“So what is reiki, anyway?”
That’s a question I hear all the time, and the canned response I give is, “it’s an energy healing technique that reduces stress”. This is a deliberately vague response that doesn’t do much to explain what people experience when they’re on my table.
The truth is, it’s very difficult for me to describe a typical session because each one is as unique as the recipient; even one person’s experience will vary from session to session.
When I give a client reiki, I am setting the intention that pure, healing energy will flow through that person into the areas where they are ready, willing, and able to receive it. I physically feel the areas of the body that respond most eagerly, but I’m not directing the energy myself. If you were to think of reiki as an energetic fueling station, I’m just the pump.
Some clients fall asleep, others see colors in their mind’s eye, or feel energy traveling through their bodies. Others have thoughts and memories flashing through their minds as their energy field sorts and defragments. Some sense the presence of passed loved ones or angels, who have come to assist with their healing. Sometimes there are tears, other sessions are light, fluffy and relaxing.
Regardless of the specific experience, all of my clients feel lighter and more peaceful when their session is up. So what’s really going on here?
I believe people respond so positively to reiki energy because we are energetic beings (remember Einstein taught us that energy equals matter, accelerated). Imagine that you’re granted one full tank of energetic fuel every morning when you wake up. As soon as your feet hit the floor, your engine is revving as you plan your day, choose an outfit, bathe, dress, prep meals, and so on. Now, if we all stayed in the present moment, we’d have plenty of fuel to get around and then some. But we often take long, painful drives down the rocky roads of our past, and venture out into the most far reaching corners of our imagination, as we dream up worst case scenarios for the future. Those road trips burn serious fuel! And they don’t leave much energy for cell repair, and other self-healing activities your body needs to perform to maintain homeostasis. By day’s end, we are usually running on fumes.
Think of reiki as a free refill on that fuel. It offers an opportunity for you to receive, replenish, and recalibrate.
With that said, there’s no such thing as a free lunch! Most of my clients leave with homework assignments. While we share this space, your energy field tells me a story about where your mind, body, and spirit need more attention. I share this feedback with clients to empower them to address situations in their lives that are draining their energy. This is so important because, again, thoughts and emotions are just energy. The more invested you are in a thought, the more likely it is to manifest physically. This is a wonderful thing when you have healthy thoughts! But holding onto negativity eventually leads to physical illness.
Reiki is a tool in your holistic first aid kit that you can use to understand yourself more intimately. It offers opportunities, insights and a chance for your body to shift from flight-flight-freeze into rest-response mode, where it does its very best work.
If you’ve never experienced a reiki session, my suggestion is not to limit yourself to scientific measures of it’s efficacy, because that misses the mark. Instead, I invite you to suspend judgement, absorb these words, and just notice how they make you feel; your body is a natural truth detector, if you notice its signs.
One of my favorite quotes is by Arthur C. Clark, science fiction writer and futurist: “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Reiki does feel a bit magical! And that should not be equated to ineffective or lacking value.
My best attempt to define reiki is this: it is a realignment of body, mind, and spirit, providing a platform for your body to speak. My job as practitioner is to deliver the reiki energy, and objectively share the messages your body sends. Your job as recipient is to interpret and act on those messages as you see fit.
What does your body have to say to you?