The next healing therapy in our showcase is Reiki.
Reiki is a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of a persons body and restore physical and emotional well-being.
When you think about it, laying hands on the body to comfort and relieve pain is as old as instinct. When experiencing pain, the first thing most people do is put their hands on the area where the discomfort is occurring. Human touch conveys warmth, serenity, and healing. It also conveys caring and love.
And that is Reiki.
My first experience with Reiki was during my time in India and yet again, (this is a theme) this form of energy healing found me when I needed it most. During one of my last days in Kerala, I was out for dinner with my fellow yogi's from the ashram celebrating completing our 200 hr yoga teacher training. Down along the beaches of Kovalam there is a variety of restaurants and little shops that cater to tourists visiting in the area. This night was our first real evening of freedom since we began the program; we ate and drank and laughed together with each of us taking off as needed to explore and pick up last minute souveniers and treasures for loved ones back home.
Earlier that night on the way to dinner, I had passed by an interesting little shop that had beautiful Tibetan bowls and hand painted jewelry boxes on display; I had been itching to go back all night before they closed, so I set off down the promenade. As I walked, I appreciate less tourist traffic at the later hour and just enjoyed the steady sound of my feet hitting the wooden boards against the backdrop of ocean waves rolling against the beach. As I approached the store, I noticed a man, the shop keeper, sitting outside on the crumbly old stone steps outside the shop. As I walked up, he raised his head and smiled warmly. He was a tall man with a gentle, fatherly composure. He smiled a respectful smile as I greeted him with my "hello". He nodded in response. "Your friends mentioned you would be coming...", he said in his broken English. I assumed one of the other gals must have been there before I had and mentioned that more of us were interested in coming by. I answered, "yes, I've been meaning to come by since earlier today. I noticed the beautiful bowls you have for sale...". He nodded again. I began to move toward the entrance of the shop when the words he spoke next caught me before I could make my way fully through the door. "... you've come here for more than the bowls...", he said.
At first, not really knowing what he meant, I though maybe he was trying to up-sell me but then I realized what he meant was beyond material. With this realization, I stood still feeling comfortably exposed; as if I was in the company of an old friend that knows you well. I replied "Yes, I guess that's right" ignoring the knock at the door of my consciousness, I gave a surface- level answer "I've come as a student to learn yoga. This is one of my last days here". He looked at me, expecting more. He might as well of just said, "aaaaaand, what else?!" but he just smiled kindly, letting his gentle soul do all the talking before he finally said, "I am a healer". My stomach sank, but in a good way. The way it feels when you know you're exactly where you are supposed to be.
He introduced himself; Raja was his name. He asked that I come back tomorrow to see him. He said that he had plenty of bowls and treasures for me if that is what I truly felt I had come there for, but he asked me to consider that the purpose of my visit could be for something bigger. I agreed to come back tomorrow and was eager to do so.
I'm either extremely gullible or just very trusting, but in my gut I knew that this stranger wasn't a stranger at all. His intentions were pure; he didn't want anything from me, he was there to give. To help. I felt completely safe and at home and I knew, with all knowing that I needed to show up the next day.
I was nervous when I arrived but I was ready for whatever came next. I had nothing to loose. I was on this journey to India with an open mind and an open heart with an intention to learn, heal and grow and it was time to let that truly be my guide.
I sat on a small stool in a room decorated with beautiful silk pillows, gorgeous hand woven rugs and the most interesting art work. Raja entered the room and greeted me very warmly, thanking me for coming in such a way that felt like a celebration of my courage. He approached the stool and stood next to me next to me asking me to take in deep breathe in...I closed my eyes and inhaled the soft scent of incense and salty air that filled his shop. As I relaxed into my breath, I felt one of his hands press up against my back, in between my shoulder blades and the other hand was gently placed just below the base of my neck across my two collar bones. As I exhaled, I felt held. I felt supported. Tears began to well up in my eyes are poured down my cheeks. His touch was like a warm and loving embrace from a friend. After a few minutes of this supported release, Raja broke the silence saying every so softly "you so nervous...your foundation is not strong; its crumbled and you are afraid to take steps". He was so right. I came to India after going through some major life changes including the end of my marriage and realizing how disconnected from myself I had become.
