Reiki was 'discovered' by Dr Mikao Usui during a spiritual meditation on Mount Kurama, near Kyoto. After his mystical experience, he travelled Japan talking, demonstrating and teaching what he had learned. During his travels, he was joined by Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, an ex-naval commander who became a devoted disciple of Dr. Usui.
When Dr. Usui passed away, Dr. Hayashi became Reiki grandmaster and founded a clinic near Tokyo. One of Dr. Hayashi's pateints, Hawayo Takata would later become one of his greatest students, who he taught to the level of Reiki Master. She would eventually go on to hold the position of Grandmaster after Dr. Hayashi ceased practicing due to a conflict between his spiritual beliefs and his military duty. Mrs Hawayo Takata is responsible for bringing Reiki to the attention of people in the West.
Reiki is a Japanese word comprised of two characters Rei 霊 meaning spirit, and Ki 気meaning energy. Rei is the higher intelligence that guides the creation and functioning of the universe. Ki is the energy or vital life-force of all of creation. In Chinese medicine, this may be understood to be the equivalent of Qi. When combined to form Reiki, the meaning is "Universal Life Energy".
Generally, Reiki is thought of as a natural healing system for the human body, however, it is much more than this as it can heal issues on many levels, including the physical, emotional, mental or spiritual. Reiki is a dual functioning system of healing and can be used for personal healing or the healing of others.
Reiki healing is generally performed through the laying on of hands on a patient by the practitioner, who then allos the Reiki energy to flow through their hands to the affected area(s) of the patient. It can be practiced and utilised as a stand-alone treatment or it can be combined with other therapies such as acupuncture or massage to strengthen their effects.