images-1I have more degrees than a thermometer: a BA in economics, a MS in nutrition, a PhD in psychology and a dozen certifications in disciplines ranging from wellness coaching and personal training to weight management. Of all those programs, the one that keeps me grounded, powers my inner strength, and lets me shine my light, is Reiki.

I’m a third degree Reiki Master. My degree didn’t come from a college or university. It arrived via Unicorn, Unicorn Books that is, a sage scented store housed in a lilac colored Victorian that sat along a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington, Massachusetts. In the 90s Unicorn was my favorite place to relax, contemplate and grow my spirit. I received my Reiki One and Two Degrees on the third floor of Unicorn from Libby Barnet and Maggie Chambers, a pair of Reiki Masters who have trained thousands in this ancient, gentle, Tibetan sutras based, hands on healing system.

Reiki means “spiritual universal life force energy.” The “Rei” in Reiki refers to the universal, divine nature of this energy. The “ki” refers to the energy itself that animates and flows through all living things – plants, animals and humans. This energy has many names — chi, prana, or for Star Wars fans, The Force. Reiki is both a complete spiritual system as well as a type of energy work used for healing.

highres_44397632Reiki is a healing technique transmitted through touch that can also be sent across time and space. Gentle, yet powerful Reiki infuses the body with the energy of the universe, which releases energy blocks, creates balance and raises the recipient’s vibrational level. It works on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels; is compatible with all belief systems, and enhances other healing methods. The Reiki practitioner acts as a conduit for the universal energy to flow through the recipient’s energy pathways or chakras. The recipient collaborates in the process by deciding how much Reiki energy she wants to receive.

Reiki was developed about 100 years ago by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese educator. He incorporated ideas and knowledge about psychical and spiritual healing from many systems ­– Chinese Medicine, Chi Gon, and the Japanese equivalent Kiko, acupuncture and others – to create Reiki.

Reiki energy is passed down from Master to student through a series of “attunements,” which open healing ability and allow energy to flow. The evening of my Reiki One class, I was given the first of four attunements and the simple instruction: “Just do Reiki.” Excited, yes… and skeptical, I unleashed my new healing ability on the closest, most convenient human I could find, my husband. I placed my fingers on his doubting shoulders. Within seconds my hands began to tingle. Then they became warm. Next, noticeably hot to both of us. Michael began experiencing feelings of deep relaxation, “Like floating in a thick, warm, healing liquid.”

Reiki has become a consistent tool in my professional practice and personal life. I use Reiki with my coaching clients, friends, hospice patients and family members to help them manifest desires, transform, resolve old negative patterns, defeat addictions and feel more capable of dealing with issues in their daily lives.

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When my son was a toddler he’d present me with his latest cut, bruise or bump and plead, “Reiki, Mommy.” Now that he’s a teen he asks me to Reiki his favorite sports teens. Sometimes I oblige, although I’m not sure how sending life force energy to Tom Brady (Isn’t Gisele enough?) meets the highest good criteria.

One of my clients, Barbara who was receiving distance Reiki from me, told me she literally felt my presence by her bedside. Hospice clients tell me that they experience a sense of wholeness and love that makes them feel calm and peaceful. In my own life, Reiki’s a constant comfort and fabulous self-care tool that decreases stress and increases energy.

12800103_238355889838401_2445168862789650476_nFacebook is my newest Reiki platform. Every Wednesday I post my Reiki Cats and offer distance Reiki to anyone who needs healing, help or an energy boost. To receive Reiki I ask recipients to like my page and post a comment. In the evening I write down all the names, read through the list slowly several times and then send healing energy to each. Yes, it sounds incredible. Yes, it works. Here are a few comments from my Facebook page:

“I woke up pain free and not depressed. Wow! I was wondering what changed so quickly and why I was so calm in a dangerous situation last night.” —Misty Lee

“I felt you with me last night and again this morning and I must say it did lighten the load I’ve been carrying these last few days.” —Jess Symons

“I had a Bad headache. Gone. Slept a lot.” —Paula Annise Coyle

“I most definitely felt a sense of peace sweep over me last night. I needed it.” —Brenda Baldwin

“Hi Ellen! I wanted to thank you for the energy boost. I feel like a different person today- more positive and upbeat and ready to take on the day. “ —Connie Fontenot Coffee

12729348_941593789229839_4336711266908266399_nRecently through Facebook four-month-old Baby Wyatt (That’s him to the right.) showed up in my message box. Wyatt was born with a hole in his diaphragm, and his colon shifted, pressing on his heart. He was having an operation to close the hole and put his colon back in place. One of my facebook friends, who knew Wyatt and his parents, contacted several Reiki Masters and formed a healing circle to help Baby Wyatt who is now doing great! I was honored to play a role in this beautiful baby’s healing.

Even as a Reiki Master I continue to be amazed at the power, beauty and grace of this wonderful healing energy that is available to all. I’ve witnessed acts of healing with Reiki that defy logic. Here’s what one of my students experienced:

“Midway through Ellen’s Reiki level one workshop, I felt compelled to take off the band aid that had been covering a nasty cut from a misguided vegetable chopping incident. The wound was deep, and just the night before I checked it, still sore, still open. But in the yoga studio I was feeling very grounded, like this was an okay idea, and I took off the bandage. My thumb was healed. A small indent in the skin showed where it had once been, but I was amazed to find no scar. I know, I know. I’d like to say it was too good to be true, but I’ve personally witnessed too many instances of Reiki expanding our notion of what’s possible. This is the indescribable magic of Reiki that I’m thankful I’m a part of.”

John Powell, Mental Health Counselor and Author.

I like to think about Reiki as amplified prayer or loving, kindness meditation with an added energy boost. I send out wishes for others to be happy and free of suffering, others receive my loving energy and the entire universe benefits.

Want to experience Reiki for yourself? Stop by my facebook page on Wednesdays and request distance Reiki.

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