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Now That You've Experienced Reiki...

by Amy Z. Rowland

You’ve just had your first experience of Reiki. Perhaps a coworker saw you searching for a bottle of aspirin in your desk drawer and offered to do a little Reiki hands-on healing to ease your headache. All she did was stand behind you, rest her hands lightly over your temples, and encourage you to try to relax. You felt warmth from her palms, tingling from her fingertips, and in a just a couple minutes, the pain was gone. You’ve been thinking about how simple and powerful the experience was ever since.

Or maybe you finally decided to use that gift certificate that you received on your birthday for services at the local spa. When you saw "Reiki" listed on the menu of spa treatments, you gave in to your curiosity – and enjoyed the most relaxing "full treatment session" of your life. At the end of an hour and a half on the bodywork table, you just wanted to be still and savor the feeling of well-being and calm.

Or you might have stopped in at the hospital to visit an elderly relative in serious condition. You were surprised by how quickly and easily your loved one slipped into deep, restful sleep after a hospital volunteer came in and offered to do a few minutes of Reiki. Seeing the relief and comfort that it brought to someone you care so much for made you want to learn how to do Reiki for yourself.

Reiki. Suddenly, the word is everywhere. You see courses on Reiki offered in the local community college "continuing education" catalog. You see a flyer for a Reiki Healing Circle at the yoga studio where you take classes. You see business cards for "Reiki Masters" on the bulletin board of your favorite health food store and books on Reiki lining the shelves on "Alternative Health" at your nearest bookstore.

Okay. You’re more than curious. You’re definitely interested. You’ve experienced Reiki formally or informally. Now you would like to learn even more. In fact, you think you might like to be able to do Reiki yourself – to use it to take away your own headaches or to "lend a hand" when someone you love is under stress or in pain. What’s your next step?

There are many resources available to you. You can do online research, borrow books on Reiki through your local library, or ask at your local bookstore for a salesperson to recommend a Reiki book that is kept in stock because of popular demand or that is newly arrived and well reviewed. You can sign up for a complete Reiki treatment at a salon or spa or in a private practitioner’s office, if you haven’t experienced a full session. (The cost of the session will be comparable to that of a massage, and the length of the session may be as short as a half hour, fifty minutes, an hour or more. Ask the treatment provider for more details about what to expect when you make your initial call.) You might even enjoy becoming a "regular" and receiving a full Reiki treatment once or twice a month. This is a good way to learn about the immediate and enduring effects of Reiki treatment and to gain an understanding of its cumulative benefits.

When you feel ready to take a class, your Reiki treatment provider may be able to recommend a "Reiki Master" or "Reiki Master-Teacher" to you. (Both terms are used to indicate someone who has been trained and certified to teach Reiki.) You may also discover the name of a well-qualified Reiki teacher in your area by checking out the Reiki practitioners on the next page, or by doing an online search using the keywords "Reiki classes" and your zipcode. Most established Reiki teachers do maintain a website.

Before you decide to take a class, however, you will want to learn more about the teacher and his or her training and years of experience. There are many Reiki Masters who teach in a traditional way, providing eight to ten hours of instruction in a "Level I" class. Whether this class is taught in a single day or presented in two or three-hour segments over a few weeks, a traditional class will include instructions in hand positions for self-treatment and for client treatment, supervised practice of a client treatment session, a presentation of Reiki history, and four separate "attunements" or empowerments to expand your awareness of the flow of Reiki healing energy through your hands. Such a class offers a very thorough introduction to Reiki energy healing, through both lecture and hands-on practice. Since Reiki is something best learned experientially, this comprehensive instruction and emphasis on practice provides a very good beginning for any Reiki practitioner.

There are also many Reiki Masters who teach in nontraditional ways. Typically, their "Level I" classes are shorter in length, from an hour to a few hours; there is no opportunity for supervised client treatment sessions; and only one attunement is given. Nontraditional classes may also include elements of instruction that are borrowed from other modalities and healing practices. Such classes often cost less than a traditionally taught class, but sometimes practitioners do not feel particularly confident of their hands-on healing ability at the class’s end.

Take the time to chat with anyone you are considering as a Reiki teacher about his or her years of experience with Reiki. Although there are many wonderfully enthusiastic and newly-certified Reiki Masters and Reiki Master-Teachers, and you may prefer to be taught by one, there are also many Reiki teachers who have decades of experience in working with the energy – and as a result, they usually have fascinating stories to tell that are very helpful to students who want to gain a deeper understanding and insight into the nature of Reiki healing and the benefits of practice.

Once you have taken a Reiki I class, you will be certified, and in some states, you may immediately advertise yourself as a professional Reiki practitioner and begin to take client appointments of your own. Generally, however, it is advisable to use Reiki on yourself for your own healing, before you begin to do any client work. One of the joys of Reiki practice is discovering that Reiki continues to teach you long after the conclusion of your Level I class. You will be fascinated by the variety of sensations in your hands as you do healing on yourself and others. You will realize that Reiki healing is not just physical, but mental and emotional – and even spiritual. You will notice that more and more often, rather than reaching for aspirin or cold medicine, you apply your Reiki-charged hands – just to see what Reiki can do… Sooner or later, as you continue to practice, you will witness dramatic and even miraculous healing.

You may then decide that you would like to take the next step as a Reiki practitioner and take the "Level II" or advanced course. You will want to give just as much consideration to your selection of a teacher and a class as you did for Level I, but you will probably feel more guided than ever before. You can look forward to expanding your awareness of the Reiki energy and to learning new techniques which will enable you to bring the focus of the Reiki symbols into your practice and to use Reiki to heal across time and space.

If you thought Reiki was amazing before, you will warm to the idea of your Aunt Sophie, two states away, reporting back to you that she really does feel a lot better "ever since you sent that Reiki energy." Don’t be surprised if she wants to know a little more about Reiki herself. After all, she’s experienced its benefits, thanks to you. Be prepared to help and encourage her by having some ready answers when she says, "I’d like to learn more about Reiki. What’s the next step?"

Amy Z. Rowland, M.A., ABMP, is the author of Reiki for the Heart and Soul: the Reiki Principles as Spiritual Pathwork (ISBN #978-159477252-8) and two other books on Reiki, all published by Inner Traditions. Rowland, who teaches traditional Usui Reiki, maintains a website providing more information about Reiki, her books, and her teaching schedule. To learn more, please visit www. traditionalreiki.com


Amy Z. Rowland

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