TreatMEnt of the Week

What is Reiki Healing? I Went For A Treatment To Find Out

reiki healing

Over the past few years, I began noticing Reiki healing treatments as I was scanning through hotel spa menus. Time and time again, while researching facial, massage, and manicure offerings, I’d see “Reiki” and think to myself, “What is Reiki?” 

As a beauty and lifestyle writer, I’m always interested to know what the next up-and-coming treatments, trends, and products are all about — and I’m not afraid to try them firsthand. When I asked my social circle what the treatment was, a few friends who had experienced Reiki before couldn’t give me a full description. “It’s something you have to try,” I was told. “You’ll feel very relaxed.” Unlike a facial — which aims to extract pores, moisturize, or complete other kinds of visible enhancements —  I wasn’t getting many details other than, “There are crystals.” One acquaintance offered, “You lay down for an hour.” Thanks, guys.

At this point, I wondered, “Is it a nap, or a Reiki massage?” I was still uncertain what this treatment entailed. While still digging for answers — thanks to modern technology and, frankly, Instagram® — my colleagues were simultaneously entranced by a viral energy-healing video featuring a celebrity dancer and actress. They, too, wanted to know exactly what was transpiring. 

A quick Google® search informed me that Reiki healing has Japanese origins. According to the International Center for Reiki Training℠, Rei means “the wisdom of the higher power” and Ki means “life force energy.” So, Reiki is essentially the energy that flows through living things. A Reiki session opens up blocked chakras (energy focal points in the body), which can ease tension and stress — but no, it’s not a massage.

And so, without too much other background information (and still a lot of questions), I contacted a Reiki specialist for a healing session. On a Wednesday afternoon, my appointment was scheduled with Reiki Healer Tracylee Percival, who, after meeting a shaman, was inspired to complete Reiki 1 training in 2016 and Reiki 2 training last year. As we planned the 1-hour session in Suite Jane℠ at the Moxy® East Village in New York City, Percival offered some tips.

What to do before a Reiki healing

Prior to arriving onsite, Percival told me to wear loose, comfortable clothing. “We don't want anything tight to make you feel uncomfortable while I'm trying to manipulate the body,” she said. “It also helps the energy to flow through the body that much easier when you're comfortable.” Perfectly fit for a rainy day, I showed up to the hotel in sweatpants and a tank top under a flowy knit sweater. She approved of my comfy ensemble.

Another prerequisite for Reiki was optional, but strongly suggested by Percival. “No drugs or alcohol prior to the service, because it could affect your overall experience,” she explained, which was no problem on my end. “Reiki is going to go where it needs to go, but it doesn't need to be fighting off toxins.” I still wasn’t 100% sure where, exactly, this was going, and where Reiki needed to go (we’ll get to that in a bit), but I was very intrigued.

Percival also prepared in advance. She brought with her crystals to break up and absorb different energies from my chakras: rose quartz (for love, including self-love), black tourmaline (cleansing energy), and clear quartz (which “does it all, whatever you want it to do”). 

Before the session officially began, she cleansed the hotel suite, herself, me, and two other guests with palo santo. She also lit an aromatherapy candle.

What happens during Reiki 

Once I was lying face-up and ready for my session, I closed my eyes. Percival placed crystals on various chakras and did a body scan. She used a pendulum (which either swung or stayed still over certain parts of my body) to find energy blockages in my chakras. Then, she used lavender aromatherapy oil while asking me to take three deep breaths to help me relax.

For the next 59 minutes (which felt more like 20 to 30 when we were finished), I kept my eyes closed as Percival positioned her hands above — but mostly not touching — my body. Every now and then, she’d gently modify or brush an area, such as an oblique, where she sensed energy was blocked. We did not speak, unless she was asking me to reposition my body (and flip onto the other side).

Percival focuses on different energy areas of the body, depending on the client and where they hold their stress. “Mine's always my lower intestines, so my sacral area or my root chakra area is really where I hold mine,” she said, adding that a lot of people tend to hold their stress anywhere below the heart. “Reiki knows where it needs to go to unblock any kind of energy, or if there's something you're holding onto from childhood,” she said. Yours truly was holding a lot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach, a.k.a. my solar plexus, and Percival also noticed my third eye was blocked. “My hands wanted to go to your head,” she said. “I feel like you're always in your head.” Considering I’m someone who frequently works remotely, alone, she wasn’t wrong.

What Reiki feels like

During the session, I layed on both my back (with my face up) and my stomach (with my face down). I felt very calm, relaxed, and meditative throughout. I was in a daze, equivalent to how I feel before I take a nap: aware of my surroundings, but not focusing on any particular thoughts or things on my to-do list. Again, Percival was barely touching me, so I didn’t feel much.

Rather than short-winded gasps of air (which is typical for me during working hours), I noticed I was breathing in full breaths. The other people in the room besides Percival and myself (who were there for the purpose of this article — but normally wouldn’t be there) also noticed the same change in my breathing patterns from start to finish.

What happens after Reiki

Percival’s mission was for me to release whatever stress (or anything else) that I was holding onto. She gave me a crystal to take with me and instructed me to place it in my right hand. I could keep it in my purse or wallet, and hold it whenever I’m feeling stressed out to absorb that energy.

As I left the East Village, I felt far less tense than I did upon arriving there. My shoulders felt more relaxed, my mind was more calm, and I felt as if I woke up from a two-hour nap — more stress-free. Percival had told me, “The energy is going to keep flowing through you throughout the evening, at least until tomorrow,” and instructed me, again, to avoid alcohol if possible. “The cleaner you stay, the better.”

I immediately wondered if (money and time being no object) I could ditch trying to meditate (a real struggle for yours truly) and go to Reiki a few times a week instead. Percival told me that her clients see her as often as needed. “It's really individual, what they feel they need or if they're suffering from something that's chronic,” she said. “My client that does it three times a week has chronic pain from an accident and surgery, but most people do it either weekly or monthly.”

It’s been almost a month since my treatment. While I don’t think it’s a cure-all for stress (for me), I definitely felt a difference in the few days afterwards. And, now, when life stresses creep in (which is totally normal), or whenever I’m having an anxious thought, I reach for my clear crystal. It reminds me to feel better, and, if nothing else, that I need to book another session soon.


Complimentary treatment was provided to the author for the purpose of writing this article.

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