Who first discovered and correctly used Reiki? That is a question that can be easily answered – Mikao Usui. While the history books will not remember this man’s effort, thousands of people’s lives were changed by his creation of alternative medicine. If you are a Reiki enthusiast, then you should know him by heart. If you want to practice Reiki, then it is vital that you know the history of Reiki first.

Life and Family 

Mikao was born on the 15th of August in 1865, in the village of Taniai that is now called Miyama Cho. To get more specific, it was in the Yamagata district of the Gifu Prefecture. His father and mother were Uszaemon and Kawai respectively. His brothers were Sanya, a doctor, and Kunji, a policeman. He had an older sister, Tsuru who was married to Sadako Suzuki and they had two children, Fuji and Toshiko.


According to the legends, Mikao went to the University of Chicago to get a doctorate in theology, but there had been sufficient evidence that he never got a degree from Chicago, let alone attended the school. All of his education came from the monks at the Shugendo mountain where religious services such as fortune telling, divination, channeling, prayer, and exorcism were practiced. Another false claim of the modern media is that Mikao was Christian but later was discovered that it was only an attempt to make him seem more appealing to the West. These claims went uncontested until 1994 where the original manuscript of Usui was found, stating his claims of being Buddhist.


It is common knowledge that Usui’s teachings to his students were to achieve a connection with a universal energy – what we call the soul. These teachings not only helped them develop themselves but also allowed them to heal the sick. Now, what set his teachings apart from other types of healing, such as palm healing, is the use of Reiju and attunement which linked everything to his spiritual teachings. Historically, there were five principles that he taught his students to live by, but those have long since been forgotten. Due to the solitude that was required in the teachings, there were a lot of rumors that were circulating, but one that was absolutely false was the speculation that his teachings encouraged sexual deviancy. I won’t spoil Mikao’s good name by even mentioning these alleged crimes any further. Another rather silly rumor was that there were five levels to his teachings. While there were five levels you could achieve in Mikao’s eyes, there was only one level to his teachings.


Death and Legacy

In his lifetime, Mikao was able to teach over two thousand people in his life, and sixteen continued his teachings at a Shinpiden level. These students went to spread his teachings to millions throughout Japan. While there is no empirical evidence today of Reiki being able to heal, there are many recorded stories with several witness accounts of Reiki being able to cure various types of cancer and mental ailments. There were sparse emotional diseases that were cured by Mikao’s hands, but definitely by those of his loyal sixteen. He died on the 9th of March 1926.

One of the things that Mikao taught that seem to have been forgotten in the modern era is that one cannot change the future without first knowing the past. This is but a synopsis of Mikao’s life as there are more particular books that require reading for anyone who has an interest in Reiki or for those who want to¬†practice Reiki to its fullest extent. I hope that this article was interesting enough to make you want to do your own research on the late great Mikao Usui.