Reiki For Dummies®


by Nina L. Paul, PhD




About the Author

Nina L. Paul, PhD, has worked in the field of science and health communication for over 20 years. She started down this path at SUNY Purchase, where she received her bachelor’s degree in biology and performed research in the field of neuroimmunology. She also published articles for her college news-paper on scientific research topics.

After working in medical publishing at Rockefeller University Press (Journal of Clinical Investigation), she received her master’s degree and PhD in infectious disease epidemiology (the study of diseases) and immunology from Yale University.

After leaving Yale, Nina pursued postdoctoral research in London and Oxford, England. Nina’s research focused on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and related viruses and their interaction with the immune system.

Nina also taught science to schoolchildren of different ages and abilities in New Mexico and volunteered at a hospital-based Cancer Information Centre in England. She worked in the field of evidence-based medicine and contributed to the Cochrane Library (a medical database). She is also the author of Living with Hepatitis C For Dummies.

Nina believes in a multifaceted approach to health. She became a master of Reiki, which is a universal life-force energy that is transmitted through the hands. She is both a practitioner and a teacher of Reiki and uses Reiki as a way to help herself and others. Check out Nina’s Web site at



I dedicate this book to my father, Marvin Paul, the greatest of them all.


Author’s Acknowledgments

I thank my teachers:

In England, to Sissel Fowler, my yoga and meditation teacher in Oxford with whom I first studied energy work.

In New Mexico: the amazing Ivan Scheier who ran the Stillpoint Healing Center in Truth or Consequences (T or C), New Mexico and still provides Reiki training and healing to many; Rose Kennedy and Jane Alderson who were my first Reiki teachers.

In Oregon: Kathleen McKevitt on the Oregon coast taught me about mastering Reiki.

In New York: Kathie Lipinski, with whom I learned to teach Reiki and pass attunements to others.

My friends and Reiki pals who, as Reiki teachers, practitioners, masters, students, or recipients, have taught me so much and whose wisdom has landed in these pages:

Anna Maria Soto; Anita D’Onofrio; Barbara Baudouin; Barbara Cali; Barbara Leete; Barbara Lynch; Barry Goodman; Bonnie Caponi; Caroline Aldiss; Laura Maglio; Donna and Al Maldonado; Jada Prane; Joan Schwart; Joseph Cassles; Joseph Natoli; Katie McGowan; Nathan, Noah, and Anna Kasmanoff; Raven Valencia; Rebecca Sularski; Robin and Charlie Liffman; Teri and Sandy Sarin; Vicky Lewis; Wendy Nine, and many others not named here.

I acknowledge the Reiki historians and authors who have sought to keep Reiki alive and healthy for the benefit of all.

I thank the excellent editorial staff at Wiley: Mikal Belicove, acquisitions editor, who got this project started; Natalie Harris, project editor, who calmly kept the ball rolling through thick and thin; and Tina Sims, copy editor, who caught the inconsistencies. I also thank Jill St. Ambrogio for her technical review of the book and Kathryn Born for her wonderful illustrations. I thank my agent June Clark for her guidance and support.

I am particularly grateful for the love and support of my family and close friends, furry and otherwise, who have kept me going in every which way.


Publisher’s Acknowledgments

We’re proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at

Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following:

Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development

Project Editor: Natalie Faye Harris

Acquisitions Editor: Mikal Belicove

Senior Copy Editor: Tina Sims

Editorial Program Assistant: Courtney Allen

Technical Editor: Jill St. Ambrogio, RMT

Editorial Manager: Michelle Hacker

Editorial Assistants: Hanna Scott, Nadine Bell, David Lutton

Illustrator: Kathryn Born

Cover Photos: © image100/Getty Images

Cartoons: Rich Tennant,

Composition Services

Project Coordinator: Adrienne Martinez

Layout and Graphics: Andrea Dahl, Lauren Goddard, Stephanie D. Jumper, Barbara Moore, Melanee Prendergast, Heather Ryan, Mary Gillot Virgin

