I had always been particularly dubious about Reiki - how could a treatment that involves no touch at all have such apparent profound effects?
When I was first introduced to Reiki, I had already completed my massage qualification. I had been taught briefly about 'chakras' as part of Indian Head Massage, but that was about as far as my knowledge of any sort of energy based healing, went.
I met Reiki practitioner Catherine at a local health and wellbeing fayre, where I took part in a workshop. She was demonstrating some basic reiki hand placements for self treating. It was pleasant, relaxing even, yet - underwhelming. What was supposed to happen? Should I feel something straight away?
Curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to book a full body treatment. If nothing else, it gave me the opportunity to lay down in peace for an hour, which as most mums will agree, is pretty priceless. Deep down, I was hopeful that it would be beneficial for my long term anxiety.
Reiki does not specifically claim to cure anxiety, or be a cure for anything for that matter (any practitioner who claims otherwise should be given a wide berth). And as with most complimentary therapies, their effects can be widespread, varied and individual to each person.
Reiki translated means 'life energy'. It is said to work by facilitating the flow of energy around the body, using the practitioner as a channel. If energy in the body is blocked and stagnant, it can manifest as a plethora of physical, mental and emotional symptoms. So I was intrigued to find out what, if any, benefits reiki could have for me. An initial course of 6 treatments was recommended, and I decided to go for it - I really wanted to give it the full benefit of the doubt.
The treatments themselves were incredibly relaxing, and I found with each treatment I was able to relax increasingly more. By the time I reached the third session, I also started to notice effects post treatment - the day after I would feel quite emotional, irritable even. However, the following week, I would feel less stressed and anxious, calmer, and more motivated. At times, it felt a bit like I was in a bubble, looking out at the world! Even my husband noticed a difference in me.
Catherine explained that the irritability on the days after my treatment could be because of the shifting of the energy in my body - almost like an 'emotional detox'. This made a lot of sense.
Towards the end of the course, I started to notice other effects during the treatment itself - sometimes when Catherine's hands were placed on my head, I could feel a pressure, sometimes I would feel warmth or tingling. I'm not sure if this was because I was more relaxed, and therefore more receptive, or possibly just an increased awareness? Either way, I found it exciting and intriguing.
Has it cured my anxiety? No. Has it helped me to be more mindful of myself and my emotions, and given me valuable coping tools for my stress and anxiety? Definitely.
Not only that, it has taught me that reiki energy is within everyone. It is not a just a magic 'gift' that only those who are spiritually connected, can access. It is in everyone, and for everyone. Reiki energy may not be something we can see, or touch, or measure. But for me, it has brought peace, compassion, self care and grounding, amongst many other benefits, which I feel we could all do with more of in these times.