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Is it better to do a Reiki treatment 'hands on' or 'hands off' and is there any difference between the two ways? Is hands off better because you are working in the aura? Which do you prefer?

I feel the most important consideration is honouring the desire of the 'client'.
If they are not comfortable with hands-on treatment (for whatever reasons), then we must work off the body.

There are obviously subtle differences in the effects of treating a particular area hands-on, and treating the same area hands-off.
(There is so much that can be conveyed by the simple act of compassionate touch)
And of course, even working hands-on we are still treating the aura (after all, the aura is not solely an emanation around the body - it also permeates the body)

I am ever mindful that in Usui Shiki Ryoho as actually taught by Takata-sensei, hands-on treatment was seen as THE approach (hands-off was generally only to be used if there was a physical issue such as an open wound, third degree burn, etc)

However, I often find myself drawn to work hands-off and hands-on at the same time - literally - working with my left hand in physical contact with the client, and my right at varying distances from their body surface.

We were taught that to end a treatment session we should sweep the healee's aura five times from head to toe, shaking our hands out towards the earth after each sweep so as to get rid of the toxins and other 'stuff' we had removed. But now I've been told this aura sweeping isn't really a reiki technique.

The practice sweeping the aura from head to toe is something that has been adopted-in to Reiki practice sometime after the passing of Takata-sensei.

The practice is found in several different healing traditions, notably the western art of Mesmerism or Animal Magnetism, and the old belief is that rather than sweeping something off of or away from the aura, you are simply stabilizing it. (actually there are two different 'Aura sweeps' downward sweeps are used to 'calm' the aura, inducing a state of relaxation in the client, while upward sweeps are used to revitalise the aura and invigourate the client). Also, it seems the original purpose in shaking out the hands was simply to re-energise them (stimulate blood-flow) not get rid of something.

Takata-sensei taught we should conclude a Reiki treatment by performing something she referred to as the Nerve Stroke

This is how she described the process:
"I finish the treatment with a nerve stroke which adjusts the circulation.
Apply on the skin a few drops of sesame oil or any pure vegetable oil.
I place my thumb and fore finger on the left side of the spinal column and the three fingers and palm flat on the right side of the spinal column.
With a downward stroke, 10 to 15 strokes to the end of spinal cord..."

However, it is likely that, in places which had strict laws governing the practice of Massage ( - in such places the application of pressure or physical-contact 'sweeps' as used in performing the 'nerve stroke' would be considered "manipulative" and therefore only permitted to be performed by qualified masseurs), it was necessary for an alternative practice to be substituted for the nerve stroke, and so, the aura sweep came to be used as a viable alternative .

How do we go about sending healing to a past trauma, is there a special technique? What combination of symbols is required?

 All trauma (and, for that matter, all illness, disease, disorder, injury, etc) occurred in the past - be it a lifetime ago, or a decade ago, or a year ago, or a month, a week, a day, an hour - or even only a fleeting moment ago...

Every single time we perform a Reiki treatment, we are dealing with the past - assisting the client (in the now) to recover from the particular state of imbalance which occurred in the past

Healing takes place in the 'here-and-now', not in the 'there-and-then'

To facilitate the client's healing from past trauma, all you need to do is: be present in the now, and let the Reik flow

Certainly, for emotional/psychological trauma work with the SHK if you wish; and even where the presenting trauma is of a physical nature, SHK may be of benefit, as physical trauma commonly has an unseen emotional/psychological element to it also.

Sometimes I feel, we seek to over-complicate matters. Reiki is simple.

Whatever the origin of the client's dis-harmony, it is present in the now

And it is in the now that the healing process may begin.

"There is no past, no future - only the NOW"

I have read the account given by Mrs Takata of Usui's experience that led to him (re)discovering Reiki. Where can I find Usui's own first-hand description of the experience?

Unfortunately there does not seem to be any 'first-hand' description .

As far as we can tell, Usui-sensei did not commit his experience to the written word in any detail
(the best we get is in the Usui Reiki Ryoho Hikkei where Usui-sensei states that he experienced "a great Reiki" over his head. [Of course, as to just precisely what Usui-sensei's understanding of the term 'reiki' was, we cannot be certain - and unfortunately we cannot be certain if the words are indeed even truly Usui-sensei's at all]

Concerning his experience on Kurama Yama, we really only have second-hand accounts, and these vary from source to source - and are, in certain cases, blatantly "framed" in an attempt to support the given individual's (unsubstantiated) claims that Usui-sensei belonged to this or that specific spiritual tradition

Was Chujiro Hayashi a Christian, I thought it was outlawed in Japan?

