Reiki History Timeline: Origins to Present Day

This Reiki history timeline is a fascinating exploration of a healing practice that transcends cultural and geographical boundaries.

Embracing principles from various spiritual traditions yet not confined to any specific religion, Reiki has become a versatile therapeutic tool used in various settings, from hospitals to wellness centers.

Reiki History Timeline

This Reiki history timeline delves into the chronological development of Reiki, highlighting key milestones, influential figures, and the scientific studies that have shaped its growth and acceptance in the modern world. The latter we call the evidence-based history of Reiki.

Reiki History Timeline Infographic

The early 1900s: Origins in Japan

  • 1922: Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki, begins teaching the practice in Japan after a mystical experience on Mount Kurama.
  • 1926: Mikao Usui passes away, leaving his teachings to several successors, including Chujiro Hayashi.

1930s: Expansion and Development

  • 1930s: Chujiro Hayashi continues to teach and practice Reiki, further developing the system.
  • 1938: Hawayo Takata, a Hawaiian woman, learns Reiki from Hayashi in Japan and brings it to the Western world.

1940s – 1970s: Reiki in the West

  • 1940s: Hawayo Takata begins teaching Reiki in Hawaii and the mainland United States.
  • 1970s: Reiki starts to become more popular in the West, with Takata training 22 Reiki Masters before her death in 1980. Takara is considered to be one of the most important persons in the history of Reiki healing and thus made it to the Reiki History Timeline.
Reiki Training Hawaii
Reiki History Timeline – Hawaii in the 1970s

1980s – Present:

  • 1980s: Reiki begins to spread across Europe and other parts of the world.
  • 1990s: Various schools and styles of Reiki emerge, leading to a diversification of practices and teachings.
  • 2000s: Reiki becomes integrated into some medical and wellness practices, and scientific research begins to explore its potential benefits and mechanisms.
  • 2010s: The practice continues to grow, with an increasing number of practitioners and clients worldwide.

This was the origins part of the Reiki History Timeline, now let’s move on to the evidence-based history of Reiki part.

Evidence-based History of Reiki

The evidence-based history of Reiki reflects a growing interest in the scientific community to understand and validate this energy-healing practice. While Reiki’s origins date back to the early 20th century in Japan, scientific research on Reiki began to emerge in the latter part of the 20th century.

Evidence-based History of Reiki
Evidence-based History of Reiki

The evidence-based history of Reiki reveals a trajectory from initial skepticism and methodological challenges to a more nuanced and positive understanding of its potential therapeutic benefits.

While Reiki is still considered a complementary and alternative therapy, the body of scientific research supporting its effectiveness continues to grow, reflecting a broader acceptance and interest in this unique healing practice.


  • Early Research: The 1990s saw the beginning of scientific interest in Reiki, with preliminary studies exploring its potential effects on pain, stress, and well-being.
  • Challenges: The lack of standardized research methodologies and the subjective nature of energy healing made it challenging to conduct rigorous scientific studies.
History of Reiki
History of Reiki


  • Growing Interest: The 2000s marked a period of increased research on Reiki, with studies focusing on its potential benefits for various medical conditions, including cancer, anxiety, and chronic pain.
  • Meta-Analyses and Reviews: Several reviews and meta-analyses were conducted to synthesize the existing research, providing a more comprehensive understanding of Reiki’s effects.


  • Integration into Healthcare: Some hospitals and healthcare facilities began to integrate Reiki into their complementary and alternative medicine programs. Today more than 800 hospitals across the United States offer complimentary Reiki Therapy to their patients.
  • Continued Research: Studies continued to explore Reiki’s potential benefits, with a focus on its effects on specific populations, such as cancer patients and caregivers.


  • Study: “Effect of Reiki therapy on pain and anxiety in adults: an in-depth literature review of randomized trials with effect size calculations.” Link
    • Findings: This review calculated the effect of Reiki therapy on pain and anxiety, indicating potential benefits.
When was Reiki invented
When was Reiki invented


  • Study: “Reiki for depression and anxiety.” Link
    • Findings: A review of Reiki as a treatment for depression and anxiety, exploring its potential as a vibrational or subtle energy therapy.


  • Study: “Reiki Is Better Than Placebo and Has Broad Potential as a Complementary Health Therapy.” Link
    • Findings: This study reviewed clinical studies of Reiki to determine if there is evidence for Reiki provides more than just a placebo effect.


  • Study: “The effect of reiki on pain: A meta-analysis.” Link
    • Findings: A meta-analysis of the effect of Reiki on pain, shows significant results in pain reduction.


  • Study: “Reiki therapy for pain, anxiety and quality of life.” Link
    • Findings: A review of Reiki therapy’s role in palliative care, focusing on pain, anxiety, and quality of life.


  • Study: “Reiki, Nursing, and Health Care.” Link
    • Findings: An overview of Reiki’s integration into hospital systems and its use with various patient populations.
origins of Reiki symbols
origins of Reiki symbols


  • Study: “Effect of Reiki therapy on the stress level of caregivers of patients with cancer: Qualitative and single-blind randomized controlled trial.” Link
    • Findings: A clinical trial examining the effect of Reiki on the stress level of caregivers of cancer patients.

These studies collectively provide evidence for Reiki’s potential benefits in various areas, including pain management, anxiety reduction, and overall well-being. They also reflect the growing interest in Reiki within the medical and scientific communities.

what religion does Reiki come from?

As you can see on the Reiki History Timeline, it is not associated with any specific religion or religious practice. It originated in Japan in the early 20th century and was developed by Mikao Usui. While it is a spiritual practice, it does not adhere to any particular religious doctrine.

Reiki is often described as a form of energy healing that emphasizes the balance and flow of energy within the body. Practitioners believe that this energy, known as “Ki” or “Chi,” is a universal life force that exists in all living things.

Mikao Usui’s teachings were influenced by various spiritual and philosophical traditions, including Shingon Buddhism, Shintoism, and Taoism. However, Reiki itself is considered a secular practice, and people of various religious backgrounds, as well as those with no religious affiliation, can practice and benefit from Reiki.

what religion does Reiki come from
what religion does Reiki come from?

It’s important to note that different Reiki practitioners and schools may have varying interpretations and practices, so individual experiences with Reiki may differ. Some may incorporate more spiritual or religious elements, while others focus solely on the energy-healing aspect of the practice.

This is not a complete Wikipedia as there is much more to the Reiki History Timeline than what I can cover in one blog post, like the birth of Karuna Reiki and many other things.
They, however, got their very own blog posts, so take a look at these 25 Types of Reiki

Lost Yogi