Reiki (pronounced “Ray-Key”), a Japanese word meaning “universal life energy,” is a gentle but powerful method of natural healing. (The “ki” in “Reiki” is a cognate of the better-known “chi,” the Chinese word for life energy. Known at least 3,000 years ago in Tibet and India, Reiki was brought to new light in the late 19th century by a Japanese Christian scholar, Dr. Mikao Usui. This method of natural healing was so highly regarded in Japan that it was designated a Japanese “National Treasure” and as such was not allowed to be taken out of the country. Global cultural changes following World War II have made Reiki teaching and healing available worldwide.

Reiki is not hypnosis, massage, or a religion, nor is it connected with any religious group or creed, but it does have a spiritual dimension. A Reiki session is deeply nurturing, involving non-invasive, gentle laying on of hands. Through the hands of the practitioner, healing energy flows throughout the client’s body according to the need of the individual, flowing freely through clothing, blankets, and even casts. It is always perfectly safe and cannot be overdosed. Because the source of the energy is universal (flowing through the practitioner, not from him or her) and treatment does not involve any form of medication or manipulation, it is the perfect complement to any other approach to healing.

Reiki is an impetus to spiritual growth as well as physical well-being. Benefits resulting from the deep relaxation induced under a Reiki practitioner’s hands range from reducing stress and lifting depression to promoting general healing and can relieve both chronic and acute pain. Perceived improvements vary according to the individual and may last from hours to weeks to a lifetime.

Reiki can be learned by anyone and shared among family and friends. Classes for first and second-degree Reiki training are increasingly available by appointment with a Reiki Master. The third degree of Reiki (often referred to as “Reiki Master”) involves serious commitment to both providing and teaching the Reiki system of natural healing.

For further reading:



  • Mari Hall, Practical Reiki, 1997
  • Eleanor McKenzie, Healing Reiki, 1998
  • William L. Rand, Reiki, The Healing Touch, 1991












Therapists with training
Patience Ulstad