What the eff is Reiki?

When I tell people I’m a Reiki master, usually one of two things happen. The first response is typically, “Oh! I’ve always wanted to try that! I’ve heard it’s amazing!” And the second response is, “Do you really believe in that horseshit?” Let’s address the horseshit reaction.

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is an ancient healing practice that originated in Tibet. We know that because of some references in scripts and some paintings depicting hands-on healing types of situations. It bounced all around Asia for millennia and then landed in Japan in the 1920s, where it was given an overhaul and, in the Japanese tradition, some formality and structure. It came to the US shortly thereafter and has grown immensely in popularity in the last hundred years or so. As a Reiki master, which means I received the highest level of training (I’m very la tee da), I can’t tell you exactly how it works. I would love to whip out a graph and some sciency sounding data that supports the concept that I can help people heal themselves just by touching them. That, unfortunately, does not exist. But having administered hundreds of healing sessions over the past several years, I can tell you that it works.

I am as big a skeptic as anyone else, I assure you. I actually took my Reiki I certification class in an effort to debunk the system. Surprising to me, Reiki seemed to help the people I worked with and so I continued my education to the master level, always with a bit of skepticism in the back of my head. I spent two years volunteering in an outpatient holistic cancer treatment center and I know this to be true: the people I worked with, week after week, started to feel better. I am in NO way saying I cured their cancer. Far from it. But our sessions yielded noticeable results when it came to managing their nausea, pain, and sleeplessness.

To be completely candid and vulnerable, I will admit that there have been many times when I questioned if Reiki was really a “thing,” or if I was just buying into the hippy, woo woo shit that is so in vogue these days. But every time I doubt myself, I flash back to all my lovely clients, and see the peace and relaxation their sessions have brought to their lives. I remember doing a session with my mother, an even bigger skeptic than I, where I worked on the arthritis in her neck and she has not had a twinge of pain since then. That was five years ago.

So back to the horseshit. All I can say is this: take a leap of faith that there are some things we can’t experience with our five precious senses in this world. You don’t have to believe it’s real to get the benefits of a session. You just have to be able to suspend your disbelief and open yourself to the chance that there really is some magic in the world.

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About Elizabeth...

A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Elizabeth Marshall is the founder of Rise Wellness. Dedicated to all aspects of health and wellness, Elizabeth is a yoga instructor, Pilates trainer, and Reiki Master.  Rise Wellness is located on the fourth floor of the old Custom House in Portland.

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