Having experienced Emma Despres’ yoga classes over the last year I was more than keen to try a session of Reiki with her. I’d had one Reiki experience in my life many years ago at a spa in England and, although the dusty recesses of my mind have wrapped the memory in their dark corners I do recall that it made me feel, well, ‘different!’
Emma, who runs Be Inspired, has a very unique spiritual quality about her and her delivery of yoga classes has always impressed me, so I knew she would be a pretty special Reiki practitioner. She has undertaken each level of Reiki training and been a Reiki Master teacher for a few years now, offering treatments and attunement sessions.
So what is Reiki and what happens in a treatment?
These days most people have heard of “Reiki” but not many know what it actually is. Some assume it is a form of religion or a form of massage and some even wonder if it is dangerous. No, is the answer to all these assumptions. It is neither a belief system nor a physically manipulative technique and it is completely safe.
Essentially it is a way of being true to yourself so that you do things consciously, with awareness, sincerity and intention. Reiki offers a great many benefits. It is a holistic relaxation therapy that focuses on the root cause of conditions rather than merely on the symptoms. Thus not only can Reiki be used to induce a sense of deep physical relaxation but it can also be used to promote the healing of a wide range of ailments. These include everything from stress related complaints such as insomnia to joint aches and pains (such as arthritis), headaches, stomach aches, depression, backache, menstrual problems, anxiety, asthma, colds and flu etc.
The Japanese word Reiki (pronounced Ray-key) means ‘Universal Energy’ and is based on the free flow of this energy in a person. Eastern medicine has always recognised and worked with this energy, which flows through all living things and is vital to well-being. It refers to an ancient hands-on healing art developed by Dr Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1900’s for personal development and the passing of healing energy onto others. Dr Usui believed that by clearing the body energetically it was possible to feel more connected to life, more relaxed, physically healthier and less unbalanced emotionally.
Interestingly there have been considerable scientific studies behind this treatment too. For example,
’..independent research during the 1980's found that not only do the brain wave patterns of practitioner and receiver become synchronised in the alpha state, characteristic of deep relaxation and meditation, but they pulse in unison with the earth's magnetic field, known as the Schuman Resonance. During these moments, the biomagnetic field of the practitioners' hands is at least 1000 times greater than normal, and not as a result of internal body current. Prof. Paul Davies and Dr. John Gribben in The Matter Myth (1991), discuss the quantum physics view of a 'living universe' in which everything is connected in a 'living web of interdependence'. All of this supports the subjective experience of 'oneness' and 'expanded consciousness' related by those who regularly receive or self-treat with Reiki.’
I had my first Reiki session with Emma three weeks ago. She has created a calm and relaxing environment at her home in the beautiful countryside of St Andrews and instantly makes you feel like, whatever happens in your treatment, you will at least switch off the world for an hour.
However, for me that first session was so much more than that!
It is almost impossible to put into words the different sensations, feelings, thoughts that I experienced and I have since been back for a second session and am booking my third. I think three or four will be perfect to really cement the changes I have begun to achieve.
So, not to cop out – let’s try and put it into words...
After being made comfortable on a large soft cushion on the floor and covered snugly by a blanket, Emma talked me into an initial state of relaxation with her gentle, slightly hypnotic voice. Of course, in our busy lives it is difficult to switch off quickly and I knew my mind was fighting it but then followed nearly an hour of complete peace with just simple lulling music in the background. Emma spent that time gently laying her hands on or holding them over different parts of my body which she later told me correspond with the Chakras or energy centres, working from the head to the toes.
At times I did ‘zone out’ (sorry, not the best phrase but aptly descriptive) – not sure if I drifted off to sleep but I went somewhere. Other times I was acutely aware and forcing myself to keep my focus away from the general concerns of the day. At points over both sessions I found myself feeling intensely emotional and fighting tears and in the second session I definitely felt a very powerful sensation of my mind opening up and softening... oooh – this is so hard to describe and again I will fall back on the suggestion that unless you have it you can’t really explain it.
After each session Emma discusses with you what she felt and in turn, I shared the various sensations I experienced.
For me, personally – and of course everyone is different - the word I would choose to best describe what I have gained from both sessions is ‘clarity’. I experienced a profound sense of knowing what I had to do and how to achieve that goal – I am finding myself consciously and clearly assessing negative behavioural and thinking patterns. Emma has explained this is called samskara in Yoga, like grooves in our being...the more we tread the same path, the greater the grooves become – so we sometimes need help to get out of that groove or pattern of behaviour and response.
Of course life still continues to present its many challenges and its fears, but I am now truly converted and believe Reiki can help us to have a greater connection with our sense of self. Feeling more strongly connected to yourself means that you are less likely to feel so overwhelmed by these stresses and you are more likely to see them for what they truly are. Furthermore Reiki can help you to realise what it is you need in your life (which is not always the same as what you think you want) and as a consequence, it encourages you to take control by letting go of all those things you no longer need.
Reiki can encourage and support positive personal changes, helping to balance the emotions and free us from restrictive mental attitudes and behaviour patterns. It can help to improve the quality of our relationships, help us to de-stress, reduce our need for alcohol and tobacco, improve our diet and help us to respond more calmly to situations and events in our lives.
Simply put Reiki – as both a personal development and energy healing technique - can be life changing and help enhance your experience of life and how you live it.
I'm liking this Reiki and I want more!