Healing Touch: How can reiki help what ails you?

Ask the Expert

By Jane Marion - April 2014

How can reiki help what ails you?

Ask the Expert

By Jane Marion - April 2014

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Years ago, Brianna Bedigian was in a car accident that left her with a serious ankle injury and walking with a cane. Then, to compound matters, a few years later, she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue. “For two years, I lost my life, and I couldn’t hold down a job,” recalls Bedigian. “Someone suggested I try reiki, but instead of going for a session, I trained as a reiki [master]. It changed my life.” Eleven years later, Bedigian is the owner of Mt. Vernon’s Quiet Winds, where she combines aspects of reiki, yoga, and hypnosis. “At the time I got into reiki, I understood the overall concept,” says Bedigian, who also works with rehab patients at University of Maryland Medical Center for Integrative Medicine. “But I was not prepared for how much it genuinely helped me feel better and inspired me to work with others.”

Can you define reiki for us? Reiki is a form of energy work defined as universal life-force energy. It is similar in concept to what is now understood to be the quantum field in physics. It’s the idea that everything is energy, including us, and that energy is flowing around us all the time. When someone becomes a reiki, they can draw that universal energy through themselves and offer it out of their hands. Reiki is given through light touch or by hovering just above the body——traditionally, the 12-hand placements move from the top of the head to the feet.

Who can benefit from reiki? Reiki is good for those who are suffering from overwhelming stress, battling an illness, recovering from an injury, suffering from grief, struggling with depression, or feeling disconnected. In addition to private sessions, people can be trained to become a reiki and use it as a self-healing tool.

What does it feel like to have reiki and how does it work? For each person, the sensation of reiki can be really different—some people only feel sensations of heat, while others feel sensations of waves or tingles. If you were to come in for a session, we’d talk briefly and you’d explain to me why you’ve come. In my studio, you lay fully clothed and face up on the massage table. The treatment I offer is based on the traditional 12-hand placements. Most people become so relaxed, they shift into a meditative state or fall asleep. From my experiences, I have observed it relaxes people in a way that is overwhelmingly profound.


Use these items to maximize your reiki session.

Be Calm
Lavender oil is a great additive for a calming, relaxing, and soothing experience.

Bath Time
After your session take an Epsom salt bath to draw the energy off.

Reiki 101
Pamela Miles’s Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide is a great tool to learn more about the practice.

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