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Reiki For Beginners Cheat Sheet

Reiki is a spiritual practice of healing. You can delve into the components of the system, which include attunements and symbols and the three levels of training.


energy healing


What is Reiki?

The Reiki system of healing uses universal life-force energy. Reiki originated in Japan and was discovered by Mikao Usui in 1922. Usui Reiki has two main branches: Japanese and Western. Both forms include the same basic features, including those in the following list. Reiki is

  • Safe: No one can do any harm with the Reiki energy.

  • Intelligent: The energy knows where to go and what to do to help you.

  • Natural: You need no other tools or instruments besides the Reiki practitioner, who channels the Reiki energy through their hands.

  • Gentle: The practitioner places their hands softly on the body or just above it. Practitioners don’t use massage or manipulation.

  • Simple to learn: You can learn Reiki in three classes: 1st degree, 2nd degree, and 3rd degree (Master level).

  • Lifelong: After you’re attuned to the Reiki energy by studying one of the three degrees of Reiki, you can channel Reiki for life.

  • Compatible with all religions or belief systems: You can receive or practice Reiki no matter what your religion. People of all faiths use Reiki as a way to relax and heal.


Components of the Reiki healing system

Reiki contains five central elements that the practitioner uses to prepare to channel Reiki energy and heal themselves and others. Go through this list when preparing to give or receive Reiki:

  • Attunements (initiations): Within a context of Reiki training, you are put “in tune” with the Reiki energy so that you have the life-long ability to channel the energy.

  • Hand positions: Use a set of positions to know where to place your hands during a Reiki session.

  • Self-Reiki hand positions: Use these positions to treat yourself with Reiki.

  • Treating others hand positions: Use these positions to treat other people with Reiki.

  • Meditation and focusing: Connect with the source of Reiki universal energy and concentrate the Reiki healing energy within yourself.

  • Symbols: Use the Reiki symbols and the sound of their name as a mantra to connect with Reiki energy.

  • Reiki Principles: The five principles of Reiki are used as the basis of a daily meditation practice.


The three levels of Reiki training

Reiki is easy to pick up, with only three levels of training to reach the level of Master. The following list describes the three levels. Keep these in mind when training or when looking for a Reiki practitioner:

  • 1st degree: Also called Reiki I or Shoden in Japanese. This is entry-level Reiki training where you study Reiki history, learn how to perform self-Reiki, and how to give Reiki to someone else, and are initiated (attuned) for life to the Reiki energy.

  • 2nd degree: Also called Reiki II or Okuden in Japanese. You learn how to use the first three Reiki symbols and how to perform distant Reiki techniques. You receive further attunements to the Reiki energy. After this class, you are considered a Reiki practitioner.

  • 3rd degree: Also called Reiki III or Shinpiden in Japanese. This is the Master Teacher level of Reiki, and the class may be separated into two parts. You receive the Master Reiki attunement and learn the Master Reiki symbol and how to give the Reiki attunements to others.


Discovering What Reiki Is and Isn't

Reiki is popping up all over the place, but lots of folks are still confused about what Reiki is exactly. In the context here, Reiki is both:

photo of Mikao Usui

  • A healing system that channels universal life-force energy: This system was originally developed by Mikao Usui in the early 1900s in Japan.

  • The name of the energy itself: Rei means spiritual wisdom, and ki means energy, so Reiki means spiritual energy.






Some people use the word Reiki as a verb, as in "I will Reiki him." What they are saying is, "I will give Reiki to him."

Reiki is available to everyone. Anyone of any age or illness level can receive Reiki. Even newborn babies or people at the end of life can benefit from the relaxation that Reiki provides.


What Reiki is

In short, Reiki gives you what you need, whether it's a release of tension or an energy boost, or both. To help you more fully understand what Reiki gives you, here are some terms used to describe Reiki:

  • Gentle: Reiki's touch is soft and light.

  • Harmless: Reiki can have only positive results.

  • Natural: You don't need any equipment or tools.

  • Healing: The highest level of healing is the goal of Reiki.

  • Balancing: Reiki will balance your energy levels.

  • Relaxing: The top reason to try Reiki is to feel the bliss of deep relaxation.

  • Energizing: If you're drained of energy, Reiki will revive you.


What Reiki isn't

Knowing what Reiki isn't is as important as knowing what it is:

  • Reiki is not religious. Reiki is totally nondenominational. You can practice any religion (or none) and still use and benefit from Reiki. Reiki Founder Mikao Usui was influenced by the religions of his country, Shintoism and Buddhism. But Reiki isn't associated with any religion, and people of all faiths and beliefs are Reiki practitioners. Reiki isn't New Age either.

  • Reiki is not massage or reflexology. Reiki is an energy-healing system and not a manipulative system (hands moving the body). Reiki is distinct from reflexology and massage. But Reiki is sometimes confused with other hands-on healing arts, especially reflexology.


Girl mediating on top on mountain

Making the religion/spirituality distinction

Reiki isn't a religion, but it is spiritual. The distinction between spirituality and religion has caused a lot of confusion with regard to Reiki. These concepts are overlapping but separate.


Spirituality is the belief in your connection with the divine, no matter whether you call it a higher power, God, spirit, soul, or even the stars. The purpose of spiritual development is to improve this connection and see the divinity within yourself and all around you.

Religion provides guidance on how to develop yourself spiritually. It tells you what the divine looks like and gives you frameworks of texts, places of worship, and guides to support you.

You can be part of a religion and not have a spiritual connection. You can have a spiritual connection and not belong to a religion.


Reiki provides a means for spiritual growth. No matter what your religious background, you'll find that the principles are relevant and don't conflict with your religious practice. In fact, Reiki should enhance your personal religious connection. The spiritual aspects of Reiki enable you to do the following:

  • Connect to a higher source: You use prayer and meditation to connect to God or the higher power of your own beliefs. Spiritual connection provides the never-ending supply of Reiki energy.

  • Channel the higher energy: Reiki healing energy is not from the practitioner but comes through the practitioner from God or another higher power.

  • Keep spiritually healthy: Just as you maintain your physical health with nutritious food, fresh air, and exercise, you also need to maintain your spiritual health. Prayer, meditation, quiet times, and spiritual exercise (doing kind acts) can help in this regard. Reiki uses the following spiritual tools: Reiki principles, meditation, and symbols and chanting.


Reference: Reiki For Dummies Cheat Sheet

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