Reiki Traditions and TypesThere are many traditions or schools (types of Reiki teachings) currently in use. Some trace only to Dr. Mikao Usui; others reach back to earlier roots in Tibet and/or Egypt, and and/or India
Traditional Usui Reiki - This basic traditional Reiki is derived from the work of Dr. Mikao Usui and his lineage. He re-discovered and taught Reiki to a number of people, including Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, who taught, among others, Hawayo K. Takata, the first woman to become a Reiki Master. This is known as Traditional Usui Reiki, which also uses the terms - Usui Shiki Ryoho and The Usui System of Natural Healing. Lineage and certification are essential, as is teaching without manuals or diagrams. There are specific periods of time to wait between attunements.
Non-Traditional Usui Reiki - This form of Reiki, first taught by Diane Stein RM, uses some new symbols, as well as the traditional ones, and does not depend as much on lineage. Many in this system can trace their lineage in the traditional manner, anyway. This system has come to accept distant attunements, as well as those done in person. It also is open to newer ways of using Reiki, both in-person, and distantly. Much of the teaching done on the Web is by Non-Traditional Reiki Masters, who will attune distantly, as well as in person.
Usui/Tibetan Reiki is a Reiki system which uses several additional symbols beyond the Usui system. William Rand RM refers to his Reiki I, II, and RM this way. Mr. Rand was influenced by both Seichim and Tera-Mai® in his creation of this system. It should not be confused with Tibetan Reiki, which is another system. Other Reiki Masters have also used the term "Usui/Tibetan" and the set of symbols, or sets of symbols which include most of them. In fact, some Reiki Masters tend to refer to any Reiki tradition which is not Traditional Usui Reiki this way.
Usui/Tibetan Kwan Yin Reiki - an Usui/Tibetan system which includes a focus on Kwan Yin, the Chinese goddess as a spirit guide, known in Tibet as Tara, having roots in India as well. There are meditative practices focusing on Kwan Yin as a specific spirit guide, as well as the Usui/Tibetan symbols and procedures. This may be closer to Tibetan Reiki than Usui/Tibetan Reiki, since it focuses on Kwan Yin [Tara in Tibet].
Karuna Reiki® is an outgrowth of Usui/Tibetan Reiki, developed by William Rand RM. There are many additional symbols and procedures which are used. It is taught to those at the Reiki Master level in two levels. It is considered to be a higher level of energy than Traditional Usui Reiki. To use the term in teaching, one must be registered with The International Center for Reiki Training, and use their procedures and manual(s). The Center also registers and licenses Karuna Reiki® Masters and practitioners. There also have been Independant Karuna Reiki Masters attuned with the symbols and procedures of Karuna Reiki® by Karuna Reiki® Masters who choose to attune this way, without Center certification. Others provide the same level of energy and symbols teaching systems known as Karuna-Ki and Prema Reiki, which do not impose restrictions on teaching or certification.
Prema Reiki - Prema Reiki is a Reiki system developed by Ismail I. Ishaq RM which uses most of the symbols of Karuna Reiki® along with additional symbols. It attunes one to the higher levels of energy provided by Tera Mai® and Karuna®. It is a non-commercial system, without trade-marking, registering, licensing, or purchases required. The system is very new, hence manuals and procedures are still being refined. It is taught primarily to Reiki Masters. [Prema Reiki is in no way affiliated with Karuna Reiki®, the International Center for Reiki Studies® or WIlliam Rand.]
Karuna Ki - Karuna Ki is a Reiki-like energy system for healing, founded by Vinny Amador. It uses most of the Karuna Reiki® symbols and energy. It is available to all those who have been attuned to that level of Reiki energy, including Independent Karuna Reiki Masters. It does not require registration and is not trade-marked. [Karuna Ki and Karuna Ki Do is/are in no way affiliated with Karuna Reiki®, the International Center for Reiki Studies® or William Rand.]
Vajra Reiki - A Reiki system from Japan, now thriving in Indonesia as Johrei Reiki. It arose from Raku Kei Reiki, [which was created by Iris Ishikuro, a student of Takata], and originally included several symbols which are now used by the Johrei religion [it is said that Johrei's founder, Mokichi Okada, was a student of Usui]. Vajra [Johrei] Reiki does not now have, nor has it ever had, any ties to the Johrei religion or Johrei religious practices. It is a fiery, hard, balanced, grounded energy with additional symbols added to those of Traditional Usui Reiki. Since the Johrei religion has trademarked the name "Johrei", many Reiki Masters, including myself, now call this tradition Vajra Reiki. A variant of this is gTumo Vajra, which focuses on the Tibetan Practice of gTummo, or "Inner Fire" in the training process..
Lightarian Reiki® - A Reiki system recently evolved by Jeanine Marie Jelm in 1997. It consists of 6 additional levels of Mastery beyond Usui Reiki Master and Karuna Reiki® Master. [Usui and Karuna® each provide one level Lightarian provides even higher levels of energy vibration.] Symbols are not used, and intent is essential. The system is involved in healing and in raising human consciousness and global awareness. It is taught in Reiki Master levels I - VI [ attunements - I+II, III, IV, V+VI].
Seichim Reiki - a Reiki system developed by Patrick Ziegler RM, using additional symbols and procedures, which he re-discovered in Egypt. The tradition includes multiple levels and symbols, and personal growth work. The system tends to produce offshoots of itself, and newer channelled symbols as each RM discovers the energy working internally. Mr. Zeigler has since moved on to create the SKHM energy system, which is one which uses meditation and reflection to access the energy, under the guidance of a SKHM Master. This energy is the core energy of the original Seichim Reiki system developed by Mr. Ziegler. The recent history of Reiki shows that both Tera Mai® and Karuna® forms of Reiki flowed from this system.
This is not a complete description of all Reiki traditions and schools, and it is based on my understanding at this point of each tradition. These are only those which I have a personal interest in. I can trace a personal lineage for several of these traditions. I have not included all of the credentials of the Reiki Masters listed above. In addition, I have a separate page on Reiki-like energy practices.
For additional information and detailed descriptions of virtually every kind of Reiki: