be very little diffence between these two systems.) Same with Komyo with Hyakuten or Gendai with Doi, etc. etc. etc.

  6. There seems to be much focus on the importance of Takata lineage to ensure the standards of Usui Reiki.
    My lineage is Usui, Hayashi, Yamaguchi, Inamoto.
    I’m curious to know your thoughts on how this all fits in as there are thousands of people with this lineage practicing and teaching.

    1. Wendy,

      The disregard for traditional Reiki values that prompted me to write this article happened after Mrs. Takata’s death, and in her lineage. If you feel the article gives undue attention to Takata’s teachings, that is the reason.

      Please read this sentence from the article again: “There is a reasonable expectation that any practice referred to as Reiki traces back to Usui—especially those practices called Usui Reiki—but we cannot assume this to be true.”

      That is a cogent statement of my perspective, and I have full respect for the Japanese lineages. Hyakuten Inamoto is a respected colleague and beloved friend.

      You might be interested to read my conversation with Hyakuten Inamoto and Hiroshi Doi, What Is Usui Reiki Ryoho?.

  7. Congratulations on tackling this question and getting such great feedback Pamela. From what I understand at one point (I forget when, possibly the 80s), many of Takata’s students (and possibly herself) got together to decide which techniques would be used going forward and that “system” is what is taught as Usui Reiki. I have also found that so many people focus on using the term Reiki to refer to the energy and then changing the system used to teach, and then still refer to the system and the energy as reiki. For instance, there is definitely nothing Egyptian or Celtic about Reiki! 🙂

    I believe that the only way to educate the public is to discuss the research and excellent books of some prominent authors who have gone back to Japan and done a lot of research. Another way would be to get involved in the Reiki organizations and ensure that the proper information is being given.

    I’ve followed you for a while on Twitter and did not know you spoke with Inamoto and Doi (I do not say Inamoto-sensei because he is not MY teacher) but I will definitely look into it. My Reiki teacher trained me in Usui Shiki Ryoho and then switched to Komyo which I also studied, both just short of Teacher level which I may one day complete.

  8. Dear Pamela (and everyone else)

    Can you please list out some sources of information that independently address the history of Reiki? Most of the sources talk about some teacher’s version of the story that they have heard. Similarly, the sources and work that emerge from Frans/Brownen Steine are mostly personal communication or conversation or the books of those teachers.

    What I am looking for is some kind of verifiable source of information – someone who has actually met the current president of the Japanese Reiki system, how this putative president would explain the history of the system. If someone were actually lucky enough to have obtained a personal training, I would love to hear them share how they feel the Japanese system is different from the Western system.

    In my opinion, it seems strange that Mikao Usui, a person coming from the Japanese culture (which, as I understand it, is not individual-centric) and soaked in the Buddhist traditions, would be so self-aggrandizing as to give his own name to a system that he discovered.

    Are there any records that he left, his own diaries or something that would verify what he really taught? (to clarify, how are we to accept that these records are in fact his own and not fabricated later, as supposedly happened in the case of Medicine Buddha/Men Chhos Reiki and Lama Yeshe?) Similarly for Chujiro Hayashi?

    Thanks to all

    1. Suneil, I did my best to address this need when writing the history chapter of my book and I encourage you to read it.

      Unfortunately Reiki practice does not have a well documented history, and the community-at-large does not adhere to academic and journalistic standards for documentation. Some authors are content to merely recirculate Reiki rumors rather than approach a topic without bias and conduct original research, even if it is only interviewing people and documenting the conversations. As a member of the Reiki Alliance, I am well acquainted with Reiki history since Takata. When I see glaring and usually prejudicial errors in the telling of that part of the story, I have no basis to trust authors’ version of pre-Takata Reiki history.

      There are also alternate versions of Reiki history that have no third-party verification. It is unfortunate that those involved did not see the need for documentation, and this lapse brings serious questions about the credibility of the information. When so many were jumping on the Lama Yeshe bandwagon many years ago (the story was that he had previously unknown Usui artifacts), I asked the attendant for documentation and was rebuffed for having no faith and for asking for proof from a spiritual person. Eventually the story was found to be a hoax.

      (Somehow Westerners in particular often feel it is not spiritual to ask questions, but there is a huge difference between spirituality and blind faith. Without questioning, how can be get to the facts, or to the recognition that there simply are no documentable facts.)

      It has never made sense to me to accept what someone who isn’t fluent in Japanese language and culture has to say about the origins of Reiki. I have always relied on the Japanese Reiki masters Hyakuten Inamoto and Hiroshi Doi (with Inamoto-sensei translating) because they are native Japanese speakers and I trust their motivations; they are not trying to build Reiki empires, but rather desire to make reliable information available.

      Doi-sensei is a member of the Gakkai. To my understanding, members of the Gakkai are not interested in our desire to know the “facts.” The organization is focused on practice, and one has to be invited to join.

      I encourage you to read What Is Usui Reiki Ryoho and the transcript of my conversation with those two venerable Japanese Reiki masters.

  9. Thank you for your comment, Susan.

    After much consideration, I chose to delete the post you referred to because the writer, despite my repeated requests elsewhere on the blog, continues to present an undocumented version of the story of Reiki as if it were fact.

    That kind of “information” is only too available on the internet; this blog is dedicated to discussing Reiki practice in the fullness of its inherent spirituality, with our feet on the ground and our critical faculties intact.

    My perspective is that we do not need to believe anything to practice Reiki and I do not serve my readers by allowing this blog to be used by anyone to promote “information” that cannot be verified.

    Everyone is welcome to post information that is either clearly his/her opinion, or information that includes acceptable verification. The criteria her for credibility is the same as it is in academia, journalism, and medicine, i.e. giving an accessible documented source.

