Reiki, A New Direction

by William Lee Rand

Because of significant changes taking place in the Reiki community - and the public in general - I believe Reiki is on the verge of the acceptance many of us have dreamed of, yet never thought possible. Reiki, over the next several years, could become so universally accepted that whenever a challenge comes up, most people will immediately think to use Reiki to solve it. As the acceptance of Reiki continues to evolve, I believe it will become a commonly accepted practice in medical care, education, business, law enforcement, government, the military- even world politics! This, of course, would signify a dramatically transformed world. I know many of you think this is a little far fetched, but let me explain. 

New Historical Facts Strengthen Reiki
Achieving harmony within the Reiki community is one of the most difficult challenges we have had to address over the years. A lack of harmony between groups is believed to have originated when various Reiki organizations enforced restrictive rules and promoted the concept of a Reiki Grandmaster, who was thought to be in charge of Reiki. These manipulations were used in an attempt to make followers of one group believe that only they had the true Usui system of Reiki and that all other groups were invalid. Unfortunately, these strategies were counterproductive creating fear, distrust and unnecessary competitiveness between many Reiki groups. This thinking produced a poor professional image, created confusion - and in short - weakened the Reiki community as a whole. Clearly, this kind of behavior went against the very spirit of Reiki.

One of the key factors causing lack of harmony amongst groups was the lack of an accurate and verifiable history. Without solid facts, all we had to go on was the Westernized perception of Reiki history – and that was so inadequate it did not even provide a firm connection to Reiki’s origins in Japan. This version raised many doubts about history of Reiki and caused some to even question if Dr. Usui had even existed.

However, the discovery of Dr. Usui's grave, and especially his memorial stone, has given us verifiable information about him, how he discovered Reiki and how he practiced it. These discoveries have helped to heal the distrust among the various factions of the community, and have strengthened our universal understanding of Reiki.

Additional information about the history and practice of the Usui System of Reiki has been provided by several Japanese Reiki masters, whose non-Western lineage goes back directly to Dr. Usui. These masters have indicated that many of the restrictive concepts, promoted in the West as part of the original Usui system - including the idea of a Reiki Grandmaster - appear to have been added after Reiki was brought to the West and are, therefore, not a valid part of the original system.

Obtaining these historical facts has created a tremendous freeing effect on most Reiki practitioners (we must respect those who chose to ignore the restrictive rules; their actions are now validated by these historical discoveries) and firmly establishes that no Western group or person is in charge of Reiki. It also confirms that all Reiki groups have value. Most followers have found these discoveries to be a wonderful revelation. Some practitioners from different lineages and organizations who previously would not talk to each other due to wrongly perceived differences, are now communicating freely, exchanging ideas and support. Where once there was confusion and conflict, now there is wonderful growing feelings of freedom, empowerment and community.

This newly proven heritage is also leading to a greater confidence being felt about Reiki in general. Many practitioners are becoming inspired to invest more time and energy into the development of their Reiki practices. True feelings of joy are welling up in Reiki people all over the world as they realize that because of this new supportive spirit within the Reiki community, their desire to help others can now be more easily accomplished. The Reiki community is becoming reoriented into a stronger, more vital force that is able to share Reiki with the rest of the world. 

Masters, Fees
The value being provided by recent discoveries concerning the history of Reiki, is adding to a process that has been developing over a longer period of time. When Reiki first began being taught in the West, it was common for a $10,000 fee to be charged for the Master level training. The high fee was thought to be a necessary part of the Usui system (one of the ideas that has proven to be false). However, in the mid-80s Iris Ishikuro, one of the Masters initiated by Mrs. Takata went against this rule and began charging a much more reasonable fee, and in some cases, she even taught the Master level free of charge. The result was the Masters she taught, taught others, also at a very reasonable fee allowing Reiki to spread very quickly. At times it appeared to be growing almost exponentially. Reiki has now spread all over the planet and is now practiced by well over one million people, and the numbers continue to grow. 

General Public Accepts Reiki
Until recently, growth in the practice of Reiki has come mainly from members of the New Age/Metaphysical Community who already had a core belief system that could easily allow them to understand and accept Reiki. Over the years, there has been a shift in the belief system of the general public, allowing for greater acceptance of alternative medicine. As a result, we are seeing a growing interest in Reiki from the public at large. People from all backgrounds are coming for treatments and taking classes.

I can remember when I first started practicing Reiki in the early 80s. Whenever I began describing the practice of Reiki, I found people would appear noticeably distressed. I often got the impression the uninitiated thought I was a charlatan and what I was practicing was sacrilegious. Today, however, I not only find a genuine interest in Reiki, but that most people have at least some awareness of Reiki. Now, when I tell people about what I do, they almost always have a positive , or add that they know someone who practices it. More and more frequently, I am meeting people who have taken Reiki classes.

This trend was brought into focus by a research report done by Dr. David M. Eisenburg of Boston's Beth Israel Hospital. His study found that in 1990, 80 million people in the United States had used one or more forms of complementary health care, including Reiki. This group had spent more than $14 billion out-of-pocket for this care. This shift in public acceptance appears to be increasing as more and more people are becoming aware of the value of Reiki and other forms of complementary care.