Raja knew details about my life that not even my closest friends knew. Names, events, situations... he just intuitively knew. As he spoke of these things he held space for me to tearfully release the sadness, anger and hurt that surrounded them. Never before had I cried the way I did that day.
This continued for a short while longer before he asked that I lay down for the second half of the session. I made myself comfortable on the floor and closed my eyes. He hovered his hands above my body moving from the top of my head to the tip of my toes. I could feel the warmth of his hands radiate into my body; I felt light and relaxed. The calmest I had felt in years.
Raja didn't call his healing Reiki, he just called it "healing" but not long after my return home from India, after researching different healing modalities I realized that Reiki seemed to most closely match what he performed that day. A few months after my return home, I was inspired to try Reiki again here in Calgary and this led me to a beautiful woman, Carell Mehl from Ki Lifestyle Solutions. Carell is a wise, very gifted and connected Reiki Master.
What you can expect in a typical Reiki session is for the practitioner to spend a few minutes at the beginning of the session to understand what your intention for the session is i.e. what are you there to heal? Reiki is a very natural way to heal a myriad of issues, whether physical or emotional. Your intention might be to heal something physical as well as something emotional; the energy will go wherever its needed but setting an intention can help affirm that you are ready to receive it and helps focus it.
You will then lay down on your back and get comfortable. The practitioner will prepare for the session by smudging the room, themselves and you and saying a prayer of protection (helping them block any negative energy from themselves) and asking their guides to support them in the healing. To being, they will draw their Reiki symbols over your head; these symbols are provided to them as part of their training and act as a light switch, turning on the energy that they are about to provide. Depending on your preference/ comfort level, the practitioner will either hover their hands above your body or rest them gently on the body, moving from your head to your feet, making their way down the chakra's sending as they send energy wherever it needs to go. Once they have completed the front side of your body, you will be asked to turn over on to your stomach so that the process can be repeated on this side of you.
Reiki energy can do many things; most notable effects are that it relaxes, detoxifies, speeds up healing, activates cleansing and metabolism, regenerates, rebuilds the bodies ability to cope, shrinks tumors, cleanses chakras, releases blockages, reduces side effects of chemical drugs, changes mental patterns and emotional release, releases karmic and past life patterns, increases vibration frequency and assists in spiritual healing. There are no adverse effects, energy goes to where it needs to go or it may be sent to the earth if the receiver does not accept it.
As the energy is infused into your system, you will feel relaxed and at ease. Each person is different, but its not uncommon to dream/ see visions, fall into a meditative state or even fall asleep. Whatever happens for you is wonderfully yours to experience. It is also not uncommon for your practitioner to receive visions or messages on your behalf, which they will share at the end of the session. In my experience with Carell, as she is so connected she saw many things and a number of messages to share. I was thrilled to have this direct line to my ascended masters and guides and kept a journal of the themes and messages that were given to me.
My experience with Reiki has been incredibly powerful and was one of the first methods of energy healing that in addition to my yoga and meditation practice, was a major driving force and support in tackling my inner work.
If you're interested in trying Reiki healing for yourself, I obviously highly recommend Carell (I find word of mouth is best...) but if you are out searching for a practitioner, many Reiki Masters post notices at health food stores, new age bookstores and some yoga studios. Once you find a practitioner, if you are interested in receiving treatment, ask them about their process, their fees and their qualifications/ lineage (i.e. who they were taught by, what groups they belong to, etc). Be aware of how you feel about their answers and if they are responding in a loving manner that is supportive and empowering. Listen to your heart and you will be guided to the right teacher or practitioner.
Again, this is just a recap of my experience with this type of energy healing. Not all experiences will be the same but I hope if you've been curious about Reiki that you've learned a little bit more about the process and its benefits and that maybe, if its what feels right for you, you're open to exploring it for yourself.
with so much love,