by Liana Naima. photography by Deun Ivory.
The act of laying hands on the body for healing is ancient knowledge. One of the first things we do when we are in pain, is lay our hands on the area to soothe the body and direct awareness to the issue. We all remember our mothers and grandmothers placing their hands on us after we fall, and the natural human instinct is to touch another person to provide them with warmth and comfort. All living things, including plants and animals, are animated with life force energy and that energy can be accessed through touch.
Life force energy is the energy all around us and within us, vibrating between atoms. It is the energy of creation itself, the divine intelligence, known as the energy of the universe, God, or source. Life force energy has many names across various traditions, some of the names are Prana in India, Chi in China, Ki in Japan, Ashe in Nigeria, and Holy Spirit in the Bible.
We receive life force energy every time we breathe, from food, sunshine and sleep, and we shape it based on our thoughts. When our life force energy is high we feel vibrant and loving and when the energy is low we lack vitality and operate from fear. According to the American Holistic Health Association, “This energy is the essence of our being, our consciousness, our soul. As the flow of life force energy moves through our physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies, it can become unbalanced, stagnant, or blocked.”
Our life force energy is a constant stream that wants us to evolve and exist as present human beings. When that stream is disrupted it leads to physical tension and mental fogginess, due to our mind being out of harmony with the life force energy of the body. For example, stress deeply impacts our nervous system and originates from the mind. It is crucial to remember that wherever our mind goes, energy flows, and that energy is impacting our health.
There are many ways life force energy is used as a healing tool: meditation, sound healing, breath work, yoga, and touch healing. Reiki is one of the healing modalities that utilizes life force energy. Given that Reiki (ki/life force energy) is always around us and a part of us, why see a Reiki practitioner? What should you expect during a Reiki session? Here are five tips and suggestions for how to pick a practitioner and what to expect.
According to Diane Stein in Essential Reiki, “...the person who is attuned as a Reiki healer has had her body’s energy channels opened and cleared of obstructions by the Reiki attunements. She now not only receives an increase in this life energy for her own healing, but becomes [more] connected to the source of all universal Chi or Ki… from the time of the attunement and through the rest of her life, all she needs to do to connect with healing Ki is to place her hands upon herself or someone else and it will flow through her automatically.” A Reiki practitioner is attuned to access life force energy for their own healing and to share with others. You want to work with someone that is Reiki Level II certified and make sure that they were attuned by someone in person. Reiki level I is primarily for self-healing, while Reiki level II is considered a professional level.
During the session, Reiki flows from the practitioners hands into the client. The client is usually laying down on a massage table fully clothed, and the practitioner places their hands on or near the client’s body in a series of hand positions. These hand positions are typically around the head, shoulders, stomach, legs and feet. Reiki is primarily used for stress reduction and relaxation and promotes the self-healing abilities of the body. Reiki heals on all levels of the body - mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Reiki sessions can help reduce stress, ease pain, soothe mind-body disturbance, awaken spiritual understanding, and raise your vibration.
What someone experiences during a Reiki session varies from person to person. It is normal to feel deep relaxation and a glowing radiance. Sometimes people feel pulsations and tingling sensations, coolness and heat, as well as light trembling and shaking in and around the body. Reiki encourages the participant to let go of all tension, anxiety, and fear to welcome in peace and relaxation. Some people have out of body experiences, visions and other mystical experiences. I recommend having no expectations and going into the experience with an open-mind. I have worked with a handful of clients that have felt nothing during the session, but after 2-3 days they noticed a shift in their habitual state. How much you feel during the session depends on your sensitivity to energy.
Be open to miracles - we’re talking about the energy of the universe! I have seen and experienced the power of Reiki to rapidly shift someone out of a habitual state and heal chronic pain. Reiki is gentle, safe and limitless. According to the International Center of Reiki, “It has been effective in helping virtually every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. It also works in conjunction with all other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve side effects and promote recovery.”
In my opinion, a Reiki practitioner is only as good as their self-healing practice. While the Reiki attunements help clear the Reiki practitioner’s system to access the energy, the practitioner is the channel that the energy works through. If the practitioner does not have their own practice for inner work they won’t be a powerful channel for Reiki. Feel free to ask the practitioner - How do they take care of themselves? What is their spiritual practice? What training have they had? How long have they worked with Reiki?
Overall, when finding the right Reiki practitioner, it is crucial that you work with someone that is in tune with themselves, and that you resonate with them energetically. Energy healing is intimate and transformative with the right person, only put your energy body in the hands of someone that you trust or that comes recommended from a friend. There are many quick ways to get Reiki certifications, listen to your intuition, and only work with someone that feels aligned with your spiritual path and evolution.
Liana is a rainforest vine that is rooted in the Earth and uses trees to climb to the light. Liana acts as a vine for divine energy to work through her to align others with a higher vibrational state for healing. As an energy worker, she is a certified White Light Reiki Master and Vortex Energy Healing® Practitioner. Liana utilizes breathwork, vocal release, plant medicine and mindfulness meditation in her practice to silence the mind and induce a transcendent state for healing. She regularly leads energy healing events in NYC and sees clients out of her home office in Brooklyn. Her energy healing work and spiritual insights have been featured in USA Today, Essence Magazine, MindBodyGreen, and Yahoo Lifestyle. You can follow her spiritual insights on Instagram @liananaima