Reiki offers students relief

By Jacqueline Pearce and Abigail Zorbaugh

Between study sessions that run well into daybreak and midnight Starbucks obsessions, finding time to relax can be a daunting task.

Reiki, a Japanese healing therapy, arrived at Northeastern just in time to help students recover.

As part of “Spiritual Wellness Week,” the Spiritual Life Center offered, free 15-minute Reiki sessions Monday in the Sacred Space, located on the second floor of Ell Hall.

Reiki, which means “Universal Life Force Energy,” is an ancient healing technique. The client reclines on a massage table while the practitioner places his or her hands on, or slightly above, the client’s body. There are 12 to 15 different hand positions, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Each of these positions is said to transfer a positive energy, called ki. Negative thoughts and feelings disturb the flow of ki, potentially causing health problems, believers say.

Dr. Mikao Usui, who founded Reiki in the early 20th century, first experienced its power during a 21-day fasting retreat on a mountain near Kyoto, Japan.

Reiki was passed down as an oral tradition until Reiki follower Hawayo Takata brought it to the Hawaiian Islands.

Dorett Hope, co-coordinator of the event and associate nursing professor said Reiki is a valuable relaxation tool for college students.

“It would be applicable in any stressful situation,” said Hope, who is considered a Reiki Master because she completed the second level of the necessary training.

Hope said universal energy flows through a practitioner who acts as a conduit for the receiver. There is no governing body for Reiki, so the process for becoming a practitioner varies depending on location and school of thought.

But most practitioners agree there are three distinct levels to being a Reiki practitioner.

At the first level, the trainee is taught about Reiki energy. Reiki teachers help clear the channels, or chakras, so that more energy can flow through. At this level, only self healing is possible – a level-one Reiki cannot use the energy flow on others.

At the second level of Reiki, practitioners are taught how to centralize this energy on a particular body point. This includes the ability to heal others. At level two, a practitioner also learns how to send “distance healing,” Hope said. This is the ability to send Reiki to others without being in their direct presence.

The next level is the Reiki master level. This takes a year to complete. At this level, a practitioner can teach classes and can also help attune beginners.

The final level is the Reiki master teacher, which takes one more year of training. Now, they have the ability to attune anyone.

Reiki uses a seven point chakra system, which includes areas on the body, from the base (near the pelvis) to the head. The clearing of these chakras is called attunement. This high amount of energy that is able to flow through the chakras, thanks to attunement, is supposed to heal when used appropriately. Hope said Reiki followers participate in Reiki for a variety of reasons. Some believe it alleviates chronic pain and muscle tension. Others use it to ease stress and provide mental clarity.

Eva Kochanski, a Gainsborough Garage customer service employee who attended the event, said during Spiritual Wellness Week last year, Reiki alleviated her chronic back pain.

“[Reiki] puts you really in tune with your body,” Kochanski said. She also experienced a feeling of warmth, which is common to many who are given Reiki, Hope said.

Jim Dyckes, a middler international business major, said he emerged from his first Reiki session feeling relaxed and calm.

“Fifteen minutes goes by so quick,” Dyckes said. “I’d definitely do it again.”

Rosemary Kelly, associate director of admissions, said she attributed the warmth and stress relief that some experience during Reiki to the soothing power of touch.

“We’re conditioned from the time we’re born that touch is calming,” Kelly said.

Students, faculty and staff jumped at the chance to experience this opportunity.

“We fill up appointment slots right away,” said Shelli Jankowski-Smith, Director of Spiritual Life at Northeastern.

It is debated whether or not Reiki is a legitimate form of health care. As a result, Reiki is categorized by the National Institute of Health as an “alternative” medicine. In recent years, increased government funding was allotted to research the health benefits of such alternative therapies, Hope said.

Some doctors and therapists are incorporating Reiki into the recovery portion of surgeries and chemotherapy.

“I don’t know if it’s mind over matter, but it doesn’t matter to me

Leave a Reply