What is Reiki

Styles of Reiki honoring the essence in which Usui Reiki Ryoho was created can improve the quality of your life and the lives around you.

 ‘Reiki’ (‘ray-key’) is a Japanese noun that can be translated in many ways. Sometimes it refers to the original spiritual practice Mikao Usui founded, and sometimes it refers to other practices. Breaking Reiki down into rei and ki for a meaning is the same as breaking down the English word kidnap into kid and nap for the meaning of kidnap.      

‘Usui Reiki’ is what we have come to call the piece of universal energy (the source) to which Usui Sensei opened to when he attained enlightenment: this piece of universal energy is the vibrations of unconditional love and harmony. Love is a very powerful vibration and when it is piece of ‘the source’, combining with harmony, it gently replaces conflict with tranquility and imbalance with balance.

‘Usui Reiki Ryoho’ is the name given to the original spiritual practice Mikao Usui founded in 1922. It is a complementary healing art in which the practitioner learns to allow Usui Reiki to flow to atoms in need in the mind, body and spirit together of not just people, but all life forms and more.  It is not a religion, a belief system, an alternative medicine or a therapy. It does not require material objects or odd rituals.  If the practitioner is willing, his or her pathway is opened to Usui Reiki by a qualified Shihan (master instructor) and he or she spends hours in-class learning and then hours practicing.  Some styles coming through Hawayo Takata Sensei’s lineage might say Usui Shiki Ryoho, which I explain in classes.

Ryoho is best translated as healing method.  This healing method does not heal differently for emotional, mental, physical or other categories because these are all parts of the whole life and the spiritual practice Mikao Usui founded heals the whole life together. When all parts of the whole are healing together wellbeing naturally happens. <simple yet profound>

What is Reiki, what is Usui Reiki, what is Usui Reiki Ryoho, what is Usui Shiki Ryoho, and what is Japanese Reiki are all different questions with different answers.


Mikao Usui or Usui Sensei (honorable teacher) referred to his simple yet profound teachings as a  ‘Method to Achieve Personal Perfection‘ international © 1999. True health is only restored when mind, body and spirit are in-balance and working together in harmony.  

There is natural beauty in what is simple, and when you add in the profound, such as in Usui Reiki Ryoho, it is amazing.Japanese Reiki like nature has a natural yet powerful beauty

To your right is the simple beauty I enjoyed one spring morning outside my natural healing studio. 

Wildlife doesn’t search for ‘state of art’ ways to make things better, they simply are in-harmony with the natural world/universe around them and follow their dharma (sanskrit word with a simple meaning I explain in classes). 


When  mind, body, and spirit are in-balance and with harmony you do not have to search for better because you simply return to your natural state of wellbeing best for you at that junction in time.

Styles honoring Usui Reikio Ryoho do not use complicated rituals, material objects, charts of hand positions, or the need for anatomy/biology studies. Usui Reiki cannot be measured, manipulated, or touched, but it is as real as the air you breathe.

There are many things written about Mikao Usui’s spiritual practice; some are factual and for various reasons some are distorted. <read Reiki myths>

Whatever you believe becomes your reality or your path in life.  A quote from Buddha, “one cannot be on the path without becoming the path”.

Healing of the spirit is one of those important things that is sometimes overlooked.  Mikao Usui said, “If our spirit is healthy and conformed to the truth, body will get healthy naturally.  <read about healing sessions>

 Practitioners and teachers of styles honoring Usui Reiki Ryoho do not treat the disease or injuries. We focus on health and happiness, and wellbeing of minc, body and spirit together. In Gendai Reiki-ho and Komyo Reiki Kai symbols and suggested hand placement are used until students can feel the differences in vibrations in their hands because through exercises they can learn to be a clear channel through which Usui Reiki flows purely to where it is needed.   <Japanese Reiki training>


The creation of Usui Reiki Ryoho required Usui Mikao (correctly written) to spend many years in Buddhist and other studies for his self-growth, before he attained enlightenment and opened to a piece of universal energy during deep disciplined meditation while fasting.  You can easily see why you cannot teach yourself Usui Reiki Ryoho or learn it through a book, DVD, or download. 

 The spiritual practice that Mikao Usui created is a journey within your life’s journey to improve the quality of your life and the lives of those around you.  You  cannot change anyone other than yourself, but you can offer healing love and  harmony simply through your vibrations.    

Since Mikao Usui’s passing in 1926 some teachers/instructors have taught his method/spiritual practice in different ways. While Usui Sensei created three symbols in 1925 as teaching tools others have created more teaching tools as they felt students were not able to understand the essence of what Usui Sensei founded.   I have found that anyone committed to learning this beautiful spiritual has no need for training wheels once he or she benches the analytical mind and ego.

