Reiki, It’s Not Just For Other People!

A friend of mine recently informed me that she had hurt her knee playing sports. She was calling to cancel our plans to try out a new dance class that night, and instead wanted to rest, ice the injury, and elevate her leg. The massage therapist within me applauded her efforts at covering all the best remedial bases. The Reiki Master within blurted out, “Did you Reiki it?” This is my primary and immediate response to every unplanned event in my life. Mosquito bite? Reiki! Dating mishap? Reiki! Bicycle accident? Reiki, Reiki, Reiki!!! After a short pause, she replied, “No. I think of Reiki as something for other people.” I gently suggested that while she was practicing good self-care for her physical self, that she add some energetic healing to the mix for accelerated recovery.

Well, she did, and her condition was improved enough to not cause her to cancel a camping trip, and several days later, the pain was completely gone. Needless to say, I am a huge fan of self-treatment. Not a day goes by that I don’t use Reiki for myself several times. Before I even get out of bed, I thank the Divine Creator for another day, a good night’s sleep, and my own life. I send Reiki to any achy parts or emotional discord, and also send Reiki to the rest of my day to ease any upcoming stress or difficulties. I Reiki my teapot as I turn it on,  moisturizer as I apply it to my face, and whichever crystals I decide to wear that day for therapy. I Reiki my breakfast as I prepare it, my yoga mat as I unroll it, my shower filter as I undress. Let’s not forget my water bottle, the watering can I use for my plants, my vehicle, my laptop, my cell phone. I’m not joking! Everything in my life gets blessed on a regular basis.

Sometimes I get caught up in the busy-ness of my daily life and temporarily forget my connection to Reiki. I haven’t lost it, as that’s impossible, but I do become unaware. It is in these moments that anxiety or irritation creeps in, that I find myself rushing and break a dish or stub my toe, or yel profanitiesl at my computer. Fortunately I am so tuned in to my emotions and mindful of the guidance system they offer, that when I find myself feeling less than peaceful, joyful, and loving; I know I have forgotten my truth. I have forgotten that My Essence is the Light of Pure Consciousness and that I have the power to channel Divine Love whenever I wish. Every time I wake up to this delicious fact, it just takes a moment to set the intention to return to Reiki awareness, and boom! I’m back in the flow. This is the reward for anyone who wishes to become attuned to Reiki; the connection to this healing, spiritually guided energy is always available to us, no matter what. We just need to remember to connect to what is already, and eternally, there.

Thank Heavens for Long Distance Reiki!

Yesterday, my twin niece and nephew arrived in this world. They are the first of the next generation, and apparently so anxious to join us, that they came twelve weeks early. They are getting the best medical care at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. I have no doubt that the doctors and nurses there are doing everything within their power to keep them safe. Yet I know that the artificial environment in any hospital along with the toxic energy of fear and worry is not ideal for any being, let alone precious babies who weigh less than 3 lbs each.

Thank heavens for Reiki, the healing energy of divine love. An even bigger thanks for the long distance Reiki symbol that allows me to transmit healing energy to these darlings from my own home in California. (I jokingly call it the faraway app.) Level 2 students are attuned to a sacred symbol that allows them to direct the flow of Reiki to anywhere, or anywhen. I often use it to send healing to a time in the past when a trauma was experienced or to an expected difficult situation (such as an exam or surgery) in the future. The long distance symbol can also be used to send healing to the oceans, the planet, or war zones.

Please note that it cannot, however, be used to get your philandering boyfriend to become faithful or your uncle to stop smoking. Reiki never interferes with a person’s free will and does not ever manipulate anyone’s behavior. But in times of emergency, it is possible to contact the higher self of an individual for permission. This is how I got the go-ahead from the twins- their eternal spirits are willing recipients. Their mother has asked for healing and prayers in the past, so she is fair game as well. I have contacted my friends and the larger Reiki community to ask for their support. As you might imagine, they are eager to help.

The limits of time and space are but an illusion. Energy is not bound by location nor a calendar, and divine healing energy most certainly has the capacity to go where and when it is needed. I feel truly blessed to have the skill and understanding to be of service to my family even though I am unable to be physically present. I can only imagine how frustrated and powerless I’d be feeling right now if I had never been introduced to this miraculous treatment. What’s even more amazing is that anyone and everyone can learn to do this. Yes, the power of a treatment is amplified with practice and experience; and the higher the consciousness and vibration of practitioner, the stronger the flow of energy. Given that information, there is no time like the present to contact a Reiki Master Teacher in your area and begin your training soon. The world will be a better place if you do.

“You’re the Expert!”

“You’re the expert.” I must admit, I love to hear my clients say this. They schedule a massage with a goal in mind, yet are able to let go and allow me; a skilled, trained, and experienced therapist to create the strategy to get there. They are acknowledging that someone who has devoted years of their life to studying a practice will hopefully have more insight than “push really hard here, where it hurts.” Because if that’s all there was to releasing stress and tension, all the sweethearts and spouses that have been enrolled to help their loved ones would have certainly eradicated many of the tight muscles by now. Clearly that has not been happening.

