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Reiki is an ancient technique for stress reduction and energy healing that was reintroduced to the world by Misao Usui in the early 20th century. Since then, many types of Reiki have been developed, including Karuna Reiki®, taught by the Center for Reiki Training founded by William Lee Rand in 1995. Karuna Reiki® is considered an advanced form of Reiki and is only passed on to master practitioners of the Usui method. It introduces additional symbols, has a more rigorous attunement process for beginning practitioners, and includes chanting and toning as an additional healing method.
"Karuna" is a Sanskrit word that is used to denote action intended to ease the suffering of others, or compassionate action. According to Rand, the symbols used in Karuna Reiki®, many of which are used in other Reiki traditions, have a greater power because of the different intention and attunement. They are used to invoke the spirit of compassion to produce a deeper healing, and their power increases when they are chanted. The sound of the voice, says Rand, carries healing energy more deeply into the cells and tissues of the client's body.
A Karuna Reiki® class has two levels and two attunements, and includes four master symbols and eight symbols for treatment. A student learning Karuna Reiki® is given the first four symbols, along with a detailed explanation of their meaning and use, in the first level of the course, while the second set of symbols is passed on in the second level. A requirement for anyone to learn this art is have achieved level 3a of the Usui method. Karuna Reiki® is considered as a refinement of the Usui method, rather than a substitute for it, and is presented as the "next step."
While invoking symbols and laying on hands are techniques used in most Reiki traditions, chanting and toning is one that was not common until introduced with Karuna Reiki®. Reiki chants do not require the presence of a Reiki practitioner to be effective, and some people find they can successfully use recordings to receive Reiki healing. Chants are available as CDs and MP3s, and some have been posted online. It is believed that benefits can be derived by simply listening to these recordings, but chanting along while visualizing the Reiki symbols is thought to produce soothing vibrations that can be channeled into various parts of the body.