Reiki - Traditional vs Western

Reiki, as previously discussed, was re-discovered, taught, and professionally practiced by Dr. Mikao Usui himself in Japan from 1922 to 1926 until he passed away. During this time, he treated and healed countless patients suffering from a variety of ailments. At the same time, he also taught Reiki to an estimated 2,000 plus individuals.

One of his disciples, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi - a naval officer in the Japanese armed forces during WW I, began studying Reiki under Dr. Usui in 1925 and upon completion of his study, started both teaching and practicing Reiki. One of his students, Ms. Hawayo Takata from Hawaii, the USA, learned Reiki from him and then brought for the first time Reiki's learning and teaching to the Western world, beginning with the USA. She, in the process, transformed Reiki's learning and practice in the western form as we know it today.

In the traditional form, Reiki was more of a spiritual and healing practice. Meditations (to connect to Reiki), five precepts and three pillars of Reiki, intuition development and healing intention setting, intuitively being able to lay the hands on the part or specific points on the receiver's body where the healing was needed, etc. were the most important elements of how Reiki was taught and practiced by Dr. Usui and his students. This, perhaps, laid the foundation to some extent for the Christianity to not accept Reiki interpreting the above practices as an interference to the Christian beliefs and values at that time around and related to healing.

It was Dr. Hayashi who first attempted to demystify the strictly 'meditative and intuitive' aspects of Reiki and started to come up with some "processes based structure" that the western world is more used to. Ms. Takata is believed to complete this transformation and to have come up with the specific guidance and points to lay one's hands on as part of Reiki therapy. They also developed the structure and process of "Reiki level specific" attunements. Meditations, five precepts, and three pillars still remain the required and critical components of learning and practicing Reiki and intuitive healing ability still seems to be that 'elusive yet sought after skill' for many advanced Reiki practitioners.

Ms. Takata personally trained and initiated 22 Reiki Masters who, in turn trained and initiated many other Reiki Masters in Europe between 70's to 90's. Those Reiki Masters, in turn, trained many times more Reiki Masters in the rest of the world. Today, Reiki is taught and practiced to a varying degree in dozens of countries around the world.