What is Reiki?

Reiki is arguably one of the most well known (even if you don’t know what it is, you have probably heard of the word) and popular types of energy healing modalities currently practised. However, what is Reiki?

What Is Reiki?

To understand what Reiki is, it is essential to know that Reiki has two meanings depending on how you use the word.

  1. Reiki is Universal Life Force, which is the energy of life itself.
  2. Reiki is an energy healing system or practice that gives you structure and techniques so you can access and use the Universal Life Force.

So depending on how you use the word, Reiki is either a type of energy or a specific practice.

Reiki Energy

Reiki is Universal Life Force that sustains all of life. This energy is everywhere and is part of everything around you. It is you. To get a better idea of the meaning of Reiki energy, it is useful to understand the meaning and origin of the word, Reiki.

What Does The Word Reiki Mean?

Reiki is a Japanese word made up of two parts; Rei (pronounced 'ray') and Ki (pronounced 'key').

The closest translation of 'Rei' would be 'universal' or 'spiritual wisdom'. 'Ki', translates as 'life force energy' and is very similar to the Chinese word 'Chi'. Ki is the energy of life.

Reiki As An Energy Healing Practice

Reiki is a simple technique that aims to allow you to connect with and use Universal life Force in a structured way with the aim of relieving stress and bringing about healing and transformation to your life. 

A Japanese Buddhist called Dr Mikao Usui developed the Reiki system of healing at the turn of the twentieth century. Having discovered information in Buddhist Sanskrit texts from Tibet, it is clear that Universal Life Force has been used for healing purposes since ancient times.

Despite the background of the founder, Reiki is not a religion and requires no particular faith or belief system. It is non-denominational and can be used in conjunction with any belief system or none. All you need to practice Reiki is openness and willingness to access the energies.

As a Reiki practitioner, you act as a facilitator or conduit for the Universal Life Force energy. During a treatment, the Universal Life Force energy will flow through you and out through your hands.

If you are receiving a Reiki treatment from a Reiki practitioner, all you need to do is be willing to accept the energy. Once the treatment session has started, the energy is drawn to wherever it is needed within you. Reiki energy is intuitive. This could be on the physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level. It is important to note that you can only draw in as much Universal Life Force energy as is needed. You will not receive more energy than is comfortable.

Reiki may be beneficial in helping support a large variety of symptoms and conditions. However, you do not need to be ill to benefit from Reiki. Reiki may also be effective at helping you relax and assisting with stress management. Most Reiki practitioners will give themselves a treatment every day to ensure optimal health, not just when they are ill.

Who Can Learn Reiki? Are There Prerequisites?

Anyone can learn to use Reiki; all you need is an open heart and mind. 

If you feel guided to practice Reiki on others, you should have compassion, professionalism and a desire to be of service and be committed to your self-development.

Intellectual capability or the level of your spiritual growth does not restrict learning Reiki.

What Is A Reiki Attunement?

Reiki uses the process of attunements to connect practitioners permanently and profoundly to the Universal Life Force. 

A good way of thinking about this is to compare the attunement process to tuning in an old-fashioned radio. When you turn the dial, you can hear the static of the radio frequencies. When you tune into a specific frequency that is being used to transmit on you, then have a clear broadcast, with no static, on that radio channel. In much the same way an attunement tunes you into the Universal Life Force.

Typically you will receive one attunement per level of Reiki. There are usually 3-4 levels of Reiki, depending on the type of Reiki you are learning.

Different Types Of Reiki Modalities

One of the great things about Reiki is that it is always evolving and developing. This has lead to an explosion of different types of Reiki, each with their way of practising and often with new kinds of energy combinations.

The practice of Reiki as mentioned in this post refers to the Japanese form that was developed by Dr Mikao Usui. This is the ‘traditional’ form of Reiki, but this should not put you off from many of the newer forms of Reiki. Although from a practical point they may not be 'traditional' Reiki, they will still include Universal Life Force energy.

No form of Reiki is better than the other. They all offer something different and should not be judged as being superior or inferior. Energy is energy after all.

What Type Of Reiki Should I Choose?

Deciding on the right Reiki modality is a personal choice. When making your decision, things to consider are:

  1. Always use and listen to your intuition. If it doesn’t feel right for you, then it is not correct. Don’t force it, instead look for a different modality that feels like a better fit.
  2. Some types of Reiki offer a complete grounding in energy healing. These courses are often a good starting point for beginners.
  3. Be honest with yourself about what you want to get out of the course. If you are unlikely to be able to put aside the time each day for traditional Reiki practices, then perhaps the newer forms of Reiki are a better fit.

Remember it’s all about the journey, so try not to worry or stress about what the initial first choice should be.

As a rule of thumb, I would suggest the more traditional Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho if you want structure and a set formula to work with Reiki. If you want more freedom and a quick and straightforward way of using Reiki, then I highly recommend Blissful Light Reiki.

How Do I Know Which Reiki Teacher Is Right For Me?

When choosing a Reiki Master/Teacher, you should be looking for someone who is professional, knowledgeable, encouraging, kind and loving. 

Your needs and spiritual growth are what is essential and not the needs of the teacher.

Your intuition is fundamental when selecting a teacher. If a new potential teacher doesn’t feel right, then don’t force it. Try and find someone else who is a better fit for you both professionally and energetically.

I Have Made My Decision, What Can I Expect?

Once you have decided on which Reiki to learn and selected a teacher, you may be embarking on a truly beautiful path.

When you start learning Reiki and energy healing, you can expect to be challenged. You may notice that some ideas, thought patterns and even some people in your life are no longer serving you. You may start to experience personal healings in your life and be guided to make changes that enhance your health and well-being. The path may not always be easy, but the results will be worth it.

Reiki aims to offer a wonderful tool that may be able to help you on your spiritual path. It is not uncommon to decide to change the path you are on and even to help and serve people in different ways to achieve their fullest potential in life.

Well done on starting an enriching journey.




Blissful Light's energy healing blog aims to inspire you to question, discover and grow. It covers distant attunements, energy healing, spirituality, well-being and ways to increase vitality.

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