Reiki is made up of two parts – the Rei and the ki. The first part means “spirit” and the ki is the same as chi or “energy”. Reiki is also known as universal life energy. Reiki is a method of healing and a way of life. The spiritual growth aspect of Reiki is at least as important as the laying-on of hands aspect. Reiki as in the laying-on of hands energy can be felt where the healer's hands are or somewhere somewhere else. For example, the healer's hands could be at the head and the healee may feel it at their feet. Reiki can be felt in many different manifestations. It can be felt as hot or cold, wave-like, tingling or vibration-like, electrical, or not felt at all.

Reiki as we know it has been founded by Mikao Usui, respectfully called Usui Sensei or Dr Usui. He lived in Japan, from 1865 to 1926. Stories abound about Usui. It is said that he was the dean of a theosophical university in Japan, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Monk, and many other descriptions. What everyone does seem to agree on is that Usui learned from ancient texts and then mediated on top of a mountain for 21 days, where he somehow received the gift of healing. Some say this was due to getting stuck by lightening on the 21st day.

Usui founded a Reiki clinic in Japan and passed on the Reiki to others, by means of empowerment (a way of passing the gift), and teaching. One of those who Usui taught was Chujiro Hayashi. In the early 1930's, Hawayo Takata, from Hawaii, traveled to Japan and was cured of a tumor and other ailments at the Reiki clinic. Naturally, upon discovering such a method, one would want to go out and heal the world! Chujiro Hayashi trained her, and she is the source of much of the Reiki practiced in the West today. There are about 142 different discrimines of Reiki. And more than 142 different egos! However, all Reiki is Reiki. Only one discipline of Reiki is needed for a healer to flourish with it. After the attunement process, the healer grows and develops their gift by practicing Reiki both as a healing and as a way of life.

Attunements can only be performed by a Reiki Master or Reiki Master-Teacher. The attunement process is a way of passing on the empowerments in a quick burst of energy. An attunement is also called an initiative. The Reiki attunements are what differentiates Reiki from other forms of energy or hands-on healing. An attunement tunes the student to the Reiki channel, kind of like a radio being tuned to a particular channel. They will then be able to channel Reiki for life. Even if a person attuned to Reiki leaves the actual practice of Reiki, they never lose the ability to get back in touch with Reiki, and they can re-connect with it again when they wish. Each level of Reiki study has its relevant attunements. There are usually three levels, although this differs from one discipline to another.

If you are thinking of taking a Reiki course or workshop, it is advisable that you do so in-person and that you choose a Reiki Master that you feel comfortable with. Find out if they give after-care support and Reiki shares, where you can practice, grow, and develop. You may wish to have a treatment first too, to make sure that the Reiki Master is right for you, as well as to experience how Reiki feels. Enjoy your learning and healing journey!