Articles > Reiki Overview

19 Dec 2010

Reiki is a path of Self-discovery and healing through chanelling this life-force energy for treatment of self and/or others.  I have a small problem with the word 'channelling' because new-age spirituality has assigned it to receiving information from spirits, however in Reiki, we are simply a channel for the energy, and like a channel that conducts water from one space to another, we receive the blessing of the energy as it flows through us.

The first level (Reiki I) is learned in four sessions, usually over two full or four half days.  Over the course of the sessions students are attuned to the energy t hrough an initiation process.  They learn about the history of Reik and the lineage of Reiki masters who carried the knowledge.  They learn what Reiki can do, how to use Reiki in their lives, how to give a Self Treatment and how to treat others.  They also learn about the Five Spiritual Precepts.  Dr Usui, the founder of Reiki called this process “The secret art of inviting happiness - The miraculous medicine of all diseases".

The second degree is learned over two short sessions and is more versatile as we learn to send Reiki at a distance.  The second degree initiates a deeper mental and emotional healing process.  People who wish to treat professionally need to have both first and second degrees.

The Master’s level is attained after years of practice and service in Reiki.  The Master candidate need to have reached a level of spiritual maturity.  It is not a course on offer, but is a relationship entered into firstly between student and Reiki, and then between student and teacher.

Takata described Reiki as a healing art. The discipline that we use to learn self-mastery is healing -first ourselves and then others.  In giving Reiki we learn about ourselves and we learn the language of energy.  Takata’s vision for Reiki was that families would learn Reiki and treat each other.  She said it was a household art – like baking bread.  Children who grow up in Reiki heal through their challenges and sicknesses rather than creating blocks that they then have to deal with when they attain adulthood.


Lineage is important in Reiki because like a family, traits are passed from generation to generation.  Mrs Takata taught Reiki in a simple, no nonsense way.  When Takata journeyed to Japan in the 1930’s she was a very sick woman for whom death looked likely.  Through receiving daily treatments in Dr Hayashi’s clinic she   became completely healed and was forever- after grateful for and respectful of Reiki.

It is this gratitude and respect that is carried in our lineage.  If ever I have a question, I’ll phone Wanja (my Reiki Master) and inevitably we reach the same destination.  Wanja says “I just do what my teacher taught me”.  In the same way I work to be true to my lineage and carry the spirit of Reiki faithfully.  In the same way the students who I have initiated as Reiki Masters carry the spirit of Reiki.

In the late 1800’s, Dr Usui went on a quest to find a way to heal.  He spent years studying healing texts - firstly in the Bible as he was a Christian and then in the spiritual texts of other cultures. Finally in ancient Buddhist writings in a monastery in Kyoto he found a way to access a universal energy that healed. He named the energy Reiki which translates to Universal Life-Force Energy.  He also learned how to send Reiki at a distance and how to attune others into Reiki.

Dr Usui recognised that healing was not just physical, but emotional, mental and spiritual as well.  The Usui  system of Reiki addresses all of these levels.

Like anything that we have strived and sweated for, Dr Usui had the greatest respect and value for Reiki and although the 1st & 2nd degree were available to anyone, he only taught the Master’s level to a select handful who he felt had achieved a certain level of personal and spiritual maturity and whose consciousness he considered highly developed. 

When I first learned Reiki there was no need to define the Usui System as the only people teaching Reiki had been trained by Mrs Hawayo Takata who brought Reiki to the west from Japan in 1935.  Takata made twenty two Masters but she only taught a few how to initiate into the Master level.  My Reiki Master Wanja Twan was one of these.

One of Takata’s Masters modified the system in the 1980’s making it her own.  She called her system ‘The Radiance Technique’, distinguishing it from the Usui system of Reiki.

In the 1990’s Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Takata’s grand-daughter and elected head of the Reiki Alliance, trusted her new masters with the form of the Master’s initiation ceremony.  Some of these students performed the ceremony on students who were not ready

These students in turn modified systems.  As well, they   revealed   information   that they had given their word to keep private.  The fact that they had   modified the original system was never   mentioned and when their students in turn    became teachers they believed they carried the system of Usui Reiki.

Suddenly in the mid 1990’s there was an explosion of systems claiming to be the Usui System but many bearing little or no resemblance to the original Usui system of Reiki.  Many books appeared on the market written by authors claiming to be authorities on Reiki, but many of whom had only been practicing their particular system a short time. These ‘masters’ were offering cut-price, instant, Reiki to entice students.  They brought the focus to money and speed where it had previously been on service and mastery and on the way created a lot of pain and confusion.

It helps to remember that anything organic takes time to grow and mature.  The process of Reiki is no different.

A general starting point in distinguishing whether a person is teaching in the Usui System is by the fee structure of their courses, the length of time of their workshops and by the time it has taken them to get to where they are.

The Fee

Although there is no set fee for 1st & 2nd degree, Masters who practice Usui  Reiki ask a fee that reflects both the tradition of Reiki and its value in today’s world.

In his first steps after being opened to Reiki Dr Usui took his healing hands to the slums of Kyoto and worked with the beggars there for a number of years.  First he healed their bodies with Reiki and then he initiated them into Reiki and they were encouraged to leave the slums and find a new, productive life.

After a number of years, Dr Usuirecognised faces of people who he had helped but who had returned to the slums.  He realised that people would value Reiki if they had to offer something in return and so the tradition of the fee for Reiki was born.

When you value something you neither give it away lightly nor   expect to receive it for nothing.  

By the time Mrs. Hawayo Takata came to Japan in the 1930’s, Reiki, under the care of Dr Hayashi (one of Dr Usui’s principle students), had become a highly respected path for the Japanese aristocracy.  [

The Fee Structure

In the 1970’s Mrs Takata's fees were $US150 for Reiki I, $US500 for Reiki II and $US10,000 for the Master’s level.  Today there is no set fee for Reiki I & II, however in the west, Usui Master’s ask between $250 - 300 for Reiki I and $600-700 for Reiki II.  The master’s fee however remains unchanged. 

Liora (Lalita) Claff

Liora Lalita Claff ~ ~ ~ Email:  ~ ~ ~ ~ ph: The Reiki Room:  +61 2 6624 4216