• Rebecca Robinson


Medieval physician, Paracelsus, believed that 'Our inner harmony is the source of our health'. And it has long been said that reiki is able to magically restore and replenish our stores of inner harmony. For all those who receive it, it acts as a balancing, healing force for mind, body and spirit. A complementary therapy, reiki involves the transferring of 'rei' - the cosmic, universal energy that exists all around us - and 'kei' - the energy of life itself - through the practitioner to the receiver. It is believed to provide restorative energy to the patient, and all entirely without touch.

I have been curious to try reiki for a long time, and was lucky enough to recently win a competition for a free reiki session with the lovely Pauline of Tranquil Chakras.

Pauline began by explaining to me that, in reiki, it is believed that our individual 'aura', or energy field, is linked to our chakras - seven powerful energy centres that are located throughout our body, from the crown chakra at the top of our head to the root chakra, located at the base of our spine.

These chakras, it is said, are linked with different areas of our body, and if they become 'blocked' through physical or emotional stresses, this can have the effect of creating disharmony within our mind and body. The reiki practitioner then allows this 'universal healing energy' to flow through them like a channel during the reiki session, with the aim of re-balancing and unblocking chakras, and boosting feelings of well-being.

It is believed that reiki was 'discovered' in the 1800s by Dr Mikao Usui, a Buddhist monk, whilst he was meditating. Believing himself to have reached a state of enlightenment, he then felt that a healing energy was flowing through him, and he intuitively knew all of the symbols and mantras needed to channel this universal energy. The visual symbols and auditory mantras combined to create specific high-energy vibrations that tapped into and harnessed the energy that is all around us. Some may think this all sounds like hokum, but perhaps if we look at it differently and with an open mind, it may be something similar to the sound energy created by a beautiful piece of music that has the subtle power to change our emotional state, give us goosebumps and make the hairs stand on end at the nape of our neck.

The method which Pauline uses to discover which chakras are blocked is by using a quartz crystal dowsing pendulum. Crystals - particularly quartz crystal - is a very good energy conductor and magnifier, and is often used in watches, computers and televisions to amplify and hold energy. Pauline believed that three of my chakras were a little blocked, so said that she would focus more on these areas. She also balanced various crystals on different chakra points to help focus extra energy on to those parts of my body, whether through the crystals' natural energy conduction that some believe holds healing properties, or as a gentle reminder to me to focus on recharging or nurturing these areas, a sort of crystal 'prompt' to set an intention to harmonise my mind, body and soul.

As Pauline held her hands above my body, beginning at the top of my head, and scanning down to my feet, I could feel a definite heat from her hands that soaked into me like warm sunshine, even though her hands were not touching me. The heat was palpable and surprising. Some people, including myself, report feeling tingling sensations in the area that is being treated, and some become so relaxed that they even fall fast asleep. In Pauline's softly-lit treatment room, spritzed with lavender and painted in dusky purple tones, set with flickering candles and decorated with angel wings, butterflies - 'soul birds', as Clarissa Pinkola Estes describes them in her fantastic book, 'Women Who Run With The Wolves', and a wooden heart with the Willa Cather quote inscribed on to it, 'Do all things with great love', it would have been very easy to fall asleep - except that I was determined to stay fully awake in order to experience every bit of my intriguing reiki session!

Pauline explained to me that reiki energy is intelligent; it knows where it is needed and it flows more profusely to that area. I went in for my session feeling a little under the weather and lower in energy, which is unusual for me, and I came out of my session feeling calmer, happier, more relaxed and soothed; everything seemed brighter, more colourful and clearer, and I did feel the sense that energy had been working within me to move and shift blocks.

Whilst reiki is not a medical treatment, and should never be used instead of conventional medical treatments, it can be used as a complementary therapy, and various studies have indicated that reiki can be extremely relaxing - a state which is conducive to healing and wellness. When the mind and body rest, perhaps the body is able to enter into its natural, optimal state to relax, recharge and recuperate.

During reiki sessions, Pauline described how she intuitively senses images and colours as she channels reiki energy. She told me that, thankfully, my session had been a relaxing one for her, and that, as she had scanned my body, she had picked up on images such as a waterfall of rainbow light, a bird singing on a branch, a peacock-coloured butterfly. Pauline also described my aura as rose-gold and purple. Beautiful, evocative, restful images and symbols. And, for me, I am fascinated by the intuitive and imaginative aspect of reiki, and feel that this is key.

Anything that unlocks our intuition and frees our imagination, that allows us to open ourselves up to hope and that gives us permission to believe in ourself - particularly our ability to 'mend' our self - is something that interests me deeply. Perhaps 'universal life energy' - being within us and around us all the time, and since the dawn of time - is something that reiki activates within us through the simple awareness of and belief in it.

As Osho writes in Beloved of my Heart, 'The function of the healer is to reconnect...The healer is a function.... The doer is life itself, the whole'. Perhaps the ultimate gift of reiki, reiki healer and reiki recipient, then, is its unifying force, its ability to reconnect us with our wise inner self who knows what it is that we need. Perhaps it is we who heal ourselves - sometimes emotionally, sometimes physically. Perhaps reiki simply knocks at the door of our unconscious self, unlocks it and awakens the sleeping, transformative power within, helping us slip the chrysalis and emerge, open-winged, beautiful as a butterfly...