How many forms of Reiki exist?

There has been a considerable increase in interest in healing over the past 15 to 20 years, and this has been part of the reason for the spread of Reiki worldwide. However, over that period of time—and particularly since the mid-1990s—there have been many changes in, and an evolution of, the original Reiki system in the West. When in the late 1990s information finally came out of Japan, both about the real history of Dr. Usui and the healing system he started, and about techniques that we did not know, this caused great upheaval in some Reiki communities as it challenged their assumption that what they were offering was “traditional Reiki.”

The situation now is probably even more confused, because “new” Reiki healing systems are being developed all the time, mostly based on the original Usui Reiki, but incorporating new symbols, different attunement methods and lots of new ideas. Add to this the claims that one system is “better” than another and counterclaims that other systems “just don’t work” and it is very difficult to cut through the dross and find out what each system offers.

As I explained in an earlier chapter, because the word Reiki in Japanese can refer to any healing energy, most of these new healing systems are using that word to identify themselves—and also, presumably, to benefit from the reputation of the original Usui Reiki, which is well-known now in almost all countries.

There are several websites that give more detail, if you want to follow them up. I hope this will help you to identify any that you might find interesting, because there are many healing paths and one of them might be right for you. Reiki is a dynamic energy so it is bound to develop, and we will probably see even more “versions” of Reiki in the future.

Amanohuna Reiki: The word amanohuna means the “Abundance of the Right Way of Life.” This system, which claims to have ten levels, was channelled by Arthur Cataldo in Hawaii.

Ascension Reiki: This is a new system taught in nine levels, which claims to have nine additional symbols. Its founder appears to be Jayson Suttkus, from the U.S.

Blue Star Reiki: This was originally called Blue Star Celestial Energy. It is a channelled energy supposedly originating from an Ancient Egyptian Mystery School and brought through by channelling Makuan, the spirit guide of John Williams, a Reiki Master from South Africa. This system has been modified by Gary Jirauch, who changed the name to Blue Star Reiki. It has 14 symbols (added by Gary) and two levels, both available only to Reiki Masters.

Buddho-Enersense Sometimes called EnerSense-Buddho: this system claims to be from Buddhist Lamas in Nepal, Tibet and Northern India. It was inaugurated by the Venerable Seiji Takamori, a Buddhist monk. It is a system of spiritual discipline related to healing involving meditation practice and empowerments, using ancient symbology, mantras and other aspects of Buddhist teachings and philosophy.

Golden Age Reiki: This is a system in three levels developed by Maggie Larson (who is also called Shimara) that is similar to Tera-Mai®, but with additional channelled symbols and an apparently different type of elemental energy.

Ichi Sekai Reiki: This system of four levels was started by Andrea Mikaha-Pinkham, who calls herself a Reiki Grand Master. It is based on Usui Reiki and Johrei Reiki, but with different forms of attunement and an additional Heart attunement developed by Andrea.

Jinlap Maitri Reiki: This five-level system is also known as Tibetan Reiki, and was developed by Gary Jirauch to follow on from Karuna Reiki® Mastership. It claims to be “Tibetan Reiki in the Medicine Buddha Tradition.” It has 25 symbols and includes techniques such as Meridian Therapy and trauma release.

Johrei or Jo Reiki: This system seems to have been developed from a combination of Raku Kei Reiki and the Johrei religion by a man named Jim Davis in the U.S. who taught it as one level, but it was the equivalent of going from First Degree to Master in a weekend. The Johrei Fellowship does not recognize it, and it has trademarked the name Johrei so that any unauthorized usage is forbidden. It is therefore probable that this system is no longer being taught.

Karuna Reiki®: The word karuna means compassion, and this healing system was developed by William Lee Rand at the International Center for Reiki Training in the U.S. It is based on two levels and nine new symbols, plus one Usui symbol and two Tibetan symbols, and the attunement system is different from that of Usui Reiki. William Rand specifies that this system should only be available to Reiki Masters, as he wishes it to be an addition to, not an alternative to, Usui Reiki. It seems to activate a different type of healing energy from that brought in by Usui Reiki—powerful and more intense than the gentle flow of Reiki—and it has an interesting spiritual dimension.

