Usui Reiki represents the foundation for the entire Reiki concept. Therefore, it’s the first and most important system that all practitioners use as a reference.
Its structure allowed other forms of Reiki to be channeled throughout the past few decades.
While some use it merely to relax, others consider Usui Reiki a catalyst for spiritual growth. This flexibility makes it suitable for a wide range of personalities and desires.
In this article, we’ll explore the essence of Usui Reiki, how it came to be, and what to expect from this beautiful system.
What Is Usui Reiki
There are many ways to describe Usui Reiki, and most are probably correct. That’s because each practitioner has a unique view, and their experience guides them toward expressing what this practice means to them.
I’ll do the same here. Still, regardless of the distinctive nuances, the core doesn’t change.
Usui Reiki is the “game-changer” in human spiritual evolution (see also Lightarian Reiki). It’s a system of spiritual practice that places your mental, emotional and energetic layers in a state of healing. The practitioner can do so by channeling the universal life force energy according to its current vibration level.
Reiki is not a type of “alternative medicine” but a complementary way of healing.
Alternative implies one instead of the other, a perception that raises a bunch of controversies. It’s a superficial way of describing Reiki and pushes the conversation away from what really matters – helping people.
Reiki’s role is to balance the energetic system, which will influence everything else. Therefore, you can use it to support and enhance the effects of any type of medical care.
Specifically, by channeling the universal life force energy through your body, you’ll help dissolve residual information that emerged from past traumas, negative mental patterns, and low-vibration influences.
This process makes room for pure and unaltered energy to cleanse your structures and place your physical, mental, and emotional bodies in a state of healing.
Where Did Usui Reiki Originate
Mikao Usui, a Shintoist priest, channeled Usui Reiki at the beginning of the 20th century.
Throughout his entire life, he was in service to others. He was guided toward finding “Satori,” which is Japanese for “enlightenment.” To do so, he had to reach a state of deep meditation that was only possible through fasting and praying. This enabled his mind, body, and spirit to tune in to divine frequencies.
He started the ritual on Mount Kurama, a sacred place north of Kyoto, Japan. With each passing day, he placed a stone next to him to keep count of the progress.
Slowly, sacred elements began to surface, informing him about what required healing and balance. These were the first steps in his spiritual journey toward enlightenment.
Mikao Usui had a clear vision during this profound meditation on the 21st day. It manifested as a wave of pure, bright light that entered his body through the crown chakra. He recognized what we know today as the Reiki hand positions and sacred symbols. These were the elements needed to help himself, as well as others, find healing by balancing the energetic system.
Channeling the universal energy and using it for healing is a concept that dates back millennia. Usui Reiki is a “modern” approach brought to us at the right time. It represents a method that most people can understand and apply with flexibility.
The long-awaited moment has arrived, and from here on, everything is history. Mikao Usui passed on Reiki to 21 students, among them being some of the most iconic names like Chujiro Hayashi and Hawayo Takata. The former is best known for introducing Reiki to the western world, where many practitioners brought their contributions.
Therefore, Reiki evolved, the techniques became more efficient, and other types of Reiki emerged with time.
Yet, Mikao Usui’s legacy leaves to this day, and he’ll continue to be the most prominent teacher of all. He was the right person at the right time to bring into the physical plane a gift for humanity.
The Benefits Of Usui Reiki
Usui Reiki’s primary role is to help the practitioner place their energetic structures in a state of healing. This will bring balance at the mental and emotional levels, eventually leading to a stronger physical body.
Let’s take it step-by-step and understand each element that comes into play.
Usui Reiki Attunement
Practicing Reiki implies having access to a healthy flow of universal life force energy. While we’re all connected to this divine energy since birth, the attunement enhances the connection and aligns us with its higher vibration.
The Usui Reiki teacher follows a series of steps designed to cleanse and activate the energy flow through the main energy channel (Sushumna) and chakras. This process tunes your body to the universal life force energy frequency. But, of course, everything will happen at a pace that won’t overwhelm you or create imbalances.