  10. David,
    I have heard the information you present here, about Usui’s background, his own practice, and how it is related to his healing system. However, I am not convinced that this information (which, I believe, you quote from material by Bronwen and Frans Steine) is reliable. The majority of what they present about Usui Sensei comes from Chris Marsh, and to my knowledge, none of it has been corroborated by anyone else, and he himself, again, to my knowledge, has to date not made public the kind of documentation that would allow us to evaluate the information he presents. So, I would just encourage folks to be circumspect about any information that seems to come to light about Usui Sensei. As previous posters have noted, little is known about Usui Sensei, the content of his personal practice and the sources of the system he developed. However, Pamela gave us that marvelous interview she did with two Japanese Reiki masters earlier this year, both of whom provided much information and gave us insight into Usui Sensei’s work and his approach to it. This is the sort of source that appeals to me and which I find convincing.

  11. Thank you, David. Readers interested in a more filled out rendition of the story of Reiki will find one in the third chapter of my book REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide. Excerpts are available at the bottom of the homepage.

  12. David Miller Ramsay

    With regards to the name Reiki it had no name to begin,Usui seems to have referred the sytem to ” My sytem” or ” Method to achieve personal perfection”. Hi students referred the sytem as “Usui teate” or ” Usui do ” in Japnese the word Reiki is pronouced ” Lay – Key ”
    Usui`s sytem did not involve any use of symbols.

  13. Thank you for your comment, Mahnaz. When you say you give the information to your students, what information do you mean? Do you teach them these other techniques, or do you let them know that many non-Reiki practices have been added to the core practice? I’m always interested how thoughtful Reiki masters address this, and I agree that it is important to prepare students so that they are not confused by information that they may come across after the class that is different from what they have learned. This is also why I remain available to my students.

    When speaking of Reiki specifically, I refer to it as a spiritual or subtle healing practice that has therapeutic applications, rather than as a complementary therapy. However, as Reiki is integrated into conventional health care, it will likely be placed in the general category of complementary therapies along with meditation and yoga, which are also essentially practices rather than therapies.

    The guidelines and protocols for practice may be necessary in public or health care settings where there are practitioners who come from diverse trainings and practice styles, as it is confusing to the public when they see practitioners doing different things. Conventional medicine is standardized medicine, and Reiki is a diverse community. It makes sense to compromise in order to build bridges; we just have to be careful that we are not compromising things that cannot be changed without risking the lineage, such as initiations.

  14. Mahnaz Khadempour

    I agree that maybe in order to establish the practice of Reiki as a legitimate complementary therapy to Allopathic medicine, it will be necessary to establish basic guidelines and protocols of practice. All medical professions, of course, establish their own practice acts; laws that they must abide by in their field. However, in reality, there is a basic difference between Reiki and other forms of complementary therapy. I cannot really find anything done or not done in practicing Reiki that will harm the patient or prevent the healing process, while in almost all other forms of therapies you can find harmful/incomplete/wrong way of way of practicing. Therefore, there is a necessity for protocols and standards in order to protect the patients/beneficiaries.

    I have been practicing(for 20 years) and teaching(for 15 years) the traditional Usui/Hayashi/Takata Reiki, although I have also taken courses based on William Rand’s and some other types, too.

    With all due respect to all masters, I believe that all additions to the Usui/Hayashi/Takata Reiki are of no value and have been done just for marketing purposes. Many of additions are from Pranic healing! I give the information to my students so that if they see in other manuals or books not to feel that they have not been taught properly, but I emphasize that they are additions and I don’t myself use them. Having said all that, I don’t believe that using the additions, although unnecessary, is going to harm healing process. I sometimes even believe that maybe too much emphasis on lineage is maybe an ego-based action.

    The beauty of Reiki is its simplicity, but human mind loves complexity!

  15. I love how Terry put this, as I could not agree more:

    “in order to establish the practice of Reiki as a legitimate complementary therapy to Allopathic medicine, it will be necessary to establish basic guidelines and protocols of practice. All medical professions establish their own practice acts; laws that they must abide by in their field. I believe that we, as Reiki practitioners who desire to assist in the acceptance of our practice on a global scale, will need to do this.”

  16. Since the Reiki Alliance was he first Association of Reiki Masters it is quite very possible that most practitioners who became Reiki practitioners or even Masters in the 90’s actually went through the process with a Reiki Alliance Master. I belong to that category.

    My last point will be on one weakness of the Reiki community (worldwide) the need for constant labeling and proofing…Reiki is just Rei – Ki – universal life force energy and regardless of the label it will do its potent healing. I honour your work int he hospitals.

  17. Since lineage is primarily an Asian value, perhaps it would be helpful to clarify what lineage means. It’s not just a matter of where the practice started, but also what has happened since then. Almost all existing Reiki practice “started” with Usui/Hayashi/Takata, but not everyone who claims that lineage has actually honored it since Takata–and I am definitely not speaking about anyone in particular here.

    I clarify this point because most Westerners don’t understand that changing a practice arbitrarily or introducing new elements can amount to a breach of lineage. We cannot say at what point precisely that connection might be broken, but it is important to raise awareness that one cannot do whatever one wants to a practice and legitimately claim lineage. Yes, every living lineage morphs somewhat over time, in the natural progression of disciplined master practitioners. This is very different than people taking a few classes and creating their own version of the practice, or inventing new elements entirely.

    1. Thank you, Pamela, for clearly making the distinction of what it is to legitimately claim and honor lineage. This is very much an important part of the practice. I’m not sure if you have further discussed this elsewhere, but I would like to engage in a discussion at some point about raising awareness. Thank you very much for all the work that you do to bring and raise awareness to the masses about our practice.

  18. HM, I am not saying anything against IARP, but it does not have standards such as Kim asked for, where one could know that practitioners had a certain level of training, etc. The only organization I know of that has standards required for membership is The Reiki Alliance. Alliance standards include tracing one’s lineage back to Usui, but the standards are so high that few Reiki masters qualify. It would be useful to have an organization that spanned lineages and listed Reiki masters and practitioners that satisfied some level of qualifications. It would be a daunting undertaking.

