As “mindfulness" has become the latest wellness buzzword, many people are flocking to Reiki, a form of healing that uses energy from the body. And whether you’re an Eastern-medicine skeptic or an alternative healing true believer, this is an experience you’ll want to try for yourself. We talked to Terry McMillin, founder of Pure Holistic Wellness Center in Canton, about Reiki, its benefits, and what to expect during a session.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese healing art technique that has been around since the 1920s and is one of many types of alternate energetic healing approaches used for a therapeutic benefit. It is a natural healing tool used by trained practitioners that moves energy around in the body to allow for healing to take place. Reiki can also help to alleviate physical, emotional, and mental stress in the body.
What are the benefits of Reiki?
The benefits can include improved concentration and relaxation, as well as better sleep. Reiki also promotes balance, alleviates physical and emotional pain, and enhances self-awareness and self-esteem. Some people say they feel the effects immediately, while some say they feel them several days later. Reiki is also said to benefit children when taught alongside meditation by allowing children to be calm and look inward at a young age, which promotes a healthy way of living throughout their lives.
What is a Reiki session like?
Reiki treatments are safe and non-invasive. During a session, the client lies down or is seated fully clothed. A session of Reiki usually lasts anywhere from 20 to 90 minutes, but each person is different, so a session can be longer or shorter. The variable is the person and the nature of their intention for the session and what they are looking to get out of it. Most Reiki treatments are done in a room with a soothing atmosphere. Dimmed lights or candles and quiet music are often the norm. The practitioner next places his or her hands on or above the body, depending on the preference of the client, and allows the Reiki to radiate from their hands into you.
How often should someone receive Reiki?
People can come as frequently as they like. I always say holistic or natural healing is a journey. It is not a one-time shot or a Band-Aid, but it’s a process. Just like in Western medicine, the healing arts have their share of good, not so good, and burned out practitioners. Make sure you connect energetically with that person. The healing process requires you to have faith and trust in your practitioner. Reiki practitioners need to be in the business because they love the art, not because they are jumping on the bandwagon.
My take: From the moment I walked into Pure Holistic Center I felt very comfortable and welcomed, even if McMillin could tell I was nervous and a little bit skeptical. I didn’t know much about reiki and honestly kind of thought I was walking into some sort of massage, but as we talked through the process I found out that there is no physical touching that happens during a reiki session. We would be focusing on moving energy around my body to ease any pain, anxiety, depression, and pretty much anything else that could be wrong with you.
I walked into the treatment area and laid down on a bed and was covered in warm blankets. The session started with McMillin telling me to clear my mind with some breathing practices. Then the energy work began. I can’t tell you exactly what it looked like because my eyes were closed but the experience was very meditative. As I laid there for almost 40 minutes, I started to notice a feeling of pressure in my neck and head. This was weird and kind of scary for a moment, but I knew that strange sensations could be expected throughout the treatment. I also kept seeing flashes of the color blue that would take over my mind’s eye.
When the treatment was finished, McMillin told me she had seen a couple of things while performing the energy healing on me: an animal, a flower, and older woman with shoulder length hair (!), explaining their meanings and asking if I had felt or seen anything. When I told her about my experience, she brought over the chart of chakras—or spiritual focal points in the body—and showed me that the throat chakra is blue, and she could sense a blockage in that area when performing reiki on me. She then gave me literature on all the things we had talked about and the things we had seen, and I left.
Overall, it was a really interesting experience and, though I didn’t walk away feeling "healed," I did walk away feeling refreshed. It made me realize we need to spend more time in silence and reflection throughout our busy lives and it was nice to learn and not think about the daily stressors of life for an hour.