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Reiki Today

by Christine Johnston(more info)

listed in reiki, originally published in issue 180 - March 2011

Many people know that Reiki was developed in Japan by Mikao Usui in the early 1900s. He was a Buddhist and a Master in Martial Arts.

Reiki was originally brought to the West by Mrs Takata, who was taught by Usui's Christian friend Dr Hayashi. When Mrs Takata started to teach Reiki in the 1970s, she tried to make it more acceptable to non Buddhist people and also avoid references to Japan, as WWII had made many Japanese connections unpopular.

Reiki Symbol


Reiki is a wonderful healing process that works at bringing us into balance and reinforces the body's natural ability to heal itself at all levels, whether physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.  During a treatment the recipient remains clothed, lying on a couch or sitting comfortably, and the practitioner gently places their hands on or near the body.  They may feel sensations during the treatment; most people feel relaxed and at peace afterwards. 

Reiki spread throughout the West quickly and no contact was made with Japanese practitioners. Then, many Reiki masters and teachers started to put their own stamp on their Reiki teaching. Some channelled new symbols, some included angels, ascended masters and guides in their teaching. Some connected Reiki to other forms of healing - Celtic Reiki, Sai Baba Reiki, and Karuna Reiki.  None of these were part of the original form of Reiki taught by Mikao Usui. In the West now we have at least 40 different styles of Reiki.

With so many differing styles of Reiki, it is important that Reiki be included  amongst the therapies that are working towards Voluntary Self Regulation and National Occupational Standards.  This is primarily to protect the public, but also, the medical profession is more likely to include therapies in the allopathic environment if they know the practitioner has achieved a certain standard and/or is on a recognized National Register.  Therefore the UK Reiki Federation along with other Reiki organisations formed the Reiki Regulatory Working Group (RRWG) to set standards for both practitioners and teachers. The RRWG was working with the Prince of Wales Foundation to create a national register, along with other complementary therapies, so that they can be more readily accepted in hospitals, hospices and other NHS environments.

Subsequently the Reiki Council was set up as the lead body for Reiki:

"Its objects are to be the lead advisory body for professional Reiki practitioners in the UK, to uphold the freedom to teach and practise individual styles of Reiki and to operate in the spirit of Reiki and according to Reiki principles."

After considerable debate, the Reiki Regulatory Working Group came to the opinion that a single regulator (i.e. just for Reiki public practitioners) would serve neither the public, nor practitioners. This is because the majority of practising Reiki professionals are multi-therapists. Logic dictated that the best way to serve the public was through a multi-therapy regulator, because more practitioners would be likely to join a 'one-stop' shop. For practitioners the costs of joining a multi-therapy regulator would be less than of having to join a number of single-therapy regulators.

  • The choice as to whether to register lies with the individual practitioner;
  • The role of the Reiki Council therefore was to be a body that could advise people practising Reiki publicly (professional practitioners), advise regulators, advise qualifications authorities and any other relevant body that wished to know best practice standards for Reiki practitioners;
  • The Reiki Regulatory Working Group therefore became the lead advisory council for Reiki practitioners in the UK.*

The most popular national register now for Reiki Practitioners, as well as Reflexologists and some forms of massage therapists, is the GRCCT, the General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies.  Practitioners and teachers on this National Register agree to abide by Codes of Professional Conduct and Ethics, are answerable to the GRCCT Complaints and Disciplinary procedures and maintain their training and knowledge with continued professional development (CPD).

Some practitioners do not want to join a register or become a member of a Reiki organization.  Many believe that Reiki is a spiritual practice and does not need to be regulated and that Reiki has been proved to 'only work for the good'. They may well be very spiritual people; however, if you do practise Reiki within a medical environment, many doctors and nurses will not appreciate the practitioner calling on Guides and Ascended Beings to help with their treatment.

It was only when, in 1999, Hiroshi Doi, a Japanese Master, started teaching Eastern techniques in Canada that we in the West knew that Reiki was still being practised in Japan. Since then many Reiki Masters from the West have been to Japan and learnt for themselves the variations in the way Reiki is taught and practised in the East. Eastern Reiki includes daily meditations and energy exercises; a Reiki student would consider Reiki to be part of their spiritual development, along their path to enlightenment. Another important issue to remember is that Mikao Usui stressed to his students  that self healing should be their primary intention; whereas we in the West are eager to go out and 'heal the world'.

A Reiki centre was set up in Japan, the Reiki Ryoho Gakkai and many different techniques are taught there.  These do not necessarily emanate from Mikao Usui, but they can help the practitioner, especially those who have not yet developed a strong sense of intuition.

Reiki can be used alongside traditional medicine and is now being accepted in hospitals, hospices, cancer support groups, post-operative recovery, care of the elderly, prisons, HIV/AIDS centres  and drug rehabilitation in America, in the UK and various European countries. There is a good deal of research now being carried out around the world into different 'energy therapies'** with very positive results

Whatever your style of Reiki, it is the effectiveness and results of a treatment that prove its success. If there is nothing particularly wrong, you will always feel extremely relaxed after a treatment.

Case Studies

JC came for Reiki, as she could not understand why she was angry so much of the time. Each Reiki treatment brought up a lot of emotions and she cried a lot. It was during the fourth treatment that she started weeping copiously and I stopped the treatment. After a while she was able to tell me that she now remembered the abuse she had received as a child, which she had buried so low within her being that she had not remembered it until now. Consequently she was able to release this trauma.

ES came for Reiki with a frozen shoulder. I could see that he was very tense. After the first treatment he was able to lift his arm above his shoulder and after the second treatment a few days later he had normal movement again.


*From the Reiki Council website,
** Prof. James Oschman and Dr Donese Worden


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About Christine Johnston

Christine Johnston passed away peacefully on 27 Sept 2016. She was a Reiki Master Practitioner and Teacher and had been practising and teaching Reiki for many years. She studied with various different Masters, both Western and Eastern styles. She was a member of the UK Reiki Federation Management Committee for several years. She also trained in Kinesiology, Counselling and treats patients with a Scenar machine. She practiced at her home in Suffolk and in NW London. Christine also took small groups to Ladakh to visit the Buddhist monasteries and to Kerala to see the Hindu festivals. Her website was

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