This article is from the Alternative Medicine Therapies guide.
Reiki (pronounced "ray-kee") is a therapeutic technique in which healing energy is channeled, or conducted, through a practitioner's hands into the person receiving the treatment. It is believed that Reiki brings the body into emotional and spiritual balance, supporting the body's natural ability to heal itself.
The name Reiki comes from the Japanese rei, meaning "universal," and ki, meaning "energy." Reiki's "universal energy" is equivalent to the vital life force, or qi, in traditional Chinese medicine, and to prana in Ayurvedic medicine. Those who practice Reiki assume the existence of this invisible energy, which is believed to radiate through all life forms.
Reiki's origins are unclear, but it is thought to derive from the healing practices of ancient Tibetan monks. In the early 1900s Reiki as we know it was introduced in Japan by Mikao Usui, a religious scholar and teacher who had studied healing in Tibet. Usui named the therapy Reiki and developed the Usui System of Reiki Healing, which is considered by many to be the foundation of the therapy today. Usui's system was brought to Hawaii in the 1930s by Hawayo Takata, a Japanese-American woman who had received the esteemed degree of Reiki Master from one of Usui's disciples. After teaching it there for years, she brought the practice to the mainland U.S. in the 1970s.