Doctors, nurses and other licensed health care professionals are taking notice as their patients are asking questions about alternative forms of healing and many professionals are accepting its value. In fact a growing number of doctors and nurses have taken Reiki training and routinely including Reiki along with standard medical procedures.

Because of the public's acceptance, the news media are now taking a positive attitude toward Reiki and have featured spots on Reiki. This is a far cry from the past when, if Reiki was mention at all by the media, it was presented as a weird practice done by people on the fringe. I have recently seen a number of television spots on Reiki and have personally received a growing number of requests for interviews. 

Scientific Validation
A perception that Reiki is not scientific, but is instead based on superstition and quackery, has caused many to question its validity.

When they are made aware of the positive results Reiki has provided, the scientific community often dismisses these results as only the placebo effect. These unfair perceptions about spiritual healing are dispelled in a book, Spiritual Healing, Scientific Validation of a Healing Revolution, by Daniel Benor, M.D.

In his book, Dr. Benor describes more than 190 scientific experiments, over 2/3 of which show positive results. Many; were conducted as double blind experiments which rule out the placebo effect and others were done on plants which are known not to be effected by placebo. Some of these experiments have been replicated.

I believe that once the scientific validation of spiritual healing is widely disseminated, Reiki will become more respected and the demand for Reiki training will rise dramatically. It will more easily find its way into use by every area of society. There will be opportunities to develop Reiki programs, specifically designed for education, business, law enforcement, government, the military and world politics.

This validation and acceptance will open the door to more scientific research, which in turn will produce many new discoveries. Reiki displays many qualities that science cannot explain. Because of this, research into Reiki is bound to lead to new theories about the nature of reality. This will revolutionize how mainstream society thinks. And , this in turn will create new attitudes, values and beliefs in every area of human activity.

In effect, the wide spread acceptance and use of Reiki, which is beginning to take place now, will greatly quicken the manifestation of the paradigm shift that we have been waiting for. Reiki will create peace on Earth and provide benefits we haven't even thought of. It will help usher in the greatest era the world has every known! 

Popularity Creates Challenges
These significant changes are also creating challenges for the way Reiki is practiced. The fact that many Reiki Masters have disregarded the restrictive rules of the past and are teaching and practicing Reiki according to their own inner guidance, has generally had a positive effect on the practice of Reiki.

However, some Reiki Masters have begun teaching with reduced standards and few ethical principals. They teach classes of an hour or less in duration, with little offered except the attunement. We have received reports that all levels of Reiki including One, Two and Master are being taught in one weekend or even in a day by some Masters. This leaves the students of those classes with little understanding of what Reiki is, or how to practice it. These students go on to attempt to practice Reiki without all the necessary information or training, simply abandon Reiki or even worse, pass the debased training they received onto others.

While some motivated, yet ill-informed students who realize that important information was missing from their class do seek out reputable teachers to receive additional training, this should not have to happen. There have been other reports of Reiki Masters misrepresenting what the student will receive in class, unfair competitive practice between Reiki Masters, the use of Reiki as a foil for sexual and child abuse and other ethical problems. As Reiki becomes more popular, and the general public begins to become interested, it is important that these challenges be resolved before they worsen. If these problems are not solved, the general public may develop a negative attitude toward Reiki. The positive potential Reiki offers to solve humanities problems and help create the wonderful world describe above, could be greatly reduced or even lost. 

A National Reiki Organization
One solution to these challenges is the creation of a national Reiki organization. Due to the breakthroughs concerning the verified history of Reiki and its harmonizing effect on the Reiki community mentioned above, conditions are now present for such an organization to work.. We are moving from a 3rd chakra based society to a heart chakra based society; from a society based on power to a society based on love. If a Reiki organization such as this is to succeed into the future, it must be based on love and express the true spirit of Reiki. I believe that for this organization to be successful, it would need the following: 

  • It must be open to all Reiki people regardless of lineage or organization affiliation.
  • A board of directors could be set up from a cross-section of all Reiki groups and independents.
  • Membership could be available for individuals and organizations.
  • To solve the challenges mentioned above, it would have to have a minimum set of training and teaching standards and a code-of-ethics. The teaching and training standards could indicate the minimum subjects necessary to be taught in a class and the minimum number of hours required. It would be important to keep these standards simple and reasonable, but they would be necessary if membership were to have value. The ethical standards would include things like honesty in advertising, not requiring the client to disrobe, not touching the genital areas, etc.

Individuals who joined would agree to abide by these standards and code-of-ethics. Organizations who joined would agree to maintain these standards for their members.

Membership records would be kept and a procedure would be necessary to review and deal with any reports of misconduct.

Such an organization could also monitor legislation that might effect Reiki and take action to keep Reiki free of unnecessary governmental interference.

It could also guide any developments in the field to keep the spirit of Reiki a part of the practice.

I have been networking with a small group of people who have expressed interest in establishing such an organization and will keep you posted about what develops.