Christianity had indeed been outlawed in Japan since the early 17th century, however in 1873, the ban was formally lifted.
Though Christianity itself had never been wiped out. Prior to the ban, a great many Japanese had converted to Roman Catholicism, and, over the 150 or so years it remained in place, many Japanese families continued to practice their Christian faith, in secret - and on pain of death. [During this period, it is estimated that somewhere in the region of 40,000 senpuku kirishitan ("underground Christians") were discovered and executed

As to whether or not Chujiro Hayashi was a Christian, we just don't have any clear hard evidence. Though it is quite possible that he was.

With the lifting of the ban on Christianity surviving senpuku kirishitan could once more practice their Roman Catholic faith openly; and during the Meiji and Taisho eras, a great many other Japanese became Christian - mainly Methodist, Congregationalist and other 'protestant' denominations. There was also a home-grown 'no-church' movement - an attempt to develop a Japanese Christianity not linked to or under the authority of western European/American churches.

What can you tell me about the symbol “tamarasha”? I heard it is a fifth symbol of reiki used for grounding someone?

Tamarasha is part of Reiki as practiced by SOME people, but it was not part of any style of Reiki prior to the mid 1980's.

You will find that people incorporate all manner of symbols, beliefs, practces from totally unrelated healing disciplines, spiritual beliefs and other 'New Age' interests into their personal Reiki practice - unfortunately many folk also present these 'add-ons' as actually being part of the system as devised and taught by Usui-sensei.

Tamarasha is actually the central symbol in a modern system of symbol-healing called Kofutu.
The symbol was 'channeled' by Kofutu's founder, Frank Homan.
According to Frank, Tamarasha is the name of an 'Ascended Master' he works with.

How do you pronounce Mrs Takata's first name?

Many people, having only seen the name written down (in books, or on websites, etc) seem to pronounce it Ha-Way-o, however, Mrs Takata was actually named after the Hawaiian Islands where she was born, and her name should be pronounced the same way as you would pronounce Hawaii - but with an 'o' sound rather than an 'e' sound at the end: Ha -Wai-o

I contacted a Reiki Teacher about doing my level three, but this person wants to do an assessment of my knowledge and practical abilities before he will consider attuning me to level three. Why is this?

As teachers and facilitators we have a duty to ensure - insofar as we can - that the student is ready to move on to the next level - whether it is from level one to two*, or from level two to three.

In traditional Japanese practice, 'master' level training in any art was something undetaken in the form of an apprenticeship - an approach which affords the teacher vast scope for monitoring and assessing the ongoing development and competence of the student.
[It is a traditional approach that only when a student is perceived to have integrated a given element of a teaching - and 'run with it' as far as they can - that the next element is presented to them.]

However, (while some of us still insist on a more traditional apprenticeship-style format for sharing level 3 training,) with todays 'fast food'-style training methods - i.e. people being certified as 'masters' after a weekend's (or sometimes only a single day's) training, most Reiki teachers do not have the opportunities for ongoing assessment afforded by the apprenticeship approach. And so, some other more structured, 'acute' form of assessment is, in my opinion, crucial.

The Teacher must be able to assess the needs of the student, in order that he or she can 'fill in the gaps' which may exist in the student's training.

After all, in Reiki Ryoho we have an ethical duty of care - not just to those who come to us for treatment, but also, to those who come to us for training.

For a teacher to confer certification for a particular level of Reiki on a student without ensuring that the student has gained the relevant understandings / appropriate degree of competence in practice, etc. for that level (as defined within the particular lineage/Reiki style) is to dishonour the student, to dishonour the traditions of Reiki, and also, to dishonour themself as a teacher.

[*In the 'Usui Reiki Ryoho Hikkei', in response to the Question: "How can I receive the second degree ....."? Usui-sensei answers: ".....We will give okuden [second degree] to enthusiastic shoden students who bring good results, are of good character, and behave properly." From this we can see that a student had to be considered to have developed to a certain point, and be seen to act ethically - before being permitted to move on to even the second, let alone third, level of training]

Can you tell me what REIKI NI REI means, you sign your posts with it on some Reiki group forums?

the phrase 'reiki ni rei' is an instruction meaning:

"Bow to Spirit"

Rei = bow
Ni = to
Reiki = Spirit (the effect of Spirit in action)









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