I have often been asked about the similarities and differences between the various energy-healing methods, and having mastered several of these methods, I am able to share my knowledge about them. The easiest energy-healing method to learn is Reiki.


Reiki is in fact a generic term for a group of healing methods practised in Japan that use the universal energy ( “rei” for universal, and “ki” for energy). However, it has now become synonymous with the method developed by Dr Mikao Usui ( born 15/8/1865 near Nagoya, Japan ) which is properly called Usui Reiki.

Dr Usui was a Buddhist monk who had studied kiko (Japanese Qigong) at a Buddhist temple on Mt. Kurama, north of Kyoto. He was not satisfied with the kiko healing method that uses, and therefore depletes, one’s own ki when healing others. Sometime in 1922, he claimed that he received Divine initiation as the universal energy flowed into him, and that he could channel it to others in a way that did not require giving up his own ki. He developed a system based on symbols that open the gates for the practitioner to receive and channel ki.

He formed the Usui Reiki Kyoho Gakkai ( Usui Reiki Healing Society ) and practised and taught his healing method until his death in 1926.

Among his more famous students was Chujiro Hayashi. Although Mr Hayashi later broke ranks and developed his own Reiki method, his student Mrs Hawayo Takata ( born 24/12/1900 in Hawaii ) was the one responsible for bringing and popularizing Usui Reiki to the West, and now it is the Westerners who have revived Reiki in Japan!

Mrs Takata learned Reiki from Chujiro Hayashi in 1936, and in 1937, returned to Hawaii with Mr. Hayashi to begin teaching this healing method. She continued doing so for a long time since she was blessed with a long life. She died on 11/12/1980.

Through her efforts, and that of her students ( and their students thereafter ), Reiki is now the most popular individual healing technique in the world, and I think, in Malaysia too. Many Malaysians are currently learning Reiki from the many masters that are teaching it here. There are also teaching masters coming from overseas.

Over the years, Reiki Masters have added to or modified the teachings of classical Usui Reiki. So we now have many variations like Karuna Reiki, Osho Neo-Reiki, Sufi Reiki, Angelic Reiki, etc.


Reiki is popular since it is so simple to learn and apply. Entry-level Reiki (Level 1) can be learnt in 1 or 2 days. After Level 1, one is already able to start doing simple healing. There are also no complicated physical exercises to learn, only symbols to remember.

Most of the people learning Reiki here are young to middle-aged adults, and more are women. Many are fascinated at the opportunity of learning a healing art that is so simple to learn and so easy to practice and apply. They can even start healing their friends and relatives soon after learning the basics. And they can learn the higher levels and become Reiki healers/practitioners within a relatively short time.

Reiki is remarkable in that it is a simple yet effective healing skill that can be used for self-healing or to heal others, even by distant-healing. And as you heal others, you always benefit from the healing energy too.

Just like Tai Chi and Qigong, Reiki is more than just a healing art. It has a rich philosophy based on power, love and light; on peace and wisdom; on beauty and grace; on giving and sharing; on caring and compassion; and on oneness of the Divine ( or universe ) and humanity.

Thus good Reiki practitioners also become better human beings because the Reiki philosophy dictates that you can become a good Reiki healer only if you have a passion to heal, and compassion for others.

I have a friend who is a Reiki healer and I marvel at her passion, patience, and perseverance. So much so that she can even do healing on pets, and by the accounts so far, has been very effective. She is so caring and empathic, it is no wonder that the compassionate universal healing energy just flows through her!


Anyone can learn Reiki. All you need is to be able to understand simple theory, an open mind, and a good heart.

The basic level ( Level 1) usually takes 2 days to learn ( some masters teach in 1 day, others in 3 days ). During the class each student is initiated by the teaching master so that he/she can become the channel for the universal ki. After the initiation and a little bit of coaching, the student is ready to practise Reiki healing.

In Level 2, which takes the same duration to learn, more symbols and healing exercises are taught. Distant healing is introduced, and if the student has been practising the art for some time, the healing energy can be obviously felt by the recipients ( usually warmth ).

Level 3A is the Master Practitioner or Reiki Healer level whereby the practitioner is now adapt and experienced in Reiki healing. He/she is competent to treat others and may charge for the healing services. The good Reiki healer can choose to make it a fulltime vocation. Duration of training is also the same.

To teach, the master must undergo Level 3B ( Master Teacher ) training and be certified as competent to teach. The training is usually 2 or more days ( up to a week ).

There are even higher Master levels set by famous masters, for those who wish to acquire the special skills or wisdom that they have gathered. These may include professional, metaphysical and spiritual training.

Most teaching masters require that the students have sufficient practice and experience before being allowed to take the next level. For example, some teachers require a minimum duration of 6 month’s practice before the student is deemed ready to proceed. Some masters require students to undertake an “apprenticeship” ( 6 months to 1 year ) under their supervision as part of the requirements for the master levels. However, there are no standard rules. The Reiki Chapter of The Malaysian Society for Complementary Therapies, which is the body that will govern Reiki practitioners here, has standardized the training requirements, but these are yet to be enforced.


So Usui Reiki has its roots in Qigong ( kiko ) and the difference is how the qi or ki is harnessed, and how it is channeled. Qigong healing is usually more active and intense, but if the healer uses his own qi, then it will be at the expense of his own health. It is actually not necessary for the Qigong healer to use his own qi, as it is more beneficial to tap on the universal qi as in Reiki healing.

Reiki healing is more passive ( less movements by the healer ) and more gentle. The response by patients is also more passive. In comparison, patients undergoing Qigong treatment usually experience involuntary movements as the qi flows. There are advantages for both methods depending on the problem at hand.

I encourage the learning of both. From my experience, doing Qigong exercises is excellent in maintaining one’s own health, and combining Qigong and Reiki facilitates the healing of others, while benefiting from it as well.

I been privileged to have learned Reiki ( Usui and Karuna ) from several Masters, and to have observed several others at work. I recommend Reiki to everyone.


Dr Amir Farid Isahak
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