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.