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What is Reiki, Actually?

Just asking for a friend.

What is Reiki, Actually?

File this under: things we know zilch—nada—about. Well, that’s not entirely true. We know it has something to do with energy and hands hovering about one inch above a body with no actual touch required. But anything beyond that is, well, beyond us. That’s where Lisa Levine MS LAc, founder of Maha Rose Healing Center in Brooklyn, comes in. She’s a certified Reiki practitioner, licensed acupuncturist, natural healer, and swears by the powers of this ancient Japanese healing practice. Here she explains the Reiki M.O., what to expect in a session, why she thinks it does magical things, and her favorite part of it all: turning skeptics into believers.


What is Reiki?

“It translates from Japanese into “universal life energy.” It’s the same energy that causes the wind to blow and the grass to grow. When you take a Reiki course and you receive the attunement, you learn to channel this energy. You’re not using your own energy, you’re just tapped into universal life energy. This energy exists all around us always, but Reiki is a specific type of energy. Dr. Mikao Usui discovered Reiki—he discovered this way to tap into the energy and use it to heal.”


What Does Reiki Work On?

“Reiki is really good for everything. Anything physical; it’s good for emotional issues, anxiety, and depression—it’s good for the mind, for worrying, for addiction. It works on all four levels—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. There’s nothing that it can’t address and with the proper dosages, and if someone’s committed to their healing, then I’ve seen Reiki do really miraculous things.”


What to Expect

“Some people do hands-on Reiki, other practitioners can do Reiki with the hands a few inches away from the body. Generally, the Reiki I teach is the first level of Reiki—I like to do it hands-on. The practitioner is just going to hold different positions on the head and on the torso, and you’re going to feel—everybody experiences it differently, but you’ll usually feel warm, sometimes you’ll feel tingling, sometimes people see colors or feel waves of energy. People often experience memories because a lot of memories are held in the body and when we put awareness and attention to those places, things will surface.

“My favorite description is that it’s a gentle combing-out of the energetic body, so most likely you’re going to feel more relaxed after a session. I’m saying ‘most likely’ because, again, people have different experiences and some Reiki feels very soft and very subtle, and some Reiki feels a lot stronger and pushes you a little bit more. But generally people usually feel more relaxed, calmer, more balanced, more harmonious, more peaceful.”


What to Look For in a Reiki Practitioner

“Do your research. Most of my clients come from either word of mouth, so definitely look for either a center that you trust or ask friends who have had a Reiki experience. Testimonials are always helpful, too.”


You Don’t Have to Believe In It

“I think some people who are maybe more scientific tend not to believe in Reiki. But it’s funny, I teach Reiki, and one of the things we teach is you don’t actually have to believe in it. But if you’re open enough to try a session, then you’re going to receive something. I actually like working with the skeptics because they’re fun to turn around.”

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