I Tried A Reiki Healing For Stress Relief, And Here’s What Happened

The answer to my post-election grief

collage image by Hulton Archive / Getty Images

In my never-ending efforts to find healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety, I’m always open to trying something new. During the research process for my previous piece on acupuncture, I found that the term “Reiki healing” seemed to be regularly popping up in my search results. I had heard of Reiki before, seeing signs for it in my local neighborhood crystal shops and advertised by tarot readers I had gone to in the past, but I had no clue what it actually entailed.

While I read a little bit into it and saw that it’s also known to help with stress, I figured it was worth a shot. I scheduled an appointment at Maha Rose Center For Healing in Greenpoint in Brooklyn, New York, with the center’s founder, Lisa Levine MS, LAc. Levine is not only a Reiki healer but a licensed acupuncturist, natural healer, and artist. I excitedly awaited my appointment, knowing that I was about to be in the best of hands (literally).

But first: What exactly is Reiki?

Reiki is Japanese for “Universal Life Energy,” so the life force, basically. “Reiki is the same energy that causes the wind to blow, and the grass to grow,” says Levine. “When a Reiki healer receives an attunement, we become channels for this energy. The energy already exists, but once it’s attuned, we’re able to direct it.” Thus, using it to heal others through their hands.  In order to become a Reiki healer, one must be initiated by a Reiki master. During this initiation process, the chakras and secondary chakras located in the palms of the hands are opened up in order to allow Reiki energy to be channeled.

Well, let me tell you, my session couldn’t have come at a better time, as it happened to fall on the first Saturday after Election Day. While I had scheduled this story and appointment well in advance of November 8, I was definitely in need of some healing on my fourth day of being a complete post-election wreck. Intense feelings of fear, grief, and confusion mixed with anger from the hostility and racism seen on my Facebook feed and exhaustion from rallying and marching throughout Manhattan had left me feeling pretty dead inside. I was looking forward to starting the weekend after this particularly tough week feeling renewed.

When Saturday came around, I arrived at Maha Rose feeling hopeful. I sat down with Levine to have a quick chat about what was going on with me and what was putting me under so much stress. After the obvious “Well, Donald Trump is going to be our president and the country is going to implode” chat, I went into my other causes of stress and anxiety, going into detail about each aspect. Once she had a better understanding of my current situation, we were ready to begin.

Levine then had me lay facedown on a bed that resembled a massage table, while serene music played in the background. The session began with me taking a series of deep, deep breaths.

Levine then started to gently rock me back and forth a bit, a movement that Levine says “resets the nervous system and allows the person to better receive the Reiki.” She also incorporates a light massage into her practice, which is not necessarily a common technique, but definitely added to the experience.

Once she began the actual Reiki portion of the session, I fell into a calm, meditative state and felt a slight tingling energy began to fill my body, as Levine placed and held her hands on different areas, guiding the energy where needed. “During the Reiki part of the session, I allow the Reiki to guide my hands to areas that may need more or less energy,” she says.

After the session ended, Levine and I had another quick chat to talk about how I was feeling. I was definitely a little bit lightheaded, but I felt nothing short of amazing. It was actually pretty incredible—as I walked down the streets of Greenpoint back to the G train, I felt as if I was floating; I was on a natural high. For the first time since last Tuesday’s ugly election results, I felt a sense of calm.

For the rest of the weekend into the early work week, this feeling remained. I was at ease, no matter how overwhelmed I would normally be, and noticed that I was able to focus better, looking at things with a clearer head.

So all in all, was Reiki the answer to my stress and anxiety dilemma? It certainly helped a great deal, though it’s something that I’ll need to keep up with. Levine says that her patients come as often as once a week when they’re dealing with something heavy, but once-a-month maintenance is a healthy way to keep your anxiety at bay.

Levine also highly recommends it for anyone suffering post-election anxiety and grief. “Reiki is superb at treating anxiety, depression, mental instability, grief, and fear,” she says. “It’s a beautiful treatment for the emotions.”

I’ll most definitely be back, and will be incorporating Reiki into my regular self-care regimen.

Interested in Reiki yourself? If you live in NYC, you can train for a full day with Levine this Saturday at Maha Rose. Click here for more details.