Proofreaders: Leeann Harney, Aptara

Indexer: Aptara

Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies

Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies

Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies

Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies

Michael Spring, Vice President and Publisher, Travel

Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel

Publishing for Technology Dummies

Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User

Composition Services

Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services

Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services




About This Book

Conventions Used in This Book

What You’re Not to Read

Foolish Assumptions

How This Book Is Organized

Icons Used in This Book

Where to Go from Here

Part I : Discovering Reiki

Chapter 1: Reiki: The Art of Channeling Life-Force Energy

Discovering What Reiki Is and Isn’t

Understanding the Spiritual Foundation of Reiki

Examining the Energy of Reiki

Exploring the History of Reiki

Getting Connected with Reiki

Choosing a Reiki Practitioner or Master

Experiencing the Benefits of Reiki

Looking at the Reiki Symbols

Combining New Age and Reiki

Chapter 2: Navigating Your Body’s Subtle Energy Systems

Describing Subtle Energy

Discovering Your Body’s Energy Anatomy

Detecting Your Subtle Energy System with Reiki

Chapter 3: Exploring Reiki’s Roots and Branches

Mikao Usui: Founder of Reiki

Exploring the Medical Approach: Chujiro Hayashi

Bringing Reiki from East to West: Hawayo Takata

Reiki in Japan and the West

Looking at Reiki Branch Lineage

Choosing a Reiki Branch for Yourself

Letting Reiki Branches Differ

Picturing the Future of Reiki

Chapter 4: Looking at the Reiki Principles

Describing the Reiki Principles

Incorporating the Reiki Principles into Your Daily Life

Additional Versions of Reiki Principles

Part II : Experiencing Reiki for Yourself

Chapter 5: Getting the Reiki Treatment

Finding the Right Reiki Practitioner for You

Preparing Yourself for Your First Reiki Session

Exploring a Reiki Session from Beginning to End

Repeating Your Reiki Experience

Using Reiki in Tandem with Other Therapies

Committing Yourself to Healing with Reiki

Chapter 6: Letting Your Entire Family Experience Reiki

Helping Yourself with Reiki

Cycling through Life with Reiki

Using Reiki for the Family Pet

Part III : Becoming Well-Versed in Reiki

Chapter 7: Seeking Reiki Training and Classes

Examining Reasons to Study Reiki

Asking the Right Questions about Reiki Classes and Teachers

Knowing the Reiki Classes and Certification

Defining Reiki Master

Answering Questions about Attunements

Chapter 8: Discovering the Reiki Symbols

Understanding Reiki Symbols

Taking a Close Look at the Four Reiki Symbols

Memorizing the Reiki Symbols

Activating the Reiki Symbols

Looking at More Symbols, Reiki and Otherwise

Chapter 9: Getting Ready to Channel Reiki Energy

Connecting with the Reiki Energy

Combining Prayer and Intention with Reiki

Meditating to Connect with Reiki Energy

Receiving Guidance through Intuition

Chapter 10: Healing Others with Reiki Positions and Techniques

Examining Full-Body Hand Positions

Knowing Where to Go and When to Leave

Using Reiki without Touching the Body

Balancing Chakras with Reiki

Chapter 11: Applying Reiki to Yourself

Putting Yourself First

Preparing to Give Yourself Reiki

Treating Yourself with Reiki

Chapter 12: Reiki Rocks! Using Crystals with Reiki

Exploring the Healing Power of Crystals

Distinguishing between Crystals, Rocks, and Gems

Finding the Right Crystals for You

Staying Crystal Clear: Cleaning a Crystal’s Energy

Giving Your Crystal a Reiki Charge

Bringing Crystals to the Reiki Table

Part IV : Sharing Reiki with Others

Chapter 13: Putting Together a Reiki Healing Session

Finding Your Reiki Style

Preparing Yourself to Give Reiki

Getting Your Surroundings Ready

Merging Different Healing Practices

Considering Ethics and Boundaries

Going through the Session

Receiving Guidance through Intuition

Cleaning and Protecting

Chapter 14: Experiencing Reiki in a Group

Participating in Reiki Events

Harnessing the Power of Group Reiki

Going on a Reiki Retreat

Taking Reiki to the Community

Chapter 15: Sending Reiki Where Needed

Like a Prayer: Understanding How Reiki Can Be Sent

Getting Permission to Send Distant Reiki

Getting Prepared for Distant Reiki

Performing the Distant Reiki Session

Using Distant Reiki to Heal Yourself

