• Andrea Kennedy

Crazy Wisdom Bookstore Interviews Mainstream Reiki

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

Ann Arbor's Crazy Wisdom Bookstore asked me to participate in the May-August 2018 issue of their journal by writing about how I came to Reiki and I was thrilled to accept.


I loved my first “real” job as a stress lab technician in a Texas hospital. I was in college then and had plans to work in the medical field for most of my life. Science always fascinated me and I felt at home with the subject. My linear mind felt comfortable with the scientific method as a guide to formulate and test hypotheses. Furthermore, we often used precise measurements, calculations, and verifiable data to establish facts and reach conclusions. That was my world until 1995 when I first heard of Reiki. I had recently graduated with a bachelor of science degree in physics (specializing in health physics) and was working at an outpatient nuclear medicine facility in Idaho Falls, Idaho, when a family member came to visit.

My beloved Aunt Eva flew up from Corpus Christi and began talking about Reiki. She explained it as a Japanese technique for reducing stress and promoting relaxation.

She said it helped the body’s immune system function better. She told us incredible Reiki stories that perplexed me, but something in me always knew there was much more to life than what we are taught in school or can yet be explained by science. I was intrigued, and she taught both my husband and me level one before she returned home.

Reiki is practiced by offering life force energy, or chi, through the palms of the hands. The practitioner places hands lightly on or above various locations of the recipient’s body. As the energy flows to the person, the flow of their life force energy can become more balanced, which is often felt as deep relaxation of the mind and body. Although I could feel no difference in my hands when I first practiced Reiki, my husband could feel the Reiki when I offered it to him. It was because of his feedback and encouragement that I went on to complete my Reiki training.

I practiced on myself and my family and began to feel sensations in my hands that could only be described as energy. I had no other explanation. In addition, my senses began to develop about where a person had pain and how they were feeling emotionally and why. The accuracy was unmistakable, although I again had no scientific explanation.

These perceptions further ignited my quest to learn more about energy, extra-sensory perception, and all things my traditional family would label as woo woo. In the years that followed, I studied and completed classes on a range of subjects including Theta Healing, the Silva Method, Integrated Energy Therapy, Chinese Energetic Medicine, and Healing Touch. I also learned self-hypnosis which worked perfectly during the labor and delivery of our second son. This further proved to me that the fascinating relationship between the mind and body is undeniable, strong, and mysterious.

In 2006, I began volunteering Reiki at my veterinarian’s office and quickly discovered I could communicate with the animals, although I had no training in that area. Word began to spread of my animal Reiki sessions and the results seen by clients. Based on feedback, the veterinarians suggested I begin to charge for my services. I had not started with that intention but decided to take their advice.