"If Reiki can be spread throughout the world it will touch the human heart and the morals of society. It will be helpful for many people, not only for healing disease, but the Earth as a whole.”
- Mikao Usui
A brief history of Reiki
The system of Reiki was created and developed by a Japanese man named Mikao Usui. Born into a Samurai family, his life followed a path of spiritual progression through the study of many different religions and traditions that he discovered as he travelled extensively throughout the world.
Usui personally followed the Buddhist philosophy, in search of what was truly in his heart; in search of enlightenment. Under the guidance of his mentor, he journeyed to Mount Kurama and stayed there for several weeks, denying himself food, water and latterly, sleep. In Buddhism, this practice of giving up all that is normally required for survival allows the soul to transcend the realms of ‘normality’ and reach a new level of being. During this transformational, divine experience, Mikao Usui acquired the ability to heal.
Keen to pass on this ability and use it to help others, Usui opened a clinic where he both treated patients and taught his techniques. One student in particular, Dr Chujiro Hayashi, went on to open his own clinic in Tokyo where he was able to heal a patient with a very serious illness. This American lady, Hawayo Takata, was so impressed with the technique that she persuaded Dr Hayashi to teach it to her. She then took the technique back to the US and honed the system, teaching many students herself during her lifetime. As a result, there are two universally excepted lineages, known as the Western lineage and the Eastern lineage. The fundamentals are the same however – Reiki is healing energy and works for the higher and greater good.
There are seven main chakras in the human body. A chakra is an energy centre, literally meaning wheel or vortex, where energy ‘swirls’ in a circular motion. Each chakra is located along the spine, from number one at the base of the spine to number seven at the crown of the head. The chakras relate to the body parts and systems in that area, for example the heart chakra in the centre of the chest is linked to the heart, respiration, the circulatory system, thymus, arms and hands. As you may guess, it also relates to emotions, compassion and kindness and in a sense connects the lower chakras to the ones above.
Ideally energy flows freely through and within each chakra. If not, and there is a blockage of some kind, energy can get ‘stuck’ and either become excessive in an area or diminished, causing upset to overall wellbeing, either physically in the form of illness or pain, or mentally/spiritually, such as feeling depressed, angry or fearful.
In a Reiki treatment, the therapist will be drawn to the areas that require more balance and the feedback post treatment will help to guide you in terms of maintaining that balance.
Each chakra has its own colour. There are also associated illnesses and developmental aspects to each one. Below is a very basic outline:
Throat chakra (blue – throat) – communication, choice, self expression, creativity
Third Eye (indigo – centre of the forehead) – intuition, wisdom and awareness
Crown chakra (purple, violet or white – top of the head) – enlightenment, spirituality, connection with the Divine
Heart chakra (green/pink – centre of chest) – emotion, forgiveness, compassion and kindness
Solar plexus (Yellow – solar plexus) – sense of self, self esteem, self power
Sacral chakra (Orange - lower belly) – relationships, sexuality, creativity, duality
Root chakra (Red - base of spine) – survival, basic needs, safety and family
Colours and Images
Part of the process of becoming a Reiki practitioner is the attunements which open your energy channels to Reiki. When we received our first attunement, it was in a workshop with about thirty people. The experience was extremely powerful for all involved, with many participants reporting seeing colours, particularly green and purple.
Interestingly, often when clients first start receiving treatments, they report seeing colours and again, green and purple are quite dominant. Green represents the heart chakra and purple represents the crown chakra – the link to spirituality. The heart chakra can be viewed as a two-way gateway from the physical realm into the cosmic realm. It seems likely that people undergoing a first treatment or attunement are opening this gateway into their spiritual being.
Seeing other colours is also common. They might appear to the person as a series of soft, blended colours that perhaps start with a yellowy, pink colour which morphs into a more blue/lilac, or bright reds and oranges changing to a purple. One client explained the colours being like a jelly fish expanding and contracting, a full kaleidoscope of colours!
For some people, the colours are abundant and glorious; for others, they see a hint of something but nothing more. Instead, they may just experience a deep relaxation and calm. There is often tingling in the arms and hands, areas also associated with the heart chakra.
It can be a similar experience for the practitioner. When I see colours, they tend to be in areas where the client’s energy is very active, for example clients who feel that they have ‘a lot going on’ mentally tend to have more energy around their heads. The colours you see don’t necessarily correspond with the chakra you’re working on either; the chakras are not separate entities, just like none of the other systems in the body are isolated. They all work together. However, if I get the general sense of a dominant colour throughout a treatment it usually has some significance, for example a yellowy gold can often go hand in hand with someone becoming more self-confident/more at ease with who they are. Another thing I’ve noticed personally is that if I see a very firey red it usually indicates discomfort/pain.
I also tend to see a lot of images now, which quite frequently involve the client doing something that reflects how they’re currently feeling, such as standing in a storm and bracing themselves against the wind, or sitting calmly and smiling on a beach. These are quite simplistic examples – often they are more complex and don’t make sense to me but they do resonate with the client when we reflect afterwards.
Regarding physical sensations, many practitioners will report feeling temperature changes under their hands or tingling. David picks up a great deal from clients through his hands. Working with a recent client, he felt a breeze around their right leg, so moved to the other leg to see if there was an actual breeze in the room or if this was something specific to the right leg. He sensed nothing in the left leg, so moved back to the right side and located the area where he felt the most energy, the outside of the right knee. At the end of the session, when chatting to the client David found out that the client indeed had pain in his right knee. This is quite usual, i.e. different therapists tend to have a dominant sense, whether it’s feeling in their hands or seeing in their mind’s eye.
As always, there’s never any right or wrong. Each experience is unique for both the therapist and the client. Over a series of sessions however it is usual for the client to begin to understand the story that is unfolding which is why the post-treatment reflection about colours and imagery can be so useful.