Sending Reiki to Many at Once

Chapter 16: Combining Reiki with Other Health Practices

Discovering How Reiki Heals

Integrating Reiki into Medical Care

Using Different Reiki Techniques for Illness or Pain

Using Reiki in Special Situations

Matching Reiki with Bodywork

Using Reiki with Counseling

Using Reiki to Change Habits and Heal Addictions

Chapter 17: Becoming a Professional Reiki Healer

Making a Business out of Reiki

Maintaining High Standards

Planning Your Reiki Business

Being Part of the Reiki Community

Part V : The Part of Tens

Chapter 18: Ten Uses for Reiki in Everyday Situations

Helping Plants Reach Their Potential

Boosting Your Food’s Fortitude

Shoring Up Your Water

Making the Most of Your Medicine

Calming Computer Problems

Managing Money with Reiki

Bolstering Up Your Automobile

Cleaning and Clearing Out Clutter

Protecting Loved Ones

Shielding Your Home

Chapter 19: Ten Uses for Reiki as a Tool for Personal Growth

Receiving Healing with Reiki

Going Inward with Meditation

Honoring the Reiki Principles

Getting Attuned to Reiki

Keeping a Journal

Empowering Your Affirmations with Reiki

Giving Reiki to Others

Setting Your Intentions

Letting Your Intuition Blossom

Living with Integrity

Chapter 20: Ten Common Myths about Reiki

Mikao Usui Was a Christian Minister

Dr. Mikao Usui Studied at the University of Chicago

You Must Believe in Reiki to Benefit from It

You Must Pay for Reiki for It to Benefit You

You Should Not Charge for Reiki

There Is Only One Right Form or School of Reiki

Reiki Is a Religion

You Know How Reiki Will Heal You

Reiki Can Cure Anything

Reiki Can Be Used Instead of Medicine

Chapter 21: Ten Non-traditional Reiki Symbols

Double Cho Ku Rei

Tibetan Dai Ko Myo

Tibetan Fire Serpent








Appendix: Great Reiki Resources

International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP) Codes of Ethics

Reiki Organizations

Reiki Magazines

Reiki Branches

Reiki Chat Forums and E-Mail Lists

Reiki History and Usage Information

Reiki Schools and Teachers

Other Related Information



T he touch of a hand is increasingly recognized as being important and also absent in much of modern medicine. Reiki as an alternative and complementary therapy provides the soothing comfort of human touch. This can make a world of difference to someone in pain. Reiki is the energy of love that never ends. You can experience the bliss of Reiki as a recipient and receive healing that is channeled through another. Or you can learn Reiki yourself to boost your personal growth and enlightenment.

Reiki has gained in popularity as more people seek solutions to personal and global problems. You might have tried meditation and yoga or even massage. Reiki is a natural partner to these and other healing practices. The person to thank for the Reiki healing system is a Japanese man named Mikao Usui (1865–1926). He developed the original Reiki system that has blossomed into a multitude of worldwide branches. What is common to all Reiki systems is the channeling of the Reiki life-force energy.

Reiki comes from a higher source — call it God, higher power, creator, or spirit. A series of simple initiations turns on your Reiki “light switch,” which gives you the lifelong ability to channel Reiki energy. The benefit you get from Reiki and how much you can help others depend on how often and with what intent you use Reiki. The more you use Reiki, the more you get out of it.

Reiki connects you with the ultimate source of healing at all levels. If you desire peace, consciousness, healing, or enlightenment, then Reiki is for you.

About This Book

Reiki may not seem like a down-to-earth subject, but this is a down-to-earth book about Reiki. The open-access style of the For Dummies series makes this comprehensive book on Reiki pleasant to navigate and use.

Reading this book doesn’t make you a Reiki practitioner, but you can use this book as a reference and guide as you use Reiki in your own life and to help others.

Offering a worldwide perspective

Reiki is practiced all over the globe, and the Reiki techniques presented in this book include those commonly used from both Western and Japanese lineages. Many classes and sessions today incorporate techniques from both types of Reiki. Japanese Reiki is becoming more popular as previously unknown Japanese practitioners present their version of Reiki in Japan, and in the West. So both Western and Japanese Reiki classes are taught worldwide.

