Health & Fitness

By Mrinalini Kamath

I’m something of an agnostic when it comes to certain areas of holistic health–willing to believe, but not without a fair amount of convincing. Reiki is one of these areas. My interest in Reiki was first piqued by a very smart, sensible, skeptical friend who, in a last resort to deal with migraine headaches, saw a Reiki practitioner and ended up the better for it. So when my editor asked if anyone might be interested in covering a story on Reiki and the power of healing crystals, I jumped on it.

Reiki (which is a combination of the Japanese words for divine and energy) is a form of energy work practiced by Mikao Usui in Japan in 1922, during a Buddhist retreat. Based on an ancient Tibetan Buddhist technique, Reiki is a system where the practitioner helps the patient heal him or herself by acting as a conduit and channeling healing energy through touch, which is why Reiki is also sometimes referred to as “palm healing.” Practitioners believe that the healing energy comes from the life source, which can be referred to as God, Buddha, or any number of names. Problems occur for people when their energy, or ki, isn’t flowing properly. Sometimes it arises from a physical origin, such as a knee injury, which also causes mental or emotional blockage or even trauma. It can also occur the other way around, with a mental trauma manifesting itself in a physical manner or injury. While Reiki has never conclusively scientifically been proven to work, enough people believe in its results that well-known hospitals, such as Children’s of Minnesota have Reiki practitioners available to provide treatments for children suffering from cancer and other serious ailments.

After some searching, I was put in touch with Kristin Reed, a Brooklyn-based Reiki master (meaning that she is able to teach Reiki, as well as practice it on others) who specializes in healing crystals. As she puts it, Reiki sort of appeared to Kristin during a difficult period of her life, when a good friend showed her information on a place called The Infinite Light Healing Center in Sedona, Arizona, where they could learn and become certified in Western Takata Reiki (Reiki has several different schools for each of the 16 disciples that Usui trained). Though Kristin’s “skeptical mind” doubted Reiki, she went for the course, figuring that it couldn’t hurt to try it. Post-certification, Kristin went on to study with Reiki master William Lee Rand at the International Center for Reiki Training in upstate New York, before becoming a Reiki master. Since that time, she and that friend, Barbara Tierney, started their own practice called Healing Reiki Energy. (http://www.healingreikienergy.com/).

Kristin operates her practice out of her home, a calm, tranquil and beautiful apartment in Brooklyn. Before lying down for a session I had to fill out a medical disclaimer, since, as Kristin was quick to point out, Reiki can certainly help certain issues, particularly when it is used to complement traditional medicine, but it does not solely cure anything. Since people come to her to treat a variety of issues (everything from depression to Lupus) I figured I’d tell her that my knees had been bothering me. She suggested that I have a chakra balancing treatment with healing crystals. While chakras, the seven areas of the body that are thought to house “energy vortices” are part of the ancient Indian system and not originally included in the Reiki tradition, people noticed that the places on the body where Reiki practitioners intuitively placed their hands were the exact same locations as the traditional chakra system, and thus chakras were incorporated into certain schools of Reiki. Crystals naturally entered into Reiki, as they are known for being great containers and receptors of energy, used for radio transmissions, watches and computers.

A chakra balancing or alignment session is performed to make sure that energy is flowing clearly through the body and not getting stuck anywhere, which could be the cause of other problems. So–after removing my shoes and lying on the table with my head on a small pillow and a bolster under my knees, Kristin performed a clearing using white sage incense, which she lit and then moved around my body. I closed my eyes as instructed, and she placed various healing stones on each of my chakras, starting with the crown of my head and ending just below my feet. I then went into the deepest state of relaxation I have ever experienced – the closest thing to it would be a deep meditation. I was extremely rested and almost in a trance, but not asleep. I lost all track of time, until Kristin told me to sit up and handed me a glass of water. She pointed out the various stones she had placed over my chakras (different types for each one – hematite for the hands, quartz for the grounding chakra,). She tends to see energy in terms of colors, so she told me some of her observations, namely that the area around my knees had been a hazy, yellow, smoky color that appeared to clear up a bit and that by my third eye, (the space between the eyebrows, where I did feel a vibration when she put the crystal on) I appeared to have a pink light, which was actually “heart” or healing light. She also held a crystal pendulum over each of my chakras, showing me how the crystal gradually settled into a clockwise direction (as far as I could tell, with no aid from her) which showed that the energy was flowing properly.

So am I a converted believer in this thing called Reiki? I still remain something of an agnostic. On one hand, the pain in my knees was not alleviated. But on the other hand, I definitely felt some kind of magnetism with the crystal over my third eye. One thing is for sure – if you ever want to experience the deepest relaxation you’ve ever felt, a Reiki session just may be in your cards!

For more information, go to: http://www.healingreikienergy.com

Originally published May 2011
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