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This article is about the energy therapy. For the Japanese era name, see Reiki (era).
Energy medicine - edit
NCCAM classifications
  1. Alternative Medical Systems
  2. Mind-Body Intervention
  3. Biologically Based Therapy
  4. Energy Therapy
See also
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabet linh khí
Korean name
Hangul 영기
Hanja 靈氣
Japanese name
Hiragana れいき
Kyūjitai 靈氣

Reiki (霊気?, /ˈrk/) is a spiritual practice,[citation needed] considered a form of pseudoscientific alternative medicine.[1][2] It was developed in 1922 by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui. Since its beginning in Japan, Reiki has been adapted across varying cultural traditions. It uses a technique commonly called palm healing or hands-on-healing as a form of alternative medicine. Through the use of this technique, practitioners believe that they are transferring "universal energy" (i.e., reiki) in the form of qi (Japanese: ki) through the palms, which they believe allows for self-healing and a "state of equilibrium".[citation needed]

The two main branches of reiki are commonly referred to as Traditional Japanese Reiki and Western Reiki. Though differences can be wide and varied between both branches and traditions, the primary difference is that the westernised forms use systematised hand-placements rather than relying on an intuitive sense of hand-positions (see below), which is commonly used by Japanese Reiki practitioners. Both branches commonly have a three-tiered hierarchy of degrees, usually referred to as the First, Second, and Master/Teacher levels, all of which are associated with different skills and techniques.

Reiki is a form of pseudoscience.[1] It is based on qi, which practitioners say is a universal life force, though there is no evidence that such a life force exists.[3] There is no good evidence that reiki is effective as a medical treatment.[3] The American Cancer Society,[4] Cancer Research UK,[5] and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health[6] state that reiki should not be a replacement for conventional treatment of diseases like cancer, but that it may be used as a supplement to standard medical treatment.



Mikao Usui 臼井甕男 (1865–1926)
Chujiro Hayashi 林 忠次郎 (1880 - 1940)

The English reiki or Reiki is a Japanese loanword reiki (霊気, usually meaning "mysterious atmosphere; miraculous sign"), which in turn, is a Chinese loanword língqì (靈氣, "numinous atmosphere").[7] The earliest recorded English usage dates to 1975.[8]

The Japanese reiki is commonly written as レイキ in katakana syllabary or as 霊気 in shinjitai "new character form" kanji. It compounds the words rei (: "spirit, miraculous, divine") and ki (; qi: "gas, vital energy, breath of life, consciousness").[9] Some reiki translation equivalents from Japanese-English dictionaries are: "feeling of mystery",[10] "an atmosphere (feeling) of mystery",[11] and "an ethereal atmosphere (that prevails in the sacred precincts of a shrine); (feel, sense) a spiritual (divine) presence."[12] Besides the usual Sino-Japanese pronunciation reiki, these kanji 霊気 have an alternate Japanese reading, namely ryōge, meaning "demon; ghost" (especially in spirit possession).[13]

Chinese língqì 靈氣 was first recorded in the (ca. 320 BCE) Neiye "Inward Training" section of the Guanzi, describing early Daoist meditation techniques. "That mysterious vital energy within the mind: One moment it arrives, the next it departs. So fine, there is nothing within it; so vast, there is nothing outside it. We lose it because of the harm caused by mental agitation."[14] Modern Standard Chinese língqì is translated by Chinese-English dictionaries as: "(of beautiful mountains) spiritual influence or atmosphere";[15] "1. intelligence; power of understanding; 2. supernatural power or force in fairy tales; miraculous power or force";[16] and "1. spiritual influence (of mountains/etc.); 2. ingeniousness; cleverness".[17]


See also Timeline of Reiki history

According to the inscription on his memorial stone, Usui taught his system of Reiki to over 2000 people during his lifetime.[18][better source needed] While teaching Reiki in Fukuyama (福山市, Fukuyama-shi), Usui suffered a stroke and died on 9 March 1926.[18][better source needed]

Early development[edit]

Before Usui's death, Chujiro Hayashi (林 忠次郎 Hayashi Chūjirō) approached Usui about developing a different form of Reiki that was much simpler. Usui agreed.[citation needed]

By the time Takata died, she had trained 22 Reiki masters.[citation needed]

Usui's concepts and five principles[edit]

Usui was an admirer of the literary works of the Emperor Meiji (明治天皇 Meiji tennō). While in the process of developing his Reiki system, Usui summarised some of the emperor's works into a set of ethical principles (called the "Concepts" 概念 Gainen), which later became known as the Five Reiki Precepts (五戒 Gokai, meaning "The Five Commandments", from the Buddhist teachings against killing, thievery, sexual misconduct, lying, and intemperance). It is common for many Reiki teachers and practitioners to abide by these five precepts, or principles.[citation needed]