My Beginner Reiki Experience

I’ve always been fascinated in all things supernatural. To me, the idea that supernatural things could exist and someone could not be interested in them…is just crazy.

There’s a chance that certain people out there are psychic and can predict your future? Don’t you at least want to see what it’s about? People say witches can cast spells and curses on people. How can you not want to know more? There’s a belief that the date and time of your birth align with the placement of stars, and this influences your personality. That’s so interesting…don’t you want to at least hear about it?

In a sense, I kind of view the supernatural in the same vein as I view religion. I don’t fully believe in either of these things, but I appreciate them so much because of their creativity and meticulous detail.

Maybe astrology isn’t real - but someone has created vivid, detailed descriptions of 12 character types, and that in itself is pretty cool.

Maybe Jesus was never real. But the story of the bible, the red sea parting, putting two kinds of every animal on Noah’s Ark…those are such cool stories, even if they stand on their own.

So when I heard about Reiki, I was immediately interested. If you haven’t heard of what Reiki is, here’s a brief explanation:

A healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being.

Essentially - and how most people think of Reiki - it’s a massage without the rubbing and stretching. It’s around the same cost, and takes the same amount of time.

You lie on a table, and a Reiki practitioner places their hands either above you, or lightly on you, and channels energy into your body.

Most people write Reiki off as hippie bullshit that doesn’t do anything to the body, but I found myself incredibly interested. There are moment where you experience energy or even contact without physical touch, and I’ve always found that concept intriguing.

Remember the days in middle school and high school when you would experience intense, heart-throbbing crushes? Sometimes I would be sitting next to my crush on the school bus, inches away from each other, but certain that I could feel the presence of his hand next to mine. We would be inches away, but it would feel nearly electric - almost more intense than just touching.

Doesn’t that mean that the concept of energy is true? Or, if as the skeptics say, it’s all in my head…wouldn’t it still ring as true? Perception is reality, and the placebo effect is a proven concept. The brain is powerful enough to manipulate the body with mere thoughts, so maybe Reiki (even if it’s only a placebo effect) can be useful.

At any rate, I wanted to try Reiki and see for myself.

This was back when I was living in San Francisco, and with just a quick Google search I found that I was in the right place for Reiki. I was also pretty poor at the time, so I opted for a less expensive Reiki version - I would have it performed by Reiki students (and their teacher) for a discounted price.

I signed up for a session through the SF Reiki Center and excitedly counted down the days until my appointment. (The most recent pricing, by the way, is $35 for a 30 minute session).

The setup was pretty similar to a typical massage - except my clothes stayed on. I got on a massage table, and the 3 Reiki-ists (if that’s what they’re called) explained to me what would happen, and we got started.

Soft music played, I closed my eyes, and over the course of a half hour, they would touch my body on certain parts, and keep their hands there - just there - for a few minutes at a time.

The first sensation I noticed was warmth on the parts of my body where they touched me. I kept thinking “is this all in my mind?” and trying to compare the temperature of say, my arms, to my currently-touched head. Then I started over-thinking how much warmth a hand produces. Maybe this wasn’t energy, but just a sweaty hand?

I finally just gave up, and gave into the sensation of what was happening. I felt calm. I felt insanely relaxed. And I felt warmth in the areas they touched, enough warmth as one of those packets you put in your gloves when you go skiing (you know what I’m talking about, right?).

I also felt another sensation…which I shared with my parents after I left the session.

I called them in my Uber back home, and filled them in on what the experience was like.

“There was one point where they touched my head,” I had said, “and there was this sensation of cold water going through my spine! It was so cool, just this feel of like…coldness trickling down my spine.”

There was a brief moment of silence.

“You guys there?”

“Huh,” my mom said. “That’s actually crazy. That’s exactly what it felt like when I had epidurals given during birth.”

I thought about that for a bit. The main sensation I experienced was a feeling of calmness and relaxation. I know nothing about the drugs in an epidural, or the scientific process - but I found it pretty cool that the sensation of cold water running through your spine was linked to a feeling of relaxation on at least two occasions.

I felt calm, almost drunk, during the Uber ride home, and incredibly relaxed for the rest of the night.

So, is Reiki a hoax?

For me, it wasn’t. I actually want to try it again here in New York.

For some, it seems like it is. I’ve heard varying accounts from different people. My advice - only do Reiki if you’re open to the experience. Take the 30+ minutes to relax, be pampered, and have attention paid to you. That act in itself I think can be incredibly satisfying, and have the same benefits of massage or anything else like that.

Do I believe that energy transferred through me? Honestly, I want to! I like the idea, I personally felt something, so yes - I would cast my vote in favor of Reiki.

Have you ever had a Reiki experience? If so, let me know! I would love to hear stories from other people about this.

Until the next one,