Reiki History

Reiki healing hands, accepting energy

Reiki Energy

The History of Reiki

Below is a brief description of Reiki history and the three leading individuals who played a role in Reiki history and introducing Reiki to the masses.



Dr. Mikao Usui 1865 – 1926

Mikau Usui, 1st Reiki grand master, founder of Usui Reiki

Mikao Usui

The technique was “re-discovered” by a Japanese monk in the mid-1880’s. The monk, Dr. Mikao Usui was pondering a question asked by one of his students. The student wondered how Jesus healed the many people cited in the Bible. Usui sought to find the answer by entering into a 21-day fast and meditation. This allowed him to enter a higher plane of consciousness. The monk reported that on the last day of his fast, a spiritual energy engulfed and empowered him with the ability to heal. Usui spent the next seven years of his life in the slums of Kyoto. Here he treated the residents and refined his principles of  Reiki practice. Usui died in 1926 as a result of a stroke. He claims to have taught Reiki to over two thousand people during his lifetime.

Dr. Chujiro Hayashi

Chujiro Hayashi, Reiki Grand Master, student of Mikao Usui

Chujiro Hayashi

Another early practitioner of Reiki was one of Usui’s students, Chujiro Hayashi. With Reiki’s growing popularity, Hayashi’s clinic sought to formalize many of Usui’s techniques. They documented hand positions and contact duration to make Reiki less mystical and more scientific. Hayashi was a naval physician and rather than participate in the coming world war, committed a ritualized suicide.suicide.

Mrs. Hayayo Takata

Takata Hawayo, Reiki grand master

Takata Hawayo

Reiki was brought to the United States by a Hawai’ian woman of Japanese descent. Hawayo Takata, born in 1900, had gone to Japan looking for treatment for various ailments such as gallstones, tumors, and appendicitis. While there she met Hayashi and began receiving weekly treatments for her illnesses. She became more and more convinced the prescribed surgeries were not required. Takata asked Hayashi to teach her the techniques of Reiki, Hayashi agreed, and after receiving the instructions in the first two levels, Takata returned to Hawai’i to open a Reiki clinic where she practiced the healing techniques and taught as many as 22 other Reiki masters before her death in 1980.

These 22 masters spread Reiki in the world outside of Japan.

The meeting of Hawayo Takata and Chujiro Hayashi was somewhat fortuitous.  Many Japanese associated with Reiki, died during WWII. Without this chance encounter, knowledge of Reiki may have disappeared from history.

Takata 22 masters:

George Araki, Dorothy Baba, Ursula Baylow, Rick Bockner, Patricia Bowling (when she married, it became Patricia Ewing), Barbara Brown, Fran Brown, Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Beth Gray, John Harvey Gray, Iris Ishikuro, Harry M. Kuboi, Ethel Lombardi, Barbara Lincoln McCullough, Mary Alexandra McFadyen, Paul Mitchell, Bethal Phaigh, Shinobu Saito, Virginia W. Samdahl, Wanja Twan, Barbara Weber Ray, and Kay Yamashita.