This is actually specific to Usui Reiki. Many spiritual practices have the potential to raise the student’s vibration quite quickly and can aggressively surface various emotions, leading to crying or even nausea.
Reiki is known for doing things more balanced and promotes healing that always aligns with each person’s vibration level.
Therefore, the Usui Reiki attunement is an essential step in enhancing the connection to the universal life force energy. It provides a smooth transition for the student while clearing part of the residual energies.
Usui Reiki Self-Treatment
Usui Reiki is defined by self-treatment. While you may use the Usui techniques to help others, its central role is to heal yourself first.
Therefore, the Reiki self-treatment becomes a quintessential element for finding balance at all levels, growing as an individual, and eventually aiding others.
Because you are attuned to the Usui Reiki system, you transfer the universal life force energy directly to specific body areas through the Reiki hand positions. This action will impact the physical, emotional, energetic, and spiritual layers.
You can expect an increase in self-confidence, understanding, compassion, and forgiveness. These effects will impact your daily actions as well as your behavior in relation to the world.
- At the energetic level, Reiki cleanses the body from residual energies, negative thoughts, and blockages;
- At the physical level, Reiki can potentially regenerate tissue, balance metabolic functions, and support the well-being of everything in between;
- Still, probably the most desired effects are present at the spiritual level. We’re all interested in how results look in the physical plane, but whether we like it or not, everything starts with spiritual health;
What To Expect From The Usui Reiki Self-Treatment
The constant practice of Reiki can open the gates of life (chakras), allowing both the vital and universal energies to flow freely and uninterrupted. This will also stimulate the Kundalini energy to increase in an optimum rhythm.
All these efforts will eventually raise your consciousness and lay a solid foundation for spiritual growth.
But nothing happens overnight. Reiki is a long-term process and not a quick fix. Each has its own vibration level, knowledge, and willingness to change. These variables add up to the final result, which will vary vastly from person to person.
After the attunement, practicing the Reiki self-treatment for at least 21 consecutive days is best. This gives the students enough time to internalize part of the initial learnings and align their structures with a higher vibration.
Of course, it’s also a tribute to Mikao Usui’s contribution.
During this time, you may feel changes occurring at all levels. For example, some experience a release from past emotions, others are over-energized, and some are exhausted. Everything depends on the “energetic baggage” you’re carrying with you.
A clear goal is ideal when trying to put things in motion and implement a new habit. From here on, consistency is vital. Whether you practice daily, every other day, or 3 times a week, choose a cadence that works for you and stick to it.
Treatment on Others
It’s best to consider taking this step only after you have a good understanding of the first two Usui Reiki levels, which can only come through experience and practice.
This is because you must first become a clear channel and be balanced before helping others. Know that this is a more complex process where you’ll probably absorb part of their energy.
The overall approach is similar to normal self-treatments. You just use the preferred hand positions on the person’s body.
There are three things to take into account:
- You must have the person’s consent and inform them of your intentions;
- Don’t use Reiki on infections unless you are level 2 or higher and know what you are doing. Otherwise, you risk stimulating the affected area;
- When you offer Reiki to someone else, you are at their service. It’s not your will that matters, and you should advise them to do the same. While intention is important, always ask the universal energy flow to manifest for the greater good of those involved;
At the end of the session, both parties need to receive something. You provided service through Reiki, so they have to return the favor. Of course, the easiest way to settle this is money. But the higher meaning is the exchange of energy that must happen to balance things out.
How Many Usui Reiki Levels Are There
There are 3 main Usui Reiki levels plus an additional one.
Reiki Level 1 or Okuden – refers to healing your physical body. This teaches the basics of Reiki and runs through the essential knowledge one should be aware of when doing self-treatment. It’s a mandatory step in understanding what you are healing. Here you learn about Reiki hand positions, principles, and basic techniques.