  19. @ Pamela
    Kim was also asking about a referral connection which IARP does offer. Plus as a member you can download forms and Code of Ethics that are very important refresher. At least IARP is a credible source. Then obviously it is up to the Practitioner or Master to take it from “there” .

    Since 1999 self-reiki has been a daily schedule and I teach my students the standards as they originate from Western Reiki ( Takata’s teachings), Japanese Reiki techniques, kotodamas and reiki meditation, and Karuna Reiki (R) since I became a Karuna Reiki Master ( R) last year. It was just a boost of energy added to Usui Reiki. I feel humbled and at the same time honored for all the masters who appeared in my path from various sources and who with a great sense of integrity and standards, instilled this feeling that yes as Eileen said, ” You teach with the highest form possible, then the practitioner will take it from there.”
    Just for today live in integrity. A student came to my class saying having searched the internet for double-checking the symbols. In 1990’s this was not possible. Today anything you say, teach or transfer can be countered, checked or supported on any site. This is why the quote” when the student is ready the master appeared” becomes even more appropriate. This is also what makes the life of a Reiki blog fascinating. It is Reiki in action. Trying to keep it there and it goes where it is most needed.

    @ Philip Marsh.

    I would kindly ask you to contact me at my email address I’d like to have a further conversation with you on Karuna Reiki as you thankfully responded to Gianluca. I sincerely appreciated your response to Gianluca. As maybe the owner of Reiki Blog would not like me to put my email here on public, please search the Internet for The Healing Mudras and find my email there. I sincerely like to deepen the conversation for you.

    Just for today live in integrity !
    In gratitude

  20. I think that might be more of a New Age community perception. In my experience, spiritual practitioners of any persuasion are more grounded than that. I guess it’s the difference that actual practice makes. 🙂

  21. Pamela, that is how I found Reiki too. 🙂

    I suppose what I was trying to address is what I see as the spiritual community perception that Reiki is from Spirit and therefore no standards or regulations are needed, just intent.

  22. Eileen, thank you for your comment, and for appreciating that my main concern is to stimulate Reiki practitioners to deepen their practice, whatever form they follow, and from that deepening, to raise standards and the credibility of our practice.

    It’s interesting to me that you wrote: “I am a spiritually oriented person, but I am very serious about how I teach Reiki and the standards I uphold in my practice and for my students.”

    I am spiritually oriented, had been a student of yoga and meditation for 25 years before I learned Reiki in 1986, and it is because of my spiritual orientation and training that I am serious about how I teach Reiki and the standards I uphold in my practice and for my students.

  23. In reading this article and many of the articles that Pamela writes on Reiki, I perceived it to be not about what Reiki is what and which one is better or legit, but about the standards, or lack there of.

    While I personally come from a more spiritually oriented view of things, I teach Reiki in a way that the student and the Reiki can be accepted by all walks of society. Where they take it after me is their own choice. And I don’t bring that into the equation if the client or the student is not oriented in that way.I do believe the chakra system is involved. But I teach all of this in a grounded way. It is very important a student can speak to those clients who don’t believe in “new age” and those that do. To know where the client is and meet them where they are at. And that ability comes with good training. If a students wants to bring other tools into Reiki, such as crystals, that’s a whole other ball game and they should have their foundation in traditional Usui Reiki firmly down before bringing other modalities in.

    I teach students in the traditional way, so that they feel qualified and confident in their knowledge and their skills.

    To do this there are standards for practice and training. Clinical hands on practice, as well as mentoring and requirements to move onto the next levels, like any course of study. My Master candidates also must perform Reiki in a professional or clinical setting as a volunteer for months before they can move into Master level. And that is just one of the many requirements and mentoring in the long process before the Master level can even take place.

    So I think the discussion here is about the standards of practice, and the saturated field where masters are teaching to fill their classes on a frequent basis. And remember for each person, regardless of their good intent who is performing Reiki, is representing how the world views Reiki. If they are not solid in their education, those we would like to see take it seriously, never will. Something very important to consider when deciding on a Reiki Master Teacher.

    I am a spiritually oriented person, but I am very serious about how I teach Reiki and the standards I uphold in my practice and for my students. I suppose some think my standards too high? I don’t think there can be too high a standard. I would not be honest if I said seeing that so many teaching it doesn’t dishearten those of us trying to set standards that in the end benefit us all, and most of all those receiving the Reiki if the practitioner is hanging out that shingle.

  24. HM, to my knowledge, the IARP does not have any standards for practice or training. It simply lists anyone who becomes a member. That doesn’t solve the problem that Kim brought up, in that people still have to figure out whether or not the practitioner is well trained and credible, to say nothing of evidencing the kind of clinical skills that Abby discussed above.

  25. Phil, with all respect, it seems you’ve missed the point of the post. The best way to develop Usui’s practice is to practice it, as one has been taught. It’s not a matter of using the exact same techniques.

    Where is the integrity in trying to short cut the natural process of development by creating new techniques and marketing them as Reiki, when the expectation is that a Reiki practice dates back to Usui’s practice?

    The organic evolution of a living practice carried by an initiation lineage over time is quite different than the arbitrary decision to somehow “improve” upon the techniques in order to avoid the need for practice. It could be argued that the very motivation behind such an invention is counter to the value of practice, which was inherent in Usui’s system.

    Regarding your comments about whether chakras were part of Usui’s practice, we have enough evidence that they were not. It is possible, of course, that Usui had some experiences of chakras, and we would never know that. But he left two handbooks that outlined his practice and the chakra/nadi system is not to my knowledge mentioned in either. Remember that chakras are part of a larger, very comprehensive system that includes many practices. They are not a small detail.

