Healing by touch and use of universal life force energy in healing is not new. Many of us are familiar with the healing of Jesus Christ and Buddha and should we choose to explore further, we could find examples of its use in many cultures and civilisations. Dr. Mikao Usui used a large part of his lifetime to research this subject and, as a result of many years dedication, reintroduced this ancient teaching in the form of Reiki.

Dr. Usui was the dean of a Christian University in Kyoto, Japan, in the latter half of the 19th century. One day while teaching a group of students, he was asked by a young man whether he believed in the literal interpretation of the Bible. He answered that he did. The young man asked if he believed, therefore that Jesus Christ did perform miracle healing referred to in the Bible. Again he answered that he did. The young man then asked if this was possible why were there not more healers in the world and why could he not teach them this method of healing. Dr. Usui could not answer the question. The impact this had on him was so profound that the following day he resigned his post at the university and determined that the rest of his life would be devoted to unraveling the mystery of such healing.

Dr. Usui looked, in depth, at both Japanese and Chinese sutras before moving onto the study of Sanskrit and Tibetan sutras. It was through his studies of the latter that he came across the key to healing and found the intellectual answers to the healing of Christ. What he then needed was the empowerment to reactivate the healing energies.

Dr. Usui decided to embark alone on a 21 day fast and meditation on Mount Kuri Yama, a sacred mountain some 17 miles outside Kyoto. On his arrival at the mountain, Dr. Usui first found where he would stay for the next 21 days, then gathered up 21 stones to act as his calendar. Each day he removed one stone to enable him to keep track of his time there.

After 20 days of fasting and meditating, nothing out of the ordinary had happened. However, just before dawn on the 21st day as Dr. Usui continued to pray for the answer, he noticed a flicker of light in the distant night sky. The light appeared to be moving toward him and growing in size. Dr. Usui, becoming somewhat unnerved by this, was tempted to run yet he also recognised that this could be the opportunity to gain at last the insight he had sought for so long. He resolved to stay where he was and steeled himself for what was to come.

At that moment the light struck him in the centre of his forehead and Dr. Usui thought he had died as millions of rainbow coloured bubbles appeared before him. Soon they turned to a white glow containing, within them, the ancient Sanskrit characters in gold. Each character or symbol had taken on a three-dimensional energy form. Appearing before him, one by one, they communicated their meaning to him. Eventually as the experience subsided, he realised that some time must have lapsed since the sun had fully risen. He was overwhelmed with gratitude for the insight and the empowerment he had received and felt a strong urge to share his experience.

Reiki was brought to the western world by Hawayo Takata, a Japanese-American woman from Hawaii. In 1935, Mrs. Takata was suffering from a number of physical disorders and severe depression, brought on after the death of her husband. Mrs. Takata returned to Japan to receive treatment and, whilst awaiting surgery, she heard the voice of her dead husband telling her that surgery was not necessary. She spoke to her doctor about her experience and expressed reservations about undertaking surgery, asking him if there was another way to deal with her illness. He recommended that she try the Reiki clinic. She took his advice and the treatments she received proved successful in healing her.

After her recovery Mrs. Takata was determined to learn and practice Reiki herself. However, at this stage of its development it was purely a male domain. Undeterred by this, Mrs. Takata was persistent in her requests to Dr. Hayashi to become a practitioner. Eventually her persistence paid off and Mrs. Takata was initiated into First and Second degree techniques. Shortly afterwards Mrs. Takata returned to Hawaii and began her practice. In 1938, Dr. Hayashi visited Mrs. Takata in Hawaii and initiated her as a Reiki Master.