Holistic healing methods used to be scoffed at by the mainstream, but it seems like recently, the masses are attempting to become more mindful and are starting to embrace practices passed down from Eastern traditions, like acupuncture, and Reiki. But what exactly is Reiki and why should someone, even someone who may be very skeptical, get it? We spoke to Brenda Miller, a Reiki healer located in Austin, Texas, to get answers to all of our most pressing questions.
What is Reiki anyway?
Reiki is a technique for relaxation, stress reduction, and healing with roots in Japanese origin. It is based on a belief that an unseen life force energy flows through all living things and that the life force energy can be channeled to support the body’s natural ability to heal itself. In order to receive Reiki, a practitioner places her hands either lightly on or over a patient’s body during a 60 to 90 minute session.
Okay, so how do you pronounce it?
Reiki is a combination of two Japanese words—Rei, which means “Higher power” or “Universal life” and “Ki,” which is “energy.” The translation is “universal life energy” and it’s pronounced “Ray-key.”
How does it work?
That’s where it gets a little complicated. Miller explains that sometimes people say, “You’re just touching me,” but what she’s really doing is funneling energy from a higher universal source through herself and to them. “Reiki helps you let go in a gentle way. A lot of times people will go to sleep during a session because it’s so relaxing and that enables our ego/self to get out of the way, so our body can heal itself the way it’s supposed to,” she says.
What are the benefits?
“It reduces stress,” Miller says. “And once you reduce your stress, everything else follows because stress causes pain. And pain can cause depression. Which can also cause stress.” This is problematic because unreleased stress can create much bigger health issues. Miller also says that most people tell her after their first session that they slept better that night than they have in years. “Reiki can also bring things up you haven’t thought about in a long time,” she explains. “It makes it come up, so that you deal with it, figure out what you learned from that experience or issue and then let it go. You need to let everything go because we can hold emotions in certain parts of our body and that can cause pain or discomfort.”
So who gets Reiki?
“Well, a lot of people come in because they’ve never had it and they’re curious,” Miller says. “But most people have either a physical or emotional problem that’s bothering them.” Miller had one client who was experiencing writer’s block and had been going to a doctor for anxiety and pain issues and decided to try something different. After one Reiki session, that woman started playing the piano again. She told Miller she hadn’t played in years, but that when Miller was working on her something came up and she realized she needed to take care of herself and do something she enjoyed. Reiki has also been shown to have positive benefits for children and adults with autism, pregnant women, babies, and even pets.
How do you get started?
The intake process for Reiki is similar to what a massage therapist might give you. Miller gives her patients a form where they disclose any medications they’re taking. There’s also a drawing of a human body where they can circle the areas that are bothering them. ‘I do the entire body, but then I know to concentrate on that area, so they’re getting what they came in for.”
What happens during a session?
Clients remain fully clothed, but it’s suggested they wear loose comfortable clothing. They lay on a massage table for the session, which usually lasts an hour to an hour and a half, while the practitioner moves through specific Reiki hand positions beginning at their head or feet.
What does it feel like?
Miller says that because the practitioner’s hands get hot and tingly, some people feel a warm or tingling sensation while they’re being worked on. Other people just feel very relaxed and calm. A lot of people also see colors, which Miller says relate to a chakra and that often the color is directly related to an area of concern in the body.
Will Reiki cure me of all my issues?
“One session is not going to cure you,” Miller says. “You have to keep in mind that it took you a long time to get where you are, so you need to be realistic about what to expect.” It’s a natural and safe way of promoting healing and health. “Our body was made to heal itself,” Miller says. “But we have to take care of our body so it can do so.”
How much does a Reiki session cost?
Miller feels it’s important to be able to help people regardless of how much money they have, so her rates are lower. It’s $50 for the first session and repeat sessions are $40 with sessions lasting an hour and a half. However, you can expect Reiki to cost up to $100, depending on where you are in the country.