Would You Try Energy Healing?
Updated: Apr 17, 2019
Energy medicine has been used to treat ailments in Eastern cultures for thousands of years. But does Reiki really work?
The power of healing hands
It was a foul winter’s day when I went grumping and limping into my first-ever Reiki session. My knee hurt from having twisted it. My skin itched from an ongoing case of hives. I had come very close, that morning, to kicking my cat. I was in a classic January temper, the kind only those of us in northern climes can work ourselves into. But the Reiki practitioner who answered the door of the Wellness Center was warm and gentle.
I had heard about a her from a mutual friend as being a particularly gifted practitioner of what is broadly called “energy medicine,” a field that includes Japanese Reiki, the Chinese practice of Qigong and the Western approach of “healing hands” or “therapeutic touch.”
You may have seen energy medicine offered at spas. The practice is also making inroads in traditional healthcare settings, including medical offices, hospitals and clinics. Practitioners lay their hands either lightly on or just above people’s bodies, attempting to redirect the flow of an invisible energy that science hasn’t established exists.
Does Reiki treatment really work?
All I know is that when she bid me lie down on her massage table, even with all of my clothes on and her hands held about four inches above my forehead, I could feel heat coming from her palms as palpably as if I were basking under a reptile lamp. Try that at home. See if you can make your partner or a friend feel obvious heat from your hands at that distance. I held out my hands and tried it on my husband and he was like, “What the hell are you doing? I’m trying to watch the hockey game.” Maybe he would have felt something if I were running a fever. The point is, it’s an uncanny skill.
As I reclined on her table with my eyes closed, she walked around me very slowly and purposefully, from my head to my toes, stopping at various stations along the way to hold her hands above me, or to quietly rest them on top of a certain place.
The process behind Reiki treatment
She explained, “When I find areas of the body that need attention, there are several things going on for me. Usually, I will feel an energetic shift in my hands. For example, they might become very hot, or start to feel a very thick or dense energy. When I feel that the hot, tingly, dense or electrical sensations have subsided in my palms and come back to normal, it is my cue to move on,’” she added that it’s tricky to describe such “ethereal feelings.”
She worked on me for an hour, during which time I decided upon and then discarded about six ideas for dinner, worried about the economy, wondered when my son would need braces and rehashed the plot of the most recent episode of House. At length, she told me I could get up when I felt ready, and I discovered I had no inclination whatever to move. I hadn’t noticed how much she’d relaxed me.
Eventually, as I came downstairs to fetch my coat and pay my fee, I asked what she felt she had treated. (It was hard to tell yet whether my knee was better, since the pain tended to come and go.) She mentioned, lightly and politely, the sheer business of my brain. And also that she’d picked up on issues to do with anger, and my liver. This took me aback, because I had just had blood work done to monitor my liver enzymes, which were slightly elevated due to medication. Coincidence? Or could she really be discerning some sort of vibrational jam-up or density in my liver?
Coincidence or not?
Over the next few days, without giving further thought to the Reiki treatment, I became aware of three improvements in my general well-being. My mood was brighter, my knee now no longer hurt and my skin, which is prone to chronic hives, remained smooth.
Until science can nail down the efficacy of energy medicine, I’d say it’s something to consider as a complement to working with your doctor.
As for my practioner? May the force be with her!