    1. Hi, Folks. I agree with Pamela that the main way to practice Reiki is to practice it. I humbly suggest that Usui Reiki as a system is limitless in terms of the benefits it can bring to the practitioner as a method of spiritual transformation. In my view, the problem comes when, instead of taking the time to honor Usui Sensei’s fourth precept and devote themselves diligently to their work or calling of practicing Reiki, practitioners think they’ll be better off adding more and more techniques. All this does is distract the practitioner from settling in fully with the practice and allowing it to evolve and gradually deepen. We don’t need bells and whistles and more symbols and so on. All we need is the practice. And to engage in it consistently and sincerely and fully. That is what facilitates our transformation. That is, in my opinion, the “secret method of inviting happiness” which Usui Sensei mentions.

  26. There are two parts to this reply … one to Gianluca about a statement made regarding Karuna Reiki (r) and the second part is in relation to the article.

    Gianluca … I am an independent Usui & Tibetan Reiki Master Teacher, Karuna Reiki Master Teacher and a Rainbow Reiki Body of Light Instructor. I did my Karuna Reiki Master training with one of William Lee Rand’s certified instructors (she is also a mentor instructor and headed up the certified instructor training program for a few years until she retired). I hope that I can do justice to her training with my answer to your question.

    Karuna Reiki (r) grew out of Usui and Tibetan Reiki.

    You had asked why is it called Karuna Reiki (r) and added that there is no real relation to Usui Reiki.

    I quote the following paragraph from the section entitled “Kuan Yin and Karuna Reiki (r)” written by William Lee Rand, taken from the Karuna Reiki (r) Master Training Manual, 7th Edition, page 9, paragraph 3:

    “It was found that in order for one to gain the full benefit of Karuna Reiki (r) one must be ready. This can happen only if one’s energy system has first been conditioned through the use of the Reiki master energies. Once this conditioning has taken place, one’s energy system can more easily adjust to the higher potentials available. In addition, the experience on gains as a Reiki master allows one to make better use of the new healing tools Karuna Reiki (R) provides. Because the energies are stronger and the potential for healing greater, we consider Karuna Reiki (R) the next step after Reiki master. This is why it is taught only to those who are already Reiki masters. In the same way that a student would not take Reiki II without first having Reiki I, we do not teach Karuna Reiki (R) to students unless they have taken and practices the Reiki master level. In this way the student gains the greatest benefit from the training and also does not miss the benefit of the Usui master level.”

    While I cannot fully disclose the entire attunement process for the various levels of Karuna Reiki (r), I think I can safely say that during the attunement process the Usui master symbol is used to activate and anchor the Karuna Reiki (r) energies into the student’s energy field.

    Without the Usui master symbol providing the first “boost” the next level would not be attainable. Sort of like stage 1 of a rocket engine … without each stage acting together in harmony a ship will never be able to reach orbit.

    The following analogy is not perfect and I do not wish it so seem like I am dissing Usui Reiki in any way so please read it in the spirit it was intended.

    Karuna Reiki (r) builds on the framework of Usui Reiki much like higher math builds on other maths. You cannot do Calculus with out a firm foundation in basic math, algebra and trigonometry. (Well technically you could perform some of the basic operations from Calculus but you go not do anything with it … for example … to take the first derivative of x^n you move the n in front of the expression and reduce the power by 1 … d(x) x^n = n * x^(n-1) … even this operation requires that you know how to subtract.) You might compare Usui Reiki to basic math (Reiki 1), algebra (Reiki 2), trigonometry (Reiki Master) and Calculus (Karuna Reiki (r)).

    I majored in electrical engineering many years ago – hence the math analogy. Another love of mine is baking so I will attempt another analogy … you would not attempt to make a multi-tier wedding cake without first knowing how to bake a cake, make icing and without having had practice decorating simply one layer cakes and multi-layer cakes. The skills to make a wedding cake are not just “there” … they have to be developed through practice and by starting with the basics and working your way up. FYI, while I can bake and do some basic cake decorating my skills are no where to the point where I could attempt a wedding cake yet.

    (Same could be said of making a wedding dress … you could not sew an elaborate wedding dress without knowing the basics of sewing and years of practice. Unfortunately, my skills at sewing are far too limited at this point to attempt such a creation.)

    With Usui Reiki 2 we get the mental/emotional healing system. However, in Karuna Reiki (r) we have eight additional symbols … some of which are highly effective at helping a person critically review and analyze a traumatic event in the past without having to experience the full intensity of the pain associated with the event. Another one of the symbols is extremely effective at helping people who have been raped or abused. I mention this because while you can use just the Usui Reiki 2 mental/emotional symbol to work with any of the things mentioned (trauma, rape, physical abuse, mental abuse, etc.) you can use the Karuna Reiki (r) energies to help speed the healing of the client.

    None of the Karuna Reiki (r) symbols can function without the foundation in Usui Reiki and the link to the Usui Reiki energies via the Usui Reiki Master symbol.

    Use of Karuna Reiki (r) in a Reiki session is the same as in Usui Reiki … you can activate the energies whenever you are guided to activate them as well as over an area of the body of the person you are working on. You can go through the standard hand positions or you can use the intuitive method of doing Reiki or even use Dr. Hyashi’s Healing Guide if you wish or a combination.

    And yes, a Karuna Reiki (r) practitioner or Master will reach a point where the energy associated with a specific symbol will flow without them needing to activate the energy via drawing/tapping/speaking the name of the symbol … just like with Usui Reiki … the symbols and names are devices to help the conscious mind activate the links placed into the energy field during the attunement process.

    I use Usui Reiki and Karuna Reiki (r) all the time now. I am still learning both systems and will always be learning until I die. I am constantly “seeing” new ways of how to use both systems.

    For more information on Karuna Reiki (r) please go to the ICRT website and click on the link for Karuna Reiki (r) on the left hand side of the page. I hope it is okay to reference an outside website in this reply.

    To the article itself.

    I reference the works of Frank Arjava Petter, William Lee Rand and others frequently in this part of the reply. I have tried to accurately type passages from some books giving full reference to where they are found in accordance with copyrighted material usage rights as defined in the USA (namely that small sections of works up to a few paragraphs may be reprinted provided that credit is given).

