So much of traditional Western medicine focuses on the known. Results we can publish from studies, pills that make blood pressure magically lower and exercises we can do to make us stronger. But what about the treatments whose effects can’t be measured with quantifiable data. If a treatment alleviates anxiety, stress or just generally makes you happier/better/lighter shouldn’t we treat it with the same respect we do for the pills that create harmful side-effects? Reiki is one of those treatments to me. I don’t know much about Reiki at all, so I thought why not give it a try and see what happens.
“You will enrich your life immeasurable if you approach it with a sense of wonder and discovery, and always challenge yourself to try new things.” Nate Berkus
I arrived to my first Reiki class with minimal expectations (which is difficult for me but I try). I have a strong connection to Eastern medicine and benefited from Acupuncture and Yoga for many years but never really knew what to believe about Reiki. I sat on my mat in a heated room anxiously awaiting class to start. The woman next to me asked me if I had ever received a Reiki treatment before, I stated this was my first time. She said I was in for “a real treat” and explained her personal experience to me. From her description it sounded like I was in for a transformative, mystical healing experience which is surrounded by much mystery but none the less makes you feel relaxed, released and renewed. Great, I’m in!
Our Reiki Master Stevie enters the room, she is a vibrant, energetic soul with positive energy you can feel. Stevie gives a brief overview of Reiki but again there is much mystery around it so it’s kind of whatever we get out of it. She has us all lie on our backs with a bolster under our knees to release our lower back, I am already happy. She then begins to guide us into a meditative state focusing on the word “open”. As I listen to the music and the sound of Stevie’s voice I begin to feel my body release into the Earth. Stevie will come around to each of us, feel our energy and physically touch the part that she felt connected to, this may include our heads, hands or legs. I felt grounded and relaxed as I heard her approach my space. I felt a sensation of great pressure on the top of my head and forehead. I have never felt this sensation before, it was not painful but it was definitely not pleasant. At the onset of class Stevie did say there may be some uncomfortable feelings but trust they will pass. I was trusting this unpleasant pressure would pass but I also wanted it to go away. I then felt her physically touch on my head. How did she know this was exactly where I was feeling this shift? I guess at this point it didn’t matter, it was happening. She gently applied touch to my head, forehead and neck then left my space.
As I lay there on my mat I feel the sensation travel from my head down to my neck and into my throat and chest. My breathing became elongated with six second exhales and two second inhales. This is not my typical regulated breath, it feels so unnatural and so deep but also exactly what my body is needing at this moment in time. I continue this pattern for what feels like 5 minutes but I truly have no concept of time in general let alone at this moment. After a while the sensation then shifts to a feeling of breath cycles between my throat, chest and belly. I connect this breath with the three chakras associated with these locations. It helps for me to process and analyze what is occurring in my body and to settle into the experience a bit further.
My breath cycles between the Visuddha (throat) chakra, Anahata (heart) chakra and Manipura (Solar Plexus) chakra. It stays here for a while, in what feels to me as a cleansing cycle between the three. I attempt to push my breath further in order to reach more distant chakras but fail to do so. My breath only allows me to cycle through these connected three. I feel a collection of energy rise into my shoulders and settle in my left shoulder/neck. I am aware of this and attempt to process it out using my breath cycle.
We are awakened by Stevie’s voice asking us to be gentle and start to bring our awareness back to the room. I still have this collection of energy in my left neck. I do some gentle stretching and attempt to guide some of it out. I find myself in a state of complete relaxation and connection to my body. I honestly don’t know what to make of this whole experience. I am someone who is rooted in science, medicine and now a little bit of magic. As I continue on with the evening I feel relaxed but a bit out of sorts, what was that crazy experience, what was that all about? I guess in the end do I have to define it for it to matter? Can I just walk away from something and think whatever that was it provided me with some further connection to my mind, body and spirit, isn’t that just as important? Isn’t that enough?
I will definitely be going back to have a private session to explore this more. I am interested in learning more about this mythical practice and discovering what doors it can unlock for me or simply just allowing it to quiet my mind and connect to my body. What if we all threw caution to the wind and tried Reiki instead of reaching for another pill to ease our suffering mind. I would love to hear about your experiences with non-traditional approaches to pain, anxiety, stress or illness. Contact me if you would like to explore ways to enhance your life and health from a multi-dimensional approach.