An Introduction to Reiki

Reiki is a healing modality that is purely energy. As such it is no wonder that for many, this concept takes some getting to grips with. Even when translating the word Reiki, one possible meaning is: “Mysterious Life Force Energy”, which shows that as a practice Reiki itself has some mysteries that cannot be readily explained. However, in this blog, I will attempt to explain the fundamentals of Reiki so that you may gain a basic understanding of what it is.

In Simple Terms

In simple terms Reiki is energy. Millions of people (practitioners and recipients) can attest to this fact; having experienced it first-hand. The tricky part is explaining the type of energy that Reiki actually is.

What Does the Title Reiki Mean?

Reiki is a Japanese title popularly given to the energy early in the 20th century by a Japanese man named Mikao Usui. From Japanese, the title can be translated in a number of ways, and to make the translation easier it is best to break the word ‘Reiki’ down into its two syllables: ‘Rei’ and ‘Ki’.

Looking at the latter syllable, Ki, it has the base meaning of ‘energy’. Or, more fully: ‘life force energy’. That’s the easy bit. And you may have come across other similar words from Eastern philosophy that carry the same meaning. For instance, with ‘Tai-Chi’, ‘Chi’ carries the same connotation. Similarly, the ‘Qi’ in Qigong is pronounced Ki (key), and again carries this same meaning. A final example that I will use is ‘Prana’, which is taken from Indian philosophy (including the Yogic traditions). This too carries the same kind of meaning as ‘Ki’ in Reiki.

But what about the first syllable: ‘Rei’? Well, there are a number of different ways to translate that to English, but here are three that I particularly like:

  • Mysterious (as mentioned in the introduction)
  • Divine
  • Universal

Let’s consider each of these in turn.

Mysterious Life Force Energy

‘Mysterious’ is a fitting description for the energy, as we cannot properly explain it. There have been many scientific studies to try to identify what Reiki is, but as of yet all we can see from these studies is the way in which Reiki affects other things. For instance, studies have shown that Reiki has a demonstrable effect on improving the purity of water. Likewise, we know that it causes changes in the electro-magnetic energy around living things*.

Additionally, for those who work with Reiki, it has other mysterious qualities. The main one is that when using Reiki, we find that it has its own intelligence. It is able to find and heal ailments that the practitioner may be completely unaware of.

* Some believe that Reiki is electro-magnetic energy. My belief is that whilst science shows that Reiki effects the electro-magnetic spectrum, it is not necessarily one and the same. Instead, it is a different type of energy that can impact and change energy in the electromagnetic spectrum.

Divine Life Force Energy

Carrying on with the last example, Reiki’s in-built intelligence for me speaks of its Divine origins. If we compare Reiki to electrical energy, we see a stark contrast. Think of your lighting in your home. When you flick the light-switch on your lights illuminate immediately. But the electricity doesn’t work intelligently. It doesn’t consider which lightbulbs to illuminate. Nor does it decide how brightly to make them shine. All it does is completes the circuit and lights all of the bulbs.

Again, from the practitioner’s perspective, we know that Reiki may choose to flow somewhere else in the body other than where we have our hands placed. This is a common phenomenon that is seen as Divine intelligence at work.

Beyond the above examples, Reiki energy is loving. Anyone working with the energy will attest to this. Of course, Love is a primary quality of the Divine.

And, if we look back over historical accounts, we see occasions of people ‘laying on hands’ to perform healing. Whilst this is not referred to as ‘Reiki’, it is clearly the same modality. Some form of energy has passed from one person to the other and healing has occurred.

Consider the biblical example of the woman whose faith moved her to touch the fringe of Jesus’ garment; knowing that in doing so she would be made well. Part of that account is recorded at Mark 5:30: “At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” (New International Version). Would this ‘power’, not be the same as energy, the same as Reiki energy?

To round this section off, I once asked one of my spiritual tutors: “what is Reiki?”. His response was that Reiki energy is part of the spectrum of energy that was used to create all things. He referred to this energy as ‘Cosmic Light’. In my own mind, I translated that to being what we may think of as Holy Spirit. Not that Reiki is exactly the same as the Holy Spirit, but that it is a segment of it, in the same way, that red or blue light is part of the visible light spectrum.

Universal Life Force Energy

The final example we are going to consider is ‘Universal Life Force Energy’.

This translation implies that the Universe is the source of Reiki. To me, it further implies that Reiki permeates the very fabric of the Universe.

That being the case, this gives us an idea of how long Reiki has been around. It is not a new or recent thing. In fact, this would suggest that it is at least as old as the Universe itself.

This relates to our picture above of Einstein and his quote. This is so relevant to Reiki. Why? Well, if all matter is in fact energy, then how fitting is it that Reiki, or Universal Life Force Energy, be used as a means to bring balance to our beings; at every level: the body, mind and spirit.


So, what do we conclude from all of the above?

Reiki is most definitely a type of energy. The exact nature of which we cannot say as it is truly Mysterious.

However, it carries with it many qualities. Predominately, we note that it is an intelligent loving and Divine energy. And it is an energy that is as ancient as the Universe that we are all a part of.

If you have found this blog interesting and would like to receive distance Reiki, or in fact, you would like to learn how to perform this miraculous healing modality, then please feel free to contact me for further info.

In Love and Light
Rob Linden
Usui, Holy Fire & Karuna Reiki Master