    We have limited knowledge of how Mikao Usui actually practiced and the techniques he used. He did not leave a plethora of notes. We have had to reconstruct how he did things based on the teachings of his Reiki masters and those that came after.

    From Frank Arjava Petter’s book, “Reiki: The Legacy of Dr. Usui”, page 17:
    Question: Does the Usui Reiki Ryoho use medications? And are there any kinds of side effects?”
    Answer: It uses neither medication nor instruments. It uses only looking, blowing, stroking, (light) tapping, and touching (of the afflicted parts of the body). This is what heals diseases.

    Question: Does a person need medical knowledge to use the Usui Reiki Ryoho?
    Answer: Our ryoho (healing method) is a spiritual method that goes beyond medical science. It therefore is not based on it.
    When you either look at, blow on, touch, or stroke the afflicted part of the body, you will achieve the desired goal. For example, you touch the head when you want to treat the brain, the abdomen when you want to treat the abdomen, and the eyes for the eyes. You take neither bitter medicine nor use hot moxibustion*, and you will be healthy again within a short time. This is why reiho (spiritual method) is our original creation.

    The answers were given by Dr. Usui to an interview. The exact date and name of the interviewer were not mentioned according to Petter.

    I believe that these two questions and answers are extremely valuable in trying to reconstruct how Dr. Usui practiced Usui Reiki Ryoho.

    From these, we know that there was physical contact involved, that Reiki could be beamed with the eyes, and that Reiki could be sent with the breath.

    We also know that Dr. Usui requested Dr. Hayashi to make the Usui Reiki Ryoho more “scientific” … to make it more in like with Japanese medical practices of the time. See The Hayashi Reiki Healing Manual by Frank Arjava Petter, Tadao Yamaguchi and Chujiro Hayashi.

    We know that Dr. Usui did use set hand positions at times according to “The Original Reiki handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui” by Mikao Usui, Frank Arjava Petter. The book is based on a manuscript received by Petter from T. Oishi in the summer of 1997 as well as information gathered from conversations with Shizuko Akimoto and Fumio Ogawa. (T. Oishi is Mr. Tsutomu Oishi who learned from Kozo Ogawa, one of Dr. Usui’s Reiki Masters.)

    Given that Dr. Usui did not leave a lot of manuals and notes dictating how Usui Reiki Ryoho worked, how it was “supposed” to be done, etc. then it is hard for us to say exactly what Usui Reiki Ryoho fully entailed. The books listed above give some information.

    It is a bit inaccurate to say that what we call modern Reiki is Usui Reiki. Western Reiki travels through Dr. Hayashi (Hayashi Reiki Ryoho) and through Mrs. Takata (Takata Reiki Ryho). Mrs. Takata did not teach the Hayashi healing manual (in full) as far as we know even though Dr. Hayashi did develop a list of areas to treat for specific ailments. And we know that Dr. Hayashi did expand the Usui Reiki Ryoho list of positions for treating specific ailments.

    In short, each person in the line has added or modified the teaching of Mikao Usui to some extent.

    I think it is more important to ask whether or not it really matters if modern Reiki uses only the same techniques as those used by Dr. Usui, Dr. Hayashi and Mrs. Takata?

    It boils down to whether you believe that Dr. Usui wished Usui Reiki Ryoho to be a self contained system that never changed or if he wished it to be a growing and evolving system.

    Given that many of his Reiki masters called their systems ” Reiki Ryoho” seems to imply that each master was free to add their own flavor to the Usui Reiki Ryoho and to distinguish their works from Dr. Usui.

    Some have tried to argue that the use of the chakras and work on the chakras have no place in Reiki because Dr. Usui didn’t use them. Actually, we don’t know that he didn’t use them and we don’t know that he did use them. Again, he did not leave detailed notes of how he practiced. However, we do know that the idea of the chakras is thousands of years old, it is used in several systems in the Eastern world … so is it safe to link the two together? I would say yes. But I cannot say for sure because we do not have a detailed history of Dr. Usui, we do not know all the various disciplines that he studied, we do not know everywhere that he studied. We do know that he was the son of fairly well to do Japanese parents … that he was more educated than the average Japanese person … and that he did work for the government … but we don’t have a detailed list of everything he did or learned.

    Essentially, we have a memorial stone … we have some stories told by some of his masters and original students, students of the original students, fragments of manuscripts that are nearing 90 years of age. The Gakki that Dr. Usui created is not forth coming with any information that they have – assuming they have detailed information on Dr. Usui.

    Until someone invents a time machine and can go back, video tape exactly what took place in Dr. Usui’s clinics, someone actually records conversations with Dr. Usui, etc. then we will have to speculate on what he knew and exactly how he practiced.

    However, does the exact way that he practiced really matter that much or is it more important that “Reiki” was given to the world, that it is a powerful healing technique, that it comes from the source of all things, that it is guided by the source, that it can do no harm and that people are finding new ways to use Reiki all the time?

    Just because Usui Reiki Ryoho, Hayashi Reiki Ryoho, Takata Reiki Ryoho have all been merged and now are collectively referred to as “Reiki” doesn’t detract from the system.

    Ask yourself this question … would you spend time worrying whether or not your doctor practices medicine as set forth by the Hippocratic Corpus … that your doctor did or did not use the methods of Hippocrates, the father of western medicine? Do we really gain anything by arguing exactly how Hippocrates practiced? (There is little actual material that we know came from him … most accounts of his works come from the Hippocratic Corpus most likely written by his students/followers.) Modern medicine is very far removed from the “medicine” practiced 2400 years ago but there are some techniques and ideas that have influenced modern medicine and remain in use in some form today.

    At times I see this type of question similar to the arguments over the nature and number of the sacraments, the number of angels that can dance on the head of a pin, whether Jesus carried a purse or any other number of theological questions that have plagued the christian belief system and caused schisms throughout the history of the church from its inception.

