The Basics of Reiki

I've been talking about taking classes in Reiki for a while now, but most of my acupuncture colleagues insisted that I've already been doing it for years, without being aware of it. After all, Reiki is all about manipulating the energy of the body with the energy of your own hands. Every time I place my hands on someone and shift the needles to get qi, I am sort of doing Reiki. As usual, though, "sort of" wasn't good enough for me, so I decided to take the class and find out what this Reiki business was all about. I'd heard good things about a woman in Rutland, MA, who was a Reiki master, so I found an open-minded friend and headed off to the middle of nowhere. At least, that was how it felt-it was a long ride. We spent the whole hour and a half bitching about life in general, to balance out all the positive energy we were sure to be swimming in shortly.

I really had no idea what to expect from this class, and my friend seemed nervous as well. She kept asking me what she should wear, and at first I entertained myself by explaining that we would probably be naked during some part of this ritual. Then, looking at her stricken face, I realized that I might be attending this class alone if I didn't shut up. I told her that we would probably be safe wearing something stretchy, in case we had to get into weird positions.

Once we arrived at the house, it was nothing like what I expected. The woman hosting the class was a famous psychic and medium, but she was bubbly and funny and very down to earth. We sat in a small room and she went over the basics of Reiki. Here's what I learned about the progression of Reiki levels: at the first level, the person is initiated into the world of Reiki with an "attunement". This means that the Reiki master passes on the power of Reiki by touching the receiver. Once this gift is passed on, it is always with you. The second level is about learning to do Reiki without touch, and learning certain symbols that are passed on through generations of Reiki masters. The third level is the point where you actually become a master. Once you have reached this state, you can pass on the ability to do Reiki to anyone.

After about an hour of lecture, we were ready to be attuned. The Reiki master lay her hands on us and described colors, scenes, and figures that appeared to her when we were touched. Then she touched our hands and gifted them with the Reiki power. I kept expecting light beams to shoot out of my fingers, but alas, the only change I noticed at first was a sort of tingling warmth. I often get this same sensation when I treat patients, so it wasn't odd to me, but a few other pupils seemed surprised by it.

After the attunement, we took turns treating each other. With the guidance of the Reiki master, we used our new-found powers and lay our hands on our partners in the appropriate positions. It was extremely relaxing, and by the time we were finished I was in a daze. I left feeling like I used to in the beginning days of acupuncture school-out of it, exhausted, and mentally slow. I could barely drive home, and I slept like the dead last night. If nothing else, Reiki is a wonderful sleep aid!