By Jaymie Meyer, CWP, ERYT-500
I can remember as a little girl the sheer bliss of my grandmother’s polished nails gently scratching my back. Then, as now, I adore bodywork and have experienced many techniques over the years including Rolfing, Thai yoga massage and myofascial release.
It was for that reason that I initially shunned Reiki (pronounced “ray-key”) – because it doesn’t involve massage. It wasn’t until I felt a strong intuitive call to learn Reiki some nine years ago that I began to search for a teacher.
I found a well regarded Reiki Master named Dina Kennedy in Westchester who is five steps from Dr. Mikao Usui, the man credited with developing Reiki in the late 1800s. I studied with her for several years and ultimately received my initiation as a Reiki Master in 2005.
What exactly is Reiki? Reiki is a Japanese word meaning “universal energy.” It is increasingly recognized in the West as a beneficial adjunct to allopathic medicine. It supports wellness for the physical, emotional and mental body, but it’s not a “magic cure” and isn’t a replacement for licensed medical treatment.
While Reiki is a gentle “hands-on” practice, there is no manipulation of muscle or tissue. It’s typically delivered to a fully clothed person on a massage table but can also be done in a chair.
The practitioner lays hands on the body including the head, heart, belly, back, knees and feet. There is no contact with the breasts, genitals or buttocks. Additionally, people who are recovering from surgery or are extremely sensitive to touch may opt to have the hands over the body. This is equally effective.
Used in hospitals before, during and after surgery, Reiki is believed to enhance the body’s ability to heal itself. In addition to reducing pain and anxiety, Reiki has much to offer in the way of increased well-being by reducing stress.
While anecdotal, I have seen Reiki benefit numerous conditions including healing from burns, relieving headaches and back pain, helping sinus conditions, alleviating muscle and joint fatigue and lessening emotional anxiety. It is also helpful for those experiencing insomnia. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to fall asleep during a Reiki treatment.
In January of 2010, while appearing on Oprah, Dr. Oz discussed the merits of complementary medicine. He said, “The most important alternative medicine treatment of all is Reiki energy medicine. It can manipulate your energy and help cure what ails you.”
Reiki clinics – or “circles” as they are sometimes called – are held all over the country and are a wonderful way to sample this practice. Clinics typically offer 15 to 30 minute sessions for a nominal fee. It’s a great way to check out a practitioner with whom you might want to study or receive on-going sessions.
Once you learn Reiki, you can practice it on yourself, which I do daily, but I also enjoy receiving Reiki from other practitioners. A particular treat is receiving Reiki from more than one person at a time. Having four or six hands deliver Reiki simultaneously is an amazing experience that is both energizing and deeply relaxing.
One of the most beneficial aspects of Reiki is that it goes where it’s needed and never, ever harms. Finally, it teaches us how to listen to the subtle messages our body communicates, messages that often deliver insights into lifestyle changes we can potentially make to support a happier and healthier life.
If you are interested in reading more about Reiki, two books written by accomplished Reiki Masters I know and respect are:
- Living a Life of Reiki by Shalandra Abbey
- Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide by Pamela Miles
Jaymie Meyer, CWP, ERYT-500, is a wellness educator with certifications in stress management, bereavement counseling, yoga therapy and Ayurveda. She is also a Reiki Master. Her company, Resilience for Life®, has been delivering wellness programs for over 9 years at work sites and educational institutions including the National Institutes for Health (NIH), Coby Electronics Corporation, Columbia University, IBM, Jewish Guild for the Blind and Martha Stewart Living. She is an on-going faculty member at Yogaville’s Integral Yoga Academy, teaching the Stress Management TT each summer. Learn more at resilienceforlife.com, or contact Jaymie via email: jaymie (at) resilienceforlife.com.
Image by MacAoda8_Rich McHugh, via Flickr