 Mikao Usui’s memorial stone in Japan gives the year, 1921,  in which he connected to a piece of universal energy following enlightenment.  Just as a baby is not born with an instruction manual the piece of universal energy Usui sensei opened to did not come with instructions.  Being able to create a way to share what had been bestowed on him in only a year shows Usui Sensei’s intellect and passion for helping others.

 While Usui Reiki, Reiki energy, or Reiki light will flow through you as soon as a qualified teacher/instructor has opened your pathway (attunement) if your highest self is ready, that is just the beginning  <learning Gendai Reiki-ho Komyo Reiki Kai) 

Modern scientific medicine is subdivided into many mental and physical forms; each having its onw diagnoses and treatments. Rather than division Usui Reiki Ryoho if healing for the mind, body and spirit of all people, animals, birds, other life forms and events.  <learning Gendai Reiki-ho & Komyo Reiki Kai>

 Usui Sensei recognized that there is an inner healer within all people and other life forms; he created a way to allow Usui Reiki to awaken, realign, and enhance the inner healer. 

The Japanese styles such as Gendai Reiki Ho and Komyo Reiki Kai are not slowed down by complicated procedures; like nature they are beautifully simple yet profound, and heal in the way that is best in the time frame best for the life receiving.   

 One of the things Usui Sensei (honorable teacher) taught in his spiritual practice is that by mastering the mysteries of self you learn to affect the mysteries of life.  This is one of the powerful lessons taught in the Shoden  (level one)<learning Usui Reiki>  


      Experience natural healing energy


Reading different history books and watching documentaries we can see conflicting facts and dates. What I share here I learned from my Japanese Reiki Shihans Hiroshi Doi, Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto and the Canadian Reiki Shihan I studied under in the 1990s who dedicated himself to knowing and teaching factual history of Usui Reiki Ryoho.  

Due to an abundance of canards/distorted stories and translation errors this beautiful spiritual practice we call Usui Reiki Ryoho might seem complicated and mysterious. Its true essence is complete healing that happens in a gentle way that might seem simple<read more>

  When added into mainstream medical practices, including massage and acupuncture styles such as Gendai Reiki-ho and Komyo Reiki Kai result in amazing healing of mind, body and spirit 

 Usui Reiki is not life force energy, nor is it Ki/Qi; it cannot be given an exact meaning other then saying it is a piece of universal energy that is the vibrations of unconditional love and harmony.


Experience natural healing energy


As originally created Usui Reiki Ryoho does not create a need for anything. Drinking extra water is not required unless you are thirsty, and you are not required to eat certain foods or follow certain procedures before or following a healing session or classes.

Each Usui Reiki Ryoho Shihan is pleased to show his or her energy and technique lineage back to Mikao Usui, certificates from his or her Usui Reiki Ryoho Shihans, and tell you if he or she has changed the way in which he or she was taught. <Shihan Roberta R. Barnes>  


While remembering that the word Reiki is a Japanese noun you will not be surprised that 5239 Reiki is an asteroid named after the Japanese astronomer Reiki Kushida.


I enjoy allowing Usui Reiki Ryoho to blend with the harmony of nature.  While taking a photograph of what I thought was a baby humming bird, I heard a buzzing to my left.

Looking to see what it was I saw an actual hummingbird hovering and looking directly at me.  When I looked back at what I had been trying to photograph I saw it was a moth often called a fake humming bird.

The hummingbird seemed to be reminding me that there is a difference between the actual and the mako (created from what is wanted not what actually is)– even if they are both cute.  I still enjoy seeing the Clearwing Moths, but I no longer think they are hummingbirds.

The universe is endless/timeless and there are infinite cosmic energies; universal energy has an infinite number of vibrations and cords (as in music) within those vibrations.  The piece of universal energy that Mikao Usui connected with, and developed his method around, is the vibrations of universal unconditional love and harmony.

Experience natural healing energy

Mikao Usui

international © 1999

Usui-Sensei passed away in his sleep after a long day of giving Usui Reiki Ryoho healing sessions (that he called blessings), March 9th, 15th year of Taisho (A.D. 1926). ***  

In 2002 I listened to Hiroshi Doi say, “Usui Reiki Ryoho is worldwide healing method born in Japan”. © Universal Copyright 1999 

Mikao Usui said in his humble way, “For achieving my teachings, training and improving physically and spiritually and walking in a right path as a human being, first we have to heal our spirit. Secondly we have to keep our body healthy. If our spirit is healthy and conformed to the truth, body will get healthy naturally. Usui Reiki Ryoho’s missions are to lead peaceful and happy life, help others heal and improve opportunity for happiness of others and ourselves.”  international © Hiroshi Doi 2002

I was pleased that Hyakuten Sensei in class handed out documentation of Usui Mikao’s posthumous name showing he had been Buddhist all his life.  I include a copy of this in my Shoden manuals along with details of Usui Sensei’s his first awakening and second awakenings. While his second awakening has been told in various way, the importance of his first awakening is best not to be overlooked.  I explain that importance in Shoden classes.