And that’s what brings folks to a professional. That’s what causes them to dig deep into their tight budgets to fund a healing treatment. What they’ve been trying at home just isn’t helping; not in any sustainable way. So they ask for help, hoping that the therapist will have some knowledge, intuitive guidance, or practical experience that goes beyond the primitive idea that enough pressure on one or two knots will solve the problem. Well, we do! Our training enables us to understand that the body works as a unit, and that pain indicates an imbalance in the team of muscles and joints. We understand the holistic nature of bodywork, and know how to find the cause of discomfort rather than merely focusing on the symptoms.

This is one case in which the customer is not always right. As a client of massage therapy, you get to choose the style of treatment that you desire (Swedish, Thai, deep tissue, sports, etc) and the area you wish to focus on, as well as request any modifications that are necessary for your comfort. From there on, it’s best to keep an open mind and surrender your preconceived notions. It is highly suggested that you remember that the trained professional you have hired knows how to proceed in an effective and efficient way. Learn to let go, relax, and trust and you will maximize the benefits of your session.

Reiki for Hot Flashes

I’ve never endured a hot flash personally, but many of my clients experience this annoyance on a regular basis. Sleep is disturbed, equanimity is eradicated, routines are interrupted, and sometimes relationships deteriorate. Yes, it’s true that hot flashes are a common side effect of menopause and perimenopause.  However, it doesn’t mean that all women are doomed to suffer hopelessly and indefinitely. A return to equilibrium is possible, and Reiki is a gentle, yet powerful, technique for getting there.

Stress is a widely accepted trigger, and the relaxing effects of a Reiki treatment are a potent cure. I see the relaxation response as multifaceted. When our bodies are inundated with stress, muscles tense and circulation is impaired. Toxins accumulate in the tissues and over time all bodily systems function with less and less efficiency. Chronic stress also upsets the hormonal balance in a woman’s body as excess stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol run amok. Hormonal imbalance is another common trigger for hot flashes. Creating a relaxing environment and bathing the senses and nervous system in healing, soothing energy offers a much welcomed remedy.

A Reiki treatment can easily be tailored to target the liver (which cleanses the blood and helps to regulate hormones) so that it is more available to handle fluctuations in estrogen.  Focus on the ovaries is also an important strategy. Traditional hand positions will cover these areas, and the practitioner may choose to linger there if guided to do so. Balancing the chakras is also helpful and serves to reduce excess heat in the system. I am often lead to stimulate the liver meridian acupressure points and the liver and ovary reflex points on the feet for added benefit. I’m amazed at the power of Reiki to clear blockages throughout the entire system.

Naturally it is important to follow a doctor’s advice when dealing with any health issue. Reducing caffeine, spicy foods, and alcohol intake are general recommendations for decreasing hot flashes, along with moderate exercise and cessation of smoking. Releasing addictions, cultivating well-being and overall health, and nurturing lifestyle changes can all be supported with divinely guided life- force energy that is channeled through a Reiki treatment. Obviously these changes take time and diligent effort. A series of sessions will most likely be needed to assist a client through these shifts and to maintain the delicate beginnings of new habits. My clients report that the relief they experience, the improved quality of sleep, the elimination of extreme irritability, and the freedom from symptoms is completely worth the investment. There really is non-invasive, side-effect free help available for hot flashes. You don’t have to suffer any longer. Allow your intuition to guide you to a practitioner and invite balance into your life today.

You Can’t Force Connection

One of my dearest friends came to receive a Reiki treatment from me last week. This woman is one of the most empowered, self- motivated, passionate, and compassionate people I have ever met. Being in the same room with her is a cross between grandma’s baked cookies and sunbathing on a tropical beach. It’s just delicious. The fact that she enjoys and appreciates my work is the ultimate compliment.

We talked for quite some time before the hands-on portion of the treatment. I find that active listening and empathic connection beforehand amplifies the energy. She wanted clarity about changes in her life and also support to focus on solutions rather problems. I really enjoy helping people fine-tune their intentions to get the most from a session. Also, it really helps me decide on a loose treatment plan, which generally morphs into something else entirely, but I am always guided on how to begin based on each client’s words.

I was lead to do chakra balancing to enhance the connection between her being and the world at large. It is quite common for me to be guided to do this with my clients. No doubt I am influenced by my own fascination with the chakra system and my reverence for the potency of this work. As I reached the crown chakra, I noticed an intense resistance. I had never felt anything quite like this and it captured my attention immediately. Her other energy centers had responded to the Reiki with opening and acceptance. I was perplexed.

Then I remembered that my friend is agnostic. She is unsure of the presence of a divine being in this world. The crown chakra is the location where our connection to God originates. It makes perfect sense that her crown would react with suspicion (her word, not mine!) I immediately dropped this course of action. Clearly her spirit was not interested in having an open crown chakra and it certainly is not my place to override her wishes. I don’t actually think I could have won this battle if I had tried. Reiki can do no harm and must be willingly accepted. I do suspect that if I had continued, there would have been some dissonance, possibly even some kick-back. Not for her, but for me.

Once again, the wisdom of Reiki has impressed me. It is truly divinely guided life force energy. And it always knows exactly what each person needs.