Mari-el®: This system of one degree (plus advanced techniques) and three symbols was developed by Ethel Lombardi. She was one of Mrs. Takata’s original 22 Reiki Masters in the U.S., and apparently developed the system in preference to siding with either Phyllis Furumoto or Barbara Ray after Mrs. Takata’s death. The name comes from Mari, meaning Mary, Mother of Christ, and El, which is said to be one of the names of God. It is not certain whether this system is still being taught.

Men Chho Reiki® or Medicine Dharma Rei Kei©: This system of three levels is supposed to be based on reconstructed teachings from Dr. Usui’s notes, letters to his students and some of the rare and secret Buddhist teachings that he studied, including “The Path of the Thunderbolt of Transcendent Light that Heals the Body and Illumines the Mind.” The translations have been carried out by Lama Yeshe Drugpa Thrinley Odzer, a former Shingon Buddhist priest and the Spiritual Advisor of the Men Chhos Rei Kei Institute.

The Radiance Technique®, Authentic Reiki®, Real Reiki®: This form of Reiki was originated by Dr. Barbara Ray, one of Mrs. Takata’s original 22 Masters in the U.S. She decided to call her system the Radiance Technique in the mid-1980s, because she described what others were teaching as “polluted”—hence, the other names, Authentic Reiki and Real Reiki. The system used to be taught at three levels, but now there are seven levels, still based on the original symbols, but with some additional ones.

Raku Kei Reiki: This system, also referred to as “The Way of the Fire Dragon,” seems to have been inaugurated by Iris Ishikuro and one of her students, Cheri L. Robertson, both members of the American Reiki Master Association. Ishikuro was one of Takata’s 22 original Masters and also a Johrei Fellowship Practitioner. The name Raku apparently means the vertical flow of energy, and Kei is the horizontal flow of energy in the body. It is taught at four levels, with the use of Master Frequency plates, which are supposed to switch the polarity of the body.

Reiki-Ho: This is the name given to the system of Reiki healing, also known as Iyashi No Gendai Reiki Ho, meaning the Modern Reiki Method for Healing. It was developed by Hiroshi Doi, a Reiki Master in Japan who has trained in both the Japanese and Western Reiki traditions. It is taught at four levels: Level 1 is for opening the Reiki channel; Level 2 is for enhancing the Reiki power and extending the use of Reiki; Level 3 is for reaching a higher level of vibration of consciousness and being more creative, and Level 4 is for becoming a Reiki teacher.

Reiki Jin-Kei Do©: This is an Eastern Lineage of Reiki, through Usui, Hayashi, Tekeuchi, and the Venerable Seiji Takamori to Dr. Ranga J. Premaratna, who is the present Lineage Head. The name translates as “Reiki: The Path (Integration) of Compassion and Wisdom.” Its emphasis is on a spiritual way of life and progress toward enlightenment as well as healing. It has been transmitted through Buddhist Reiki Masters and therefore has a greater content of Buddhist practices.

Reiki Plus®: This is a system developed by David Jarrell, the founder of the Reiki Plus® Institute (RPI), and it is taught at four Practitioner levels and two Master levels in a total of 310 class hours, which include etheric body and soul-level healing techniques and counselling approaches. Successful Reiki students of the RPI with suitable experience are also offered the opportunity to become ministers of the Pyramids of Light Church, recognized in the U.S. as a church of natural healing founded by David Jarrell.

Saku Reiki: This is a comprehensive wellness program built around Reiki but also incorporating nutrition, exercise, herbs, crystals and other natural remedies. It was developed by Eric Bott, originally from Germany but now based in California. It is derived from Usui Reiki as well as Karuna Reiki® and Tera Mai™ and is taught at six levels over a number of years.

