For a general introduction to Reiki see Keith's Reiki Page. For a comparison of Reiki and other forms of healing see our Healing and Healers FAQ

Q1: What IS Reiki?

Since it response to your particular circumstances, it is whatever you need it to be. This can be anything between assistance it relaxing to a path to enlightenment!

For a full description of what Reiki is and how to use it to the fullest, see Keith's book 'Reiki - Without Rules'.

This FAQ answers just a few key questions.

Q2: Isn't it just another therapy?

If that's the way you choose to see it. To many, it is a way of life.

Q3: Is there a philosophy/theory informing the practice of Reiki?

A better question is "WHAT informs the practice of Reiki?"

To which the answer is: Reiki itself.

The experience of those who pursue Reiki as a practice integral to their life, is that Reiki, the Universal Energy is also the Ultimate Wisdom. It IS the omniscience and omnipotence of God, Tao, Allah, Yahweh, etc. Through Reiki we have direct, personal, access to this power and wisdom. We do not need any philosophy as a intermediary! We do not need anybody else to interpret it or tell us what it means! Reiki connects us to our higher self, our own inner truth, power and wisdom . . . which is both Universal AND unique to us! No written philosophy can say that! Reiki is beyond words, it just IS.

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Q4: Are Chakras part of the Reiki System?

No. Or at least, not the way that I was taught or teach it! My experience is that Reiki works perfectly well without any knowledge of chakras. There is no evidence that Usui worked with chakras. A Reiki treatment activates the Life-Force energy in every little bit of us - it doesn't need a chakra, meridian, or any other channel through which to flow! Just try giving a Reiki holding somebody's hand, or moving the 'giving' hand away from your chakra position - the energy still flows.

Q5: So what's meant by 'Channel'?

When giving a Reiki treatment we do indeed become channels for the Universal Energy, for love, for light. But it is not a physical channel. It is a channel between dimensions, between levels of being; a connection between the 3 Dimensional world of matter and the multidimensional world of spirit, of energy. In Reiki we connect our material mind/body to our spiritual self, thus opening up a channel between the spiritual world and the material world. This happens WHEREVER we focus our attention - through hand positions, symbols, etc. Reiki, being Universal, is everywhere - it is not restricted to chakras.

Click here to see an animation about channels of healing and peace

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Q6: How can Reiki help me?

That depends on what your needs are at the time of your session of Reiki. It will 'tune into' your physical. emotional and other systems and needs and help to restore harmony and balance accordingly. This might be by enabling a relaxed state, by helping you to see a new perspective to something on your mind, or by assisting the healing of a specific condition. Note that a Reiki practitioner will never offer to resolve a pre-existing condition. Our role is to enable your own healing, for our inherent ability to heal can be phenomenal . . given the encouragement. A Reiki session provides such encouragement.

Q7: What are the standard hand positions for a Reiki Treatment

There are none! Increasingly Reiki Teachers are encouraging their students to 'follow your intuition' to 'go where your instincts take you'. Likewise, experience shows us that 'rules' about not crossing legs, keeping fingers together, etc. merely constrain us. There are No Rules. A Reiki Treatment is like a snow-flake - every one is different, a unique manifestation of divine love.

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Q8: Which of the various versions of the history or Reiki are true?

All of them and none of them. There is probably some truth in all the stories we hear. History varies depending on who's telling it. Rather than get caught up in the debate, ask yourself if it really matters. It is agreed that Usui rediscovered something amazing - better to focus on that and apply this wonderful healing in our lives.

Q9: What is the significance of the title 'Grand Master'?

We sometimes hear the term 'Reiki Grand Master' (as with martial arts) mentioned, but there is no evidence that Usui used this title or passed it on to Hayashi. The term is a recent invention. Ask yourself who is the true 'Grand Master'? Is it nor Reiki itself? God, the Universe? Reiki is about self-responsibility, being able to answer our own questions, about finding our own inner Grand Master. Reiki is also about One-ness, about freedom from hierarchical structures. The Universe knows what is best for us.

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Q10: What about 'original Usui' information?

You may see mention of material that represents Reiki as Usui himself taught it . . . but that does not mean that is how we have to teach it today. The spirit of Reiki has always been (at least for me) that it reflects the here and now. Usui taught at the end of the 19th Century . .. we're now in the 21st Century - passing time has changed much about us and our society. Usui taught in Japan, I'm teaching in the UK - the two cultures are very different.

However, it IS the Usui System and it's important that we respect Usui's intent . . . not so much in the detail as in its spirit. In reflecting on (rather than studying) the Usui Manual I find a number of points are emphasised:

These are points I already emphasise in my training. We are now seeing (through the work of Doi) some 'missing pieces' to the system often taught in the West. Attempting to rise above the unfamiliar Japanese words, I'd describe these as: Energy Exercises, Use of Visualisations, Development of Intuition & Spiritual Development. Also taught are 'healing with the eyes' and 'healing with the breath' - which equate to what I describe as 'throwing our awareness' over the recipient. The words are different, but the effect is the same!