    I know that I am not practicing exactly as Dr. Usui taught … well pretty sure because my training comes from multiple lineages. Does it invalidate the good that I can do when I tap into the Reiki energy and become a conduit for the source of all things to work through?

    Absolutely not.

    I use a variety of techniques to provide as much aid to those who come to me as I can. As I learn more, as I combine techniques, the more I practice, the better a channel I become for the Reiki energy and hopefully better help those around me.

    Ultimately, my Reiki work is based on the work of Dr. Usui … also that of Dr. Hayashi, Mrs. Takata, William Lee Rand, Hiroshi Do, Frank Arjava Petter, Walter Luebeck and others …. and of course on my own experience.

    May everyone have a very blessed day.

  27. This is a very interesting post and discussion. I wanted to respond to the Karuna Reiki question. I took it a few years ago and my understanding is that although as a prerequisite you had to be a Usui Reiki Master to be able to take the Karuna Reiki class, there was no actual relation to Usui Reiki.

    Karuna Reiki was developed by William Rand and the international Center for Reiki Training. We were explained that his new healing practice was channeled by William Rand and a number of other healers. The only thing that I am still not clear about is why they decided to call it Karuna Reiki and not just Karuna Healing as there is no relation to Usui Reiki.

    (Usui) Reiki blessing to all!

  28. Thank you Pamela…I’ll remain grounded in integrity and sticking to Usui essential teachings. Simply and purely as Reiki consciousness is.

    Just for sharing, i hope you will allow this comment, as Kim asked for an Association and wellness holistic referral there is one based in the US called International Association of Reiki Professionals – IARP – it actually does respond to the query of Kim on needing a referral and search by area facility…

    Love to you and all!

  29. My sense is that in the end depth and practice win out. There are many folks who have been taught via western reiki teachings about chakras, crystals and the like and the expedited master programs. When students are presented material to create their own practice that is clear, dedicated to the likely experiences fostered by Usui, the work becomes an increasingly disciplined process. I was taught in the New Age paradigm, but after quite awhile it no longer served me. It was the hunger to know more about Usui’s work, that has taken me to Shoden,Okuden and Shinpiden courses. More and more teachers, hungry for knowledge will inevitably make their ways back to the origins of the system of Reiki. We cannot remove the desire for an easy fix, but we can model the value of doing depth work because it shows in our teaching and healing practices and our writings to the larger world.

  30. Eileen, I agree with you that it takes time to grow as a master.

    There is a common misunderstanding that being a Reiki master is just a matter of receiving an initiation, but as in the other levels of Reiki practice, the initiation is just that–a beginning. The Reiki master initiation puts us in the arena in which we can develop ourselves as Reiki masters, and it is an on-going endeavor.

    Still, there are people who don’t see “instant master” as an oxymoron, and Reiki masters who are willing to train those people, and that is something we as a community need to address if we are to raise the credibility of our practice.

    When people approach me wanting to take a class so they can hang up their shingle, I let them know upfront that First degree is primarily about self-care, and that is the foundation for everyone, and ask them how they can be so sure they want to do something professionally if they’ve never done it on themselves?

    I think people who approach the practice in that way are basically looking for a quick way to make money, and as such are less likely to bring the kind of sensitivity to their clients that Abby talks about in her comment above. It may be that people with that approach are also not very discerning when seeking care for themselves–who knows?

    I think the important thing is to offer the public a credible option for training and treatment, and to get it out there where the public can find it easily, which seems to be on the internet and in health care. That’s my strategy.

    Terry, yes, I have known Michael Cohen for many years, and share his website as a resource for the community. We don’t agree on every detail, nor is it necessary to do so. Michael makes a lot of important points, and your point about how the defensiveness and protectiveness of many Reiki practitioners runs counter to raising the standards of Reiki practice is well taken.

    I am not in favor of forced regulation. Rather, it would be helpful to have standards for health care practice. This is a big part of what I teach in my Medical Reiki seminar and Introduction to Medical Reiki webinar. If Reiki practitioners schooled themselves on the culture of health care, they would have a better understanding of what our practice looks like to people who are not of a New Age persuasion (myself included).

  31. Oh my. These very issues have been a major concern to me for over a decade, as I have seen so many changes to the system that I was taught as Reiki.

    Pamela, I think that you are aware of the situation that we have had here in the state of Florida concerning licensure issues. We have had email discussions back and forth at one point, if I remember correctly.

    According to the Florida Department of Health, it is illegal to practice Reiki or any form of “Complementary Therapy” without licensure as a health care professional; Massage Therapy being the state license required to practice any form of energy work. As the President of the Board of Florida Health Freedom Coalition for several years, I am well aware of the difficult situation here. This is not the place to go into great detail, however, it is one of the main reasons that your blog has touched home so deeply.

    In am in the process of reading a wonderful book called “Future Medicine” by Michael H. Cohen. You may know of it, have even read it or know the author personally. It is a fabulous study and argument for bringing Reiki and other Complementary Therapies into the main stream medical establishment. Mr. Cohen’s knowledge is vast and so very well presented. I wish that I had read this book when I was involved with FHFC. It would have been very helpful to our organization’s attempts to secure a ‘safe harbor’ for non licensed practice in Florida.

    Actually, Mr. Cohen has convinced me, as you may agree, that in order to establish the practice of Reiki as a legitimate complementary therapy to Allopathic medicine, it will be necessary to establish basic guidelines and protocols of practice. All medical professions establish their own practice acts; laws that they must abide by in their field. I believe that we, as Reiki practitioners who desire to assist in the acceptance of our practice on a global scale, will need to do this.

    It was my experience during the late 90’s and the next decade, that many practitioners in Florida did NOT want ‘their’ Reiki to be regulated and were actually afraid of regulation. I was aware then, as I am now, that regulating Reiki would be extremely difficult and would still attract a lot of dissension.