Reiki Level 2 or Shoden – focuses on mental and emotional healing. You learn how to heal past traumas, toxic behavior, habits, and harmful mental programs. This stage aims to dissolve the blockages that prevent you from evolving at a spiritual level. As a result, the vibration you work with is higher, and you’ll also be able to access different forms of cleansing and protection.
Reiki Level 3 or Shinpinden – is the master level where you earn the “right” to teach others. This stage allows the practitioner to work on their spiritual side. You can start to integrate everything you have learned so far and use the information to tap into a higher vibration. Keep in mind that the Reiki master attunement doesn’t give you the title but opens your potential of becoming one.
Mikao Usui taught us that this is a life-long process. It takes dedication, discipline, and the willingness to make Reiki a lifestyle choice.
The Master/Teacher Level
At this stage you go beyond being a teacher. You can now attune others and be their guide/master. You learn all about the attunement methods, the responsibilities that come with, and how to access the highest Usui Reiki energies.
Becoming a master/teacher means that you are in the service of your students. They should follow your teachings, and you must lead them toward independence. Only so can new practitioners feel free, evolve, and bring their contributions to the world.
A Reiki master/teacher should:
- Bring light where there is darkness;
- Offer kindness where there is hate;
- Bring knowledge where there is ignorance;
- Be kind to all living beings;
Once you have this dialed in, you can consider the Reiki Grand Master System >>
Usui Reiki Principles
Usui Reiki, and in general, any form of Reiki, is based on 5 main principles representing the essence of daily living in this spiritual art.
They were initially presented by the founder, Mikao Usui, and remain the foundation of the practice.
Many versions can be found in books and around the web. Still, the one that uses present positive affirmations has the most beneficial resonance.
“The secret art of inviting happiness, miraculous medicine for all disease.
- Just for today, I am grateful;
- Just for today, I am happy;
- Just for today, I am at peace;
- Just for today, I will do my work honestly;
- Just for today, I respect and I’m kind to all life;
Join your hands in Gassho (prayer). Every morning and evening, pray from your heart!”
Each of these verses has a deep spiritual meaning that connects to a particular type of energy and information.
Just for today – the present, not the past or the future. You are in this moment, right now.
- I am grateful – appreciating each day and moment of life will help you resonate with everything beneficial for your growth;
- I am happy – This enables you to tune in to the resonance of attracting joy and happiness on all levels each day;
- I am at peace – this statement calms the mind. It allows you to be stable from a mental and emotional perspective while attracting the energy of peace in your daily life;
- I will do my work honestly – towards myself and towards others. This will attract abundance and honor from a divine perspective;
- I respect and am kind to all life – respect towards life implies understanding, forcing, and offering compassion to everything and everyone;
This represents the foundation of mental and emotional health as well as the fundamental concepts of growth on all levels.
The 4 Primary Usui Reiki Symbols And The 2 Non-Traditional Ones
The Usui Reiki system has 4 traditional symbols that you receive starting with level 2. The other non-traditional symbols later became part of the practice to enhance the overall effects.
Reiki symbols represent entire spiritual concepts that act as keys to different manifestations of the universal life force energy. Their primary role is to enhance the divine flow, and better focus it toward specific needs.
Even so, it’s good to know that…
“Reiki symbols are the jewels of Reiki but not the practice itself.”
This means that their energy, information, and power should complement the essence of what Reiki represents and not use them independently.
Another important fact is that each symbol has attributes yet to be discovered. Only through work and meditation can we contribute to enriching their worth.
Cho Ku Rei
Also known as the “Power symbol,” Cho Ku Rei acts as a “light switch” that channels the universal life force energy in a focused manner.
It has three prominent roles:
You may activate Cho Ku Rei on your palms, chakras, and even on the whole body to support your self-treatment. Add Cho Ku Rei on a room’s walls, ceiling, floor, and corners to remove negative energies and create a protective layer.