The most well-known Reiki lineage passed from Mikao Usui to Chujiro Hayashi to Hawayo Takata of Hawaii. The students of Takata then taught more students, who became the major source of so-called Western Reiki. My Reiki teachers came from this initial lineage.

I include a discussion of chakra-energy systems even though these weren’t part of Usui’s original teaching. I think this information helps you to see how the Reiki energy system fits into other energy systems that are used today.

Illustrating symbols and positions

You find the four basic Reiki symbols and some additional nontraditional Reiki symbols illustrated in this book. This information was previously considered secret — to be revealed only after paying a teacher. More and more authors of Reiki material choose to include this information and make the distinction between sacred and secret. The Reiki symbols are sacred. I hope that you take the information on the symbols along with other information in this book in the manner in which it is offered: with deep respect for the people who have come before me, and those who come after me in Reiki.

You find ample illustrations of not only the Reiki symbols but also the Reiki hand positions (for treating yourself or treating another).


If you find a discrepancy between a symbol or illustrations here and what you are taught, I suggest you follow the guidance of your Reiki teacher.

Examining personal stories

Reiki is miraculous in that it can help you transform illness or difficulties in your life. But the exact nature of the miracles that Reiki provides differs from person to person. Reiki may help one person recover from cancer, and another may reach a place of peace and die. One person may find that his marriage is rejuvenated, and another may decide to live apart from his mate.

Because of the individuality of the response to Reiki, I don’t include Reiki miracle stories. What may work in one way for you will work in a different way for someone else. I don’t want you to read that one woman overcame her infertility with Reiki and think it will work for you that way too. Instead, maybe you’re meant to adopt a child who is waiting for you somewhere. You get the picture? Reiki will bring you to your highest outcome, whatever that might be.

In terms of my own story, Reiki is a major tool that helps me in every single area. But this book is not about me; like Reiki, this book is coming through me. I add my personal experience where I think it can help the reader in his life. I also include a few other personal stories, in sidebars, to give you a sense of the variety of responses to Reiki.

Conventions Used in This Book

Different Reiki practitioners use different terminology to cover the topics of Reiki, and here are the terms I’ve chosen to use in this book:

bullet The person who receives Reiki is called the Reiki recipient.

bullet The person who gives Reiki is called the Reiki practitioner.

bullet Higher power, God, or Universal Energy is called spirit.

bullet Because a Reiki recipient or practitioner can be male or female, I use both the he and she pronouns throughout the text.

You’ll also notice some changes in text font to get your attention:

bullet The first time I define a term in the chapter, I italicize the word.

bullet I use boldface to emphasize action steps.

bullet When I list Web addresses, I use monofont.

What You’re Not to Read

Go ahead and read the chapters that interest you. Or, if you’re using this book for a Reiki class, read the chapters your teacher recommends. What you do with the other chapters is your own business. What’s nice is that you have the information on your bookshelf when you need it.

Also, note that the information presented in sidebars is incidental to the main chapter and you can skip them if you want.

Foolish Assumptions

I assume that you, the reader of this book, fall into at least one of the following categories:

bullet You’re curious to find out more about Reiki.

bullet You’re considering trying Reiki for yourself or a family member.

bullet You’re looking into taking Reiki classes.

bullet You want a book to guide you through classes and the beginning of your Reiki practice.

You might be one of the following:

bullet A skeptic who is open minded: “I’ll reserve final judgment until I’ve read the book or tried it out.”

bullet A newbie to Reiki: “I want to know more about Reiki. Bring it on.”

bullet A New-Age aficionado: “I’m open to just about anything. I want to add Reiki to the techniques I already use.”

I’m assuming that you also may be saying, “I’m smart, but I really don’t know much about this subject and don’t want to spend too much effort getting the information I need to know.” In order for you to get this most from this book, I’d like to assume that you’re doing the following:

bullet Keeping an open mind to the possibility that Reiki can help you

bullet Seeing whatever concept you have of God, higher power, universal energy, or spirit as the source of Reiki energy

bullet Using Reiki to build upon and supplement your own personal growth and healing practices

bullet Being ready to make some changes in your life and let Reiki help you do that

bullet Taking what you like from the book (and Reiki) and leaving the rest

Reiki can work for everyone, even someone who doesn’t believe in it. The only person for whom Reiki doesn’t work is the person who doesn’t want Reiki. And that’s okay, if that’s you. Come back if you change your mind.

