Reiki is a mind-body healing method developed by Mikao Usui sensei in the 1920s in Japan.
In spite of various historical events and obstacles, the traditional Japanese way of Reiki practice and teaching has been preserved in Japan in the Yamaguchi family, through the Hayashi-sensei lineage (Mikao Usui -> Chujiro Hayashi -> Chiyoko Yamaguchi -> Tadao Yamaguchi). Reiki in this lineage has been directly passed on from teacher to student, and it is known as Jikiden Reiki (“directly taught”), with the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto, Japan, carefully maintaining the tradition.
The origins of the other Reiki styles also stem from the Hayashi-sensei lineage, which was brought to Hawaii (Mikao Usui -> Chujiro Hayashi -> Hawayo Takata -> her students), eventually giving rise to various ‘westernized’ styles of Reiki.
If you are interested in learning Reiki, I would highly recommend going to the source and learning Reiki the way it was originally practiced. The only place that exists in the world today that teaches Reiki in its traditional form, is the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Kyoto, Japan. I would highly recommend learning directly from Tadao Yamaguchi sensei, the president of the Institute. Tadao sensei not only teaches Reiki in Kyoto, but he also travels around the world, sharing his unique knowledge of Reiki in its original form. If you are not able to join Tadao sensei's Reiki seminar, consider taking a class from a Jikiden Reiki Certified Teacher.
There are numerous Reiki styles that exist today, and of course, you can learn any style of Reiki from any teacher, but please keep in mind, that all of the Reiki styles (other than Jikiden Reiki) have been passed on outside Japan, changing overtime, with new forms created through various modifications, by adding concepts from other healing modalities, and by simply being invented by different Reiki practitioners.
In part, this has happened simply because a lot has been literally lost in translation, as Reiki was first popularized in the United States, from where it eventually spread to the world. Overtime, more and more bits and pieces of this traditional Japanese healing art have become naturally ‘watered down’ to adjust to the western mindset, making it perhaps more comprehensible to westerners, but unfortunately less authentic.
A good example of that is the different levels of training that exist in various Reiki styles. In most westernized Reiki forms, you will see the levels of training numbered (such as Level 1, Level 2, etc.). This is not the Japanese way. Traditionally, each of the levels of Reiki training had a name with a specific meaning, not just a basic number. This is just an example, but there many other parts of the actual Reiki training that have also been simplified and adjusted, pushing many Reiki styles further and further away from the traditional healing art created by Mikao Usui sensei.
Some Reiki teachers even offer online Reiki courses. You can certainly learn history of Reiki and certain Reiki concepts online, but there is absolutely no way to learn Reiki without being a part of a class.
Regardless of which Reiki style you choose, Reiki is Reiki. You will be able to know that it is something very special as soon as you start applying what you’ve learned.
Jikiden Reiki happens to be the purest, most traditional form that you can find, since it was literally preserved unmodified in Japan, without any external influences, and without any concepts being lost or dropped because of the language barrier. Other styles of Reiki that haven’t ventured too far from the original, may also be great to learn.
If you are curious about the differences between Jikiden Reiki vs. Western Reiki, consider reading “Reiki and Japan”, a great book by Masaki Nishina, who is both a Western and a Jikiden Reiki Master. (The book may make more sense after you learn Reiki, since there are some references that may not be clear to a non-practitioner.)
What's the difference between Usui and Jikiden Reiki? Should I learn Jikiden Reiki if I am already an Usui Reiki Master?
Since Mikao Usui created his Reiki method, all styles of Reiki ultimately have Usui-sensei as a part of their lineage. That however, does not mean that all Reiki styles are the same.
What makes Jikiden Reiki different is that Jikiden Reiki has remained preserved in Japan in its original tradition for all these years. It was passed on directly and unmodified from Dr. Hayashi, one of Usui-sensei's students, to Chiyoko Yamaguchi, who later on, established the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Japan, which is dedicated to preserving the original Reiki tradition. Dr. Hayashi also taught Reiki to Mrs. Takata in Hawaii, and it was Mrs. Takata's students and their students, who decades later developed new Reiki styles, including Usui Reiki.
Naturally, because of language and cultural differences, Reiki has changed quite a bit outside of Japan. Many concepts have been added and removed overtime. So the main difference between Usui Reiki and Jikiden Reiki is essentially that Usui Reiki is more westernized and Jikiden Reiki is more traditional and more Japanese. There are lots of other differences, such as the symbols used in each style, the actual Reiki techniques, and so on.