    Mr. Cohen’s book addresses every aspect of this issue and the problems that would arise from such an endeavor. He also discusses solutions.

    I encourage all practitioners of Reiki and other Complementary Therapies who desire a solution to this issue to read this book. It is a wonderful ‘jumping off’ point for further discussion. There are many elements to this issue that we all need to consider and educate ourselves on.

    Thank you so much for all you do.


  32. I appreciate your work and your articles concerning the teaching and practice of Usui Reiki and the fact standards are indeed an issue. I trained for years and I have requirements for student. There are times that prospective students choose to be taught by someone who will teach them quickly so they can begin to market themselves and create income. There are no requirements, no mentoring and so much of of any form of Reiki is lost in this way.

    Many times I have students of the “fast track” teachers come to my classes to refresh their skills and they are amazed what they were not taught, of how much they do not know. When I think of the term “Reiki Master” I believe that practitioner is in all ways a Master, and that is a process, it takes a long time.

    Is it our society in the west that wants this right away, right now? Or is it that the teachers of Reiki are “selling out” in a sense, in order to make more money?

    Whatever the reasons, the fact remains there are many people practicing that have missed so much that they can be bringing to the sessions with their clients, and they may not even know it.

  33. Thank you. I also have not taken Karuna Reiki but I am very interested in learning more about it. Right now I am just at the beginning stages of starting my practice. I’ve been volunteering my services through the school and practicing with my family/friends and of course, myself.

    I love how you emphasize to practice daily self Reiki…it’s *so* important for us to take care of ourselves and remain grounded. I also try to reflect on the Takata’s affirmations, they are so simple and yet, so powerful in starting our day.

    Again, thank you for the information and the links.

    Many blessings…

  34. Kim, of course I suggest you read my book, REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide. You’ll find other books I recommend on the Articles and Books page. Of course the most important resource is your contemplated daily self-Reiki practice.

    I keep up with changes in government health care policy and I really don’t think there is no chance that the US government will regulate Reiki. The purpose of regulation is to protect the public, and there is a consensus that Reiki is safe. If you are interested in these issues, click here to sign up for ReikiUpdate. The March issue is coming out soon, and I have a report on the new NCCAM Strategic Plan.

    I have not taken Karuna Reiki, but I’ve been told that it came from channeled material, and is not part of Usui’s lineage. Can you speak to that?

  35. “I am newer in the community and learning, but I have some strong feelings in wanting to create a legit practice that is highly creditable”

    Oops, I meant highly “credible”.


  36. I am so grateful for articles and discussions like these. I am newer in the community and learning, but I have some strong feelings in wanting to create a legit practice that is highly creditable. I was a high school teacher for years. Earning your teaching certification/credential, in your specific field of study while based on state standards, is expected to demonstrate that the highest of quality is going into teaching. Obviously, because we do not have government standards placed on us, we must create these same standards through our practice. My Master teacher placed strong emphasis on the importance of lineage but also, to follow our inner guidance on treating others. Her lineage does connect to Rand and Takata but to the common public, what does that mean? Because I am in the middle of creating my practice, I am constantly asking the basic questions about Reiki, trying to put myself in a client’s shoes. There are many people in the community who do not even know about Reiki, let alone the importance of having strong ethics and practices rooted in Usui’s and Takata’s teachings. Most of us have a filtered version of the original; but it doesn’t mean they are less effective. Although a lot of people frown upon a government invasion of the community, for the public seeking a strong legit practice, it could help because people could then use that ‘standard’ certification as a way to make a decision. The internet is flooded with online courses, there are many books that cause more confusion than help, as well as, offer information that’s completely against the standards I was taught, and then there are the people who are willing to sell their teachings because they can earn money over it. When I investigated my school, I went in there with all of these concerns and did my homework beforehand, including calling students who are now in practice, to get their feedback. I wish there was one legit ‘Board’ or ‘Association’ that practitioners could join and the public could then research practitioners in their area and feel safe with their decisions. As of present, there are only reputable schools/organizations that will add you to their list if you go through their school. It’s wonderful that Reiki is reaching the masses but I feel it would reach many more if we took some of the confusion out of the potential client’s research.

    Pam, I love to read your articles and I would also love a list of books you refer to. Thank you for keeping me connected and for helping while I am at the beginning stages of creating my own practice.

    Peace, Love, & Light…

  37. HM, I did not write anything about a loss of quality–I wrote specifically about the relaxing of Takata’s training standards. Quality is a value judgment; which, and if any, standards are used is a matter of fact.

    The standard I am suggesting for legitimately referring to a practice as Reiki is whether or not it traces back to Usui. It’s very simple

    That means that if a person who had Usui training then decides to add other practices, the new practices don’t warrant being called Reiki. Having some training in Usui’s practice does not bestow Usui legitimacy on anything that one chooses to invent, and it is misleading to do so.

  38. Thank you Pamela. No worries. This is what blogs are about…and the owner of a blog is the sole decision-maker. I do the same in my blog should that ever happen.

    I still need to defend something and sorry for this. I do not pinpoint nor use terminology as ‘enemy” nor ever use ‘negative air -time’ . So I am a bit puzzled at your reaction and I mean here not the deletion of a comment rather the answer to my comment on ” truly Usui-reiki” …

    Gladly I never in my life ever considered people, groups or entities being enemies. I never even use that terminology. I came to your Blog long ago as an ally and remain puzzled to the type of responses I get to my comments recently. As a matter of fact i am quite known to be an advocate for a unified Reiki Community of Practice so, I shall continue that and will consider your remarks as ‘clouds in the sky’ as we say in Zen, do not get attached to words or thoughts.. they will pass like clouds.

    In gratitude.

  39. Thank you for participating on my blog, HM, but I deleted one of your comments in which you named a particular Reiki group.

    This is my thinking in doing so (I don’t jump to censorship readily): This space is for respectful, thoughtful examination and discussion for the purpose of raising the credibility of Reiki practice. I do not want this space used to point fingers at particular practitioners.

