by Beth Heller, M.S.
I got reiki yesterday – and I liked it so much I woke up today determined to write about it. In fact, I left the treatment thinking that this is a something I should probably do more often. I’ve written about reiki and fertility previously – I received reiki sessions throughout my fertility journey – but I had forgotten how gosh-darn good it feels to lay down on a table and have someone move life energy into my body. Okay – so I read that last sentence and admittedly it sounded kind of weird. You had what channeled into your body? And how, exactly, did that work?
I feel I should now attempt to answer these questions in a way that doesn’t sound too woo-woo.
Q: What was channeled into your body????
A: Life energy. Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of Natural Healing. Rei is the Japanese word for Universal (the Energy that is available for everyone) and Ki (chi in Chinese) is the Japanese word for energy. Reiki moves the Ki that is abundantly available in the universe into the body for health and wellbeing.
Q: And how exactly did does this happen?
A: A reiki practitioner, in this case Ann Michaels at PDtM, has been attuned to reiki energy and can direct this energy through her hands. During the treatment I was fully clothed and lay on a massage bed. As I rested with my eyes closed, Ann would rest her hands very lightly on different parts of my body (head, shoulders, belly, feet, etc.). Unlike massage there was no body manipulation, just a sort of gentle touch. Often Ann would remain very still as she worked, other times I could feel her hands moving above the surface of my body, not touching at all.
Q: How did you know that it “worked”?
A: As I mentioned previously, unlike massage reiki does not involve rubbing, stretching or other manipulation. However, in my own experience with reiki I have felt physical and mental release both during and after the session similar to (and often deeper than) the release I get from massage. I also find my “mind’s eye” is very active during reiki. I see colors, flash back to memories, faces and my body will feel rushes, tingling and sensations of release, hot and cold. I also experience waves of emotion. Sometimes I fall asleep or slip into a deeply relaxed twilight space that I find to be incredibly enjoyable.
At the Moon we are lucky to have two wonderful reiki practitioners – Ann Michaels and Lisa Espinosa. Ann and Lisa are two of only eleven practitioners in the US trained in Sacred Childbirth with Reiki (SCR) a reiki program aimed specifically at fertility, pregnancy and childbirth (stay tuned for an upcoming blog about SCR). There is a body of clinical studies that support the efficacy of reiki for different medical conditions and for stress reduction. However, no specific studies to date look at reiki and infertility.
Now, to wrap up this blog I also wanted to share a bit about my experience with the practitioner, Ann. She started my session by asking me to set a short term goal and a long term goal for the work; and these goals were something I could choose to share with her or not. After the session Ann shared feedback from her perspective and related what she felt from my body during the session. The setting of goals was very helpful. For the fertility journey the answer of the long-term goal is usually pretty easy – a baby. But the short-term goals (whether to do another cycle, to make it through the 2ww without a melt-down, to let go of needle phobia during the injection phase of an ART cycle, become less stressed, eat better) are also very valuable and can greatly improve day-to-day life. The act of setting these intentions prompts self-study. What is it that we want to create right now? What do we want our lives to look like in six months?
As a yoga teacher I have a strong belief in life energy and its relationship to stress, fertility and disease. Reiki really works for me – and I will often recommend it for women who, like me, experienced a lot of grief, failure and loss in the fertility arena. If you are interested in reiki and would like to learn more about it, we are offering a free Patient Education seminar at PDtM in Chicago this Sunday, October 31 from 1-2:30. You can click here to register.