Questions about Reiki



Reiki is an ancient technique of channeling energy through the palms of the hands in a gentle non-invasive manner. This vital spiritual energy activates the natural healing processes, detoxifying the body of both physical and emotional blockages while bringing about deep relaxation and calmness. In the 20th century while on a meditation retreat on Mt Kurama, a holy mountain in Japan, Dr. Mikao Usui became aware of Reiki energy and discovered that it enhanced his healing abilities. The term comes from two Japanese words, "Rei," meaning "universal," and "Ki," or "life force energy." Reiki loosely translates as "universal life-force energy."


Reiki works by increasing the “life force energy” that flows through us and around us and causes us to be alive. The life force is responsive to our thoughts or feelings and can become disrupted and diminished by negative thoughts or feelings, especially about ourselves. If this energy is low, we are at higher risk of becoming sick or stressed. If our life force energy is high, we are more likely to be happy and healthy.

Reiki provides a positive boost of “ki,” which raises the energy field’s vibratory level in and around the negatively affected areas of the body, causing negative energy to dissipate and fall away. Thus, Reiki restores the healthy, natural flow of the life force.


Reiki is not a religion. It is a philosophy of care that teaches practitioners to relate to a person’s core or essence rather than their personality; to listen without passing judgment, to be willing not to know or understand the “why’s” underlying a patient’s symptoms; and not to view a patient’s response to Reiki treatment as a personal achievement. The practitioner provides a conduit for the universal life-force energy but does not control the process.


For those completely new to Reiki, we request the opportunity to provide four sessions in a short time, such as a week to ten days, depending on our mutual availability. This will jump start your healing process.

Our problems, both physical and emotional, develop and worsen over time, and there is no magic wand to remove them. We must work together over several sessions until the body and mind start responding positively to the application of Reiki. In the first session the body does not know what to expect, and often remains closed to the flow of energy. During the second treatment the body relaxes more deeply and begin to receive the flow of Reiki more freely. The third and fourth treatments are usually very strong and begin to provoke the healing reaction we want for each client.

After the first four sessions are completed, we ask clients to come once a week (if necessary) until they have achieved good results with which they are satisfied.

Dr. Usui taught his students 5 precepts:

Just for today, do not worry.
Just for today, do not anger.
Honor your parents, teachers, and elders.
Earn your living honestly.
Show gratitude to every living thing.


Learning Reiki



Anyone can learn to practice Reiki. No special skills, prior experience, or educational degrees are required. Reiki is not “taught,” but rather is transferred to the student during a Reiki class. Through a series of initiations administered by a Reiki master, the flow of Reiki energy within the student is enhanced, which allows the student to then facilitate the flow of Reiki energy to others.


In the lineage of Mrs. Hawayo Takata, who brought Reiki to the United States from Japan, reiki training consists of three levels, designated Level 1, Level 2, and the Master/Instructor Level.  San Francisco Reiki Center strictly follows the teachings of Mrs. Takata, as it is through her direct lineage that we were trained. Reiki Master Christopher Tellez teaches our Reiki courses almost word-for-word as they were passed down to us through her lineage, following the oral tradition of Japan.


San Francisco Reiki Center offers Reiki classes generally twice a month throughout the year.  Please check our Classes page for a listing of upcoming classes and workshops.


Usui Shiki Ryoho "the Usui System of Natural Healing."

In Reiki, everyone has a “lineage,” the line of teachers that connects them to Dr. Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki as we know it today. Below is the Reiki lineage from Dr. Usui to SF REIKI CENTER.


Dr. Mikao Usui

Dr Mikao Usui.jpg

Dr. Mikao Usui was a Japanese doctor of religious studies and taught in Kyoto, Japan in the late 1800s. He set out on a quest to learn how Jesus, Buddha, and other enlightened beings were able to heal people with a touch. In his journey, Dr. Usui studied at monasteries and universities in Asia and the United States, learned several languages, and pored over many ancient documents. After finding a set of symbols in a Sanskrit scroll, he set out on a 21-day fast atop Mount Kurama. It was on the twenty-first day of the fast that Dr. Usui was struck in the head by a beam of light that revealed to him much of the practice of Reiki, as well as the use of the symbols he discovered. Dr. Usui went on to practice Reiki across the country, lecturing and traveling extensively throughout Japan, and training many Japanese students in the use of Reiki.

Chujiro Hayashi

Among those trained by Dr. Usui was a retired Japanese naval officer and physician, Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, who founded a series of Reiki clinics in and around Tokyo in the mid-1920s. His first clinic is said to have been near the Imperial Palace and was frequented by royalty and members of the court, giving Reiki an immediate reputation and following among the educated elite in Japan. As the awareness and interest in Reiki grew, Hayashi opened more clinics and trained increasing numbers of students. He is credited with codifying the system of hand positions commonly used in Reiki practice today and is believed to have made many adjustments to Usui's system that made it less mystical and more easily explainable to doctors and patients, and more easily taught to the average student. Medical doctors would often refer complicated cases to Hayashi's clinics. It was through such a referral that Hawayo Takata was first introduced to Reiki.

Hawayo Takata

Mrs. Takata was a Japanese-American woman from Hawaii who had numerous health problems, including a tumor, gallstones, and appendicitis. Her husband had died unexpectedly, and she was struggling to raise her two young children. As her health was deteriorating, Mrs. Takata went to Japan seeking medical help, and through a twist of circumstances, became a patient at one of Hayashi's clinics. After several months of treatment, Mrs. Takata's ailments healed, and she spent the following year as a student of Hayashi's with the intention of treating herself and her family. When she returned to Hawaii in 1936, Takata began to practice Reiki and was soon visited by Mr. Hayashi and his daughter. Hayashi lectured in Hawaii, and when he left in 1938, he made Mrs. Takata a Reiki Master.

John Harvey Gray

In the 1970s, Mrs. Takata was frequently invited to the mainland to lecture on and teach Reiki in the United States and Canada. One such trip was to the Trinity Metaphysical Center in Redwood City, California, led by the Reverend Beth Gray. Beth and her husband, John Harvey Gray, both studied Reiki under Mrs. Takata, and in 1976 John became the first Reiki Master initiated by Takata in California, and the third of her masters worldwide. In the 1990s, John often visited New York City, teaching Reiki in Manhattan. It was there that Brian Brunius first met John Harvey Gray, taking the first and second degree Reiki classes with John and completing his Reiki mastery a decade later. John taught over 900 Reiki classes to more than 15,000 students and gave over 10,000 private Reiki sessions in his lifetime. He was the longest-practicing Reiki Master in the Western Hemisphere. Until his death at age 93 in January 2011, John and his wife Lourdes Gray together operated The John Harvey Gray Center For Reiki Healing in Rindge, New Hampshire.


Brian Brunius, founder, and director of the NYC Reiki Center is a Reiki Master Instructor who sees clients in his Manhattan office and provides consultation by telephone to those outside of the NYC area. He travels extensively, sharing the energy of Reiki all over the world.

Brian began his study of Reiki in 1995 when he took the first -degree course with John Harvey Gray in New York City. In 1997 he participated in second degree Reiki with John. In 2010 Brian completed a master apprenticeship to enable him to teach Reiki courses as a Master recognized by The Reiki Alliance, an international community of Reiki Masters dedicated to the practice of Usui Shiki Ryoho, the Usui System of Natural Healing.

Christopher Tellez started his Reiki training in 2010 with Brian, he then opened SF REIKI CENTER in 2011 and completed his two-year Master apprenticeship under Brian Brunius in 2016 after a two-year intensive Master apprenticeship.