Western Usui and Jikiden Reiki - What is the difference?

Rideau Lakes Reiki provides a choice between Western Usui Reiki and traditional Japanese (Jikiden) Reiki techniques. What is the difference?

Mikao Usui originator of ReikiAll forms of Usui Reiki practiced today originated in 1922 in Japan with the founder, Mikao Usui. This simple healing practice migrated to the west in the 1930’s via Hawayo Takata, a first generation Japanese-American and Dr. Chijuro Hayashi, one of Sensei Usui’s original students. Mrs. Takata, who was recognized by Dr. Hayashi as a Reiki Master in 1938, continued to practice and teach in Hawaii, on the U.S. mainland, and in British Columbia until her death in 1980. Within 15 years of Mrs. Takata’s death, Reiki had spread throughout the rest of the world via the 22 Masters she had trained. With this rapid growth, changes were introduced and some students began to combine Reiki with other healing practices. Terms such as chakras, aura healing, crystal healing, angel guides, etc. used by some practitioners are non-Japanese concepts and were not part of the original teachings.

Chiyoko and Tadeo YamaguchiMeanwhile, students of Usui and Hayashi continued to practice and teach Reiki in Japan. Western Reiki practitioners who went in search of Reiki’s traditional Japanese roots in the 1990’s met Chiyoko Yamaguchi, an elderly lady who had been practicing Reiki healing techniques since she was first trained by Dr. Hayashi in 1938. On learning how much Western Reiki had changed in its journey around the world, she and her son, Tadeo, decided to pass on what they had learned, coining the name Jikiden Reiki. The term “jikiden” is a Japanese word that denotes a traditional art form that is passed on carefully from teacher to student without alteration. Put quite simply, Jikden Reiki does not have any non-Japanese concepts and is very respectful of the original teachings.

Rather than using fixed hand positions, Jikiden Reiki training involves learning to use the hands to sense areas in the body where there are accumulations of toxins (byosen). Placement of the hands on or just above these areas is used to break down and eliminate these toxins more effectively. Once toxins are eliminated, the body may more easily move into a place of balance and health. Specific techniques may also be used to release and eliminate “toxic” emotions to that may have a negative impact on health.

Western Reiki practitioners are usually taught the 5 “Gokai” (Usui’s original precepts to promote a happy and healthy life) in the first level. Rather than being an “aside”, the Gokai are an integral part of Jikiden Reiki practice. Reciting the 5 precepts in Japanese morning and evening is believed to be an important part of developing compassion. By working on ourselves, we are better able to help others.

So, Jikiden Reiki is Usui Reiki. It is the Reiki directly from its birth place, Japan. Nothing is added or amended from its original teaching from Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, one of the 20 students of Mr. Usui, the founder of Reiki. Western Reiki practice is neither better nor worse than Jikiden Reiki; it is simply a matter of personal preference.

I love the explanation provided by Mari Okazaki in her blog “Tuna Roll or California Roll”. She compares Western Reiki to California Rolls which have been created to suit the Western taste, based on the Japanese sushi recipe or to Modern and Contemporary Ballet as opposed to Classical Ballet.

In whatever form it takes, Reiki continues to be a highly effective technique for promoting the relaxation necessary for the body to engage its internal self-healing resources. At Rideau Lakes Reiki, you can choose the form that resonates with you. Please Note: I have trained with Mr. Yamaguchi at the Shoden and Okuden levels for practicing client-centred Jikiden Reiki techniques. However, I am currently registered to teach only the Western Usui form of Reiki (as taught to me by Reiki Master, Denise Carpenter). I am currently working on the 150 hour practicum required before moving on to the Shihan-kaku (Assistant Teacher) level. If you are interested in Jikiden Training classes, please contact the Jikiden Reiki Association of Canada.