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    William Lee Rand is probably best known as the founder of reiki-dot-org and the International Center for Reiki Training. Reiki: The Healing Touch is his teaching manual for his own first- and second-degree students, which has steadily grown over the years of Rand’s teaching to be the best introductory manual you can find. While my personal experience has shown me that there is absolutely no substitute for in-person attunement and training, this volume is a simple introduction before your class begins and an invaluable reference after it ends.

    (Note: Rand has revised and updated this manual at least five times since its original publication in 1991. The purple comb-bound version is most likely the newest [as of this writing, anyway], but you want to make certain the edition you find is dated 2011 or later. Buying from Rand’s website ensures you find the latest edition, but at a slightly higher cost than online booksellers.)

    Rand’s work for the past twenty years or so has been to reintroduce the methods taught in Japan into the practice as taught in the West by Mrs. Takata and her progeny beginning in the 1930s. During the occupation of Japan following the end of World War II, energy medicine and esoteric practices were basically outlawed, so the existing reiki organization in Japan was forced to go underground. So while reiki was thriving in the West, spreading from Mrs. Takata’s base in Hawaii all over the hemisphere and into Europe, the Reiki Ryoho Gakkai founded by her teachers was essentially a secret organization until Rand made contact in the 1990s.

    For the reiki 1 practitioner who picks up this book, the additions of byosen scanning and reiji-ho as developed in the Gakkai provide a more intuitive method of treatment than the standard hand positions taught by Takata sensei, Both methods are extraordinarily easy to learn and put into practice; as with any intuitive exercise, the only real trick is learning to trust what you’re sensing.

    For the reiki 2, Rand gives substantially more techniques using the symbols than any other reference I’ve yet seen. Since I’m not yet a reiki 2, though, I can’t evaluate the quality of his teaching here.

    The last half of the book is, frankly, beyond anything I need. There’s a practical guide to setting up your own reiki practice (as a business), numerous appendices containing historical documents from the Gakkai, the original methods as taught by Takata sensei for the purists, and a fairly in-depth sales pitch for joining the society.

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