"Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It was discovered by Mikao Usui in March 1922. Reiki is administered by "laying on hands" and techniques such as this have been practiced for thousands of years. Reiki is a very simple yet powerful technique that can be easily learned by anyone.
The word Reiki comes from Japanese kanji. Kanji are ideograms used in the written language of Japan. They originally came from China and are based on simple drawings. Over time they changed and have become more abstract, but one can still see the symbolic meaning represented by many of the kanji. The word Reiki is represented by two kanji, Rei and Ki.
The general meaning of Rei is universal and this is the definition many have used. However, Japenese ideograms have many levels of meaning. They vary from the mundane to the esoteric. So, while it is true that Rei can be interpreted as universal, meaning that it is present everywhere, there is a deeper understanding of this kanji, which for our use, is more meaningful in describing the healing art of Reiki.
The word "Ki" means the same as Chi in Chinese, Prana in Sanskrit and Ti or Ki in Hawaiian; and science calls it biofield energy. It has been given many other names by various cultures.
Reiki is a special kind of Ki. It is Ki that is guided by spiritual consciousness, and is defined as spiritually guided life energy. This is a meaningful interpretation of the word Reiki. It more closely describes the experience most people have of it: Reiki guiding itself with its own wisdom, rather then requiring the direction of the practioner." By: William Lee Rand, Reiki The Healing Touch.