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I’m not someone you’d expect to be interested in Reiki. I’m not a yoga instructor or a regular meditator. I consider myself spiritual, but not woo-woo; I don’t travel with crystals (but I have to admit that I own a few) and for the most part I consider myself a regular girl from New Jersey. So why did I choose to get my Reiki Level 1 certification? You may be surprised.

I first got interested in Reiki sort of by accident. I was searching for beginner French classes to take while living in Boston and for some reason Reiki appeared as a class offered in my area. I signed up out of curiosity, but the class was canceled last-minute. I took it as a sign I was better off without it. I left Boston, traveled for a while, and eventually landed in Brooklyn, working for Wanderlust. Wandering the grounds of our Festivals, I was exposed to all sorts of wellness and mindfulness modalities that piqued my interest. There were celestial soundbaths and Silent Discos and smudging ceremonies and Kundalini classes and sweat-inducing workouts… But I wasn’t necessarily moved to facilitate any of these.

Through work, I met a woman who worked at the Brooklyn-based wellness center Maha Rose. It was as if being at the Festivals had opened up a portal to interest in my brain, and this time, something just clicked. Years after my first attempt, I was again face-to-face with the opportunity to try for my Reiki certification. So I did. And I LOVED IT.

What an Training Looks Like

I was nervous that I’d be surrounded by people whose “woo-factor” far outpaced mine, and who wouldn’t necessarily be receptive to a regular girl from New Jersey. I was wrong. After showing up and making introductions, the training opened with a meditation. Through the day, we learned the basics, and then practiced Reiki on each other and ourselves. We took a few breaks to chat, to journal, and to grab lunch. It was everything you might expect from a full day of learning something new. There were some awkward moments, some nervous giggling, but mostly we were all excited to lean into the experience and be vulnerable with each other and our teacher.

Getting Attuned

The things I least expected were the attunements, which are essentially moments when the Reiki Master performs an energetic opening of your body in order to allow energy to flow freely through you. Attunements are crucial to becoming a Reiki healer.

The colors during the attunement were intense. My eyes were closed but I was seeing rainbow fireworks as the attunement proceeded. It was almost an out-of-body experience. I felt like I could see the energy moving across my eyelids and deep into my brain. The blood coursing through my veins felt electric and my whole body was vibrating. There was a lightness, a levity that filled the room. It was … weird.

I wasn’t the only person who felt this way. We took a couple breaks because of the intensity of the course overall. People cried, people shared deep stories, and we all felt a sense of connectedness to the practice and to each other. It was truly special. I won’t go on to wax poetic about the whole experience. I think it’s very clear I enjoyed the entire process and would do it again in a heartbeat. Here’s looking at you Level 2…

Reiki in Practice

The goal of practicing Reiki is not to create energy, but to become a vessel for the energy transfer from the universe unto another object. You can do Reiki on people, animals, plants, rocks, benches, and everything in between—with permission. (Consent counts spiritually as well!) When you think about it, the universe has an incredible amount of energy to give and Reiki teaches us how to become a funnel for that positive energy to heal other people and things. This is my favorite part about Reiki training—I was not asked to become an expert or to harness any power, it was truly an exercise in opening myself up to let the universe do its own work to help others feel better and to take away a little bit of pain that lives in this world. Learning to do Reiki is truly a selfless task (though you can do Reiki on yourself and It. Feels. Amazing.).

And I’m living proof that it’s not just yogis and hippies doing it! According to research from the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center and published by Mayo Clinic, Reiki has been used during open heart surgeries and for cancer patients, for pregnant women and firefighter first-responders at 9/11’s Ground Zero. The benefits are scientifically proven. According to a Reiki study done at Hartford Hospital:

  • 86% of patients reported improved sleep
  • 78% of patients reported reduced pain
  • 80% of patients reported reduced nausea
  • A whopping 94% of pregnant women reported reduced anxiety

Whether or not you believe in the study results, I think it’s worth noting that spending an hour lying down with your eyes closed, while someone else is actively and sincerely trying to help you feel just a little bit better through energy healing is kind of a wonderful thing, and I strongly suggest you give it a try.

amanda crooks author bioAmanda Crooks is a full-time staff member at Wanderlust, curating integrated partnerships. In her free time, she visits National Parks, studies French, tries new trends in health and wellness, and goes on whiskey distillery tours. She splits her time between New Jersey and Brooklyn and doesn’t have social media.

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