by Pallas Hutchison
Reiki is a Japanese energy therapy that, at first glance, may seem a bit out there. As someone without a strong base in traditional religion, it's hard for me to believe in something I can't see or touch. This modality is far outside the comfort zone of my science and research-based massage practice. My instructor used electrons and electricity as a parallel concept, which I easily got on board with. With each attunement, I will share my experiences.
What is Reiki?
The literal translation of Reiki is universal life energy. Once attuned, a Reiki practitioner may channel the energy that surrounds them through themselves and into a client or patient to promote healing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. This can occur through a laying on of hands, through pendulum work, or through chakra balancing. Similar concepts of universal energy or life force energy exist in most eastern philosophies. In Thailand, prana flows along the sen lines. In China, qi flows along the meridians.
As with many things, there are different levels. My mother has received two Reiki attunements, allowing her to channel more energy than I can with only one attunement. I think of attunement as wattage for a light-bulb; the higher the level, the brighter the light and the more energy involved. She jokingly refers to the practice as "beaming" people.
Why get Reiki?
Reiki has been used to manage chronic pain, to mitigate the side effects of chemotherapy and other medical treatments, to speed up recovery from surgery, and to enhance a sense of well-being and spirituality.
One of the many benefits is that there are no contraindications, meaning no risks; the energy goes where it's needed. People that have severe medical conditions that may not be able to safely receive other types of bodywork may safely receive a Reiki treatment.
What to expect during a treatment?
As a massage therapist, I practice Reiki by going through a series of hand positions with my client on a massage table. Clients remain fully clothed. Actual touch is not required; sometimes I simply hover my hands over an area.
What does it feel like?
A few people have seen colors, similar in description to an aura, during a treatment. Some have reported a buzzing or tingling sensation. The most common sensation is heat from the practitioner's hands. When I'm giving a Reiki treatment, my hands get warm and tingly. Sometimes I feel a pulling sensation similar to if I put my hand over a vacuum hose; that tells me that the body needs focused work there.
I still don't feel that I can truly explain Reiki. Science has not yet proven its efficacy with research. However, countless stories of miraculous events make it impossible to truly discredit. My personal experiences with the miraculous are limited to one client; I helped to restore pain-free movement to arthritic hands. With time, I hope to add more stories.
by Pallas Hutchison
Last March, I introduced two product lines to my business. They both integrate easily into a massage practice. Becoming a distributor means that Oasis Massage earns commission on product sales, which provides an additional income stream. Low initial cost makes them even more attractive. I’ve hit a snag with this however. Retail products need to promote what I want my business to promote. To know if a product is a good fit, I have to spell out what I want my business to represent.
The first product line is Young Living essential oils. Objectively, they provide an easy up-sell opportunity as an add-on for services and a retail item for clients to use on their own to improve their health. Subjectively, I have been studying and experimenting with essential oils since 2005; selling them at my business gives me access to wholesale pricing for personal use. I look forward to introducing classes on essential oils to share their uses and benefits as well as teach people to make their own products. Clients have shown interest and overall, I consider this a successful endeavor.
The other product is the ItWorks body product line. Over the years, I’ve had many people ask about skinny wraps or cellulite treatments. I’ve always been hesitant to offer them. For one, they seem pretty hokey. For two, I’m not sure they fit with my business.
The simplified concept behind the body wrap product, the most popular item in the product line, is botanicals remove waste products stored in fat calls resulting in a slimmer target area. I like that they aren’t intended as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle; rather they enhance one. To my surprise, they actually work. I tried one on my “mommy-tummy” and saw enough results that people began commenting. My concern isn’t in the product itself. It’s in the message that the product seems to be sending.
It’s taken two months to fully identify why I haven’t been comfortable promoting this product. Other distributors kept offering suggestions on how to use other products in the line to create new services or promotional ideas to let people know that Oasis Massage was offering this great new product. The word ‘skinny’ kept coming up. Skinny is not synonymous with healthy. The other distributors appeal to vanity, not health. I’m not comfortable selling ‘skinny.’
I’ve mentioned previously that my sister had a hard time with body image as a child. Society, the media, the ballet community, and her siblings taught her that her body was not beautiful, that she was not beautiful, because she was not skinny. These two photos are of my little sister. The first one shows us together (she’s on the right) in Oregon in 1989. The other was taken in California in 2009. I won’t speculate as to her current feelings about body image but I will say that she has grown into a beautiful and outwardly confident woman.
Promoting this product line makes me feel like I am passing judgement, like I am saying to my friends and clients “You’re fat; you need to lose weight.” Additionally, I am teaching my children this lesson indirectly as well. I want to heal people, not bring them down, not add to whatever insecurities they have. The question becomes how can I, as a business owner, promote a product that could put someone in that same head space? I can’t. I won’t.
What started out as a practical business decision, income diversification, has turned into a moral and ethical dilemma. What do I – and, by extension, my business – stand for? Writing this blog has reinforced my certainty. I won’t sell ‘skinny’ to my clients. Health isn’t a number on a scale or the size of a waistband. Health is the body working, as it is supposed to, to achieve homeostasis. Health incorporates all aspects of life and includes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of the being. By teaching my clients about self-care and promoting self-awareness, they can make informed choices about their lifestyle.
The links below are provided to show how body image gets distorted for men and women. Most links are videos that show some inspiring projects about self-image.
by Pallas Hutchison
When I moved in June 2013, I made the decision to toss out my old microwave and not replace it. A few people commented that I may miss it but in truth, I didn’t. I quickly adapted to using an actual kettle to heat water for tea and cocoa. The following March, a friend signed up as a Pampered Chef consultant and I agreed to host a party for her, not realizing she would need a microwave. Her dismay to find that appliance missing added a bit of comedy to the event.
Some things I’ve noticed about life without a microwave:
Here’s some other blogs about life without a microwave:
by Pallas Hutchison
Still on the topic of stress, let’s look at emotions. Did you know that they can have a psychosomatic effect on the body? That means emotions can create a physical change. Sometimes, this is a good thing. Forcing a smile can improve your mood because it causes both dopamine and serotonin to release in the brain. Serotonin and dopamine are pleasure hormones. On the other hand, “those suffering from depression will often experience chest pains, even when there’s nothing physically wrong with their heart” (Mercola).
Imagine this scenario: Someone you care about dies. You grieve. While you’re grieving, you develop a medical condition. You get scared/upset/angry and you still grieve. Your condition gets worse. You get depressed as well as scared/angry/upset and you still grieve. It’s a vicious downward spiral, leaving you feeling out of control emotionally and physically. The cycle has to stop somewhere. There has to a point where you take control of your life again. There is a link below to several research articles done to validate the concept of emotions having a psychosomatic effect. I’m not trying to sell the idea to you. I’m more interested in how to combat the cycle.