All my manuals are a combination of my Shihan’s manuals and notes I took in classes.

With so much to learn no level can be done in just one day and then it takes weeks or months of practice before you know you are ready to move on to the next level. With each level your vibration raises, but it does not make you better than anyone.  Each level is honorable and can improve the quality of your life and the lives of those around you.

What I have here are the basic facts of this amazing man and the beautiful gift he shared with the world. Especially in my Shoden manual there is much more factual history.

“Everyone is born with the right to be healthy and live with happiness, and the path                                                                      of Usui Reiki helps us to fulfill that right.” © Roberta R. Barnes, 2002


The five short lines of the simple yet profound Usui Reiki Gokai (five precepts or principles), is the key to health and happiness. One English translation from one Japanese person living in Japan is as follows, beginning with today only:

  1. I let go of anger
  2. I let go of worry
  3. I give thanks for what I have
  4. I do my work honestly/diligently
  5. I extend kindness to all

The meaning behind the words, as I explain is classes, goes very deep when said from your heart (place of true knowledge.

 When Chujiro Hayashi combined Usui Reiki Ryoho with his medical practice the custom of a client laying on a table to receive was initiated.  However, receiving Usui Reiki on a massage table is not a necessity; you can receive from a qualified Usui Reiki Ryoho practitioner or Shihan at any time in any place. <healing sessions>

Usui Reiki Ryoho is no worry about whether the glass is half-full or half-empty, but instead is accepting what is within and moving forward in the best positive light.

When you take the time to study Usui Reiki Ryoho as “a spiritual practice, and not a technique to satisfy an egotistic purpose ” © Hiroshi Doi 2002,  you learn what cannot be symbolized in any language.<read learning Japanese Reiki>


The documented healing that can be connected to Usui Reiki is nothing less then astonishing. In spite of this medical care should never be ignored or stopped without consulting the attending medical care professional.  Adding Usui Reiki healing sessions into recovery from an illness or injury allows you to heal faster and better than expected.

Cases of medical professionals blending Usui Reiki into the treatment for various ills is becoming more and more common. This piece of universal energy speeds recovery in all types of trauma and medical procedures, and helps a person cut back on the amount of pain medication needed.  In classes I sometimes give various examples of  the awesome healings while keeping private the names of the individuals.


More and more hospitals welcome qualified Usui Reiki Ryoho practitioners coming in to assist in the healing process of those patients that have requested it. 

Reiki is universal love and harmony

The sun may set but the universal vibrations of Usui Reiki Ryoho flow without harm even while you are sleeping.


There remain many things that are currently kept sacred by URR Gakkai members. I explain to my students  the reason Usui Sensei created the Gakki, which reflects his want to share the gift he was blessed to receive. <Gendai Reiki-ho >

The next time you hear something new about Reiki, stop and remember the world history from Usui Sensei’s birth to the year following Hayashi Sensei’s passing on. Then ask where that information came from; it is not yours to judge, but it is yours to believe or not to believe. Also remember that Usui Reiki Ryoho is an original spiritual practice Mikao usui created in 1922.


Usui Reiki Ryoho is like the revitalizing sunlight that touches the earth with harmony promoting health and happiness the morning following a disaster.


Call 207-445-5671 or Contact by Email  Shihan Roberta R. Barnes  Gendai Reiki-ho Shihan, Komyo Reiki Kai Shihan, Master Herbalist Consultant and Author by Email today and begin your healing journey


    Copyright (C) 2005 Roberta R. Barnes Natural Healing & Learning Center. All rights reserved.

Thank you for respecting the © on all the information Roberta R. Barnes is sharing with you and not copying  anything from this website without her written permission, not changing any of the wording and including Roberta R. Barnes as the author.


Resources for this article and source of quotes. Richard Rivard Reiki Shihan of several styles of Reiki 1997 and forward. Hiroshi Doi-sensei Gendai Reiki Ho Healing Kyokai class 2002. Hiroshi Doi is a member of the Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai. Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto-sensei Komyo Reiki Kai class 2003.  Interviews and research done by Richard Rivard, Tom Rigler, Dave King and Don Beckett

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 last updated 07/15/17

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