There are a lot of free resources out there, and some are better and more accurate than others.
I would recommend reading the following two books about Reiki (you might be able to find them at a library) and in the following order:
Feel free to explore this site San Diego Reiki - Jikiden Reiki with Dr. Maria Danilychev, MD and read this Blog - as you might be able to find some helpful insights there as well.
To save you some time in your Reiki research here is some information about Reiki to get you started:
Mikao Usui sensei was the founder of Reiki, and he developed his Reiki method in the 1920s in Japan and called it 心身改善臼井靈氣療法 - “Shin Shin Kaizen Usui Reiki Ryoho” (“Usui Reiki method for improvement of body and mind”).
Usui sensei taught almost two dozen teachers who were allowed to teach other teachers, and among them was Chujiro Hayashi.
Hayashi sensei’s lineage is the start of all known Reiki lineages. No other known lineages that you can follow exist today. There is an original association of Reiki in Japan called Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai, but it is a closed organization and you can’t learn Reiki from them (it’s a long story).
Chujiro Hayashi taught many Reiki practitioners and a number of Reiki teachers, and among them were:
Reiki became popularized in the 1980s by the students of Hawayo Takata many of whom later systematized her teachings, and also created their own forms of Reiki.
Numerous Reiki styles have been developed in the West since then.
Many of them have at least partially lost their connection to the Japanese nature of this healing art, with some of the teachings being literally lost in translation. Also, a large number of new styles of Reiki have incorporated other holistic healing modalities and concepts into Reiki teaching and practice. With that said, it is important to note that no Reiki style ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than another - all of them are just different from each other.
Here are a few links to some of the Reiki style options:
There are many other Reiki branches and teachings that you will come across.
A few words about Reiki Principles.
They were developed by Mikao Usui and were meant to be used by the Reiki clients, as well as by the Reiki practitioners to maximize all-around wellness on a mind-body level and to bring happiness into their lives.
Usui sensei believed that if your physical health improves with Reiki, but your mind/heart is not in the right place, then your physical condition can easily get worse again. That’s how he came up with the five precepts of Reiki - the Gokai (五戒):
Just for today,
Do not be angry
Do not worry
Do your duties fully
Be kind to others.
Usui sensei suggested saying the Gokai twice a day out loud and from the heart to help one live according to the principles. I’d like to point out that there isn’t anything neither religious nor contrary to any belief system in the Gokai. They simply use the mind-body connection to help improve one’s happiness and wellness.
The Japanese believe that words have power, and that saying something out loud creates a certain energy. That’s why it is often suggested to say the Gokai in Japanese, as it creates the best vibration, so to speak - as it was meant to be said. If you try it, you may notice a positive shift inside you.
Here is a link to Rika Tanaka’s website (she is a Japanese Reiki practitioner and teacher) as she pronounces the Gokai, in case you are curious about the Japanese version.
Note, other translations exist, but this appears to be the best/most accurate one, as has been verified to me by many native Japanese speakers who also know Reiki.
In terms of Reiki levels and Reiki techniques, they vary greatly from style to style. For the most part, most schools include a few basic practitioner level courses and one or more Master or teacher level courses as part of their training.
Any books or free resources that you may find that explain the techniques can be helpful, but it is not the same as learning from someone who’s been practicing and teaching Reiki.
I would also recommend against learning Reiki online (no offense to anyone who is teaching it that way). Other the historical background, you can’t really learn Reiki that way. If you want to learn how to do Reiki properly, you have to take an in-person class which includes hands-on practice and Reiju (attunement).
After you are done with your research and when you are ready to learn Reiki, choose the style that resonates with you the most. Explore some of the options above and connect with Reiki practitioners and teachers. You will know when it feels right.
As far as being able to pay for a course, trust that when the time is right you’ll be able to do it.
Not sure if you will find someone who can to teach you for free, but as you learn more about Reiki, you may start seeing each training for its value and not just pick something because it’s free or cheap (it shouldn’t be terribly expensive either).
For additional free Reiki resources, you can also consider looking at James Deacon’s site. There is lots of information there. Although not all of it is entirely accurate, it is understandable considering the quantity of information provided.
Feel free to reach out to me directly if you’d like any additional help or guidance.
I am sure that there are as many opinions about this subject as there are Reiki practitioners, but I hope that among the recommendations you will find the books that resonate with you the most.
1. Consider starting your Reiki journey with Frank Arjava Petter’s “This is Reiki”. This book will not only give you the historical background of Reiki (which is essential for true understanding of this healing art), but it will also give you practical information about how to use Reiki as a holistic mind-body healing art:
2. After that, I would suggest taking a Reiki seminar, so that you can learn Reiki firsthand and not just through reading. Trust me, Reiki is amazing, and in-person Reiki training is an unforgettable experience.
3. If you wish to read a little more before signing up for your Reiki training, then consider reading the “Light on the Origins of Reiki” by Tadao Yamaguchi. It will parallel some of what you’ve learned in the first book, and will also offer additional insights into how Reiki was (and still is) maintained in Japan in its original tradition:
4. After learning Reiki, you may find “The Hayashi Reiki Manual” very helpful. I would not suggest reading this book before your Reiki training, since it is important to first understand why we are doing what we are doing as Reiki practitioners, and only then to learn some extra details of the “how”. This book is a great practical guide:
5. Finally, look into reading “Reiki and Japan” by Masaki Nishina. This book was just recently published, and it offers an authentic perspective on the development of Reiki in Japan. It will also help your understanding of whether the Reiki style you’ve learned is more westernized or more traditional Japanese. The only reason I am suggesting to wait until after your training to read it, is because there are many references to concepts that might not makes sense to you until you complete your Reiki training. This is a great book that offers insights that will help you make sense of many cultural aspects that have influenced the practice of Reiki:
Dr. Maria Danilychev, MD is a hospice doctor, clinical research physician, and a Jikiden Reiki Shihan (master/teacher).