When the Japanese practice of Reiki was first introduced by Ms. Hawayo Takata to the United States and Canada in the late 1930s, it was cloaked with mystery.

Mrs. Takata, a Hawaiian lady of Japanese descent, brought her knowledge of Reiki through oral teachings only. She insisted that her teachings should not be written down, because the knowledge could be misused if it ended up in the wrong hands.

So no wonder Reiki things got mixed up in the Western world!

Truth be told, there’s a lot of crap… Hem, myths on Reiki!

Reiki, at its core, is a simple self-healing method, which can also be used to help others.

So let’s bust the Reiki Myths, and dig up the truth. Because true knowledge empowers us.


Myth #1 – Reiki is a religion

The word ‘Reiki’ translates as ‘spiritual energy’. The system of Reiki with the energy that permeates everything: birds, rocks, your beating heart, halloumi cheese… Everything is made of energy.

Practising Reiki develops our own energy, and allows it to flow more freely in and through us.

We gradually reconnect with our original nature, and we embrace a more balanced, healthy and happy lifestyle.

Reiki, by all means, is a practice – an art, even. The founder of the system of Reiki, Mikao Usui, actually took various elements that he used in his own spiritual practice, such as Japanese philosophy and cosmology, and incorporated them in the system of Reiki.

It is a system, not a religion or a doctrine.

It doesn’t infringe on anyone’s beliefs or personal values.

People of many faiths have discovered Reiki, and use it in their own practice. I have actually recently discovered an article and a WEBSITE (!) dedicated to Reiki for Christians.


Myth #2 – Mikao Usui was a Christian monk

Usui was not a monk, a Christian, or a medical doctor. He was a Japanese Zen Buddhist, a businessman, a spiritual seeker, and a scholar.

Late in his life (in the early 1900s), he experienced a profound epiphany after a period of fasting and meditation. That’s when he was given Reiki.

Initially, Usui created the system of Reiki to support his community on their own spiritual journey, using meditation and the Reiki Precepts.

Later, Usui created teachings designed for the Japanese military (no kidding). They included mantras, symbols, hand-healing and Reiju (a spiritual blessing, which we often call an attunement these days).

Usui developed and adapted them to each new generation of students into what is the system of Reiki today.



Myth #3 – A Reiki attunement will help me meet my spirit guide

After Mrs. Takata’s death in 1980, Western students of Reiki started to channel energy and information from spirit guides to add to the original system. None of these guides agreed with one another, often stating that their own system is better or stronger (haha).

This created some confusion about whether they were working on Reiki energy, the system of Reiki, or an entirely different energy.

As a result, New Age practices have influenced different systems of Reiki, which include the chakra system, a multitude of symbols, and the introduction of spiritual beliefs.

This myth may also have arisen out of Diane Stein’s Essential Reiki, in which she explains that many of her students became aware of the presence of their guides after their Level II attunements.

An urban legend was born: the attunement alone can make this happen.

A Reiki class I attended actually included an ‘Angel and Spirit Guides’ Bonus. I wish I had known then that the bonus didn’t have anything to do with the system of Reiki (because it kind of turned me off, and it tooks me years to go back to Reiki… With a different teacher. Please don’t do what I did, and choose your teacher carefully).

Yes, meeting your guide can happen after an attunement.

It has happened to Reiki initiates.

It might not happen at all (and It didn’t happen to me).

Hoping for a meeting with your guide or guardian angel should not be the sole reason for signing up to a Reiki class. Because a Reiki attunement is such a beautiful process. It is a gift and blessing, to be cherished.

Although a Reiki healing treatment doesn’t require crystals, angels, or spirits guides , you can call them in to assist with the healing (if that’s your thing).


Myth #4: Reiki is a Massage Therapy

No. Massage Therapy and Reiki are two distinct disciplines.

Although many massage therapists incorporate Reiki healing into their massage sessions (who doesn’t want to feel like a happy baby sloth after a treatment?!), Reiki is NOT a massage therapy.

It is an energy-based therapy, which does not involve the manipulation of bones or tissues. Reiki practitioners use a light touch with their hands on or over their clients’ fully clothed bodies.



Myth #5 – Reiki should be free

Yes, the energy of Reiki is free, and available everywhere. We’re all made of energy, and we already use it, if unconsciously, to heal ourselves and others.

My niece, 5 years old, told me the other day that she had healed her sister’s shoulder, and later her dad’s knee. It was so beautiful to see that she was just using energy, as well as her love, and her compassion to soothe others’ suffering. It is a knowledge that we often lose as we grow up.

So if you would like to learn a system that can teach you how to use your energy more effectively, you need to pay the instructor.

It is the same when you receive a Reiki treatment, you are paying for the professionalism and experience of the practitioner, as well as rewarding them for the time and effort that they have put into their practice.

Anna Kitney, a Theta Healer in the UK, would say that the healing is free, but that her clients are paying her for her time and her experience.



Myth #6 – Giving Reiki to others depletes MY own energy

Please note that Reiki has no documented harmful effects, neither for the practitioner nor for the client.

A Reiki practitioner does not give his or her personal energy over to the client. Therefore, there is nothing to deplete.

They channel Reiki energy through their body to the recipient. We literally deliver mail. Once the mailman delivers the Reiki package, he goes home fully intact.

What happens next is between the package and the recipient!

The recipient’s body draws what it needs through the practitioner’s hands, taking it in, and utilizing it in.

However, it happens that a Reiki practitioner feels tired during or after giving a treatment to someone. Reiki has been wrongly blamed for it.

If it happens, it indicates that something is out-of-balance in their own body, or that they have unconsciously taken an energy something from the client. They should give that something back (because it doesn’t belong to them!).



Myth #7 – Reiki will heal me permanently

Reiki is not a magic pill (I just can’t say that enough!). It is true that one Reiki treatment may result in beautiful permanent healing – while other issues may require several treatments, especially if the recipient has unhealthy habits, such as negative self-talk, or lives in a negative environment.

A Reiki healing treatment is not a drug. Instead, it addresses the causes as well as the symptoms.

It is a holistic system of healing, that works with the body’s natural rhythms and systems to heal the cause in its own way, and in its own time.

Have you ever come across other Reiki myths, truth seekers? Share them below (especially if they’re hilarious)!



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