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"Reiki" in Kanji notation

Reiki [ reːki ] ( Japanese レ イ キ / 霊 気 , dt. About "spiritual / spiritual life energy") is an artificial word that was formed by Usui Mikao from the Japanese words rei (spirit, soul) and ki (the Chinese Qi - life energy) and is usually translated in Western publications as "universal or universal life energy". Reiki is postulated as an "energy" that should be present in everything that lives. The Ki in the word Reiki corresponds conceptually about the Chinese Qi (Chi) and the Hindu prana . In common parlance, the term Reiki encompasses this “energy”, Reiki treatment and Reiki training.

From a scientific point of view, the postulated concept is not plausible . Regarding the healing of illnesses through Reiki, no health-influencing effect could be proven despite numerous studies with different results: In clinical studies with which the effectiveness should be proven either no positive effect was found or decisive methodological weaknesses were found.


Reiki is an esoteric concept according to which the health of an individual treated in this way is to be influenced by the laying on of hands and special symbolic work . Reiki is one of many forms of so-called "energy work" and the laying on of hands techniques. There is both the possibility of Reiki self-treatment and treatment of another person. At the beginning, the person performing the treatment ensures that his hands are well supplied with blood, which gives them increased heat radiation when they are placed on, which increases during the treatment. Similar to an infrared treatment , the heat radiation from the hands penetrates the tissue. Usui Mikao developed a method for this concerning the order in which the hands are placed on different parts of the body, whereby the chakras are also given special consideration.

There are different systems according to which Reiki is taught: In Japan, the country of origin, there is a fundamentally different view and approach than in the West due to the local cultural and religious background. The main difference is that achieving physical and mental health should only be an intermediate goal and that the goal is enlightenment ( satori ). But there are also different Reiki systems in the West. The main differences are in the number of “initiations” during the training.


Usui Mikao (1865-1926)

Reiki was founded by Usui Mikao from Japan. Usui's original teaching was called Usui Reiki Ryōhō ( 臼 井 靈氣 療法 ). The exact date of its creation is not known. What is certain is that Usui Mikao opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo in 1921.

The way in which it originated is also not exactly known. According to the inscription on Usui Mikao's tomb, after a 21-day fasting cure on Mount Kurama, a mountain north of Kyoto, he was given the knowledge of Reiki through a vision. Since then, Reiki has been passed on from teacher to student. Usui Mikao made & a. Chujiro Hayashi as a Reiki master or Reiki teacher. Chujiro Hayashi has u. a. the Hawaii-American Hawayo Takata trained as a Reiki master and Reiki teacher. a. the American Mary McFadyen .

Hawayo Takata was the first Reiki master outside of Japan. She has trained a total of 22 other Reiki masters and teachers, most of them not from Japan. Almost all practitioners outside of Japan therefore come from the Usui-Hayashi-Takata lineage. In 1981 Reiki was brought to Europe via Germany by Mary McFadyen, who lives in the United States.

Japanese Reiki is nowadays also called “ (Japanese) Traditional Reiki ” ( (日本) 伝 統 靈氣 / (日本) 伝 統 式 レ イ キ , (Nihon) dentō-shiki reiki ) in contrast to the western variant . The variant widespread in the west is called "Reiki Western Art" ( 西洋式 レ イ キ , seiyō-shiki reiki ).

Training and initiation

The training takes place in stages that build on one another. These degrees are called degrees. Each level of training begins with an initiation. Initiation is a ritual with which a teacher enables the student to give Reiki or to use the Reiki symbols.

Practitioners see themselves as a channel for the energy and assume that the initiation will open the channel in them or, at higher degrees, attune to the Reiki symbols. Without this initiation, the channel would not be opened, and the symbols would not develop their effect without initiation.

Traditionally there are three to four grades up to teacher training:

  • First degree: opening the Reiki channel
  • Second degree: introduction of three Reiki symbols
  • Third degree (master degree): Initiation on the "master symbol"
  • Fourth degree (teacher degree): enables you to initiate other people.

Originally, the master's degree and the teacher degree were acquired together. Many Reiki teachers still do this today. One to four initiations are given for each Reiki degree.

Reiki rules of life

The essences of the life principles of Usui are named as the five concepts, the five principles or the five rules of life and are taught during Reiki training. The text is taken from Usui's written records. The part in italics are the rules of life as taught in the West.

Kanji (Japanese) reading German

招福 の 秘 法
萬 病 の 靈 薬

今日 丈 け は
怒 る な
心 配 す な
感謝 し て
業 を は け け め
人 に 親切 に
朝夕 合掌 し て 心 に 念 じ
口 に 唱 気よ

肇祖 靈
臼 臼 臼よ肇祖 靈臼 臼 臼よ療法肇祖
臼 臼甕 男

Shofuku no hiho
Mambyō no reiyaku

Kyō dake wa
Shimpai suna
Kansha shite
Gyo o Hakeme
hito ni ni shinsetsu
Asayu GASSHO shite kokoro ni Nenji
kuchi ni tonae yo

Shinshin kaizen
Usui Reiki Ryoho
Usui Mikao

The secret art of inviting happiness.
The wonderful medicine for all diseases.

