Reiki comes from the words Rei meaning Universal or Spiritual Wisdom and ki meaning Life Energy. It is said that Reiki can be traced back 6000 years B.C. and that in Mayan culture, ancient Greece and Egypt, people knew how to channel this Universal Life Energy and apply it in healing practices. Ancient cosmic symbols, which Reiki is based on, can be found in Mayan pyramids as well as the Luxor Temple in Egypt.
Reiki, therefore, is a complimentary healing modality where the practitioner channels Universal Life Force energy. It is available to anybody and anybody can receive Reiki. The energy is subtle and gentle and flows to where it is needed. Reiki energy is always supportive and brings us closer to living in our truth.
Everything is energy. Albert Einstein stated that energy (E) and matter (m) are interchangeable and the same, namely energy. Universal energy therefore works on the premise that we are all connected and that there is enough for everyone. So there is no lack - only abundance. We have to re-learn to connected to this Oneness and we have to change our cognizance.
Dr. Mikao Usui (1865 - 1926) re-discovered this method and gave it its current name. The stories about Dr. Usui and his re-discovery are multi-fold depending on the author and/or teacher.
One is that when working with Reiki, we are also receiving the personal energy of the practitioner.
Truth is that we are not working with our personal energy but function as a channel. Imagine a garden hose through which water is running. The garden hose is merely a channel. Therefore, a trained practitioner will be able to keep his/her Ego out of the way and be able to function as a clear and open channel to Universal Energy.
Two is that we have to believe in Reiki in order for it to work.
Reiki energy goes wherever it is needed, whether a person believes in it or not.
Three, Reiki is a religion.
Reiki is nondenominational. Universal energy does not distinguish between any religion thus regardless of your affiliation, you can receive Reiki. However, Reiki is a spiritual practice. It is the belief in the higher connection with the divine aka God, Holy Spirit, Supreme Being, Brahman, Yahweh, One God, Allah, The Divine, Jah, or any other "name".
Four, Reiki is like a massage or reflexology.
Reiki is not a modality in which manipulation (e.g. acupressure, deep tissue massage, stroking etc) is used. Unlike in a massage, in a Reiki session, the individual is fully dressed / clothed.