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The feeling one gets after a Reiki session is difficult to formulate into words: the great feeling of release afterwards, discoveries of memories or injuries you were previously unaware of, the sometimes sudden rush of emotions. These feelings make Reiki an energy treatment rapidly growing in popularity.
Reiki is a Japanese energy technique, with Tibetan origins, where an emphasis is placed on the body's natural ability to heal itself.
Helen Aikens is a massage therapist with the Natural Health Practitioners of Canada (NHPC) and a level two Reiki practitioner. She first became interested in studying Reiki as a massage therapy student.
At that time, Helen would hear about different people's Reiki experiences. They could never quite describe how they felt after treatment. Reiki seemed to be such a mystery, so she decided to have a session to find out for herself.
"I walked out of it and thought it was such an amazing experience." After her session, Helen decided to pursue Reiki training along with her massage training.
Helen compares Reiki (or universal life) energy to the circulatory or lymphatic system. It flows through the body, and when energy flow is stagnant, it can impact a client's health and well-being.
During a session, she removes blockages in energy flow by gently placing her hands in various positions on the head and body with the intention of healing on a physical, mental, and emotional level.
Many people go into a Reiki session without really understanding what Reiki is. "I think that it's because people can't see the energy. It's amazing when I'm working on people to hear their comments after, and they're amazed because I pick up on certain areas."
One of Helen's clients had just such an experience. Her client had no real understanding of what Reiki was because the friend that referred her couldn't articulate exactly what she had experienced during treatment. She was 29-years-old (the picture of health) with no prior experience of Reiki or with Helen.
During treatment, Helen identified issues in the client's lower abdomen and in the right ankle. Her client was astonished because she had just found out she had a polycystic ovary (relating to the issues that Helen identified earlier in treatment within the lower abdomen). She had also broken her right ankle when she was eight-years-old.
"She walked out after the treatment and said 'Now I understand that it's really hard to explain, but I feel amazed.' And the fact that I could pinpoint these issues for her, it just sort of solidified her experience."
Helen is excited that Reiki has gradually started to become more popular and accepted within established medical fields. "Nurses are actually being taught Reiki and how it could positively affect cancer patients going through radiation and chemo."
Three years ago, she rarely received requests to perform Reiki treatments. Now, she frequently receives referrals for Reiki.
Like all holistic health practitioners, Helen is always looking for new ways to understand how holistic treatment of the mind, body, and spirit can lead to optimal health. Her educational journey isn't over yet, and she plans to incorporate even more techniques into her massage practice.
Helen is currently focusing on bringing Manual Lymph Drainage into her massage practice. Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) benefits health by improving the flow of the lymphatic system. Practitioners apply soft touch to help reduce swelling and pain.
"I'm seeing a lot of people with lymphatic problems. I'm also noticing that when they have lymphatic issues, they also have energy issues. I think Reiki and MLD are interconnected. They both use passive movements and are non-invasive. They make the person feel very relaxed."
Helen is considering taking training as a Reiki Master. "I want to be able to better articulate what Reiki is and to teach."
Aikens describes the feeling she gets when she pinpoints an issue or an area to work upon during treatment as the feeling "when you rub your hands together really hard. You can feel that push in between them: like two magnets when they repel each. It's really bizarre, but it's really cool."
Reiki will always be a practice with an edge of mystery, but that's part of the draw, a mystery with non-mysterious results. It's a practice that doesn't need a definitive answer. Clients will continue to refer others, based on that incomparable feeling they get after treatment.