Reiki: Exploring a tool for healing

I took a Reiki workshop on a beautiful Saturday not too long ago. As I rode my bike there, I felt ambivalent about taking it and was not in the best mental space. A few troubling firestorms had occurred that week and were occupying some mental space, plus I am always reluctant to spend a beautiful day inside.

A friend had taken Terri Sandusky’s workshop and recommended it to me. It was close to where I lived (convenience is a big deal for me in this busy world of mine!) and lately I had been thinking about “what’s next” in terms of work/career stuff. It seemed like a good first step towards seeking clarity. And I’ve always been interested in health and how the body has an enormous capacity for self-healing.

So what is Reiki?

Reiki is a spiritual, healing practice, transmitted energetically through touch. It is great for stress reduction and induces a state of deep relaxation.

The class was small- there were three other folks. I like small classes- they  are more intimate and you get more one-on-one attention from the teacher. The teacher, Terri, was incredibly enthusiastic about what she was teaching and talked quite a lot. But when we got to the actual hands-on practicing of Reiki, that’s when things started to shift for me.

Each person in the class received Reiki at the same time from the others, which was pretty powerful. Imagine 3 pairs of hands gently placed on your body as you lie there in a state of extreme relaxation. The caring energy was palpable- you could really feel it. After my session I felt lighter and calmer, and my preoccupation with the week’s events was gone. The negative energy that had been bottled up inside me had just vanished.

Elizabeth having a Reiki session. Note the two pairs of hands. The third pair are down by my feet.  Credit: Terri Sandusky

Elizabeth having a Reiki session. Note the two pairs of hands. The third pair are down by my feet. Credit: Terri Sandusky

During the last Reiki session on one of the participants, the teacher had me encircling my hands around her head. A few minutes later, my eyes started tearing up.  The participant had been talking about a particularly troubling relationship and I think she had been feeling some sadness/anger/pain. Because my hands were on her head, I was able to sense the painful feelings behind her thoughts. I had no control over the tears that were flowing and actually felt detached from the emotion itself.

This type of intuition is no big surprise to me. I have noticed that when someone I am interacting with expresses grief or tells a painful story, I often find myself also feeling that emotion (which is why I would probably be a terrible therapist!). I think it runs deeper than just feeling compassion for someone– my body actually senses the emotion. This sense of intuition has allowed me to be compassionate as a listener and over the years I’ve been able to learn how to mute my reactions and somehow remain detached from the person’s emotions and feelings, while still being present and caring for the person.

Since I’ve taken the workshop, I have practiced Reiki on myself and my family with positive results. My daughter claimed her cough went away, my squirmy son relaxed quite a bit, and my husband fell asleep. What a great tool for self-healing and coping with stress!


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