Self-Care Challenge (Day 327): Trying Reiki

Etched glass with bamboo

I’ve gotta tell you, energy healing isn’t something that I was interested in trying until recently. I had always seen it as a bit woo-woo, and for someone who has spent nearly two decades working in traditional health care settings, it was definitely a different modality than what I was used to. I didn’t even really understand what it was exactly, only that there isn’t a lot of scientific research to support its effectiveness. Nevertheless, it’s quite popular among other cultures around the globe.

And because of the latter, I’ve always been a little curious about it.

So when a friend announced recently that she was expanding her practice to include reiki, I jumped at the opportunity. The moment I met her, I felt an overwhelming sense of warmheartedness about her, so it seemed fitting that she would be the therapist to administer my first treatment.

I purposely hadn’t done much research in advance, only following the pre-treatment instructions she had given me. I wanted to arrive with a feeling of openness–open to whatever the experience would be, without any expectations whatsoever.

And, if I’m being completely honest, I was still a bit skeptical going in.

According to, reiki is “a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by ‘laying on hands’ and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive.”

This particular complementary therapy is intriguing to me for many reasons. For one, I struggle with being still. It makes me feel uncomfortable, and even though I know it makes me feel better in the long-run, I often avoid it. Reiki provided me with an opportunity to enter a much needed state of stillness. Another reason is that it isn’t something I would normally do, which made it feel adventurous and fun. And lastly, it’s often practiced by people who value self-care, which made it a good candidate for my challenge this year.

I get massages every month, but this was a very new experience. As my therapist moved from my head to my toes, I oscillated between feelings of hyper-awareness and nearly drifting off to sleep. Without going into a lot of detail about my personal experience, it was profound to say the least. It was a spiritual experience that left me with many questions to ponder–like why I began repeating the words wonderful, beautiful, open and warm about halfway through the session.

Whether the effects of my experience are related to my state of stillness or a product of true energy healing is something I’ll leave for the scientific community to debate. All I know is that pressing my pause button periodically is essential for my health.

What has been your experience with reiki?

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