The Japanese word Reiki also refers to a spiritual practice formally known as Usui Reiki Ryoho (臼井靈氣療法). This method was systematized in the early 1900s by Mikao Usui. The traditional system of Reiki is composed of a holistic set of spiritual practices (such as breathing methods, meditation methods, etc.) taught in progressive levels, aimed to support healing and personal development.
In the words of the system’s founder Mikao Usui himself:
My Usui Reiki Ryoho (Usui method for working with Reiki) is an original, there is nothing like this in the world. So I would like to release this method to the public for everyone’s benefit and hope for everyone’s happiness. My Reiki Ryoho is an original method based on intuitive power in the universe. By this power, the body gets healthy and enhances happiness of life and peaceful mind. Nowadays people need improvement and reconstruction inside and outside of life, so the reason for releasing my method to the public is to help people with illness of body and mind
Reiki practitioners are traditionally taught in-person and are initiated into the system by a trained Reiki Shihan (also colloquially dubbed “Master”). Training is comprised of three general levels of instruction:
- Shoden (Reiki 1)
- Okuden (Reiki 2)
- Shinpiden (Reiki 3)
The system of Reiki can be practically divided down into five general areas of focus:
- Gokai (Precepts)
- Meiso (Meditations)
- Tenohira (Palm healing / Hands-on healing)
- Jumon / Shirushi (Sound and Symbol practice)
- Reiju (Initiation / Empowerment / Spiritual Blessing)
With each level, students are given instruction with how to work with one or more aspects of the system of Reiki.