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.
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.
Reiki (靈氣)is a Japanese word for “universal life force energy”. The literal translation of the word “Rei” is “soul”/“spirit”. “Ki” means life force energy, which is a very common concept in many Asian cultures.
The original Reiki healing method was developed by Mikao Usui sensei in the 1920s in Japan, and he called it “Shin Shin Kaizen Usui Reiki Ryoho”, which means “Usui Reiki treatment method for body and mind”. Mikao Usui unknowingly connected with the Reiki energy as he was searching for enlightenment. He discovered that laying hands on a problem area of one’s body had a healing effect, and he started helping others using his newfound ability. Eventually, he also developed a way to teach Reiki to others, by helping them tap into the Reiki healing ability. Mikao Usui passed away in 1926, but through Dr. Hayashi, who was one of Usui sensei’s students, Reiki came to America (Hawaii), and eventually spread to the world. Since then, many new Reiki styles have been created, but most, if not all, have the same underlying concept of tapping into the universal life force energy and laying on hands to allow the natural internal self-healing process.
I’d like to clarify, that Reiki “energy” is not a scientific concept. Also from a scientific and medical perspective laying on hands should not have any beneficial effect beyond a placebo, or feeling comforted perhaps. However, I have to tell you that from my own decade-long scientific observation of Reiki helping patients in hospice, and later on through personally utilizing the Reiki method that I have learned from the Jikiden Reiki Institute in Japan, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that Reiki can have a profound positive effect on a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual state, all of which go far beyond the potential placebo effect.
Dr. Maria Danilychev, MD is a hospice doctor, clinical research physician, and a Jikiden Reiki Shihan (master/teacher).