At least today,
don't get angry, don't
be grateful,
work diligently,
be kind to everyone.
Every morning and evening, fold your hands, pray from the heart and
call on him (Buddha) loudly.

To improve the mind and body.
Usui Reiki Ryōhō
The founder
Usui Mikao


Reiki practitioners assume that, as with other forms of "energy work", they are not working with their own energy. After being initiated by a teacher, they see themselves as a channel for the Reiki energy. Since they are not working with their own energy, they can also treat themselves. Animals and plants can also be treated in their opinion.

Users continue to assume that Reiki as life energy can never harm. The aim of the application is physical, mental, emotional and social health, the strengthening of self-healing powers and the overcoming of illnesses.

Reiki does not replace a doctor , medication or prescribed therapies, but it can be used alongside any medical or alternative medical treatment.

Practitioners assume that Reiki flows where it is needed during treatment and therefore a diagnosis is not required for treatment. The treatment also does not make a diagnosis.


Reiki treatment is usually done by laying on the hands. However, some practitioners prefer to hold their hands a few centimeters above the patient's body. Usui left detailed records of the Reiki treatment. Afterwards, the Reiki treatment can also include massaging, tapping, caressing and the like. a. the diseased part of the body.

Chujiro Hayashi has developed twelve hand positions for a full treatment that is supplemented according to the needs of the person being treated. This treatment regimen is still common today. The practitioner can change it according to his experience and intuition . There are also agreements on short treatment that can also be carried out while sitting.


There is no fixed fee schedule for treatment or training.

In favorable cases, the costs for a treatment are those of a massage , but sometimes go well beyond that. They are not covered by the health insurance company due to the lack of proven effectiveness in Germany. In Switzerland, on the other hand, there is the possibility of receiving a share of the costs from the health insurance companies via supplementary insurance, provided that the practitioner has been recognized by EMR (empirical medicine register) or ASCA (Swiss Foundation for Complementary Medicine).

The costs of the training, which is usually carried out in weekend seminars, can vary widely. The training and initiation rules are hierarchical .

Scientific studies

There have been numerous studies with varying results on the effectiveness of Reiki in curing diseases. There was no proof of effectiveness beyond the placebo effect . In clinical studies, with which the effectiveness was to be proven, either no positive effect was found or decisive methodological weaknesses were found.

Assefi et al. showed in a randomized, placebo-controlled study in 2010 with 100 participants suffering from fibromyalgia that there was no difference whether the patients were treated by a Reiki therapist or by an actor posing as a therapist.

Web links

Commons : Reiki  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Reiki  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Shalila Sharamon, Bodo J. Baginski: Reiki. 13th edition, Synthesius Verlag, Essen 1994, ISBN 3-922026-35-4 .
  2. a b M. S. Lee, MH Pittler, E. Ernst: Effects of reiki in clinical practice: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials . In: The International Journal of Clinical Practice . Vol. 62, No. 6 , June 2008, p. 947-954 , doi : 10.1111 / j.1742-1241.2008.01729.x , PMID 18410352 .
  3. a b Sondra vander vaart, Violet M. Gijsen, Saskia N. de Wildt, Gideon Koren: A systematic review of the therapeutic effects of Reiki . In: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine . Vol. 15, No. November 11 , 2009, p. 1157-1169 , PMID 19922247 .
  4. a b c Japanese Reiki Association.Retrieved September 19, 2013, (Japanese).
  5. a b c d e f g h i j Frank A. Petter: Original Reiki manual by Dr. Mikao Usui. 9th edition, Windpferd Verlagsgesellschaft mbH, Oberstdorf 2010, ISBN 978-3-89385-320-5
  6. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Mary McFayden: The healing power of Reiki. Rowohlt Taschenbuch Verlag GmbH, Reinbek near Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-499-60781-6 .
  7. a b c d e f g h i Barbara Simonsohn: The Authentic Reiki. Wilhelm Goldmann Verlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-442-14210-5 .
  8. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Fran Brown: Reiki life. Synthesis Verlag, Essen 1993, ISBN 3-922026-71-0 .
  9. ^ Reiki Association Germany e. V., What is Reiki? Retrieved September 26, 2013.
  10. Reiki. EMR
  11. Nassim Assefi, Andy Bogart, Jack Goldberg, Dedra Buchwald: Reiki for the Treatment of Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial . In: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine . Vol. 16, No. 11 , November 2010, p. 1191-1200 , doi : 10.1089 / acm.2008.0068 , PMID 18991519 .