March 18, 2007

A Brief History of Reiki

Reiki began in Japan in the 19th century, using hands to channel life-force energy for healing.

A Buddhist monk, Mikao Usui, was teaching at a Christian seminary school in Kyoto in the late 1800s. Usui was interested in the way in which Christ healed others. Because Christianity had come to Japan from America, he decided to study at the University of Chicago. There he became more aware that religious scholars, himself included, knew about healing of the spirit but not of the body.

Mikao Usui returned to Japan with thoughts that Buddhism, a religion that is older than Christianity, might have knowledge of how Christ or the Buddha healed physical afflictions. After visiting many Buddhist monasteries, he found a manuscript which described rituals for calling upon God to direct healing, life-force energy through human hands. He told the local abbot about the scroll, who advised him to fast and meditate on the sacred Mt. Kurama for 21 days. And that he did.

Usui’s hope was that his solitary time on the mountain would lead to a vision revealing the wisdom of sharing the rediscovered method of healing with the world. He followed his inner voice, and began his career of healing and teaching with his hope fulfilled. Usui used massage techniques, including stroking, tapping and touch on specific areas; in his experience he found that if he provided healing services for free, they were not valued. Until his death in 1926, he served others who wanted to become well and would pay for it.

Among the recipients of Usui’s teaching was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, who practiced the Usui System of Natural Healing at his Tokyo clinic until his death in 1941. It is Dr. Hayashi who developed Reiki hand positions for the head and torso, providing healing energy to the major organs. He initiated Hawayo Takata, who then practiced in Hawaii and in her travels to the U.S. mainland, bringing Reiki to the Western world.

By combining the beneficial practices of Reiki, massage and intention-based therapy, Reiki Massage was founded by Daniel Montgomery at the turn of the 21st century. Reiki Massage incorporates the principles of Reiki, illustrated as follows.

Just for today, I will let go of anger
Just for today, I will let go of worry
Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings
Just for today, I will do my work honestly
Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing

Mikao Usui (1865-1926)

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