Sei He Ki
Known as the mental and emotional healing symbol, Sei He Ki is a spiritual token for harmony and balance.
Sei he Ki enhances the energy of Cho Ku Rei and vice versa. Within the self-treatment or treatment of others, both symbols create a potent combination for dissolving energetic blockages, healing emotional traumas, and creating layers of protection.
It has three main attributes:
- Helps cleanse the mental and emotional layers;
- Opens a chakra or field to release its residual energy;
- Brings harmony wherever it is activated;
Cho Ku Rei + Sei He Ki can increase the cleansing effect in a room or area.
Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen
Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen is the distance healing symbol that incorporates multiple spiritual concepts into one. You may use it to provide healing to those you can’t aid in person or help balance your past, present, and future.
The Cho Ku Rei + Sei He Ki + Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen sequence opens the energetic getaway towards anyone and any place.
It has the following attributes:
- Helps heal the past and present;
- You can use it to send energy at a distance to anyone who gives you their consent;
- When you send energy to your future, you enhance your spiritual potential and support your projects;
Shika Sei Ki
This is the first non-traditional symbol and represents peace. It’s ideal for balancing the heart chakra and the organs in this body area.
Activate it in self-treatment or treatment of others along with the rest of the Usui Reiki symbols.
It has the following attributes:
- Helps restore the energetic structure of the soul;
- By removing negative energies from the heart, thymus gland, and lungs, Shika Sei Ki is an excellent adjuvant for healing past and present emotional traumas;
- Brings peace, stability, and harmony;
- Activate Shika Sei Ki in the center of the room to stimulate feelings of compassion and peace;
The second non-traditional symbol is a throat chakra activator and a spiritual token that enhances communication.
Shika So allows you to express your thoughts and emotions harmoniously. More precisely, this can enable you to remove anxiety, frustrations, and fear from your mental and emotional bodies.
That’s why Shika So works great with Shika Sei Ki within the self-treatment and treatment of others.
It has the following attributes:
- Helps heal the energy structure of the throat chakra;
- It helps vocalize unexpressed emotions, which in turn releases the residual energies trapped within the thyroid and throat area;
- Removes stage fright and enables you to easily communicate with others;
- Shika So is also the spiritual gateway towards communicating and understanding the inner self;
Dai Ko Myo
Dai Ko Myo is the Usui Reiki Master symbol you learn at Usui Reiki level 3. It roughly translates as “Big Bright Light.”
Dai Ko Myo is a token that represents what a Reiki master should resemble: enlightenment, prosperity, and purity.
It has the following attributes:
- Cleanses and restores the energetic structures of your soul, chakras, and their generated fields;
- Brings light wherever it is activated. Therefore it enhances the vibration of a person or place;
- Offers a healthy, energetic cleansing through the “meditation in motion” method;
- When activated in the center of a room, Dai Ko Myo provides a powerful cleansing effect while raising that space’s overall vibration;
Variations Of The Usui Reiki System
There are many Usui Reiki types. While some are seen as traditional, others have a more “modern” western approach. Even if the latter holds the same values and principles, it also brings additional elements to better fit the ever-changing needs.
This segmentation took place because of the different lineages that followed the initiations provided by Mikao Usui.
With that in mind, regardless of one’s preference, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way of doing Reiki. Each type serves the same purpose: to place the body in a state of healing and to offer the potential for spiritual growth.
It’s that simple.
Let’s continue with some of the most popular variations and see how and why they came to be.
Usui Shiki Ryoho
This type of Usui Reiki belongs to Hawayo Takata. She introduced Reiki to Hawai in 1937, thus offering access to westerners to this sacred healing art. This is when the term “universal life force energy” was first used to interpret “Rei” and “Ki.”
Usui Shiki Ryoho is meant to help the student place their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual bodies in a state of healing but with a focus on spiritual evolution.
