What exactly is Reiki? Many have heard of it, and know it has something to do with energy work, but don’t really know what it is, or what to expect in an appointment.

In short, Reiki (pronounced ray-kee) is a Japanese healing technique for stress relief and relaxation. It aims to restore physical and emotional wellbeing by restoring balance to your body’s natural energy field.

Are you still wondering what that all means?! You are not alone. So let me tell you about what you can expect in a treatment: Each practitioner has their own unique approach. Generally, when you arrive you will be asked to lie on your back and will remain dressed. Your Reiki Practitioner will ask you a little about yourself, to determine any specific goals you may have for your treatment. Often this is simply “to experience Reiki!” Once you are ready, we will start with a short guided mediation, as it often takes a little time to be prepared to “let go and settle in.” Then, using hand placement along and just above your body, we work with your body’s natural energy to restore a restful, peaceful state.

This is typically where the biggest question comes in: “What do you mean by working with the body’s natural energy?” Reiki is a compound of two words “Rei” meaning Spirit or Spiritual Wisdom, and “Ki” meaning life-force energy. This energy has been called many things, over many years, in many cultures: Ki, Chi, Prana, Pneuma, Chakra, Aura, Biofield Energy, and essentially it’s the foundation of life, the “stuff that makes us work.” Exactly how that is defined relies much on your own thoughts and personal belief system. What I love most about Reiki, is that no matter exactly how you see it, Reiki can still benefit you. It is always safe, and there is no one belief, word, spiritual label, or thought process required. It is universal, and if you wish to receive benefit from it, then it is for you.

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The lingering question, “Is it real?”

Here is what I’ll say: In the modern world we are bombarded with non-stop input of noise, light, and expectation. We are constantly told we need to move faster, buy more, achieve more, work harder, play harder, and keep up! Our central nervous system is taxed, and our endocrine system too frequently resides in a fight or flight response, flooding us with stress hormones and depleting our ability to just BE. Numerous studies have proven that this chronic stress puts our health at risk. We have forgotten that there is a difference between rest and sleep. Reiki is an opportunity to give your body a break, to rest and restore itself to a place of peace and balance. This opens doors to healing, which we have truly only begun to understand.

I’ll leave you with some thoughts from Arthur C. Clark: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

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Ashley Steen, a licensed massage therapist, works at Oasis Health Spa.