    The act of pointing fingers is the opposite of the self-inquiry I’m encouraging practitioners to do. My goal is not to create greater division in the Reiki community, but rather to support practitioners in looking at themselves and questioning their assumptions and beliefs so that each of us can grow and become clearer in our understanding. The “enemy” is not our there–rather, it’s our tendency to see others as the enemy and be content to externalize rather than to look at what positive steps we can take.

    Although I’m still not a fan of giving negative air time, Abby’s critique of a book is different because authors publish books with the expectation that they will be discussed (I am an author so I know this firsthand) and that people will have different opinions and perspectives on the material.

    Varying levels of credibility, compassion, and skill are seen in all fields. Discussing points that make the difference helps others sort it out for themselves; passing judgment closes the conversation and deepens the animosity.

    Abby, to respond to your question, I don’t think we can ensure that all practitioners treat their clients with respect and honour, but we can engage in conversation about important issues, and perhaps this will raise the awareness of practitioners. And then of course, there is the foundation of daily Reiki self-treatment…

  40. Hi Pamela,
    I truly love what you are doing here. I just finished a book called Energy Works by Parrott and Crook and my goodness it is a dangerous book. I left a review of it on It says that you do not need a master to initiate you into healing energy, what is dangerous is that it goes on to say that you do not need a therapist or a teacher to guide/support you on your personal journey. It then gives a crash course in psychology, to help you on your quest for enlightenment.
    I am hoping that people who pick up this book are adult enough to see that neither author went through their own personal journey on their own, nor did any of the attendees at their workshops, as there were more than one facilitator present.
    It boils down to this – Reiki is a gentle, healing, spiritual practice. It is not dangerous. What is dangerous are the people. If healers are not trained to the highest level of how to create a nurturing and supportive environment, if they do not hold integrity, major damage can be done to the client on many levels.
    Usui was a man of immense integrity, nobody can argue with that. This is what needs to be replicated, integrity of practice. How do we ensure that ANYONE in a healing capacity holds a position of respect and honour when it comes to how they treat their clients?

  41. Ok maybe I misunderstood your point in spite of the fact that I seemed to understand that you are talking about a loss in quality (aka standards and protocols) Vs quantity (more and more people doing something they call Reiki, but that according to the original teachings is not Reiki in essence).

    As I wrote I do agree with you very strongly on the fact that the Reiki community is ‘suffering’ from seeing many people on the market-place selling something called Reiki which is far away from the original teachings. I also wrote though that I do not agree with the fact that not sticking to H. Takata’s teachings (after her passing) became equivalent to ‘ fast expansion’ of some altered forms of Reiki teachings. At least this is what I understood.

    I happen to have studied with Masters who came from two distinct groups. Reiki I and Reiki II I studied with someone from US Reiki Alliance whose teachings were exclusively Takata’s original teachings. I am honoured for that as I really found a strong connection with the standards and protocols. However I found some weaknesses in the stories. I did Reiki Master Teacher level in 2 steps with someone who also was initiated from 2 sources (Takata’s Western Reiki source and the Japanese Reiki Teachings) in integrity. I am now teaching both as I find them very appropriate to the times we are living. Times of transformation and opening of consciousness. I further qualified as a Karuna (R) Reiki Master Teacher with the ICRT whose Director shared with us the results of further exploration into the origins of Reiki as an energy consciousness. The forms of the practice may differ in particular in terms of fees and cost which was as good as I remember one very important point in the ‘form of the practice’ as shared by Takata before her passing.

    I understand very well the distinction between Reiki as consciousness and Reiki practice. I think and sorry if I am mistaken that your point was to pinpoint that there are ‘truly-Usui forms of practices for Reiki” and non-truly Usui forms of practice of Reiki”

    From what I know and using your expression of ” truly-Usui based” forms of Reiki practice there actually are standards and protocols.

    In love and gratitude…

  42. No, HM, what I wrote is not based on either the assumption that Reiki is supposed to be kept secret and secretive, nor on the assumption that Takata’s teachings were the only ones available, and I am at a loss as to where you got that from.

    Most, not all, of the expansion of Reiki practice around the world came through the Usui/Hayashi/Takata lineage. Both the Usui and the Usui/Hayashi lineage were primarily in Japan.

    Your confusion comes from failing to differentiate between Reiki practice and Reiki as primordial or source consciousness. Of course Usui did not invent primordial consciousness; he did, however, create his practice–which is the point of the post.

    I’m interested to know to which of Takata’s students you are referring. I suspect that you are referring to something other than the breakdown of standards to which I refer, the one which occurred in the 1990s, the “decade after Takata’s death.”

  43. This is a a good article but is based on the assumption that Reiki is supposed to be kept secret and secretive… and that Hawayo Takata’s teachings were the exclusive teachings available. Standards do exist in Reiki and protocols on sharing knowledge and skills as well. Reiki is Reiki and one must be cautious into giving the master more importance than necessary. Mikao Usui did his job in revealing Reiki and facilitating its sharing and Hawayo Takata did her grandiose job in bringing it to the West. Reiki cannot be captured and labeled. It is freedom into motion, healing into action and wisdom into evolution. So Usui yes and all Reiki is connected to Usui. But Usui did not invent Reiki, he only revealed it and gave the form of the teaching. Then life made its path.

    I do not agree with your quote ” Most of the 22 masters Takata trained continued to honor her standards, but at least one of them began expedited training within a decade after Takata’s death.” Several of the 22 masters did question Takata’s only way of teaching and explored the origin of Reiki teachings… It wasn’t only one master. Moreover there were a few alterations made by Takata into the path of how Reiki came to the West and these alterations were quite significant. Standards are still in practice in all Reiki, but yes I agree that some have gone way beyond standards and have watered them down. Most significantly the issue of fees and cost of trainings were just not appropriate .

    In love and gratitude.

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