Phyllis Lei Furomoto, one of Mrs. Takata’s students, displayed this spiritual art as having four essential aspects:
- Healing practice – the self-treatment and treatment of others as means to help place a person in a state of healing through the use of hand positions;
- Personal development – by raising the student’s vibration, they must now release themselves from unuseful mental patterns and actions that were detrimental to their spiritual growth;
- Spiritual discipline – through the constant practice of Reiki, the student needs to understand the connection between the divine and each human being. This awareness helps the person understand their spiritual path and the stages of evolution that will take place;
- Metaphysical order – the student has mystic experiences, becomes aware of the universal order, and understands that everything is connected. This means that many Reiki practitioners may intersect their spiritual paths with others to grow together;
The following are the definitory characteristics that gave birth to the “Nine Elements of Reiki” within the Usui Shiki Ryoho system:
- Oral Tradition – passing the knowledge through verbal and non-verbal forms of communication by a Reiki Master;
- Spiritual lineage – the teachings are passed through a line and experience of Masters. The Usui Shiki Ryoho lineage is Mikao Usui – Chujiro Hayashi – Hawayo Takata – Phyllis Lei Furomoto. They represent the main teachers and masters of this system;
- History – refers to the way Reiki was passed on from each master and how it became known to the rest of the world;
- Initiation or “attunement” – refers to the sacred ritual passed on from teacher to student. This is the process that enables each person to connect to the universal life force energy and to practice Reiki;
- Symbols – the spiritual tokens that access different levels of the universal life force energy and allow us to connect the physical world to the spiritual one;
- Treatment – this part involves both self-treatment and distance healing procedures that you can perform either in a specific order or by intuition.
The treatment is a crucial part of one’s healing and evolutionary process;
- Forms of teaching – the methodology through which the Master/Teacher offers information on all Reiki levels;
- Monetary exchange – each level of Reiki needs to have a remuneration in exchange for the spiritual knowledge and elements that the student receives;
- Percepts – learning the five principles that encompass the daily way of welcoming the universal life force energy. Each student should reflect on those percepts and look beyond the words toward the connection between spirit and matter;
This is the compacted version of the Usui Shiki Ryoho, the most popular of all Reiki systems.
Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai
This form of Usui Reiki was and still is practiced by a smaller group of people because you can only become part of it through an official invitation.
Admiral Juusaburo Gyuda (Ushida) is considered the founder of this system. It seems that he put everything together somewhere around 1926. After World World II ended, Hawayo Takata thought Reiki had disappeared from Japan. She then discovered that it was practiced under the name of Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai.
This acted as a society rather than a Reiki system and was run by the ranks of “presidents.”
Therefore the lineage is as follows:
- Mikao Usui – Founder and 1st President;
- Juzuburo Ushida (Rear Admiral) – 2nd President;
- Kan’ichi Taketomo (Rear Admiral – 3rd President;
- Yoshiharu Watanabe (School Teacher) – 4th President;
- Houichi Wanami (Vice Admiral) – 5th President;
- Kimiko Koyama – 6th President;
- Masaki Kondoh (University Professor) – 7th President;
- Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai is focused more on traditional practices such as:
- Hatsurei Ho;
- Koketsu Ho;
- Nentatsu Ho;
The reciting of “waka” – poetry from Emperor Meiji.
This approach inspired one of the members of this society, Reiki Master Hiroshi Doi, to create his own branch named Gendai Reiki.
Gendai Reiki Ho
Also known as the Gendai Reiki Healing Association was founded by Reiki Master and Teacher Hiroshi Doi.
Because of the elusiveness of the Usui Reiki Gakkai group, Hiroshi Doi and Hawayo Takata thought that Reiki was almost extinct.
Fortunately, they found members of this group, and Doi Sensei started learning Reiki with one of the Gakkai society’s teachers, Kimiko Koyama. Eventually, Hiroshi Doi became a member of this group as well.
