Reiki, translating to “universal life energy,” is a form of noninvasive alternative medicine based on the belief that an energy force flows through us. When this energy is weak, it affects our health and/or stress levels.
“Reiki treatments channel energy through the body, creating deep relaxation and helping to release stress and tension, emotional holdings and blockages” according to Monique Visser, spa therapist at Body Works Holistic Wellness Centre in Queen’s Court Plaza. Practitioners act as a channel, transferring energy to the patient through their hands.
While many question the effectiveness of Reiki, practitioners recommend it as a complementary practice to create an environment within the body that will facilitate healing, personal growth and deep relaxation, or relieve pain.
Visser’s clients visit her for a variety of reasons, from pure curiosity, to relaxation, correcting imbalance, health reasons, break-ups or because they are due to make a life-changing decision.
In my opinion, Reiki is one of the more mysterious of the alternative therapies, and one which requires an open mind. My research before my first-ever session did little to clarify exactly what I should expect, as information varied as to the methods used and the feelings experienced. From my research, I deduced that some practitioners lay their hands lightly on the body, while some hover them slightly above. Some clients feel sensations of heat, some of tingling, some of emotion and some feel nothing at all. It is interesting to note that there are no written guides to Reiki practice. The skills are passed from master to student verbally through several levels of “attunement.”
While hands-on healing techniques have been used since ancient times, Reiki, as we know it, originated in Japan in the early 20th century, developed by Mikao Usui. Visser explains that “there are different kinds, or forms, of Reiki, which are mostly adaptations of Usai Reiki. Different methods have been developed over the years, but the principle behind them remains the same.”
I visited Body Works for my first Reiki treatment. I lied down on the treatment table fully clothed and was covered with a sheet. Visser explained that usually she would ask the client their reason for attending and would suggest setting an intention for the session to focus on to help set the tone for the treatment. This may be done by setting a mantra to repeat in your head throughout the treatment.
Many Reiki practitioners begin their practice from the head down, but after getting a feel for my energy by laying her hands on my head, Visser began the main session at my feet and worked her way up. She said this made more sense to her as we gain our energy from the earth. She then laid her hands lightly on different parts of my body for varying lengths of time.
At first it was hard to ignore the ramblings of day-to-day life in my head, but then I remembered Visser’s suggestion of setting an intention to focus on, which I did, and which helped me relax and focus more on myself and the treatment.
I certainly felt different sensations, varying by where Visser was placing her hands. Some areas felt hot, some delivered no sensations, and others led to tingling in my head. Visser said that she too feels different sensations, or nothing at all, while conducting Reiki.
While sessions can last more than an hour, I had opted for 30 minutes, and this passed too quickly for my liking! By the end of the session, I was incredibly relaxed, and much calmer than when I had gone in.
Reiki remains quite a mystery to me. But while I still do not understand the mechanics of this ancient practice, maybe it is not completely necessary. If clients go in with an open mind, they may come out with exactly what they were looking for, whether by way of a channeling of energy to appropriate areas as proclaimed, or simply by a relaxing session of positive thoughts. My 30-minute session on its own was probably too short to make a marked impact on my life, although it certainly delivered a much needed state of deep relaxation, the effects of which stretched into the following day.