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What is Reiki?

Dr. Bates's Blog

Reflections from Dr. Lindsay Bates, the Reiki Master at Rev. C. Scot Giles, D.Min., LLC. 

What is Reiki?

Charles Giles

Reiki – which takes its name from the Japanese words for Universal Life Energy – was discovered and developed in the late 19th-early 20th century by Buddhist scholar and healer Mikao Usui (1865-1926).  It came to the United States in the years immediately following WWII through his student, Hawayo Takata, a Japanese American woman from Hawaii. It was Takata who began the Reiki lineage. Almost all non-Japanese Reiki practitioners trace their induction into Reiki back through a line of teachers to Takata Sensei, who initiated her students through the process called attunement and taught her students not only how to use Reiki, but also how to teach others to use and teach it as well.

Reiki is a spiritual healing technique that combined elements from Japanese Tendai Buddhism, traditional Chinese medicine, and the Chinese Taoist energy work known as qigong – a movement of energy done in the style of “wu-wei-wu,” or “doing without doing.”  By accepting being opened to the infinite energy – the Ki – of the universe, the Reiki practitioner acts as a channel for that energy and passes the energy through her or his body to the body of the one who is receiving Reiki.  What happens with that energy within the one receiving it depends upon what is most needed – and neither the practitioner nor the recipient ever knows for certain what that is.  It’s very much like the Christian practice of healing prayer, in which one prays for the best outcome, which is of course known only to God.  

Reiki practitioners never promise particular specific results, because Reiki cannot be controlled to do anyone’s will.  It’s like Christianity’s Holy Spirit – once invited in, it moves where it will, doing as it will.  The energy of Reiki is independent of the practitioner;  Reiki is not produced by the person giving it.  Reiki is invited in.  When it comes, the practitioner simply passes it along.

There are three popular forms of Reiki, the Usui Tradition brought to Hawaii and then California by Mrs. Takata after WWII, a modern Karuna Tradition that adds Tibetian elements, and the more spiritual Holy Fire® System introduced by William Lee Rand in 2014.. All work well and accomplish the same goals. The specific tradition a practitioner follows isn’t important. What is important is that the practitioner does a lot of Reiki and can get results. For myself, I first received initiation into the Usui Tradition of Takata Sensei as taught by Reiki Master Teacher Lynsi Eastburn, and now practice Usui/Holy Fire® III as taught by Rand Sensei.

People often ask me how I came to be interested in Reiki, and why I sought Reiki attunement.

I got involved with it through the hypnosis community.  Many professional hypnotists also do energy work of varying kinds.  One of my husband’s hypnotist colleagues is also a Reiki Master Teacher, and when our cat Valkyri was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, she offered to do Reiki for our cat.  Those who are owned by companion animals will understand that there are some of us who will try just about anything that might do some good and certainly won’t do any harm when our pets are ill.  We figured, what could it hurt?

So Lynsi came to our house and Reikied our cat – and our cat was calmer, seemed to respond better to the chemotherapy, certainly acted as though she felt better after the treatments.  We couldn’t have the practitioner coming to the house every day, so she gave me an intensive all-day seminar and Reiki I attunement so that I could treat Kyri myself.  

I have to admit, I went into it skeptical.  I’m a good enough hypnotist to know my own trance states and my own suggestibility level, and I did have my guard up.  Lynsi told me that often the person receiving the attunement doesn’t experience anything particularly odd, so just sit there, relax and don’t worry about it.  That’s what I did – I sat, I relaxed, she went ahead with the attunement ritual – and when she opened my crown chakra, my scalp caught fire.  Not literally, of course – but that was the subjective experience.  I’ve since learned that that’s not unusual – but I didn’t know that when I went into the experience.  It wasn’t the power of suggestion, because no one had suggested it.  If anything, I’d been prepared for nothing to happen.

I’ve been using Reiki regularly ever since.  And I’ve found, when the Reiki is flowing through me, my hands do get hot – the palms feel as though they’re being brushed with acid.  Those who have received Reiki from me report deep relaxation, the sensation of energy moving, and in many cases, physical healing.  Power of suggestion?  Coincidence?  Placebo?  Self-hypnosis?  The flow of the universal energy?   I can’t prove it.  I can only report.

I would love the opportunity to share Reiki with you. If you are interested in a session to receive this benevolent Universal Life Energy, please contact me. I’ll be happy to email or call you to talk about Reiki and set up an appointment.

Reiki Blessings,


Meet Your Reiki Master Teacher, the Rev. Dr. Lindsay Bates

Lindsay Bates is a Level III Reiki Master Teaching in the Usui Tradition and a Reiki Master in Usui/Holy Fire® III Reiki. These are the highest levels a practitioner can hold. Like her husband, Dr. Giles, Lindsay holds the degree of Doctor of Ministry from Meadville/Lombard Theological School. She also holds a Master’s degree from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s Degree from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

She was trained in hypnotism at the Mindsight Institue in Indiana and in Reiki at the Leidecker Institute in Illinois. Both institutes were state approved post-secondary schools. In 2019, Lindsay studied Usui/Holy Fire® III Reiki with William Lee Rand at the International Center for Reiki Training in Southfield, Michigan. She served as the Senior Minister to the Geneva Unitarian Universalist Society for forty years before her retirement in 2018, and has practiced and taught Reiki in connection with her pastoral ministry.

In her spare time Lindsay is a doll collector.


 Holy Fire® is the registered service mark of William Lee Rand.