Crazy Wisdom Boostore Interviews Mainstream Reiki
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.
Soon, people who brought their animals for Reiki began asking if I offered sessions for people. I was both excited and a bit nervous because I would need to figure out all the details and requirements. I decided that if people were asking, it was for a reason. I relied on my daily Reiki self-practice and it supported me as I navigated through what I needed to do. As a result, I grew my practice and opened a small office in downtown Idaho Falls for my two-legged clients and continued to see animals at the clinic.
Not long after, I began receiving requests for teaching Reiki classes. Just like before, I was a bit overwhelmed. However, I missed teaching. I had left my position at the local high school where I taught biology and earth science to devote my time to my Reiki practice. I prepared for and taught my first Reiki class in 2007 — twelve years after I learned Reiki I with my aunt.
I so loved my “work,” which didn’t feel like work at all. I met amazing people and animals, and my little Reiki practice that began with volunteering continued to grow. Unfortunately, the following year, we had to make the decision to move across the country for my husband’s job. It was exciting for us, but at the same time, one of the hardest times of my life. To leave my students and clients behind was just so painful; however, our Reiki connection has kept me in contact with many of them.
The last thing I wanted to do was start over and then have to walk away again, so I went back to practicing Reiki for myself and my family, attending Reiki shares to visit with other practitioners and studied more in the areas of healing and spirituality. I also volunteered in the Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Healing Touch program. I obtained recertification in all levels of Reiki with different teachers and completed Karuna® Master Training and Holy Fire II Reiki.
When my family relocated to Michigan in 2015, I began making plans to begin offering Reiki again. Reiki is very much who I am. I could not tamp that down any longer. Begun in 2016, my practice in Saline is focused on helping people through Reiki sessions and teaching. I consider teaching Reiki a privilege, honor, and responsibility because I respect Reiki very much. It is powerful and at the same time gentle and non-invasive. I’ve seen it change lives, and it certainly has shaped mine. It’s what I’m meant to do... without question. There is nothing I would rather do than to help people reconnect with who they truly are through the practice of Reiki. It can do no harm, always works for one’s highest good, relieves stress, and supports one’s immune system to better perform in the ways in which it is designed.
What I feel most passionately about in regard to my work is bringing Reiki further into the mainstream through education and practice so more people may benefit. Reiki is not defined by the new age movement and is increasingly offered at hospitals and healthcare facilities across the U.S. and world. One reason for this is that Reiki
is a complementary therapy that marries perfectly with traditional medical care to support the patient in ways often overlooked by mainstream medicine. Reiki helps people be more participatory in their own health and well-being by managing stress and increasing self-awareness. It is through this awareness that we may meet life’s situations from a more balanced, objective place. Decisions we make from that state of mind are, therefore, more informed, rational, and simply better for us.
Frankly, there is not an abundance of convincing scientific research proving the effectiveness of Reiki. However, what is out there is a focus of my Facebook page called Mainstream Reiki. There I post research conclusions, press releases, and news stories relating to facilities and organizations successfully implementing Reiki programs as well as testimonials from people who share their Reiki experiences.
I still consider myself a scientist. A skeptical one at that. However, I cannot deny what I have seen and felt through the practice of Reiki. The proof of Reiki is in the experience of it. As more people try Reiki with qualified professional practitioners and go on to learn Reiki, the voices attesting to its efficacy will continue to grow in number and volume. This will assist in the shift of Reiki from being considered a new age curiosity to a mainstream medical complementary therapy, and patients will be better served through more positive care models and outcomes.
Andrea Kennedy has practiced Reiki since 1995. She welcomes clients and teaches all levels of Reiki classes. To find out more, visit www.mainstreamreiki.com or call (734) 664-2255.