REIKI is a system created by a man called Usui Mikao in Japan in the early 1900s.

He brought together various elements from his own spiritual practices to develop a system we know today as Reiki.

Initally he created it to support people on their spiritual journey toward enlightenment using meditations and precepts. These elements belonged to his own practice which were taken largely from Mikkyo (esoteric Tendai buddhism) and shugendo (mountains ascetic practices) practices as well as the Japanese culture, philosophy and cosmology.

Toward the end of his life he created teachings which were aimed at supporting the Japanese military with first aid and they included mantras, symbols, hand-healing (which was very popular in Japan at the time) and reiju (a spiritual blessing - often called an attunement today).

To find out more about these basic elements of the system of Reiki please read Five Elements of Reiki.

So he developed different teachings for different purposes. His latter teachings have developed (after being adapted by each new generation of student) into what we call the system of Reiki today. The International House of Reiki is interested in researching all teachings of Usui including the earlier practices.

The word Reiki translates from the Japanese as 'spiritual energy'. It is understood that in all of Usui's practices this is the concept of energy that is worked with. Therefore we work with the energy of everything, believing that everything consists of spiritual energy.

The practices taught in the system develop our own energy and allow it to flow more freely through us. This gradually reminds, or re-connects, us with our original nature.

The benefits being that we feel more balanced, healthier and happier and that we progress toward a state of enlightenment.

Many Reiki practitioners today use awareness of their own energy to help others with hand-healing as was taught to the Japanese military. Using hands for healing also stimulates the body's energy to get it moving more freely.