History of Reiki

Mikao Usui was born in Japan on 15th August 1865. A diligent student with many interests, he was enrolled in a Buddhist school and became a lay Tendai Buddhist priest. His interests included religion, philosophy and psychology. As an adult he traveled to several Western countries, Europe and China as part of his continued life long study. He studied history, medicine, Christian scriptures, psychology, Taoism, Shintoism and Shamanism. He studied the Buddhist scriptures (suttas) and discovered a formula the Buddha had used. He decided to follow the formula. He went to the sacred Mount Kurama, where he fasted and meditated for 21 days. On the 21st day he received the Reiki energy and knowledge of the healing system and symbols.


Known to his students as Usui Sensei, he opened his first Reiki clinic in 1922. The teachings and tools provided were usually customized to the student, since each student learns differently. It was the Reiki Ryoho Gakkai which formalized the teachings. The hand positions were added for the students who found it difficult to work intuitively. It is believed the aim of Usui Sensei’s teachings was to provide a non-religious method for students to achieve enlightenment. All students of Usui Sensei received reiju (attunements) and the five precepts.

By 1925 Usui Sensei had become so famous that people arrived daily from all over Japan. Usui Sensei travelled to many places in Japan, teaching Reiki to whoever was interested. Whilst on one of these trips to Fukuyama, on 9th March 1926, he died following a stroke. It is believed Usui Sensei taught Reiki to around 2000 people. He gave Master attunements to 16 people.


Dr.Hayashi, a retired naval officer, attuned to Master degree by Usui Sensei passed his complete teachings to Mrs Takata, the daughter of a Japanese immigrant living in Hawaii. Mrs Takata set up The Reiki Alliance and introduced her branch of Reiki to America. She passed her complete teachings to her granddaughter Phyllis Furumoto. Having been thoroughly ‘westernised’ in America, Reiki spread into Europe.


Reiki is constantly evolving, as each Reiki Master adds something of themselves to their practice. Usui Sensei’s original Reiki has undergone many changes in its passage around the globe and there are now several Reiki associations, all claiming their way is the right way. Regardless of differences in practice, we all know and agree that Reiki works.

As a Reiki Master I feel it is my responsibility to honour Usui Sensei and the Buddhist teachings that first inspired Reiki. My teachings emphasise the use of Reiki for self-development and incorporate other Buddhist, Shamanic and psychological tools for self improvement. I am committed to preserving and promoting the spiritual nature of Reiki. I do not belong to any Reiki association.

As is the Buddhist way…look for your own truth, look within.