How This Book Is Organized

Reiki information is separated into the following parts so you can easily find what you need.

Part I: Discovering Reiki

I provide Reiki basics and background information in this section. The system of Reiki is traced from Mikao Usui’s founding of Reiki in Japan to developing Reiki branches all over the world. Though Reiki is an “energy medicine” with similarities to other systems, Reiki has distinctive features that separate it from other energy-healing techniques. The Reiki principles, which were delineated by Usui, are another common feature of all Reiki branches, and they have their own chapter in this part.

Part II: Experiencing Reiki for Yourself

To experience Reiki is to know a feeling of bliss. Everyone deserves this feeling of absolute harmony, which will keep you coming back for more. Anyone in your family can use Reiki at any age for any cause. Even your pets will appreciate a Reiki treatment to help them with an illness or just as a general energy boost. In this part, find out what a Reiki session feels like and what you can expect. Hint: Expect the unexpected!

Part III: Becoming Well-Versed in Reiki

Going farther with Reiki means taking Reiki classes, and I explain the many varieties in this part. I include information about the Reiki symbols (2nd-degree Reiki and beyond), techniques to channel and use the Reiki energy to help others, and methods to give yourself Reiki. As a fun addition to this part, I include information on adding crystals to a Reiki practice.

Part IV: Sharing Reiki with Others

When you have your Reiki practice under your belt, you’ll want to contribute to the well-being of others on either a volunteer or professional basis. This part describes how to structure a Reiki session and start using Reiki professionally. You may want to join or start your own Reiki shares or circles or bring Reiki to your local hospital. Reiki has the ability to pass through time and space, so you find out how to use Reiki to heal events all over the world, and even in the past or future. Reiki is a natural companion to many therapeutic treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, massage, psychotherapy, and chiropractic work, so practitioners from these other therapies can find ways to use Reiki to help their patients and clients.

Part V: The Part of Tens

This traditional part of the Dummies series lists information in accessible lists of ten. You find uses for Reiki in everyday life, tips to apply Reiki for personal growth, a list of Reiki myths, and ten extra nontraditional Reiki-inspired symbols.

After the Part of Tens, I provide an appendix of Web sites, books, and other contact information to help you go farther with Reiki. That same appendix includes the International Association of Reiki Professionals Code of Ethics. After the appendix is a glossary of Reiki terms in one convenient place.

Icons Used in This Book

Icons are the little drawings in the margins of the book that are designed to draw your attention to certain topics. They serve as guides to the type of information being provided.


I use this icon to accentuate information that is most important to a particular topic. The remember icon highlights the take-home information.


I don’t use this icon often, but if you see it, you know that I’m giving you some nonessential information. You don’t have to read it, but of course, if you’re hungry for everything there is to know about Reiki, feel free to savor every word.


The Tip icon flags especially useful, practical information that can enhance your Reiki experience or practice.


Reiki doesn’t involve any danger, so warnings are very few in this book. But if you see this icon, you should pay particular attention to the instructions to avoid harming yourself or others.

Where to Go from Here

The beauty of this book, like all For Dummies books, is that you can start reading any place you like. You can flip through the pages and see what page opens up first, or you can scan the Table of Contents for chapters of interest.

You can always read from Chapter 1 and continue onward, though I don’t assume you’ll read every single chapter or that you’ll read the chapters in order. If you’re totally new to Reiki, I suggest Chapter 1 for an overview of Reiki. Then you may want to jump to Chapters 5 and 6 to see what Reiki can do for you. I wish you a bountiful healing journey with Reiki!

Part I

Discovering Reiki

In this part . . .

R eiki is a natural and simple way to achieve healing at all levels: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Reiki is a Japanese word for “spiritual energy,” and the system of Reiki has evolved since it was founded by Mikao Usui in Japan. As Reiki has evolved through changes made by different Reiki masters, it still retains its essence: to provide healing to all who seek it.

This part includes basic information on what Reiki is and what it is not. You also find out about the founders of Reiki. In addition, I explain the five underlying principles of Reiki and how this energy system compares and contrasts with other types of energy healing.