Reiki: Ancient Roots and Modern Revival


Reiki is a form of alternative healing that has been the subject of intrigue, debate, and widespread popularity in the last few decades. Originating in Japan, this practice has evolved and spread worldwide. To understand Reiki fully, it’s vital to dive deep into its ancient roots and explore its modern resurgence.

Ancient Roots of Reiki:

1. Japanese Origins:

Reiki is a Japanese term comprised of two words: ‘Rei’, which means “universal” or “spirit”, and ‘Ki’, which translates to “life force energy”. The roots of Reiki can be traced back to the early 20th century in Japan when it was developed by Mikao Usui.

2. Mikao Usui and the Development of Reiki:

Usui’s journey began with a quest for spiritual growth and enlightenment. His extensive travels, research, and meditation culminated in a mystical experience on Mount Kurama, where he claimed to receive the knowledge and power of Reiki healing. After this revelation, Usui began treating people with Reiki and started teaching others this unique method of healing.

3. Expansion to the West:

After its inception in Japan, Reiki remained relatively confined to the country until the 1930s. Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, a student of Usui, played a pivotal role in its spread. Hawayo Takata, an American of Japanese descent, learnt Reiki from Hayashi during her visit to Japan. Upon returning to Hawaii, she started practicing and teaching Reiki, marking the beginning of Reiki’s journey in the West.

Modern Revival and Growth of Reiki:

1. The West Embraces Reiki:

From the mid-20th century onwards, Reiki began to gain traction in the U.S., Europe, and eventually, around the world. Its non-invasive nature, combined with the increasing interest in alternative therapies, positioned Reiki as a preferred choice for many seeking holistic healing.

2. Different Schools and Traditions:

As with many practices that have been globalized, various Reiki traditions and schools emerged. While the core principles remain consistent—channeling life force energy to promote healing and balance—different schools might have variations in symbols, techniques, or teachings.

3. Scientific Scrutiny and Acceptance:

In the modern era, Reiki has faced both skepticism and acceptance. While many individuals report significant benefits from Reiki treatments—including relaxation, stress reduction, and even alleviation of physical symptoms—there has been a call for more rigorous scientific studies on its efficacy. Some hospitals and healthcare facilities have even incorporated Reiki into their complementary therapy programs, further validating its place in the realm of healing practices.

4. The Role of Technology:

Modern technology has played an instrumental role in the popularization of Reiki. From online courses and webinars to forums where practitioners can share experiences and advice, technology has facilitated the global community of Reiki practitioners and enthusiasts.


Reiki’s journey from the mountains of Japan to becoming a global phenomenon is a testament to its enduring appeal and the universal desire for healing and connection. Whether viewed through a spiritual lens or seen as a complementary therapy, its rich history and widespread adoption in contemporary times demonstrate the continuing allure of this ancient healing practice. As with any modality, the key is to approach it with an open mind, respect its traditions, and see firsthand how it resonates with one’s personal experience.

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