What is Reiki

‘Usui Reiki Ryoho’ is the name given to the original spiritual practice Mikao Usui founded in 1922.  It is a spiritual practice that heals mind, body and spirit together It is not a religion, a belief system, an alternative medicine, a career, or a therapy. It is a beautiful complementary healing that improves the quality life.  Unlike scientific medicine it is not broken down into people Reiki and animal Reiki and does not require material objects. Practitioners who have spent hours practicing exercises learned in classes can allow universal vibrations of love and harmony to flow to all form of life, and events at any time in any place.  Some styles coming through Hawayo Takata Sensei’s lineage might say Usui Shiki Ryoho, which is one part of history I explain in classes. Translation errors happen in all languages and different dialects. I was blessed to have studied under Japanese Shihans living in Japan who know the dialect Usui Sensei spoke; one also speaks English and the other had a Japanese translator who lived most of her life in Japan.  


‘Usui Reiki’ is what we have come to call the piece of universal energy to which Usui Sensei opened after attaining enlightenment during disciplined extremely deep meditation and fasting. Theses universal vibrations are unconditional love and harmony. We all know that Love and harmony are powerful forces; being an actual piece of ‘the source’ they gently replace conflict with tranquility and bring healing balance and harmony to all atoms in need in mind, body and spirit together.


‘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, sometimes it refers to styles of Usui Reiki Ryoho that have been altered in different ways, and sometimes it refers to things that have nothing to do with the spiritual practice Usui Sensei created.  This is why the first question most people ask when another says Reiki is what style of Reiki are you talking about.

Breaking Reiki down into rei and ki for a meaning is the same as breaking down kidnap into kid and nap for the meaning of kidnap.  As I explain in classes there is another Japanese noun, which begins with Rei that actually does have the translated meanings that some people say is Reiki. 


My sources of what I write and teach are Hirohsi Doi who joined the URR Gakkai in 1993 and Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto who is also a Buddhist monk; each Japanese Shihan lives in Japan and has only 2 Shihans between himself and Mikao Usui. Doi Sensei revealed much of the true history; he said enough time had passed so that he was able to tell us the truth surrounding Hayashi Sensei’s passing (death).  Plus my Canadian Usui Reiki Shihan, prior to Doi-Sensei and Hyakuten-Sensei spend years researching factual history through Japanese sources. In my eight student manuals I give only to my studnets, and in classes, I tell all my sources.  

Ryoho is best translated as healing method.  When used with Usui Reiki it is the healing method that brings the healing balance and harmony to emotional, mental, physical and other categories together. When all parts of the whole are healing together, wellbeing naturally happens. <read more Usui Reiki Ryoho is simple yet profound>

 Because Usui Reiki is a piece of universal energy and the universe allows freewill, it will never flow to any life that does not want it.  Therefore, no one can force actual Usui Reiki onto any life form. 

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 as I explain in detail in classes.  What you see here is an introduction similar to the intention of the book Iyashion Gendai Reiki-ho by Hiroshi Doi written to introduce Gendai Reiki-ho, the style of Usui Reiki Ryoho he created to weave this beautiful piece of universal energy into modern daily life.   


Today’s world is swamped by artificial energy and a network of abnormal and manufactured fields, which have  changed a quiet world that was regulated by the natural influences of pure universal vibrations.  When Usui Reiki relates to the pure spiritual practice Mikao Usui founded it is the raft that helps you through the swamp of manufactured energy. 

The mind, body and spirt together is a must for actual wellbeing. 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. © international  <healing sessions>

Light has been intertwined in spiritual practices and beliefs for centuries, which is why you might hear Shihans practicing pure Japanese styles of Usui Reik Ryoho say Reiki light. Reiki light’s meaning is the most beautiful and nourishing light you can imagine.

