7 Different Types of Reiki

When someone mentions the word reiki to you, you either picture a type of massage or someone playing in a little zen sand garden. But there’s a lot more to this word than meets the eye. In fact, the notion that it’s an ancient art form is itself incorrect.

The word 霊気 is made of two words, rei (spirit) and ki (energy, commonly called “chi” in the West). It’s an umbrella term used for a number of different meditation and massage techniques meant to rebalance your spiritual energy. The results are lower stress, less physical pain, and a general improvement to your overall well-being.

While there is a lot of debate about the actual effectiveness of reiki practices, with many calling it a pseudo science that “wants to be real”, there’s no denying those who believe in it consider it to be as important as more mainstream healing.

But before you join one of these two camps, take a moment to look at these 7 different types of reiki and decide on a case-by-case basis which ones you feel are legitimate, which are nothing more than superstition, and which you may want to try out for yourself.

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Types of Reiki

what is reiki?

1. Jikiden Reiki

Considered the most pure form of reiki, this core type is an unaltered form of Usui Reiki. The word jikiden literally means “straight line”, emphasizing its strict adherence to Usui’s original teachings. Benefits are said to be a more positive mental attitude and improved ability to break bad habits.

Ironically, its creator, Yamaguchi Tadao was the son of one of Usui’s students and had believed Usui Reiki was incomplete. As a result, he added additional details to the practice to fill in these perceived gaps.

Despite the alterations, Jikiden Reiki is widely considered a purer form of Usui Reiki than modern Usui and is also believed to be the most effective among the five core practices.

2. Karuna Reiki

different kinds of reiki

Based on the virtue of compassion, this form uses an old Sanskrit word for the virtue that has found great meaning in both Buddhism and Hinduism.

Karuna Reiki is heavily based on the pursuit of Nirvana and focuses on seeking prajna (wisdom) to not only improve yourself, but to heal others mentally and physically.

While far more religious in its nature than Usui Reiki, it’s also considered to be far more potent when mastered due to the connection with the Enlightened, such as the Buddhas.

3. Kundalini Reiki

Developed by Danish reiki master Ole Gabrielsen, Kundalini Reiki is a highly distilled form of reiki which focuses on reducing physical and mental stress. While still adhering to Tantric concepts such as earth and sky energies, this type of reiki lacks the symbolism of the core forms.

The result is a practice that’s believed to work faster in overcoming issues with feelings, sexual dysfunction, or problems in the lower chakra points. It also is meant to increase consciousness and a sense of love and peace.

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4. Lightarian Reiki

This core form of reiki is considered the natural progression from Usui and Karuna Reiki towards perfection and is based on a philosophy of eight vibrational bands.


The first two bands are Usui Reiki and Karuna Reiki respectively. The remaining six Lightarian bands are grouped into three pairs.

Level I and II are the beginning levels and begin building up the practitioner’s healing ability. Levels III to IV focus on individual attunement, while levels V to VI bring it all together.

Each vibrational band is said to take 30 days to integrate the energy and further accelerates the healing process over the last band. It is intended to be more simplistic than the prior forms of reiki so the practitioner can focus on their connection with the Buddhas.

5. Rainbow Reiki

rainbow reiki

An offshoot of Usui Reiki, Rainbow Reiki was developed by Walter Lubeck and adds many new techniques to the original tradition, such as astral travel, crystal healing, and karmic cleansing.

This form of reiki is very spiritual, encouraging cooperation with angels and deities to improve personal development and healing abilities. This also translates well for those practitioners on the path to Nirvana or simply wishing to become the best and most loving person they can be.

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6. Seichim Reiki

Of all the core types of Reiki, Seichim (or Sekehem) is perhaps the most unique. It pulls its vibrational energy from the Ancient Egyptian goddess Sekhmet instead of Eastern sources. It also ties in the five Western elements to aid in healing the patient, opening their chakra, and creating spiritual balance.

The energies of Seichim Reiki are said to be much like the goddess: feminine, gentle, loving, but also destructive towards negativity. Treatments build up gently in intensity and involve essential oils and symbolism.

It’s believed to be highly effective in treating patients suffering from mental distress including anxiety and depression by emptying out the negative energy so positive energy can flow in. The effects of each treatment are said to last for four to five days.

7. Usui Reki

Named after its founder, Usui Mikao, this is generally considered the definitive type of reiki, with around 90 percent of all reiki practices being Usui or a derivative.

Usui Reiki was first developed in the early 20th century and Misao is believed to have trained over 2,000 people in the technique before his death around 1926.

One of his pupils, Takata Hawayo, brought Usui Reiki to the US where he eventually opened the first US reiki clinic in 1970. For this reason, it’s sometimes referred to as “Western Reiki” despite its Japanese origins.

Numerous lesser forms of reiki require a practitioner to have some degree of expertise in Usui Reiki practices. The technique is practiced in four Aspects: Healing Practice, Mystic Order, Personal Development, and Spiritual Discipline.

These Aspects may further be broken down into nine Elements:

  • History
  • Initiation
  • Monetary Exchange
  • Oral Tradition
  • Precepts
  • Spiritual Lineage
  • Symbols
  • Teaching Form
  • Treatment

Mastery of Usui Reiki is achieved in levels and the practice is believed to complement other forms of alternative healing while allowing the practitioner to better understand themselves and the world around them.

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