When comparing Jikiden and Usui Reiki styles, it is important to remember that there is no right or wrong way, but the two are just different.
I am often asked by Usui Reiki Masters about Jikiden Reiki. Many of them are wondering about why would someone, who is already a Reiki Master of Usui Reiki would want to take a Reiki class in a different style. Well, there are two ways of looking at it. Of course there is no need to take a class if you have no interest in it. On the other hand, if you are curious about the Japanese Reiki tradition, preserved virtually unmodified from the original way Usui sensei used to practice it, then you may find Jikiden Reiki very informative and interesting. If you are interested in learning techniques that have disappeared in all westernized schools of Reiki, then Jikiden Reiki training may be of interest to you.
In general, I think that learning something new is never a bad thing :) (only if you are drawn to it, of course). So if learning Jikiden Reiki sounds like a waste to you, then I would not recommend investing you energy, time, and money into it. If learning Jikiden Reiki sounds exciting, then I would certainly recommend taking the class and learning Reiki in its original tradition.
A placebo effect is a psychological phenomenon, in which the recipient perceives an improvement in condition due to personal expectations, rather than the treatment itself. Generally speaking, the more serious the treatment, the higher the extent of the placebo effect. For example, the placebo effect from a ‘fake’ cream will likely be less than from a ‘fake’ pill, which will likely be less than from a ‘fake’ surgery.
The only way to discern whether or not an improvement of a specific condition from a specific treatment is due to a placebo effect is through clinical research. There is no other way of knowing whether or not the effectiveness of treatment (including Reiki) is due to a placebo effect.
Personally, I have a lot of experience with Reiki and based on my observational experience, I am certain that the effectiveness of Reiki is significantly above the placebo effect (and trust me, as a medical doctor and a clinical research physician I approach Reiki with a critical eye, just as I do any other type of treatment).
Unfortunately, in spite of numerous studies on the effectiveness of Reiki, there is no definitive proof that it it is helpful beyond a placebo effect. For the most part, this is due to research of inadequate quality. To quote the analysis of multiple studies on Reiki by Sondra vanderVaart et. al (Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.):
“The serious methodological and reporting limitations of limited existing Reiki studies preclude a definitive conclusion on its effectiveness. High-quality randomized controlled trials are needed to address the effectiveness of Reiki over placebo.”
It is not surprising, since most researchers are not Reiki practitioners and most Reiki practitioners are not researchers. How can you study something you know very little about, and how can you create a high quality clinical trial on something you know a lot about if you don’t know anything about research?
Just because the clinical research data is limited, it does not mean that the effectiveness of Reiki comes purely from a placebo effect. I have no doubt, that with high quality studies, we will be able to demonstrate clinically significant difference between the effectiveness of Reiki for a wide range of indication vs. placebo. It is simply a question of time and high quality studies.
The founder of Reiki Mikao Usui sensei himself thought of Reiki as a physical treatment technique. He also stated that Reiki can be helpful for psychological conditions, and considered Reiki to be a spiritual healing method.
The original name for Reiki, the way Usui-sensei called it, was 心身改善臼井靈氣療法 (Shin Shin Kaizen Usui Reiki Ryoho) or, in translation, “Usui Treatment Method for Body and Mind” (literally, “Mind-Body Improvement Usui Reiki Therapy”). The name itself says it all.
I, personally, see Reiki as a mind-body-and-spirit wellness method, that helps maximize a person’s natural healing potential, and helps restore natural internal balance, be it physical, emotional, or spiritual. Current medical science does not have an explanation for how Reiki works, but in my experience, it can be helpful on all levels, and often in a profound way. Again, as a medical doctor, I have no explanation for this, but I am certain, it is not a placebo effect.
As far as Reiki as the means to achieve enlightenment, I can certainly see that Reiki can be very helpful in that regard. When receiving Reiki, many people report having experiences of deep peace and clarity, similar to what one may attain in a state of a deep meditation, something that for most of us would take years of practice to accomplish. From my perspective, these types of Reiki experiences may speed up and help facilitate the process of getting closer to the enlightened state.