Mikao Usui did not claim that he was master of the spiritual practice/healing art he created and no one can master universal energy. After completing four or more levels of a style honoring Usui Reiki Ryoho and practicing for years a person becomes a Shihan (master instructor or teacher of high standing). Usui Sensei was a mater, grand master and beyond in martial arts, but he did not use any of these titles when practicing or teaching the original spiritual practice/healing art he created. On his memorial he is referred to as the Sensei.


Weaving the healing balance and harmony of Usui Reiki into your life (by receiving a healing session or completing any level/degree) helps you heal faster and better from all illnesses, including minor and serious accidents and stress related challenges.  In healing sessions Usui Reiki flows to mind, body and spirit together as you slip into a relaxing yet energizing state. <healing sessions>


Gendai Reiki-ho and Komyo Reiki Kai are Japanese styles that embrace the quintessence of what Mikao Usui created after he attained enlightenment and through extremely deep meditation and fasting opened to a piece of universal energy.  They focus on the well-being of the whole life.



One of the ways 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.

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

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.


There is a fine line between fact and fiction; if a person does not hear all that is being said he or she fills in the bnks with thier own facts form their memory.  Three words of what you just read were spelled wrong, but you may not have noticed because the mind can automatically rearrange things as you have seen or herad in your past.  What I write is based on what I learned directly from my Japanese Shihans with a very close lineage to Mikao Usui <Shihan Roberta R. Barnes>   

Styles honoring Usui Reikio Ryoho as created by Usui Sensei do not use complicated rituals, material objects, charts of hand positions, many symbols or anatomy/biology studies.

The vibrations of universal love and harmony cannot be measured, manipulated, or touched, but this piece of universal energy is as real as the air you breathe. Mikao Usui created only 3 symbols in 1925 for those students who needed something visual to equate with such a strong yet gentle and beautiful energy.  Once his original spiritual practice crossed the oceans various teachers felt their own need to create their own symbols for various reasons.  I introduce the three symbols Usui Sensei created in Okuden/Chuden. Many of my students ask if they have to use the symbols because listened in Shoden classes and practiced the exercises enough to resonate fully with vibrations.  In the third level, which is a spiritual level preparing a person for the fourth teacher’s level, there is time given to transcending all symbols and any other training wheels. 

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

Whatever you believe becomes your reality, your way of viewing everything.  A quote from Buddha, “one cannot be on the path without becoming the path”.   A quote I learned years ago is, In what is seen should one be the seen.


In 1922 Usui Sensei created an original spiritual practice.  This  included a method to open others to these amazing vibrations.  We know this spiritual practice as Usui Reiki Ryoho, but being without ego at all times he simply called it my method. 

 Practitioners and teachers of styles honoring Usui Reiki Ryoho do not treat the disease or injuries. We focus on health, happiness, and wellbeing of mind, 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.  Through Japanese exercises you can learn to be a clear channel through which Usui Reiki flows purely to where it is needed without any designated hand positions or symbols.   <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.  In classes Japanese exercises allow you to resonate with Usui Reiki so that it easily flows through you to bring balance and harmony that heals mind, body and spirit together, without dependence on symbols or material objects. 

Since Mikao Usui’s passing in 1926 some teachers/instructors have taught his method/spiritual practice in different ways 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 upon him in only a year shows Usui Sensei’s intellect and his 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)  that is just the beginning  There are no promises to rate a 10 on any chart, simply an opportunity to improve the quality of your life in the way best for you. <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 teach others how to allow Usui Reiki to awaken, realign, and enhance the inner healer plus bring balance and harmony to all atoms in mind/body/spirit together. 

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 about of history. 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 strong yet 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 together 

 Usui Reiki is not life force energy, viral energy, or Ki/Qi. It cannot be given an exact definition; it is the universal vibrations of unconditional love and harmony, a piece of the source. The actual meaning is something you can only know in your heart.


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.  Eating certain foods or following certain procedures before or following a Usui Reiki Ryoho healing session or classes are not required–the universe allows freewill .

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 most importantly tell you if he or she has changed the way in which he or she was taught. <Shihan Roberta R. Barnes>  


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 related to the hummingbirds that visit my gardens 

Experience natural healing energy

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.  We all know how powerful love is; as a visual Dr. Emoto showed us the beauty of a water molecule that had absorbed vibrations of love.


