As a Reiki Master and bodyworker I have always been told by my clients during massage treatments that my hands feel very hot and that they can feel a healing warmth and tingling sensations when I touched them, even when I was not deliberately channelling Reiki in the treatments. So I have always been aware that since being attuned to Reiki, it has had an effect in my other bodywork modalities, whether I wanted to or not. It is not surprising if you consider the Reiki principle that states that Reiki flows to where it is needed and the practitioner is simply a channel through which it flows. If that is the case, it makes sense that if when I am connecting with my clients during a massage they need Reiki, that it would automatically flow through me without my direct intention to channel it. Those frequent comments from my clients did not surprise me but begged the question that if Reiki flows and affects my massage treatments when I am not intending it, as the intelligent energy that it is, how would the experience of massage differ if I intended it and deliberately used Reiki in my massage treatments? Would the outcome and benefits of the treatment be measurably different if Reiki was intentionally applied during the session?
When I was doing my MSc Complementary Therapy at University of Westminster in London UK back in 2001, I decided to look further into these questions, which lead me to my final dissertation question:
“How Does the Experience of Massage Differ When Reiki Techniques Are Deliberately Used or not Used?”
To answer that question I chose Reflexive Action Research for my study design as it suited the financial and time restrictions imposed by lack of funding and academic deadline. This design is also appropriate to answer developmental and practice-based questions, so it was the best choice for me. The project took place in my private practice over the period of 12 weeks. Seven of my private clients received two massage treatments, one with incorporated Reiki techniques and one without. They were interviewed immediately after each treatment and once again within one week after the second treatment. A semi- structured interview was used to capture clients’ experiences of the treatment.
Although the study itself was over a short period of time and number of participants was small, the data collected and conclusion I reached has been reproduced over the years up to today within my practice. My clients’ point of view, although vastly rich and unique as is each and every Reiki session, pointed towards an enhanced sense of both physical and mental experience when Reiki techniques were applied. Mental references such as ‘being in the moment, meditative state, drifting, flowing, being asleep but not really, random memories being in the zone, seeing colours’, were more prominent and intense in massages with Reiki, as were physical references such as energy movements, twinges, twitches, buzzing, magnetic pull, altered spatial awareness (floating, sinking, feeling upside down, being somewhere else, flying, etc). Although both massages felt therapeutic and relaxing, it appears that when Reiki was deliberately used participants felt that they had a deeper, more complete mind- body experience and rated the overall experience as more wholistic. The study also suggests that when Reiki was applied during a massage, emotional and mental changes were more evident following the treatment, and participants felt noticeable relief from worry and anxiety for a longer period after the session. Also, muscular tension and pain release were successful without post- massage pain or discomfort due to tissue trauma.
From my point of view, I find that when I intentionally channel Reiki during a massage, I can see and feel tension and muscle release throughout the clients body, without the need to very deep pressure. I find I get much deeper shifts and releases with Reiki and gradual pressure than with forceful, aggressive deep tissue techniques. It almost feels as if with Reiki, my hands can communicate with and reassure the tissues I am massaging that it is OK to relax and that the body is not under the attack or danger it perceives to be. Reiki makes the whole process safe, gentle and nurturing, allowing for further relaxation than pure physical touch can do in the same space of time. I also experience being more in the moment during the treatment and have a feeling of more connection and fulfilling interaction with my clients.
In summary, in my experience I find that Reiki enhances and enriches the experience of massage as well as maximizes the outcome of the treatment. It makes it a more complete and fulfilling experience for both client and practitioner. Reiki is a wonderful and simple healing tool that can be blended with most if not all modalities and boost the experience of whatever you apply it to. What is your experience?
Isabela do Val Santana has been practising reiki since 2000. She is a Reiki Master teacher, Reflexologist, Aromatherapist , private Yoga instructor and Massage Practitioner in Vancouver, Canada. Her passion for complementary and alternative medicine led her to pursue a MSc Complementary Therapy: Bodywork at University of Westminster, London UK, which looked into ways of integrating complementary and alternative therapies into our current orthodox medicine for the greater benefit of public healthcare. Energy medicine is her primary focus and Reiki is part of her daily routine at home, at work and at every opportune moment. Isabela can be reached through her facebook page Reiki Yoga Integrated Bodyworks and email firstname.lastname@example.org.