Satya Japanese Reiki: This is another branch of Reiki that originated in Japan, with an Eastern lineage from Usui, Eguchi, Miyazuki, Mitsui, Takahashi, Mochizuki and Sakuma. Mitsui also studied the Radiance Technique with Dr. Barbara Ray, and the teaching is similar to that. It is taught at three levels and is found mostly in India.

Seichim or Seichem or Sekhem: This system was originated by Patrick Ziegler, a student of Dr. Barbara Ray in the U.S. It is a combination of Usui Reiki and some information from Egypt with some additional symbols. It is taught at five main levels. Some of Ziegler’s students have apparently made further changes.

Sun Li Chung Reiki: This is a system from Israel that has been channelled by Yosef Sharon. It is taught at five levels and claims to use thousands of symbols (for example, 1,600 symbols at Reiki 2) but the symbols are not given to the students, because they are expected to “channel” whatever they need, and undergo attunement with their spirit guides.

Tera-Mai®: This system, taught at three levels, was originated by Kathleen Ann Milner, in the U.S. It seems to be based on the Raku Kei Reiki system but with different attunement methods and more symbols, some of which are the same as those used in Karuna Reiki®. It includes energy activations to three additional strands of energy called Sakara, Angelic light and Sophi-el.

Tibetan Reiki: This system, developed by Ralph White, claims a lineage to Tschen Li, further claiming that Tschen Li taught Dr. Usui. There are several ways of teaching this system, including one that has one level and 19 symbols and another that has 25 symbols. Although the symbols are said to be of Tibetan origin, they don’t have Tibetan names. Another version of this system appears to be the same as the Usui/ Tibetan Reiki developed by William Lee Rand (described below).

Usui-Do (Traditional Japanese Reiki): This system is from the Japanese lineage (that is, not through Mrs. Takata) and has been developed by Dave King and Melissa Riggall, both of whom trained in Japan. It is a very different concept, as it has no “Masters,” and it regards the attunement simply as ceremonies with the whole system being driven solely by the intent of the Practitioner, who has at his/her disposal a number of “tools” that affect the way the energy is directed. There are seven levels in a similar ranking system to that in Japanese martial arts.

Usui Shiki Ryoho (or Usui Shiki Reiki Ryoho): This is what is usually referred to as traditional Reiki in the West, with the lineage from Usui, Hayashi and Takata to Phyllis Lei Furumoto, Mrs. Takata’s granddaughter. Furumoto and another of Takata’s Masters, Paul Mitchell, set up “The Office of Grand Master,” which has outlined what they call the four aspects (healing practice, personal growth, spiritual discipline, and mystic order) and nine elements (oral tradition, spiritual lineage, history, principles, form of classes, money, initiation, symbols and treatment) of the Usui Reiki system, all of which they believe should be incorporated into Reiki training and practice. Masters who belong to The Reiki Alliance generally follow this system of teaching at three levels with four symbols. Some independent Reiki Masters also use this system with some minor adaptations.

Usui/Tibetan Reiki: This system, which includes two additional symbols, was developed by William Lee Rand, an American Reiki Master, and is a combination of traditional Usui Reiki, Raku Kei Reiki and his own understandings. It is taught at four levels with a different attunement system from that of Usui Reiki, although the traditional Usui system is also taught to Reiki Masters. Levels 1 and 2 are normally taught on consecutive days. Rand set up the International Center for Reiki Training, and training with Center-accredited Reiki Masters can be counted as part of the training through The National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (USA) and the American Holistic Nurses.

Vajra Reiki®: This system originally came from Johrei Reiki, and was founded, named and trademarked by Wade Ryan, who trained in India in the 1970s. He revised the Johrei Reiki system and created a “new” energy that is claimed to be particularly effective with some of the new bacteria and viruses that have appeared in recent years. It is taught at three levels and includes mantras, meditation and energy polarity.

Maayaa Reiki®: This form of Reiki has four levels, and as many as 150 symbols. It has been started by Maayaa of the Maayaa International Healing School (an Indian foundation).