Mikao Usui

international © 1999 by way of Hiroshi Doi Sensei

Mikao Usui passed away in his sleep after a long day of giving blessings/healings March 9th, 15th year of Taisho (A.D. 1926). ***  He was born August 15, 1865.  

Usui Sensei attained enlightenment and opened fully to an actual piece of universal energy in 1921, and created his original method we not call Usui Reiki Ryoho in 1922.  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– thank you for respecting this copyright.  

Usui Sensei’s compassion caused hum to create 3 symbols in 1925 for those students who needed something visual to understand energy/vibration. Prior to that he had not used symbols. It is the vibrations and not symbols that heal, but if a student was willing and ready he would go that extra step to help him or her learn. As you learn in classes the 3 cover so much that there is no need for any more, and you transcend those as you learn to fully resonate with universal energy and easily recognize varying vibrations given off from the receiver.  

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 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 Hiroshi Doi’s and Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto’s student manuals and notes I took in their classes.

With so much to learn no level can be done in just one day and then it takes weeks, months sometimes years of practice before you know you are ready to move on to the next level.  Usui Reiki Ryoho is a journey that you travel at your pace, with the last part of the journey being with the weight of symbols or material objects holding you back. With each level your vibration raises and you are connected more fully to universal unconditional love and harmony.

Each level is honorable and can improve the quality of your life and the lives of those around you.

What I am sharing here are only some of the basic facts of this amazing man and the beautiful gift he shared with the world. My Shoden student manual has approximately 17 pages of factual history in its 70 plus pages. Much more is shared in the manuals for levels two, three and four.

“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 a Japanese person living in Japan is as follows. 

Each line begins with today only. Today” is Now, a moment that is often referred to as the present moment.  Now is all you have and your life is but a collection of present moments. In classes I explain more reading an example given to me by one of my Shihans. .

  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 in classes and my manuals, goes beyond any dictionary’s meaning for each word.

 When Dr. Chujiro Hayashi Sensei combined Usui Reiki Ryoho with his medical practice the custom of a client laying on a table to receive was initiated.  However,  you can receive from a qualified Usui Reiki Ryoho practitioner or Shihan at any time in any place. <read more about 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 for you.

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 healings, and healings I have witnessed when Usui Reiki has been allowed to flow are nothing less then awesome. While medical care should never be ignored or stopped without consulting the attending medical care professional, adding Usui Reiki healing sessions into the recovery process from any illness or injury allows you to heal faster and better than expected; I can state this without reservation as I personally have experienced it.


More and more hospitals welcome qualified Usui Reiki Ryoho practitioners with certificates from qualified Shihans (master instructor) coming in to assist in the healing process of those patients who 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 Gakkai, which reflects his want to share the gift he was blessed to receive. <Gendai Reiki-ho & Komyo Reiki Kai>

The next time you hear something new about Reiki, stop and remember the world’s history from Usui Sensei’s birth to the year following Hayashi Sensei’s passing on. Also ask where that information came from; it is not yours to judge, but it is yours to believe or not to believe. Usui Reiki Ryoho is the original spiritual practice Mikao Usui created in 1922; in his humble gentle way he never claimed it to be better than any other healing modality.


Usui Reiki Ryoho can be visualized as the nourishing sunlight that connects the earth with healing balance and harmony  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 sources of quotes are; Hiroshi Doi-Sensei and his Gendai Reiki Ho Healing Kyokai class 2002 (Hiroshi Doi jioned the URR Gakkai in 1993), Rev. Hyakuten Inamoto-Sensei and his Komyo Reiki Kai class 2003,  Richard Rivard Reiki Shihan I studied with from 1996 though 2001.  Interviews and research done by Usui Reiki Ryoho colleagues Richard Rivard, Tom Rigler, Dave King and Don Beckett.

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 last updated 06/03/18

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