Reiki is a little word that encapsulates a host of meanings. While frequently treated as a therapy akin to massage or acupuncture, its spiritual aspect is often overlooked. However, many of its practitioners find that it takes on a meaning unique to themselves the longer they work with Reiki energy.
As a result, Reiki is extremely difficult to define with consistent clarity. Adding to this, there are dozens of different styles and lineages to choose from when looking to learn about and become attuned to give Reiki. While many are founded in or require the original Usui methods be taught first, not all of them do. This is frequently cause for debate within the community as, while each style has its pros and cons, they ultimately all come from the same source.
The term Reiki translates in two parts: rei meaning “universal” or “spiritual” and “ki” which means “energy”. In other words, Reiki is Japanese for the universal God/dess energy for which the healer acts as a channel into the physical world, i.e. their client/patient.
It is a holistic healing system that works to balance all systems of the body: the physical, the psychological, and the spiritual. It is not a cure, but rather a system of maintaining balance to help prevent illness/dis-ease as so many physical health problems are born out of imbalance.
Reiki is therefore best viewed as a lifestyle rather than a therapy, and those who become attuned to the third degree (referred to as Master in the West and Shinpiden, or Mystery Teachings in the Japanese tradition) often do so for themselves, not necessarily with the intention of teaching or giving healing to others.