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In this day and age, we live life fast. We are very used to having everything we want in an instant. If we want to know something, we google it. Purchases online with next day delivery, supermarkets open 24 hours. We want it, we get it. We don't want to wait. We want quick results. Nowadays, we are impatient.
It’s the same if we are ill. We see the doctor. We take a pill and the pain goes away. (Hopefully). We don't usually care that the pill most likely will give us other problems or side effects. And of course, we don't usually see those side effects immediately so we don't even give them another thought.
Another consequence of our busy lives, is that some of us don't come up for air. We often shoehorn things into every waking moment of our lives and we become compressed, weighted down, we don't have room to smell the coffee. Our need for speed in our lives, brings about problems like anxiety, stress, reduced immune function, gut problems, insomnia, aches, pains and illness. What our bodies would love is for us to slow down a bit, take a breath, a bit of space and room to decompress.
As a therapist and reiki master in the wonderful world of holistic wellbeing, I am often asked what reiki is. I can remember some time ago, when I asked the very same question and after (a lot) of reading, experiencing, studying and learning I'm starting to understand this whole exciting world of energy healing. It's science - that's all. Physics to be more exact. Misunderstood and disregarded by many, and overlooked by others, I will try to explain the theory of reiki healing as simply as I can.
As we know from science and physics, literally everything, EVERYTHING in our existence is made from energy which all vibrates at different frequencies. Physical matter is just tight bundles of condensed energy.
The energy that flows within all living things is known as life force energy. Although sounding a bit magical to some people, it's actually much simpler than we realise. Life force energy is very real and is present in us all whether we like it, are aware of it, or not. Life force energy sits on the electromagnetic spectrum, and just like electricity, infra-red, x-rays or wireless networks, it is invisible to the naked eye.
(Fun fact - if we wanted to get technical, the electromagnetic spectrum, has only 1% of energy which is actually visible to the naked eye!)
'Reiki' is a Japanese word meaning guided life force energy and it's used as an energy healing treatment. As something which has been used in the East for thousands of years, reiki is not based around any belief system, so anyone can receive or learn to give a reiki treatment.
This life force energy flows within our physical and energetic layers through pathways called chakras and meridians. It nourishes the organs and cells of the body, supporting them in their vital functions. When the energy flow is disrupted through negativities in day-to-day life, it can upset functioning in organs and tissues. Reiki heals by flowing through the energy fields, recharging with positive energy and clearing any blockages or dense patches in the energy pathways.
Imagine a stream flowing gently. A stick has become caught between a couple of stones and everything behind it is starting to back up. More twigs, leaves, the odd crisp packet. It's starting to create a small dam - the water behind it is flowing much slower and darker. Eventually this whole section of the stream is being bypassed as it has no proper flow. Reiki is a bit like clearing away the stick which was causing the blockage in the first place, so that the whole stream can flow again.
A reiki treatment is given to a client who is fully clothed and covered, in a comfortable laying position. The therapist gradually moves around the couch, placing their hands in different positions either touching, or with hands just above the client, on the chakras then around the body. It's a very soothing, gentle and relaxing treatment.
As a client, you may experience warmth or cool areas, tingling sensations, twitching or heaviness. Some people see colours, or you may simply feel very relaxed. Some people feel nothing, but enjoy the chance to have some moments to themselves. A reiki treatment is perfect if you are physically or mentally exhausted, or if your system simply needs to reboot.
Now, one of the most important things to do as a client receiving reiki, or any holistic treatment for that matter, is to 'let it in'. So, how do we do that? Sounds complicated, I know. I used to think the same, then one day I got it. I just stopping trying and relaxed. That’s all you have to do. Slow down and let your whole body relax, let your mind relax. You may have to train yourself to relax but you can start to do this by lying quietly, still, and breathing mindfully. In your mind's eye, see your belly rise as your lungs inflate. Then watch it drop as you exhale. You will let it in by focusing on your breath, simply telling yourself that you're relaxing and you are ready and open to receiving any healing. That's it. Just don't TRY to feel anything. Just relax and let any sensations wash over you, and if you don't notice any, that’s totally fine, just know and trust that it's still working anyway.
So, if you've started to get your head around reiki as a one-to-one-on-the-couch-treatment, this is where it all gets interesting and a little bit mind blowing. We now introduce something called Distance Reiki healing!
YOU DON''T ACTUALLY HAVE TO BE PRESENT FOR THIS ENERGY HEALING TO WORK.
What??? Yes, I know! Often mistaken for being a bit 'woo-woo' and mysterious, but distance reiki is actually very real and very healing. Let's try and break it down.
So, as a human being, we are made up of physical, emotional, mental, energetic and subtle bodies.
Although we may get physical, mental and emotional changes during a treatment, reiki and distance healing works predominantly on what's known as the 'subtle body' rather than the physical body. Therefore, you will most probably get subtle results.
Subtle means that it is there, but just less obviously. We don't have a specific sense to recognise activity in the subtle body. Often, this is a kind of 'just knowing' or rather than an experience through one of our other 5 senses.
You know like the gut feeling we have when something is right or wrong. Or the aura that people describe before having a seizure. Because it's subtle, we have to take time to notice. We have to train ourselves to start knowing ourselves and recognising tiny changes. Now in terms of reiki, this definitely doesn’t mean that if you don't notice anything it's not happening. It simply means it is happening but because it's subtle you might not have noticed it.
Let's see, subtle changes. That singular moment when liking your partner changed to love? Or when you go to the gym, after one visit can you run a marathon or leave with a six pack? When you eat better to lose weight, are you down a size the next day? A change will most definitely have occurred after each gym visit or every healthy meal, but the changes are so small that you don't notice them until they become obvious enough. We don't always get subtle. We are usually too busy.
In our 21st century modern world, we have something called the internet. If we try, some of us can remember life before it. And mobile phones. When we think about it, it's pretty amazing, technology. Most of us don't have a clue how it works, we don't need to, but we know it does. And more importantly we accept that's all we need to know. So, we just relax and let it do its stuff. It’s the same with emailing, MRI scanning and radiotherapy. We can't see it working, but we're told it does and we know it does because we have seen results. Now, the more inquisitive of us might understand that these new technologies work due to scientific research. Quantum physics to be even more exact.
So, we're back to this little concept - we know that everything is energy. Everything. The internet. Radiotherapy. MRI scanning. And us. And reiki and distance reiki. And everything in between.
Reiki and distance healing has been practiced in the East for thousands of years. Those guys didn’t have any 21st century modern day technologies to compare it to, so they just accepted it and embraced it and were grateful for it. Maybe due to their slower pace of life, they were happy not to expect such instant results. Quantum physics was around then too, but having no understanding of that they just trusted the process.
So, that's sort of it really. Trust it. Even if you can't get your head around it, just know that it works. The science is out there to explore and will most likely ignite and excite you, or comatose you with tedium! But in a nutshell, it's quantum physics. It connects us without wires. And distance reiki healing is a bit like a long-distance phone call. Without the wires.
I guess that’s really all we need to know.