A Brief History of Reiki

Discovering Reiki

Usui Reiki was originally rediscovered by Dr Mikao Usui following a long search for a natural healing technique that led him to travel far from is home village of Taniai (modern day Miyama Cho) in Yamagata District of Gifu Prefecture in Japan.  His search included having to learn Sanskrit in order to read Buddhist documents that revealed a healing method of hand positions and symbols.  Unfortunatelly the books did not describe how the symbols should be used in healing.  To solve the problem Dr Usui fasted and meditated for 21 days on Mount Kurama  c1920.  On the 21st day Dr Usui had a revelation that allowed him to use the symbols and use Reiki for the first time.

Photo of cherry blossom

Following the discovery of Reiki Dr Usui set up a clinic in 1921 in Harajuku, Tokyo where he treated clients and trained new masters in Reiki until his death in 1926.


Reiki Heads West

One of these masters Mr Chujiro Hayashi was responsible for bringing Reiki to the west when he started to train Ms Hawayo Takata in 1936 during a visit to Hawaii.  In 1938 he completed Ms Takata's training as a Reiki Master.  In 1941, following Mr Hayashi's death, Ms Takata took over as Grand Reiki Master and went on to train a further 22 Masters during her life time including her Granddaughter Phyllis Lew Furumoto who went on to become Grand Reiki Maser following Ms Takata's death in 1980.  Up to this point the spread of Reiki had been rather slow impeded in part due to the training fee of $10,000.  However another of Ms Takata's 22 Masters Iris Ishikuro  broke this trend and reduced the fees to a level that could be more easily afforded and allowed Reiki to spread through the West.

At this time there was a split in Wester Reiki:

* Reiki Alliance formed by Phyllis Lei Furumoto

* Radiance Technique formed by Dr Barbara Weber Ray

Modern Reiki

Since then however there have been many generation of Reiki Master each adding new elements with some of the more popular versions being:

Usui Shiki Ryoho
Lineage: Usui -> Hayashi –> Takata...

Raku Kei Reiki
Lineage: Usui –> Hayashi –> Takata –> Ishikuro –> Robertson…

Usui/Tibetan Reiki
Lineage: Usui -> Hayashi -> Takata -> Carrell Ann Farmer -> Leah Smith –> William Rand…

Karuna Reiki
Developed by William Rand

Tera-Mai and Tera -Mai Seichem
Lineage: Usui -> Hayashi -> Takata -> Ishikuro -> Robertson -> Rick/Emma  > Ferguson -> Margarette L. Shelton -> Katleen Milner…

The Radiance Technique
Lineage: Usui –> Hayashi -> Takata -> Barbara Ray..

Reiki Plus
Lineage: Usui -> Hayashi -> Takata -> Barbara McCullough -> David Jarrell…

You can find more information in the links at the bottom of this page.

They all build on the core training of Usui Reiki so whoever you receive Reiki from it will still be Reiki just delivered in a way that works best for that particular Reiki Practitioner.

In recent years there have been attempts to re-connect with the Japanese system of Reiki and much research is on going into how Reiki developed and how the Western and Eastern Reiki systems have progressed since they split in the 1940s.  As a result the History of Reiki is evolving and this page will be updated to reflect new information as it is discovered.

Sources Used


The Healing Pages

Reiki - Thea Healing Touch

UK Reiki Federation




Reiki Fire by Frank Arjava Petter - ISBN: 0914955500

Reiki The Legacy of Dr Usui by Frank Arjava Petter - ISBN: 091495556X

Training Manuals provided by my Reiki Masters:

Diversity Matters, Liverpool, UK (Helen Walk and Dawn Johnston-Brown)

Unity Studio, Brighton, UK (Deva Sevanti)

Dr Mikao Usui

Dr Mikao Usui