Having the experience of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai and of the more “modern” teaching methods of Ms. Takata, Hiroshi Doi blended the two concepts to create his own way of teaching Reiki.
And so, Gendai Reiki was born. It was stripped from the Gakkai group’s secrecy and Ms. Takata’s modern approach. However, it preserved the traditional teachings and elements. Hiroshi Doi Sensei made Gendai Reiki accessible to anyone who wanted to walk this spiritual path.
In an interview, Hiroshi Doi mentions:
“Gendai Reiki is not a new system but rather a new approach to practicing the discipline of Usui Reiki Ryoho that can be satisfactory to modern-day society. Gendai Reiki Ho’s purpose is to address the healing of the mind and soul and promote spiritual growth. These were the original intentions made clear by Mikao Usui Sensei.”
Therefore, Gendai Reiki is widely spread worldwide and has the same systematized structure as Usui Reiki Ryoho, plus the traditional practices of the Gakkai branch.
Gendai Reiki contains the reciting of Emperor Meiji’s poem “waka.” In addition, it integrates traditional methods of cleansing and therapy, such as Byosen and Hatsurei Ho.
Therefore, Gendai Reiki is similar to the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai practice. All the symbols, principles, and original Japanese cleansing techniques were preserved to help people all over the world restore their energetic and emotional balance.
Gendai Reiki is and will always be the most accessible form of Reiki. It keeps its traditions intact, free of western influence.
The Difference Between Usui And Holy Fire Reiki
Each Reiki system is meant to help the practitioner access the universal life force energy at different vibration and consciousness levels.
Usui, Karuna, and Holy Fire Reiki are just a few examples.
This means that each Reiki system contributes in a unique way to a practitioner’s healing and spiritual growth. Therefore, they serve individuals at different stages of their evolution.
Holy Fire Reiki is an “enhancement” for the Karuna Reiki system, developed by Master William Lee Rand. In turn, Karuna Reiki is an upgrade of the Usui Reiki system, facilitating access to a higher level of consciousness.
While the basic methods, such as self-treatment and treatment of others, stay the same, Holy Fire Reiki opens the path towards new levels of manifestation of the universal life force energy.
Here are a few distinctive elements that define the Holy Fire Reiki system:
- Offers access to new symbols that connect to higher dimensional entities such as angels and Archangels;
- Provides more profound emotional healing concerning past life events;
- It has new methods of cleansing and protection as well as meditations meant to heal the shadow side while supporting your spiritual potential;
- It offers access to symbols that connect to Archangels Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael but also to the angels of peace, wisdom, and manifestation of spiritual gifts into the physical world;
Is Holy Fire Reiki a necessary step, and can you achieve the same with Usui?
I believe it’s possible.
The only requirement would be to master the Usui Reiki system and go beyond the standard learnings.
Holy Fire Reiki is, therefore, a more “direct” channel toward these spiritual elements. It’s not meant to make you skip steps, but use the Usui teachings to evolve in a systematic manner.
My Take On Usui Reiki
Regardless of which type of Usui Reiki you choose to learn, the knowledge, practice, and principles matter. They create the essence of what Reiki actually is.
You can perceive this practice as a relaxation method for soothing your mind and soul. But it can also be a path toward emotional healing, awareness, and spiritual growth. It all depends on your choice and resonance when using this wonderful art form.
Usui Reiki is the foundation of most spiritual practices out there. Without it, the concept of channeling the universal life force energy would most likely be completely different, if present at all.
Beyond its sacred legacy, it is a Reiki master’s responsibility to:
Help as best as possible those in need of healing;
Become wise and assist others on their journey;
Spread the knowledge and teach others that desire to evolve from a spiritual perspective;
Become a beacon of hope and an inspiration by teaching kindness, compassion, and understanding. You can even consider working closer with Archangel Haniel to develop these qualities within you;
That is true greatness.