The word Reiki is Japanese for universal life energy and is also a word used to describe a system of natural healing. It is a simple, natural and safe method of healing.  Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing in which universal energy (Chi) is transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient to encourage mental, emotional or physical healing. There is within all of us the capacity to be attuned to this healing energy. Reiki ‘training’ allows the person to become conscious of that capacity.

Reiki was developed in Japan in 1922 by Dr Mikao Usui and evolved as a result of his research, experience and dedication. It has been adopted across the world and its survival is thanks to Takata Sensei who learned it in Japan and took it back to Hawaii before World War II. After WWII the United States took complete control of Japan and required that all practising healers had to be licensed. Consequently, many healers went underground and many traditional healing modalities disappeared in Japan.

Main principles

Reiki practitioners use the universal life energy they have been attuned to, to promote natural healing by transferring it by touch or close contact to their client. Dr Usui described the five principles of Reiki for practitioners to consider:

1. Just for today, do not worry.

2. Just for today, do not anger.

3. Honour your parents, teachers and elders.

4. Earn your living honestly.

5. Show gratitude for every living thing.

He said ‘As running water smooths the jagged edges of a rock until it is small enough to roll away, Reiki flows to the areas of need, soothing and supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself.’

There are five symbols used in the Usui Reiki healing system. Historically Reiki symbols were always held in secrecy and were only revealed to students by a Reiki Master during initiation. Traditionally, three of these symbols were revealed to Reiki Level 2 students and the fourth and fifth symbols were reserved for Level 3 Reiki Master students, (see below). Controversially these symbols are now available in books and online.


Reiki is helpful as a stand-alone treatment to improve the prospects of healing as well as in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.


Federation of Holistic Therapists (FHT)

Reiki is not a regulated therapy, which means there are no laws in place surrounding practitioners. However, Reiki practitioners should have undergone at least two levels of training before they practise on clients.

These are described below:

Level  1. Introductory level. This encourages the prospective therapist to become conscious of the universal life force energy. The goal of level 1 Reiki training is to practice self-healing.

Level  2. Practitioner level. When this level has been completed, practitioners receive 3 of the 5 Reiki symbols which allow the practitioner to connect more deeply with the universal energy. This in turn allows them to use Reiki on other people. There are five symbols in the Usui Reiki Healing system and these were Traditionally, three of these symbols are taught to Reiki Level 2 students and the fourth and fifth symbols are reserved for Reiki Level 3 Master students.

Level  3. Reiki Master. This is considered a teacher's level and is not required before treating clients. Graduates are able to 'attune' new Reiki practitioners after completing level 3. Becoming a Reiki Master signifies a deep commitment to the Reiki practice.)

Reiki is helpful as a stand-alone treatment to improve the prospects of healing.