History of Reiki

Dr Mikao Usui  1865 - 1926


Dr Mikao Usui was born on the 18th August 1865 in Japan and was the founder of the Usui System of Reiki or Usui Shiki Ryoho.  He is also often referred to as Usui Sensei (Sensei meaning one who teaches).


He came from a fairly wealthy Buddhist family, who encouraged him to study, both academically and physically.  Whilst finishing his studies at a traditional Japanese Tendai Buddhist Monastery, Usui also mastered Samurai swordsmanship and Kiko, the Japanese form of Chi Kung.  Usui was interested in different types of medicine, energy, movement and religions, reading widely on all subjects.  Usui was a dedicated scholar.  His open minded approach towards other belief systems and religions is why Reiki is accessible to everyone.  It has no religious attachments.

As part of his search, Usui traveled to China and the West to study their medicines and disciplines.  He undertook a great many different types of work, eventually leading him back to Buddhism.  Usui became a Tendai Buddhist monk and lived in a monastery near Mount Kurama, where he continued his studies.


It was whilst he was living at the monastery, that Usui decided to attend Isyu Guo, a 21 day training course, to seek enlightenment.  This involved a pilgrimage to Mount Kurama in Japan, where he fasted and meditated for 21 days.  It is said that passed uneventfully. However, on the morning of the 21st day, Usui experienced a mystical event,where he saw the reiki symbols written in the clouds.  After this event, Usui found that he had the ability to heal  and he  set up a clinic in Kyoto, where he began to heal and teach people.


The success of this clinic allowed Usui to travel all over Japan, taking his Reiki with him.  As well as teaching others how to heal themselves, he also offered healing sessions at a relatively low price or even for free, which meant anyone could receive healing.


Usui's main teachings were very focused on how to heal yourself, first and foremost, which continues today in the First Degree of Reiki (Reiki One). His belief being that to be able to heal others, you first need to have healed yourself. By the time of his death on the 9th March 1926, Usui had trained around 16 Reiki Masters, one of whom was Dr Chujiro Hayashi. This would guarantee that Usui's healing system would live on. He in turn taught Hawayo Takata, who was responsible for bringing reiki to the West.


Mrs Hayashi Takata was visiting family in Japan when she became ill and was taken to hospital.The doctor who examined her told her she had a tumour and would need to operate.Just before her operation Mrs Takata cried out "there must be another way", and that's when she was told of Mikai Usui's clinic.After receivng reiki the tumour dissapeared and then Hayashi became a student of Dr Chujiro Hayashi.


She returned to Hawayi and began to teach reiki there. From Hayashi teaching in Hawaii it spread to the rest of America and was first taught in the U.K. in the 1980's. Now reiki is being practised all over the world by more than a million people and this figure keeps growing.