Reiki 101 by WTM Staff Member

August 06, 2022

Reiki 101 by WTM Staff Member

Reiki, pronounced “ray key,” is an energy healing modality.

Rei translates as universal, and Ki means the vital force energy which flows through all that is alive.

In its simplest definition, reiki means universal life force energy. “It expresses the quality of unconditional rather than conditional. Universal means applicable or common to all purposes, conditions, or situations, and pertains to that which is cosmic.” (1)

Reiki heals, harmonizes, and balances the body, mind, soul, and spirit. The twelve hand positions touch the organs in the body, the circulatory and endocrine systems, and the brain. The hand positions also activate the meridians and the chakras.

Reiki was founded by Dr. Milkao Usui in the mid 1880s in Kyoto, Japan. Dr. Usui was the head of a Christian (theological) School in Kyoto. His students wanted to understand why they were only being taught to heal the soul when the bible said it was possible to heal both the body and soul. This became Dr. Usui’s quest for many years. He traveled the world, learning spiritual teachings, learning a variety of cultures, and their languages.

Dr. Usui was directed by an Abbot at a Zen monastery to pray, meditate, and fast for 21 days on the sacred Mount Kurama-Yama, outside Kyoto. The culmination of his search came to him on the 21st day of his fast. He came to realize that his touch could heal himself, others, children, plants and animals (2). In the following years he taught and lectured on Reiki. Dr. Usui passed away in the early 1900s. By that time he had 18 male disciples and had started the tradition of an apprenticeship in Reiki.

In a study conducted at Harvard University in 2015-2016 by members of the Center for Reiki research with over 1400 Reiki sessions concluded that, “The results from this large-scale multi-site effectiveness trial suggest that a single session of Reiki improves physical and psychological health.” (3)

Reiki is taught by a Reiki Master-Teacher. There are four degrees that a student can learn. Each degree is complete unto itself. With each degree the student learns different symbols to activate the Reiki energy.

In The first degree, the student receives attunements by the Reiki Master-Teacher to initiate the flow of the Reiki energy. They also learn the twelve hand positions to practice on self and others. The first degree is only hands on, and the symbols given are used during a healing session. I have had great success in helping with acute pain, such as headaches, sore knees,and feeling stressed with first degree reiki.

The second degree builds upon the first degree with more attunements from the teacher, and the student learns absentee healing. This is a game changer. Now the practitioner can use the symbols to work on people, situations, and pets from a distance. Reiki is not bound to time and space. For example, absentee Reiki can be offered to someone scheduled for a future surgery, not just to patients but to the hospital and all the medical staff. Similarly, Reiki can heal a situation from the past.

The third level offers the Master course where the student learns master symbols and receives more attunements. With the fourth degree, the student becomes a master-teacher and can then train and give attunements to others.

I am a third degree Reiki practitioner. I mostly practice absentee Reiki. I have a nightly practice where I reach out to friends, family, and pets. It is important to me to offer reiki in a universal way. That is why I also add to my nightly practice - everyone I've been in contact with, that stranger in an ambulence that just went by with the sirens sounding, to all the peaceful protesters, a crying child, and all those who are suffering. 

For me, reiki is a gratitude practice. I use it to thank the green lights and empty parking spaces in crowded lots. It also pairs well with crystals, tarot, massage, and well, almost everything.

Reiki goes where it is needed. During a healing session, a client may come for a specific reason, but because reiki affects the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of a person they may learn or experience something quite different then they had anticipated. It could be inspiration, letting something go, or being incredibly at peace.

Reiki also pairs well with crystals, tarot, massage, meditation, clearing a space.and well, just about almost everything.

For a wealth of information on Reiki visit

Hidden Gem is also a great resource for books and oracle cards on Reiki;

(1) The official Reiki Handbook Weber Ray 1979

(2) Reiki Hands that Heal, Morris 1996


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