Contributed by Verity Dawson, Reiki Master Teacher
Rei – Universal Ki – energy
Reiki is a Japanese word or ideogram. An ideogram is a series of brush strokes which give an idea of the word, rather like the Egyptian hieroglyphics which give a picture of the word.
Thus if you were to use the word Reiki in Japan today, the layperson would understand you were talking about spiritual healing. Those familiar with Japanese language concepts will know that in fact in Japanese there is no r sound – an r is pronounced as an l. Reiki would actually be pronounced as Leiki in Japan!
The Development of Reiki
Reiki is a system of healing developed by Mikao Usui, a Japanese man born in 1865. Dr. Usui’s personal diaries have been discovered and they reveal a humorous, witty, intelligent and intellectual person, with a life-long passion for healing dis-ease through non-invasive techniques.
In his newly discovered journals, he relates that about the age of 34 in a visit to the historical city of Kyoto he bought an old lacquered casket with ancient documents in it. These papers contained information on hands-on energy healing practices and formed the basis of the Reiki techniques which he further developed towards the end of his life. During his lifetime, Dr. Usui used this casket as his own personal writing case.
After he died it was deposited in a temple and post the Second World War, in 1946, the casket was bought from a monk by an American admiral (George Blackwell). The casket lay forgotten for a while until Blackwell’s son reminded his father about it. Thinking that the ancient documents might be valuable, they had the titles translated as well as some of the papers. The Admiral’s son had heard of Reiki and was supremely delighted to learn that a few of the documents promised to contain vital information on the subject. Not only, but the information was also actually in the founder’s own handwriting.
The First Reiki Clinic
After practicing the Reiki techniques and being satisfied that they worked, Dr. Usui opened his first clinic in Tokyo in 1921 at the age of 57. In 1924 he moved the clinic to the Nakano area although he continued to be much sought after throughout Japan. He died in 1926, and an organisation of Reiki practitioners in Tokyo erected a 10-foot tombstone detailing his life and his work. There are other schools/lineages of Reiki in Japan but again, because of cultural traditions, it has been difficult for westerners thirsty to source more information on Reiki to penetrate these organisations. The modified system of Reiki healing was brought to the West by a Japanese immigrant in Hawaii – Hawayo Takata – and that is the main form which is practiced today.
Thanks to scientific enquiring minds, systems have been developed to identify the body’s subtle energies. One such report comes from James L. Oschmann, Ph.D. which thus clarifies the processes which take place during energy healing.
Also, independent research into energy healing by Drs. Becker and Zimmerman (University of Colorado) in the 80’s, found that the brainwave patterns of practitioner and receiver become synchronized in the alpha state (characteristic of deep relaxation and meditation). Further, that this state allowed the practitioner access to the earth’s magnetic field, the Schumann Resonance. At these moments the biomagnetic field of the practitioner’s hands is at least 1,000 times greater than normal. (T. Bunnell, 1997).
In 1990 and 1992, Zimmerman (USA) and Seto (Japan) discovered that the pulses sweep up and down from 0.3 – 30 Hz, focusing mostly in the 7-8 Hz alpha state. Independent medical research has shown that this range of frequencies will stimulate healing, with specific frequencies being suitable for different tissues. Interestingly enough, this frequency is also related to alpha brainwaves (8-12 Hz), the first stage of alert relaxation in the meditation process.
Reiki in Action
Reiki is an effective tool for balancing the whole body-mind-sprit dynamic thereby creating relaxation and reducing stress – one of THE most contributing factors to aging and dis-ease.
It is simple, gentle, non-invasive, and effective. It can be used in conjunction with other modalities. It has been adopted by the British NIS for formal applications such as with individuals undergoing radiotherapy and other allopathic approaches and Canada follows closely.
Reiki is cross-cultural, is not a religion and does not require faith in it to work. There are many practitioners of this healing art in Barbados as well as teachers of the system.