Welcome back. I've been wanting to tackle this subject for a few months and the draft for this post has been waiting for vital finger clicks of words, musings, and talk. The day has come.
I'm sitting at my desk after two conversations that are becoming regular. (1) a client and friend leaves and he says, "I try to explain to my friends how amazing this is... but I don't know how to explain energy work or why it's so good! And why they NEED it!" and (2) a friend and student who happened to be out front as I said goodby to my client, who commented "I feel like I'm in a bubble [post Reiki training] and everything is *whomp whomp* in this psychedelic way."
Although these are more particular spaces a patient or student may find themselves in, Energy Work can be both of these experiences. Energy work like the combination therapies I create on the table are forms of assisted meditation, and that is what we call a "gate of power," or a method that can allow for a person to experience expanded states of awareness, refined healing energies, and increased states of overall sense of well being. There can be relaxation, restful and restorative sessions with a sleep-like quality, high states that feel like dreams or flying, or deep warm regenerative sessions that add to your sense of health.
I began Reiki in 1994 out of curiosity, to add to my budding practice, and it has only, continually, added to my life
What is Reiki + Energy Work?
In the simplest terms it is spiritual healing energy. Reiki unlike some other systems can have a tangible feel of tingles, waves of pulsing, warmth and vibrating that can be accompanied by deep states of relaxation or feeling high. It is not prayer, it is not faith healing, but depending on the practitioner it may include some of these things.
I find that Reiki as a practice from the tradition, founded by Dr. Mikao Usui and brought to America by Hawaya Takta, is a good base practice with many useful tools that are very adaptable to other systems of healing. If you are a nurse, Reiki is a good tool for you as much as it is for an artist, parent, or massage therapist, because reiki is "spiritual life-energy."
For me, energy is consciousness, it is concentrated attention. In my opinion it is better when it is directed with care as I come from a neutral space, so that you will experience an uncluttered focus of that attention; so that you can move internally, organically towards the interior space inside yourself, your life, where attention is focused on health, wellness, or your goals.
What does a Reiki + Energy Work Session Look Like?
Again I'm going to underline assisted meditation, as I get that feedback a lot. In general a typical Reiki session is done on a table, clothed, with hands on or above your body. As I mentioned earlier it feels like tingling, warm or cool depending on the level and condition we are working with, and/or pulsing waves. You can have all of them in a session, or just one or two. People have a lot to say about it, and experiences may vary, but for the average general energy-work seeker there is an experience of peace, awe, or clarity.
I also work with chronic and acute conditions, medical issues, pre and post-op surgery clients on a regular, sometimes weekly basis providing pain relief, and other forms of healing (currently) for cancer-recovery, multiple sclerosis, grief and bereavement. In the past I have worked long term with lupus, fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, other forms of cancer, pain management, chronic fatigue syndrome, and obesity to name but a few. In each of these appointments whether they were regular weekly, or one time appointments we held space for healing with Reiki and a conscious effort to interface with family, medical, and even spiritual communities to affect the best for the person's overall health.
A lot of people are "woo" with Reiki, meaning that it can get a little spiritual for some people. I tell clients that it's my method, they don't need to participate in that, and that simply relaxing is enough. Sometimes I perceive something about an issue that is relevant, sometimes I see something that might be good for personal contemplation.
I sometimes crack jokes.
What is all the other stuff?
Sometimes I put rocks or crystals on you, or rub essential oils and other scents above you. I check with all my clients about that before the work to confirm allergies and permissible, safe use of other therapies.
Healing is my life work, not a part-time hobby. Through the less fun, professional time we spend in an intake we might also try therapeutic massage, somatic movement, or a more conscious effort at meditation through guided imagery, music, or structure activities that you can take away and work into your life to create the healthy changes you are looking for.
Reiki + Energy Work can be passively lying on a table and letting go of all of your troubles, to feel rested and come back restored or feeling clear. That is okay. We like that. It can also be a whole lot more.
The Spiritual + The Magickal
The realm of the "Spiritual" or the "magickal" is not for everyone and that is completely okay. It's my practice, again reiki is a great base practice that functions well with almost any regimen, spiritual or medical work. You may have heard that "reiki does not require one to believe in, or subscribe to, any belief system," and this is true.
I don't think people should mistake that because reiki as an energy does not belong to any one person's belief in their understanding of God or spiritual order, or healing circle. Reiki as a tradition does have it's roots in esoteric Buddhism, but is not taught in most circles as a spiritual belief system because it does not need to be taught as such. Because it is a Tradition, there are interesting... "flavors" of healing that can come about when a practitioner does delve into some of the more closely related spiritual practices that Reiki is sourced from, but again they are not necessary.
The point is that I may wave a wand or put some juniper oil under your nose, I may be chanting silently to myself, and that's for me, those are my gates of power to the place of deeper healing. These are the tools that support my practice. You may respond to some of them in a positive way, and others may do nothing for you. We adjust the treatments and find the optimal healing settings for your visits.
Healing is about you, not me. My practice is about me, not you. There is a happy intersection there when we trust one another to show up and do the work together.
In short, Reiki + Energy Work with me can be a lengthy process of explanation but in the simplest terms it is co-crafting a healing environment that works best for your relaxation. From the relaxed state we move with the "energy" to create the healing, goal-oriented changes, or wellness. It's good with a health issues and it's good for general overall feeling of good.
So, when you ask what is Reiki or Energy work, with me, this is how I define it.
Scott K Smith