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In the traditional Usui system of Reiki there are three degrees, or levels, of the energy. First degree and second degree Reiki deal with the energies required to work as a practitioner, where third degree deals with teaching only. This is what is most commonly encountered in Reiki.

However in the post-Takata era some branches of Reiki subdivided the three degrees into smaller sections which resulted in several seemingly additional levels being offered, and other branches added things on to the traditional Usui system which again gives more levels to Reiki.


First degree Reiki in the traditional Usui System is the one most widely known by the public. This is the hands-on treatment, or the laying on of hands. A first degree treatment involves the client laying on his/her back or stomach while the practitioner places his/her hands on the client from head to toe in positions roughly approximating the traditional chakra locations. The energy during the treatment flows through the practitioner's via the hands into the client. Many remarkable recoveries from serious physical conditions are known to Reiki practitioners throughout the world. Individuals can also treat themselves with first degree Reiki.


Second degree Reiki in the traditional Usui System involves sending Reiki long distance to a client many miles/kilometres away. The vibration of this Reiki is a slightly different mix, having a higher proportion of energy from Source and a lower proportion of Chi than first degree Reiki. Aside from long distance healing, this differing proportion brings healing at a mental, emotional, and spiritual level, compared to first degree Reiki, which is primarily physical healing. Second degree Reiki is not exclusively for long distance healing. It can be incorporated into a traditional table treatment with first degree, and it can also be administered to one's self.


Third degree Reiki in the traditional Usui system is the level of Reiki Master. The only thing a Reiki Master can do which a 1st or 2nd Degree practitioner cannot do is teach Reiki and give the Reiki attunements. Third degree confers no additional treatment skills with clients.

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