What is Usui Reiki

I give the basic facts here because unfortunately some people who do not have the true facts believe mysterious stories based on hearsay and other practices.  Much more about Usui Sensei’s spiritual practice is given in classes.

 ‘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 things. Breaking Reiki down into rei and ki for a meaning is the same as breaking down the word kidnap into kid and nap for a meaning.      

‘Usui Reiki’ represents the universal vibrations of unconditional love and harmony; ‘a piece’ of universal energy/the source to which Usui Sensei connected when he attained enlightenmentBeing a piece of ‘the source’ nothing can make it better in bringing the healing balance and harmony to people, other animals, birds, plants and much more. Being love and harmony it replaces conflict with tranquility.

‘Usui Reiki Ryoho’ is the original spiritual practice Mikao Usui founded in 1922, which is a complementary healing art that creates the needed balance and harmony in mind, body and spirit ‘togetherIt is not a religion, a belief system, nor an alternative medicine; it does not require any material objects, odd rituals, or anything other than a person’s pathway being opened by a qualified Shihan (master instructor) and in-class training to resonate with this piece of universal energy.   Some styles coming through Hawayo Takata Sensei’s lineage might say Usui Shiki Ryoho, which I explain in classes.

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.

Ryoho is best translated as healing method. Influenced by scientific practices some say treatment.  As with any language often the translation does not give the true meaning; translations of exercises and Mikao Usui’s words can sound mysterious; when the meaning is know the mystery transforms into seeing the healing beauty in universal unconditional love and harmony.  

Mikao Usui or Usui Sensei (honorable teacher) referred to his simple yet profound teachings as the: ‘Method to Achieve Personal Perfection‘. True health is only restored when mind, body and spirit are working together in restorative rhythm.


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 well-being.

Usui Reikio Ryoho brings mind, body and spirit into balance and harmony without 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 very real.

There are many things written about Mikao Usui’s spiritual practice, some factual and some distorted. <read REiki myths>

Usui Sensei said, “walking on the right path as a human being first we have to heal our spirit”. Combine this with a quote from Buddha, “one cannot be on the path without becoming the path” and you can easily see beauty in Usui Reiki healing mind, body and spirit together.

Professionals of other healing modalities often add Usui Reiki into their practice. Adversely, trying to add practices from other healing modalities into the spiritual practice of Usui Reiki Ryoho creates inharmonic vibrations.

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>

Usui Reiki Ryoho is not a belief system or a religion, it is a beautiful simple yet profound spiritual practice than can improve all of life .

 Practitioners and teachers of styles honoring Usui Reiki Ryoho do not treat the disease, we focus on mind, body and spirit returning to the state of well-being best for the receiver at that junction in time.   In Gendai Reiki-ho and Komyo Reiki Kai symbols and suggested hand placement are only used for practice until the practitioner fully grasps allowing vibrations to guide his or her hands.  <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, go into very deep disciplined meditation, gain enlightenment and go further.  It is easy to 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, which leads to improving the quality of your life and the lives around you.   

Since Mikao Usui’s passing on in 1926 some teachers/instructors have taught his method/spiritual practice in different waysUsui Sensei created only three symbols in 1925 as teaching tools to use until the student was able to resonate with Usui Reiki.

 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, so it is not surprising that it was 1922 when he created a way to share what had been bestowed on him.

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

Modern medicine is divided and then subdivided into various forms of mental and physical medicine.  In Usui Reiki Ryoho the receiver can be people, animals, birds, etc. <learning Gendai Reiki-ho & Komyo Reiki Kai>

The Japanese styles Gendai Reiki Ho and Komyo Reiki Kai  are like nature in being beautifully simple yet profound.  In the hours/days put into the study of these styles most experience a connection with InnSaei (the sea within); this connection enhanced by Usui Reiki can improve the quality of your life and touches the lives around you in a positive way.

 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 you can learn 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 a Canadian Reiki Shihan I studied under in the 1990s who dedicated himself to 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. It is simple yet profound. <read more>

 Although different form other healing modalities Gendai Reiki-ho and Komyo Reiki Kai honors the essesnce of Usui Reiki Ryoho complement all positive healing modalities.  When added into mainstream medical practices, including acupuncture it results in amazing healing 

 Usui Reiki is not life force energy, nor is it Ki/Qi; it cannot be given an exact meaning other 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 else. 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. <read more>

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 has nothing to do with MIkao Usui’s spiritual practice.  5239 Reiki is an asteroid named after the  Japanese astronomer whose last name is Reiki.


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 buzz to her left.

Looking over 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 Moth, but I no longer think it is any type of hummingbird.

The universe is endless/timeless and there are infinite cosmic energies. Think of radio waves and the different frequencies; universal energy has an infinite number of vibrations and cords 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 Reiki healing sessions (what 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.”  © 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 this in my Shoden manuals along with details of his first awakening as well as his second. All my manuals are a combination of my Shihan’s manuals and notes I took in  class.

While Mikao Usui second awakening has been told in various way, the importance of his first awakening is sometimes overlooked.  I explain the importance of his first awakening in Gendai Reiki Ho and Komyo Reiki Kai classes.

What I have here are the basic facts of this amazing man and the 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 (precepts or principles), is the key to health and happiness. One English translation from a Japanese person living in Japan is as follows:

  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 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. <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 more>


The documented healing that can be connected to Usui Reiki is nothing less then astonishing. In spite of this, Usui Reiki is not a substitute for any professional medical care, and medical care should never be stopped without consulting the attending medical care professional.  Some Usui Reiki Ryoho practitioners who are also medical care professionals in hospitals initiate Usui Reiki while doing conventional medical practice or therapy treatment.

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, as Hirohsi Doi explained to me, 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 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.


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 03/25/17

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