Both Protestant and Catholic Christians have written a good bit about Reiki, offering a spectrum of opinions and positions, and I have heard a number of questions and misconceptions….so I’d like to offer some information and resources for those who are concerned about this issue.
To give some of the key points: Reiki is not a religion and does not conflict with any religion; it is a meditative practice of healing by touch that taps into the divine universal life force, which is known by many names across spiritual traditions and which gives life to all beings. Similar hands-on healing practices are found in almost every faith tradition, including the pentecostal gift of “laying on of hands.”
Were Reiki’s roots Christian? While some say that Mikao Usui, who established Usui Reiki in Japan in 1922, was Buddhist, his lineage-bearer Mrs. Hawayo Takata described him as a [“full-fledged [sic] Christian minister” and also “Principal of the Doshisha Universtity in Kyoto,” a Christian institution]. Subsequent anti-Western sentiment at the time of WWII suppressed this information, however, and Usui Sensei’s memorial is in a Buddhist cemetery.
Ultimately the best criterion is the principle “You shall know them by their fruits”…and Christians who practice Reiki often find themselves drawing closer to their faith and the meaning of their spiritual path.
If you are a Christian questioning the spiritual validity of Reiki, you can find good information on the fruits of Reiki on the website ChristianReiki. It offers the personal perspectives and personal stories of some very committed and theologically informed Christians, both laypeople and clergy, across denominational lines. It also features Reiki educational pioneer William Lee Rand’s direct response to a statement by the Catholic bishops, debunking misconceptions and reaffirming Reiki’s acceptance and documented results within the medical community.
Finally, for those who want to explore this subject in detail, Ruth Mayeaux Allen, Ph.D., has written a comprehensive book titled The Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Reiki: One Source, One Spirit, which includes an examination of the Bishops’ statement and a response to each of its points. Well worth reading!