Bodywork for Headaches & Migraines

I really enjoy working with clients who are plagued with frequent headaches or migraines. I know how debilitating this condition can be, and when someone is nursing an aching head, it seems to dull all aspects of life. It really is a joy to watch a person sink into relaxation as the pain begins to dissipate. Frown lines are erased and an expression of serenity emerges. The vast majority of clients I see while working at a spa are visiting the area, and it is unlikely that I will see them again. I don’t really know, or even expect, that the results they experience are permanent, but offering temporary relief and the hope that change is possible is a gift in and of itself.

Triggers for headaches are numerous. Dehydration is perhaps the #1 culprit, and obviously water is the cure. However, massage can still be of use in these cases by stimulating the release of toxins and relaxing tense muscles that build up due to the pain. Hormonal imbalance is another frequent contributor to headaches. Once again, I believe bodywork can be helpful through detoxification (a healthy liver can better clean the blood of excess hormones) and deep relaxation can counterbalance the excess of adrenaline and cortisol many people experience in their daily lives. Often clients claim stress itself is the source of their headache problems. This is where elevating relaxing massage to the level of health care maintenance can be of true benefit. Staying ahead of the stress is the most effective way I know of to prevent headaches (along with drinking plenty of water and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption).

Migraines seem to be a bit more mysterious than headaches. Science is still trying to understand this incapacitating condition. Many people become aware of hormones or certain foods as triggers, and are able to utilize this knowledge to prevent migraines. Others seem to be at the mercy of unpredictable onset. I still believe that whatever the actual trigger may be, lowering overall stress can help prevent migraines, or at least diminish the frequency, intensity, and duration of them. It seems the body can handle a certain level of stress, and if people are able to keep their stress below the threshold, they have a much better chance of avoiding this painful condition.

I’ve found that about 90% of my clients who complain of frequent headaches or migraines have congestion and tension held in their faces and heads. No big surprise there. I spend a good deal of time exploring the scalp for trigger points and stuck fascia and almost always am rewarded with a deep breath or sigh. Often times I find a hot mess in the small muscles at the base of the skull which, when given the opportunity, unwind themselves spontaneously. Tension around the temples and the jaw is very common, along with extreme tightness in the neck and upper shoulders. It’s not difficult to find the spots that need attention, but the unhurried pace, patience, diligence, and gentleness necessary to achieve release are necessary qualities that are easy to overlook.

My advise to anyone who suffers from frequent headaches or migraines is pretty basic. It involves lifestyle changes that eliminate, or at least manage, the contributing causes. Hydration, posture, exercise, stretching, and finding outlets to release stress and anger are the obvious solutions for many clients. Sometimes a change in diet is helpful when allergies are the trigger. Fresh air and avoiding chemicals which are all too prevalent in household products may also help.

I find it’s much more effective and empowering to teach clients how to prevent pain than causing them to rely on bodywork as the sole remedy. Of course, massage is a tremendous tool that belongs in the overall program. Reiki is super-effective too, especially when there is an emotional, mental, or spiritual contribution. (And there almost always is, but that is another topic altogether…) Pain is an indication that something is out of balance. I encourage people to address the imbalance at its source rather than struggling to alleviate the symptoms.

Can You Fix Me?

The other day I received a phone call from a man I had never met inquiring about the price of a 30 minute deep tissue massage. He had hurt his shoulder playing racquetball and wanted a session where the therapist “goes deep, real deep, even if it hurts.” In short, he wanted to know if I could “fix” him, in 30 minutes or less, and do it first thing in the morning so that it wouldn’t interfere with his plans for the day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t believe that aggressive bodywork is effective. Once the nervous system perceives the potential for pain, the fight or flight reflex kicks in, and the muscles tense. Tense muscles are counter-productive to massage and essentially eliminate the possibility of any healing benefits.

The short answer, I told him, was: No. I cannot fix you. I explained that I didn’t know enough about his situation or physical condition to promise any specific results. I have repeatedly witnessed the power of bodywork to alleviate pain and support recovery from sports injuries. Softening the tissues allows increased circulation and relaxation, both of which are key to healing. Yet, this process takes time and a gentle approach, especially for deep work. I’ve found that most people are only beginning to relax at the 30 minute mark and that the real benefits of a session happen after that. I don’t offer a 30 minute massage, and certainly not a deep tissue one, because time and time again, I have observed that the body reacts protectively, thereby preventing the desired results.

Since this is obviously not the answer he wanted to hear, he did not book a session with me. I’ve come to realize over the years that I’m not a good match for all clients, especially the type A/ no pain, no gain folks, and it’s better for everyone if we figure this out up front. I have no doubts that he found another therapist to work with, and suspect that if anything, he is in more pain today. What I regret most is that I didn’t have the opportunity to explain that no one can “fix” anyone else. Massage facilitates healing when clients are ready and willing to allow it. Yet it is ultimately up to them to receive the healing benefits and integrate them into their daily lives. Posture, habits, repetitive motion, sports, and the myriad of activities in life that create imbalance or injury easily outweigh the hour spent on the table. I can help people feel better. 98% of my clients  report improvement after a session. Yet once they walk out the door, the “fixing” is up to them.