Here is an excerpt from my 1st degree Reiki manual. unfortunately the Hebrew letters don't transcribe here, so I have had to delete them.
To put it simply, Reiki is a form of healing whereby the practitioner channels energy through their body. That energy is then directed to the place where healing is required. Quite often we find that the energy itself is somewhat intelligent, in that it will find its way to the proper area in the body where it is required without the practitioner or the client knowing. This can, I suppose, be likened to pain killers. I remember someone once asking, if you take a pain pill, it goes to the same place, you stomach and then gets into your blood stream, but how does it know where it is needed. Taking a Panado for a headache or for back pain will result in the same thing, the pain in that area will stop (hopefully). The answer is that the blood tends to focus more on an area where there is pain, and so the pain pill finding itself in the blood stream, is moved to that location where the blood is more focused. The same is speculated about Reiki energy. Although it does not move through the blood stream, it does move through another circuit that is on the body, called the meridian lines/system, and can be found rather extensively in Chinese Medicine. When a part of the body is need of repair, the energy running through the meridian lines would be focused greatly on that area in the attempt to balance and repair. If we were a people who were not so into our fast food and bad living, we would not need to worry about asking others to heal us as we would have a meridian system that would be naturally balanced and functioning properly. However, we sometimes need assistance in this area, and so we have various modalities of healing, one of them being Reiki.
Reiki itself has been altered over the years in various ways, and so we find many other forms of Reiki. Some of these forms are Karuna, Natural, Osho Keo, Sekhem, Tibetan, Radiance, and many more. Usui Reiki or Usui Shiki Ryoho is said to be more traditional in that it does tie back to Mikao Usui himself. To say that Mikao Usui began Reiki healing however is not entirely true. Some of the original symbols that are found in Reiki have been found in rock paintings many thousands of years older than Usui himself. We will however get more into the history a little later.
Reiki is very much self healing. Many people are under the misconception that the Reiki practitioner does this that and the other to heal the client, when in fact, they do very little. The energy that does the healing, or should I rather say, aids in the healing, is merely channeled through the hands of the practitioner, enters the client’s body, finds it way to the place where it is needed, and this allows the body come back into balance and therefore the body heals itself. It is the imbalance in the body that causes the dis-ease in the first place and so bringing it back into balance will cause it to heal.
The word REIKI is actually split into two words, being REI meaning “Universe” and KI meaning “energy”, therefore it translates to Universal Energy. This term itself is very interesting. In many systems, whether healing or spiritual paths, you may come across what some people refer to as “the Current”. This Current is the energetic link that they connect to when attuned or initiated, and it can be described almost as a cloud of intent that all of the members that are connected to the same Current apply their knowledge and intent to. In Reiki I would personally suggest that each form of Reiki, which all have their slightly different manners of going about the healing, hand positions and even symbols, each connect to their own specific Current. These Currents are then connected to the Universal Energy.
In Kabbalistic terms the Universal Energy is called Avir. This Hebrew word is very telling. Kabbalah tells how God created Light, and then added the letter Yod and therefore creating Air. The letter Yod is associated with oxygen, and so we can say that first God created Light, and then added oxygen, i.e. air, which is the basis of all life. Breathing itself, and I mean breathing properly, is a very important factor in staying healthy. We tend to breath with only a small portion of the upper lungs. By taking some time every day to practice your breathing, you can keep the body in balance and healthy. There are many breathing exercises out there that can be practiced, each building on the other, but a simple one that you can take on is ratio breathing. This practice simply means that you separate the breath into a ratio count. So we have four positions in the breath, in, hold, out and hold. When holding the breath between in and out and vice versa, do not force the hold, it is simply a pause, and if you find that you need to take another breath, then take and adjust the ratio to suit. A simple ratio to work with is 4:4:4:4, and so you breath in for a count of four, hold for a count of four, breath out for four and hold again before taking the next breath, for a count of four. You can then start altering the ration. So, you may want to do 6:6:6:6 or higher. You can even change it to 8:4:8:4 or 8:4:16:8. Play around with it, but don’t start with a long practice, five to tem minutes will suffice and build on it, and definitely don’t push any high ratios until your lungs have become used to the smaller ones. In many ways you need to re-educate the lungs and exercise them.
One important thing to remember is that Reiki is a complimentary healing form, therefore it is not a good idea for client to suddenly stop taking the pills the GP gave them. Although Reiki itself can perform miraculous healings by itself, there is no guarantee that it will do so. The same goes for modern healing methods whereby we go to the GP and get pills to take, and so there is no harm in getting extra help, but there is in relying solely on the complimentary techniques. You as a Reiki practitioner, are not a doctor. You cannot diagnose and you cannot prescribe medication. If you do, you may find yourself in a lot of legal trouble, so keep that in mind. The person who comes to you for healing is not your patient, he or she is your client. If you start referring to people as patients, then you are implying that you a re a medical doctor and so the latter will apply.