This is also true for the practitioners of Reiki. Most, tend to shift towards a more enlightened way of being with the ongoing practice of this unique Japanese healing art.
#Reiki #MindBody #Wellness #Healing #SpiritualTreatmentMethod #JapaneseHealingArt #MikaoUsui #UsuiSensei #ShinShinKaizenUsuiReikiRyoho #enlightenment
For a short answer, scroll down to “summary”. Continue reading for a more detailed explanation.
Personally, as a medical doctor and a clinical researcher, as well as someone who has observed Reiki in action for over a decade, I have enough observational evidence to be certain that Reiki is indeed effective for a wide range of indications, and even though I have not statistically analyzed the observational data, I am also certain that the effectiveness goes beyond the placebo effect.
However, my information is based on my own observations, and it will not, and cannot be accepted by the scientific community as proof of Reiki effectiveness, since this type of evidence has a very low weight in the hierarchy of scientific research. If on the other hand, I were to conduct a multi-center placebo-controlled, reproducible clinical trial, then its results may count for something.
In general, in order to demonstrate the effectiveness of any treatment modality for any indication, it takes multiple well-designed, high quality clinical trials per indication. (An indication means the specific issue we are trying to study and address. For example, if we are studying whether or not Reiki is effective for headaches, headaches would be an example on an indication.)
To conduct high quality research in Reiki takes lots of time and money, well-trained staff (in Reiki, and in how to be a practitioner in a clinical trial), high quality study design, proper statistical analysis, and so on. The combination of all of these and other factors is at the core of a high quality clinical trial that can produce valid results. Many high quality trials are needed, so that they can be eventually analyzed together, to convince the scientific community that a particular healing modality (Reiki, a specific medication, etc.) is indeed effective for something.
As of now, there have been numerous studies of Reiki effectiveness, and although some of the studies do show some effectiveness, overall, at this point, given the limitations and current low level of Reiki research, from a medical/scientific perspective, when the available studies have been analyzed, Reiki has been found to be neither harmful nor helpful.
This does not mean that Reiki does not work. It only means that given currentresearch, we can only conclude that it is not harmful (great news for Reiki recipients and practitioners), and we cannot conclude at this point that it is effective (OK news, considering limitations of the available clinical trials). This means that based on the available clinical evidence, a medical doctor will generally neither recommend, nor deter patients who seek Reiki treatment from getting it.
This viewpoint on the effectiveness of Reiki might appear nearsighted from the perspective of the Reiki community; however, if we want scientific proof, then we have to accept that individual Reiki experiences, no matter how plentiful and how remarkable, are not enough. It will take a lot of high quality research to get the scientific proof that’s acceptable to the scientific community. The good news is that if and when better evidence of Reiki effectiveness is available, the scientific community will accept it and will even recommended it.
We are not there. Yet.
Below are some of the obstacles to demonstrating Reiki effectiveness scientifically:
In summary, based on currently available, limited data from clinical trials evaluating Reiki effectiveness, we cannot conclude that it is effective from a scientific point of view (we do not have enough high quality data).
More high quality research is needed in order to determine whether or not Reiki is effective with a high level of scientific certainty, and beyond individual experiences and observations.
Disclaimer: I am replying to this question from a scientific point of view and not from the Reiki point of view.
Let me start my answer with a little bit of background of Reiki terminology.
It appears that the term Reiki “master” came into use in the late 1930s from Mrs. Takata, a Japanese American, who learned Reiki from Chujiro Hayashi (one of the prominent students of Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki).
Reiki is a Japanese healing art, and Reiki terms had to be translated from Japanese into English as Reiki was introduced to the Western world. So the original Japanese term for Reiki “Master” was actually Reiki “Shihan”.
The word “Shihan” is probably best translated into English as “teacher” (also “master”, but used in the same connotation). The term “Shihan” is not exclusive to Reiki, and it is widely used in the Japanese martial arts as an honorific term for an expert instructor or a “master teacher”.
The term “Master” in English has many other meanings and may not convey the true sense of the original word “Shihan”. Over time, it has been used more and more loosely in many Reiki styles, becoming probably the most commonly utilized term when referring to a Reiki practitioner who may or may not be a Reiki teacher.
Now back to the question.
Reiki Shihan (vaguely translated as “Reiki Master”) is a real title that is used for someone who has completed the teacher’s level of Reiki training. So yes, it is a degree of Reiki training; however, it is not a university degree, if that's what you are asking.
