Dr Mikao Usui was the founder of Reiki. He was born on 15th August, 1865.

Dr Usui was a highly-educated man and constantly pursued higher educationachieving a doctorate of literature.  He also spoke many languages and studied medicine, theology and philosophy. He studied at a Buddhist monastery school and was a student of martial arts.

He lived with his wife and two children in Kyoto.  During 1888, Usui was infected with cholera as an epidemic swept through Kyoto. During this time he had a near-death experience and was given instructions by the Buddha.

One day while he was teaching, one of his students asked him how Jesus healed people. Usui did not have an answer to this and decided to travel to the America and study Christianity to obtain more knowledge.

Once, back in Japan, he spent 21 days on a mountain in Kyoto. Each day he threw away a stone to count the days. On the 21st day he saw a bolt of light and was struck in the middle of forehead (third eye).  He became aware of bubbles of light and within those he saw the symbols that are now known to us in Reiki. He was given the information about them to activate Reiki energy.

On the way down the mountain after this experience, he stubbed his toe. Immediately he placed his hands over the area and found that he was instantly healed.

He went on to work in the slums in Kyoto, as he had a deep passion to heal those in need. He worked there for seven years, and realised that although he was healing and helping, the same people seem to continue to come back. They preferred to beg, rather than earn a living. He became aware that although he had healed the body, he had not affected the spirit and that the beggars had placed no value on the gift of Reiki.

The means of exchange for Reiki is directly credited to this insight.  This enables the receiver to value the gift of Reiki.

Dr Usui continued to travel around Japan teaching. He trained 16 Masters and countless others to learn Reiki.

He dies in 1930 from a stroke.

Dr Chujiro Hayashi became his successor.  He was trained by Dr Usui and opened a healing clinic in Japan.  Dr Hayashi devised the hand positions as we know them today, as well as set out the attunements for each degree. He was a meticulous man and kept detailed records.  He continued to treat as many people as he could..

The Second World War was approaching and Dr Hayashi, fearing he would be drafted, appointed Mrs Hawayo Takata as his successor.

Mrs Takata was born in 1900 in Hawaii.  She became very ill later on in life and whilst on the operating table, prior to surgery, she was told that there was an alternative. That alternative was the healing Clinic where Dr Hayashi worked.

She spent 4 months there and was completely healed. This inspired her to learn Reiki. She studied and became the last Master to be initiated by Dr Hayashi.

Mrs Takata continued Reiki and took the teachings over to the United States.  She initiated 22 Reiki Masters.

She died in December 1980.