When it comes to alternative and holistic therapies we think we’ve got things down pat. Our acupuncturist is on speed dial, infrared sauna is a weekly habit, and we’re on the in with an amazing ayurvedic specialist across town. But when we first encountered the idea of reiki, we were at a loss. The idea behind reiki healing is so simple it is almost difficult to grasp – an equipment-less treatment with the power to bring energetic balance? Clearly, we had to know more.
We met (beautiful, easy-going) reiki master Kellie Jean Lewis over tea and quickly decided that her philosophy toward treatment was something we needed to experience for ourselves. In a session with Kellie, clients relax on a table as they would for any massage. However, rather than manipulating tendon and muscle, Kellie taps into your energetic field. Using her own intuition and the amplifying power of crystals, Kellie searches for subtle imbalances that need balancing – raising and lowering energy centers to bring clients into a more healthy state.
The experience is as subtle as the energies it is attempting to shift, but the outcome can be as dramatic and effective as any other more ‘concrete’ treatment. Skeptic or no, energy medicine and treatments like reiki can often be effective despite your own mental commitment. Here is Kellie to tell us a little more…
The Chalkboard Mag: Where did reiki originate?
Kellie Jean Lewis: Reiki was originally a Japanese technique to promote healing, stress reduction and relaxation. Reiki originated in Tibet over 2,500 years ago. Dr. Mikao Usui, from Japan, introduced reiki to Westerners in the late 1800s after he rediscovered this ancient healing technique himself.
TCM: What is reiki – in a nutshell?
KJL: Reiki is an energy healing technique often used to promote healing, stress reduction and relaxation. The word reiki translates simply as “life force energy”. Therefore a reiki practitioner or reiki master uses their hands either directly on or slightly above the body to channel life force energy to promote healing. There is no manipulation of the body (such as in massage). A client typically lays down, fully clothed (except for shoes) to receive a reiki session. The practitioner or master channels reiki energy through their hands and into the client’s body. The practitioner’s hands typically feel very hot and soothing while reiki is being channeled but can feel cold, as well. Reiki is considered intelligent energy. It knows where it needs to go to help promote healing in the body, mind and spirit!
TCM: Reiki works with energy, correct? Does it effect subtle energy layers only?
KJL: Reiki works on many different levels; energetic, physical, emotional, spiritual. It’s all really connected, isn’t it?
TCM: Talk to us a little bit about why working on our ‘energy’ matters. The idea with reiki is that these finer energies can ‘trickle down’ to effect our physical layers…
KJL: Everything is energy. Everything. When your energy vibrates at a higher frequency you attract things and people at that higher level. When your energy is vibrating at a lower frequency you attract things at a lower level. You know that old saying, “When it rains it pours!” Negative experiences occur more often when we are stressed out or in a bad mood. Your energy vibration changes to a lower level and suddenly more negativity follows.
It’s the same with physical injuries or trauma in the body. Clients will come to me with old injuries that keeps aggravating them and causing pain. Many times, after working on them just once, the injury stops giving them trouble. I’ve also had clients who experience profound life changes with little conscious effort, which is one possible outcome when shifting your energy for the higher good.
TCM: Who is reiki for and who can benefit most from reiki treatments?
KJL: Anyone and everyone can benefit from reiki. I’ve had a wide range of people come to me for reiki sessions, from newborns to people facing the end of life. I’ve had people say, “Well, it probably helps if you believe in it, right?” and my answer is “No.” It’s probably easier to relax and enjoy a session if you think that reiki will help you. But I’ve had people on my table who thought they were completely wasting their time and money, only to end up having miracles occur.
Reiki can help with stress, anxiety, depression, behavioral problems with children, pre- and post-surgery, feeling “stuck” in your life, concussions, migraines, broken bones, any trauma to the body, sexual abuse, menstrual issues, hospice, and even undiagnosed problems. The list is virtually endless. The human body is amazing. Reiki is all about giving the body the support it needs to heal itself.
TCM: Does reiki involve ongoing treatment or is it more often a one-time therapy?
KJL: It really depends on each individual person. I’ve had clients come in with a physical problem that stumped their doctor, and in one reiki session the problem completely went away.
In most situations, I recommend that clients come in for one session to see if they resonate with the work. If so, I suggest that they come in once a week or once every two weeks for a total of four sessions. After those sessions, we assess what level of ongoing support is needed. Some people are really in touch with their energetic body. They can sense when they need to come in for a tune-up. I leave it up to them to determine the right timing. There have been times when I myself have received reiki and have needed several weeks to process what happened during the session. It’s very individual. An experienced reiki practitioner should be able to gauge what is best in each individual situation.
TCM: Talk to us a little bit about chakras and how they’re involved or related to this:
KJL: Each chakra represents a different emotion, a physical part of the body, a color, a sound, etc. When a chakra is out of balance for a long period of time the imbalance will manifest on a physical level.
Let’s take the root chakra, for instance. The root chakra is located at the very base of the spine. It relates to security, money, relationships, family, home, etc. When this chakra is out of balance for a period of time, one may experience symptoms such as lower back pain, hip, knee or ankle problems, falling, breaking a bone and concussions. These kinds of chronic discomforts may be seen as a message from the universe to “get more grounded!”
Likewise, worry and anxiety tend to manifest with stomach or digestion-related symptoms. This is not surprising because that is the area of the (emotional) sacral and solar plexus chakras. Reiki helps immensely with balancing the entire chakra system.
TCM: Crystals are a big part of your practice. Can you tell us the purpose of using crystals during a reiki session?
KJL: The truth is crystals and reiki are two different modalities, but they do play an important role in my personal reiki practice. I first learned I had a gift for healing while traveling in England in 1999. I met a healer on that trip who showed me how to use crystals in my healing. When I became certified as a reiki practitioner, I immediately combined the two modalities.
Crystals have their own very unique qualities and ways of amplifying the movement and shifting of energy. When I use crystals in healing sessions with clients, I can literally feel energy moving. It’s very powerful. I documented all of my sessions for the first five years in practice, which affirmed for me that using crystals helps amplify the reiki energy during a session. Clients often express the sensations they feel when crystals are placed on their bodies during a session. Crystals may also have a calming effect, which is why I also use them in meditation and to help with sleep.
TCM: What’s on your reading list for reader who want to learn more?
KJL: There are many books you can read about reiki, but as one of my teachers once said, “If you go to a reiki conference and ask 1000 different reiki practitioners about reiki, you will get 1000 different answers.” I actually believe you will find a common thread. There is a reiki magazine titled Reiki News. It is published by William Lee Rand publishes (the author of several books). That little magazine provides some very good information and is easy to read and comprehend. Ultimately, the best way to learn more about reiki is to simply experience it!