Reiki was introduced to the Western world in the mid-1970s.
Reiki promotes healing of body, mind, and spirit administered with a 'lying on of hands'. It is based on the idea that a 'life force of energy' flows through our human bodies that keeps us alive. Reiki treats the whole person creating beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, security and wellbeing.
The Reiki technique is not taught but is transferred to the student. This is done by a Reiki Master who passes an 'attunement' to the student. This allows the student to tap into an unlimited supply of 'life force energy' to improved one's health and enhance their quality of life.
While Reiki is spiritual in nature, it is not a religion. Reiki will work no matter what your religious or non-religious beliefs are. It is recommended that one practice certain simple ethical ideals to promote peace and harmony, which are nearly universal across all cultures.