Andrew Bowling's REIKI HISTORY Archives

(formerly located at
From 1998 through 2006 Andy Bowling presented a web site detailed with Reiki History and facts.  When he discovered original teachings of Mikao Usui shared by Chris Marsh, he began to focus more in that direction.  In 2007 Andy decided to stop his Reiki History pages but gave me permission to host this archive at my web site. I hope you enjoy this original contribution to the Reiki world.

If you have comments or suggestions, Contact Me.
Rick Rivard  (
December 2007

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Reiki Hand Positions

A number of different hand positions are in use today as Reiki has developed.

From the evidence I have managed to gather this is what is known at this time:

Usui taught only treating the head, as shown below.
A common reason for this was the belief that most ailments arise from the brain. Treating around the head and finally placing most energy into the crown. (source Eguchi manuals).

From further research it is becoming clear that no set hand positions, other than those shown below, were in use around Usui's time. General instructions were, start at the head and if necessary work down the body.

Hayashi's manual giving details for treating different ailments seems to have been used by many healers in that time.

Mrs. Takata also taught that the head always be treated, the hand positions for the head we know and are similar to what we still use today.

Usui's Original Hand Positions.

***Healee is seated, not laying down***

***Healee is seated, not laying down***

Healing shall be started from head position.

The following 5 positions shall be healed, 30 minutes total, then, other required positions are healed.

Other positions on the body would be those showing an imbalance.

(1) Zento-bu: Forehead top (the line where your hair starts to grow)

(2) Sokuto-bu: both sides of your head at the same time

(3) Koutou-bu: back of your head and forehead (Nentatsu)

(4) Enzui-bu: each side of the neck.

(5) Toucho-bu: top of your head (crown).

I can recommend that you try this method and see what it feels like. I think we can safely say that following the head Byosen would be practiced for treating any imbalances on the body.

According to Traditional Japanese Reiki as taught by Dave King, a student of Chujiro Hayashi named Tatsumi was taught additional hand positions.

These consisted of Seven positions treating the Head and Torso only. An eighth position is for 'level two' using the Harmony symbol.

These positions correspond to Eastern traditional teachings (such as Chinese Medicine) where the "body" is the head and torso, the limbs are considered "external".

It is thus only necessary to offer energy (Qi) to the head and thorax in order to 'treat' the entire bodymind.

The positions correspond to main Accupressure points on the Meridians and consist of the Three Head positions, Clavicle's, Lower rib cage and Upper back (shoulders) and Lower Back

The recipient remains on his/her back all the time.

Full details are available with photo's at  Traditional Japanese Reiki  website.

This system should be tried by all Reiki Practitioners it is a very powerful system of healing.

According to two of Hayashi's students still alive - 'they learned no formal hand positions' just the Five above. This seems to be the case in the Usui/Eguchi lineage as well.

The Reiki system as taught by Hawayo Takata uses 12 hand positions and she called it the 'Foundation Treatment'.

It is interesting to note that the 12 positions cover the same as Tatsumi's ie. Body and Head only.

The arms and legs could be treated if required.

The 12 positions consisted of:  Head 4 including Throat, Body - front 4, Body - rear 4. She also recommended treating the feet.

An excellent website for finding this information is here you will see class notes from a Takata lesson and notes from a class by Ethel Lombardi a student of Takata's. In both these pages you will also see treatments for ailments as described in the Usui and Hayashi manuals.

It is further suggested that Mrs. Takata taught several variations of the hand positions and also of the symbols !! ?

For instance she said you may start either with the head or abdomen, also that you may feel guided to start elsewhere.

Like all things these hand positions have changed over the years and can nowadays include the whole body, head, torso, arms and legs.

Mrs. Takata said - "The treatment is called the Foundation and it requires an hour or more, all depending on the complications and seriousness of the case".

She also said that you should finish each treatment with the 'Nerve Stroke' see Techniques  pages Blood Exchange.

Self Treatments

The healing of self using the hand positions regularly taught today were in commom use around Usui's time. The only difference being that no regular hand positions seem to have been used.

The self healing as taught by Mrs. Takata is well recorded elsewhere and I will not repeat here.