I recently completed a two day Reiki Self Healing Level I course
Two major changes have occurred
I’m sleeping better than I have in years
I’ve started to be able to breathe when I’m swimming
(The second is something that I’ve been working on for three years so I don’t think it’s a coincidence!) See this blog about my efforts to learn to swim https://www.mariapali.co.uk/learning-to-swim-as-an-adult/)
I’m very committed to developing my skills and knowledge to make me a better massage therapist and this equally includes working on my own health and well-being. With this in mind I decided to revisit Reiki I, something which I first completed in the 1990’s but never practiced or developed. I feel as if Reiki has been calling me back for some time and I decided to listen to my inner wisdom.
After the course we were instructed to practice Self Reiki Healing exercises for 21 days (and I am attempting to continue it as a regular practice) and to keep a journal of our experiences.
Reiki courses come generally in three stages and here I’m going to focus on an overview of Reiki within my constraints as a Level I student
Self Healing Reiki level I (The First Degree)
You don’t need to be a therapist and anyone can sign up for a Level I Reiki course. It’s aim is to help participants practice Reiki on themselves and ‘attunements‘ are channelled by the Master teacher (usually four for level one) which kick start the process of the student accessing the universal healing energy. This helps them to shift their own blockages and opens up their energy centers in order to heal. The student may then later channel the healing to others. At level I however, the emphasis is on self-care and the student practices self healing but may also practice their skills on friends and family members or volunteers. Reiki Level I students cannot practice commercially and they cannot teach Self Healing Practice, give attunements or use sacred symbols
‘Rei’ means Universe and ‘Ki’ means energy. This universal energy or life force is said to travel within us through energy points or chakras.
Reiki is secular and therefore not affiliated to any faith or religion. It does require the receiver to keep an open mind and accept their own inner process to heal and grow. Every single persons experience of giving and receiving Reiki is individual. If you ask what Reiki will be like for you, an answer cannot be given.
If this Eastern idea of Reiki doesn’t resonate with you, consider this piece of human physiology:
Each of us have a central nervous system comprising of the brain and spinal cord. We also have a peripheral nervous system which involves nerves that run throughout the body. This is further divided into the somatic nervous system which is involved with voluntary movements and the autonomic nervous system and the involuntary control of automatic processes. This regulates the internal environment of the body. (Here it gets interesting and is where Reiki may be of benefit). It is further sub divided into the sympathetic nervous system which stimulates and mobilises energy resources and kicks in when the ‘fight or flight‘ response is triggered. It raises the heart rate and blood pressure. Sweat glands are stimulated and we are highly stimulated and ready for action. The second is the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the state our brain is in when we ‘rest and digest‘. It conserves energy, slows the heart rate, increases salivation and is the state we need to be in to heal and repair and process.
Too many of us with our busy stressful lives are locked into the sympathetic nervous system and the associated ill health and mental well-being issues. Reiki simply aims to balance the nervous systems using the power of channelled stillness and gentle touch so that we can engage in that rest and digest state which so often doesn’t get a look in. In this state, our own bodies and the opened energy chakras and channels do the healing away from excessive thinking and emotions.
Quick thought here about ‘No pain, no gain’ style sports or deep tissue massage…
If I am biting the pillow in pain because my massage therapist is pummelling the life out of me, am I having the fight and flight or the rest and digest response stimulated? This is why sometimes the lightest and gentlest of massages can often be the deepest and most powerful… and may be why adrenaline junkies just love to be brutalised on the massage couch!
Reiki originated in Japan in the mid 1800’s and was discovered by Dr Mikao Usai who became a Buddhist monk and eventually gained spiritual enlightenment and channelled the sacred symbols and wisdom used in Reiki healing. He passed this down to the next generation of Reiki Masters who in turn taught others. Later teachers incorporated the the chakra system which is based on an Indian model that originated between 1500 and 500 BC in the oldest text called the Vedas. The chakras unite the physical and life force energies. They are seen as wheels of energy which connect mind, emotion, body and spirit. A Reiki Practitioner simply places her hands on the receiver in a given pattern. This allows the receiver to access and channel through the practitioner their own deep healing from within. Self healing practice follows a similar sequence, though needs the guidance and attunements of a Reiki Master to be fully affective.
My own experience of Reiki has not been what I expected. When I engage in self practice, I don’t feel those ‘whoo whoo’ experiences of divine energy travelling through my chakras. Occasionally I feel heat or ‘busyness.’ I often feel frustrated and impatient. My mind wanders and my thoughts race. Sometimes I feel peaceful.
We are told that we should just notice subtle changes over time. Reiki rarely fixes in one session but has an accumulative effect over time. At the beginning of the 21 day practice I started to notice what a worrier I am. I noticed that I was often stressed. As the days progressed, I noticed that I mentioned worry and stress less in my journal. I slept for a full night. This is unheard of. I sleep better and better. Three years of not breathing correctly when I practice front crawl swimming and now I’m starting to breathe at last.
These are not subtle changes but huge ones!
Having good health and well-being makes me a more effective and ‘present’ massage therapist. It makes me a more grounded person and will help to improve my touch and the services I offer to you.
I will never practice Reiki on you without your permission and I understand that for religious or spiritual reasons, or because some only want to have ‘evidence based’ Western modalities used on them it is not for everybody. There is research to prove the healing power of Reiki and of touch and it is slowly being recognised.
I am so convinced of the power of Reiki that I have signed up for Level II and in the meantime I am looking for volunteers to practice Reiki on. Although there is no charge for the Reiki practice sessions, contributions will be asked for to pay for room hire and expenses. Please contact me if you are interested to volunteer.
Let me know of your experiences of Reiki, good or bad below in the comments
Last but not least, if you fancy a bit of chakra beat boxing with MC Yogi, have a listen here: