Reiki 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Energy Healing Practice

Have you ever felt another person’s soothing energy? It might feel warm, nurturing, and incredibly healing. And have you ever felt that same energy inside yourself, in moments of peace or during yoga practice—when you can feel your own life force swirling within you?

Reiki is a little like that. It’s a form of energy healing that dates back to the late 19 Century, yet its benefits can easily apply to the modern world. Here’s what to know about this gentle practice.


Although there are many forms of energy healing in cultures throughout the world, the specific practice of Reiki was developed in the late 1800s by a Buddhist monk turned Japanese doctor named Dr. Mikao Usui. While meditating for 21 days, he discovered the ability to heal through gentle touch or near touch. Later, one of dr. Usui’s pupils, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi continued and expanded the practice, including many of the hand positions used today. Reiki is rooted in the philosophy that one person’s transfer of energy can stimulate healing energy in another. “It’s based on the idea that an unseen universal life-force energy flows through us,” says Andrea Hakanson, a licensed massage therapist and Reiki master, and author of Y. “In yoga, we call it prana; the Japanese call it ki.”

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