Self-Care Challenge (Day 327): Trying Reiki

Etched glass with bamboo

On day 327 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I tried reiki.

I’ve got to say, energy healing isn’t something I ever thought I’d try. It always seemed a bit woo-woo to me, and for someone who spent nearly two decades working in traditional health care settings, it was definitely a different modality than I was used to.

Honestly, when I scheduled my reiki appointment I didn’t even really understand what it was exactly. I only knew there wasn’t a lot of scientific research to support its effectiveness, but many cultures around the globe practice it. That was enough to make me curious.

So, when a friend announced recently that she was expanding her practice to include reiki, I jumped at the opportunity. From the first moment I met her, I felt an overwhelming sense of warm-heartedness from 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, and only followed the pre-treatment instructions she gave me. I wanted to stay 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 form of 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 always 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 – perfect for this self-care challenge.

I already 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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