As far as the term “Grandmaster”, it appears to be a vague translation of the Japanese “Dai-Shihan” (someone who is considered to be an expert teacher and who can teach more advanced levels of Reiki). Of note, there are very few actual real Dai-Shihans (“Grandmasters”) in the world. For example, in the traditional Japanese Jikiden Reiki style, as of today (2017), there are fewer than two dozen teachers of that level of training and expertise (Dai-Shihans) total in the world.
So to summarize, Reiki Dai-Shihan (loosely translated as the “Grandmaster”) is a real level or degree of Reiki training and expertise, but it is not a university degree.
Since I am not certain if your question refers to immaterial vs. material benefits, I will attempt to respond to both options.
I have been observing Reiki in action for about a decade during my work at an inpatient hospice unit as a medical doctor. The observational evidence of the positive effects of Reiki and other “alternative” modalities have left a lasting impression on me, to the point that I have learned Reiki myself and have been actively practicing it since 2013, in addition to my medical practice. I do not have a scientific explanation of how Reiki works, but I continue seeing impressive results with Reiki on a daily basis.
So to answer the immaterial side of you question, I can tell you that those people, who have learned Reiki and are practicing it, are benefiting others by helping them on a mind-body level with this impressive healing art.
In addition, learning and practicing Reiki has a profound positive impact not only on the receiver of Reiki, but also on the practitioner himself or herself. For example, since I’ve learned Reiki, I am a better, kinder person. I am more relaxed and able to deal with stress a lot better. I worry less and I’ve become a lot more open-minded. Reiki has allowed me to let go of the ego-fueled directions in life, and has helped me focus on what’s really important instead. Learning Reiki has allowed me to take a path less travelled, but also the path, where I can be more true to who I am and to who I want to be, the best version of myself.
As far as the financial benefits, as with anything in life, I am sure that there are people, who may be using Reiki for financial gain. For example, I’ve seen online Reiki courses that offer Reiki mastership after a few-hours-long training. This can only be viewed as either a misunderstanding on the part of the person who is offering this type of online class (hopefully), or as a money-making operation, since Reiki is a hands-on healing art, and Reiki training includes a process that cannot be performed virtually.
With that said, we don’t have to let a few ‘bad apples’ spoil the whole batch. The vast majority of people who learn Reiki, offer it relatively cheaply and often for free. Reiki is a calling, and although many Reiki practitioners can make a living doing Reiki, overall, the majority are certainly not doing it just to make money, but rather to help others.
There are several ways to understand this question, and I will provide the answers to all of the following potential meanings:
As far as how to learn Reiki, I would most definitely recommend taking an in-person course, as Reiki cannot be learned in any other way. You can certainly find a lot of information about the history of Reiki online or by reading Reiki books, which may give you a good starting point; however, because of the nature of this Japanese healing art and because of how it is taught, it is impossible to learn it online or from reading a book. There are several inherent processes to learning Reiki that must be done in person and cannot be skipped. If those essential elements are dropped, you may find that the technique you learn is not very effective, and truthfully, it cannot be called Reiki at that point, as it will no longer be the true authentic Reiki in the way it was originally taught and practiced, but a different healing art (similar to Reiki, but different). So, taking an in-person Reiki course is the best way to learn Reiki.
Finally, if you are inquiring about getting a course of Reiki sessions, then it is definitely a great idea if you have any chronic conditions or serious concerns (as opposed to new, and/or minor symptoms). Your Reiki practitioner will be able to recommend the duration of the Reiki course. Think of it the way you would think of a course of antibiotics or of a course of physical therapy. One pill or one session can help, but it may not be enough. Ideally Reiki should be done daily or nearly daily, until the problem is resolved. In my experience, however, it may often take just one session or only a few sessions to address various wellness concerns, often to my disbelief as a medical doctor (we do not understand how Reiki works from the medical perspective, and in all honesty, the effectiveness of Reiki is often shocking to me, since medically-speaking, it should not work, but it does). Getting a course of Reiki sessions can be very useful, especially when trying to address long-standing, serious concerns.
There could be a couple of reasons why you feel that you might not be able to do Reiki correctly:
Dr. Maria Danilychev, MD is a medical doctor (hospice medical director) and a Jikiden Reiki Shihan.