I'd agree that these 'missing pieces' are indeed important features of Reiki and if pursued will help Reiki to become part of us and thus more helpful in our day to day lives. However, rather than teach the specific Japanese techniques perhaps it's more useful to share alternative ideas more in tune with our Western culture and experiences. For example:

* Energy Exercises - I've found some simple Qi-gong or Tai Chi exercises to be useful, but any physical exercise which enables us to 'feel connected' will achieve the same result. The important thing is that's is simple and something we can (and do!) do anytime, anyplace. Some may find that a country walk has the same effect.

* Use of Visualisations - i.e. triggering our imagination so that it helps us 'see' things (from our higher self) that we need to see. Making up our visualisations is a useful ability to develop.

* Development of Intuition - i.e. listening to our inner voice. This is what Reiki II is all about!

* Spiritual Development. Once we realise that Reiki is about becoming spiritual beings, then the practice of Reiki takes on it's true significance. Once we are committed to our own personal path of enlightenment, then Reiki makes far more sense!

There is thus no conflict between the Usui material and the 'free-style Reiki' offered by Masters in the West. The detail may be different, but the spirit of Reiki remains . . for that is the real Reiki!

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Q11: What is 'Reiki Music'?

Recording are available of so called 'Reiki Music'. Sometimes these will include periodic ringing of bells and perhaps descriptions of the chakras, supposedly to help a self-treatment work through each position. Whether you need this, I question. 

More helpfully, Reiki Music is any piece of inspired music performed with feeling. This is part of my collection of 'Music for Reiki Masters':

. . if it inspires you to be yourself or helps you express how your feeling, it's Reiki Music!

Music to do a Reiki (treatment) to can be anything that all involved feel helpful, although I'd suggest something without words. since they can distract the mind too much.

Q12: What is the Reiki 'Experience'?

We each experience whatever we need to during a Reiki treatment or attunement. We are all different, with different needs. There are No Rules! We might receive an attunement from a truly enlightened Master and feel nothing or we might get a few minutes treatment from someone not even trained in Reiki and be 'taken to heaven'. It's best not to try to analyse it. Just to enjoy whatever you feel. You might find this on-line Reiki treatment triggers something for you . . . or you might not.

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Q13: What about Reiki in the Health Service?

Reiki is becoming accepted in all walks of life, including business (as a means of helping staff relax) and in the conventional medical profession - as part of the Art of Nursing, and as a technique to encourage patients to manage and assist their own healing.

Keith is registered with The General Regulatory Council for Complementary Therapies (GRCCT)

Q14: But doesn't the conventional world require standards?

The conventional world is conditioned to using standards - that doesn't mean it actually needs them - and that is said as a Fellow if the Institute of Quality Assurance! However the Reiki community, like other holistic therapies, owes it to itself to communicate with those in more conventional medical arenas and to show that we are professional in our use of this healing mode. Codes of practice may thus be required. However, these should be used as a means for describing how Reiki is specifically used, and to explain how it differs from other therapies. Standards are not about tying us down, but about raising awareness of 'best practice' . .. and best practice in Reiki is usually about following our intuition, not about following some prescribed set of procedures . .. so THIS is what we get the standards to say!

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Q15: What standards?

In the UK the UK Reiki Federation is actively working to best represent the Reiki community on this.

Q16: What about Reiki and relationships?

The only relationship that matters is that between our sensory mind/body (material) self and our inner/higher self . . all other relationships are merely a reflection of this one. Thus, as Reiki helps us to develop a better connection within ourselves, so we find we're connecting more realistically with the world around us . . . like-wise the world around us (and all relationships in it) will provide us with plenty of opportunities to work on ourselves!

Having said that, using Reiki can be used more directly to help us work through relationship issue - as discussed here.

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Q17: What if?

What if what?!?! The answer to ANY question is 'let the Reiki guide you'. Listen to your inner/higher voice. Reiki IS your own divine wisdom. The practice of Reiki helps you to tune into this, real, you.

But . . But

But nothing! With Reiki, THERE ARE NO RULES . . do what you know you have to do, here and now.

If, after reading this page and those it refers to, you still have questions about the true nature of Reiki healing, then:

Ask YOURSELF the question and give yourself some healing, meditate, pray or otherwise detach your mind from its logical ramblings. Then sleep on it. The chances are that your own innate wisdom will have given you some clue to the truth of the matter. But if it hasn't, please contact me


If you practice Reiki and feel you need guidance and support in its use and application, Keith is happy to work with you . . . whatever you level or lineage . . . to help you get the best from Reiki . . . and yourself: please feel free to contact me


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