I like to think that I'm open to learning and trying new things. I probably won't go skydiving or bungee jumping anytime soon (fear of heights), but when it comes to interesting-sounding activities and ideas that are low-risk and don't involve a lengthy release form, heck, I'll give it a whirl. It's especially true when we're talking about new health and wellness treatments, buys, and more. It's part of my job description to try them anyway, and I've always been an overachiever.
When I was approached by Elaine Guillon and Dalina In, founders of holistic wellness company Eternal Therapy in San Francisco, about trying a reiki healing session, I thought, Why not? We're exploring alternative forms of wellness on THE/THIRTY this month, so it was kismet that I had the opportunity.
I didn't know much about reiki before the treatment; all I knew was about healing your energy and that the practitioner sort of puts their hands on you or hovers them above you. Since my type-A personality likes to know all the details beforehand, I asked Guillon and In for more information.
"Originating from Japan, reiki is a form of energy healing based on unity, compassion, and humanity," Guillon said. "In addition to performing reiki on others, practitioners also practice on their own, following what are called the Five Reiki Precepts. This allows them to get in touch with their own energies and be a clear channel in order to better help and tap into others' energy centers or chakras."
The two founders met while working at Louis Vuitton and decided to found their practice in 2016 as they found their true purpose in life—spiritual healing. They have training and certification in reiki (working with a master from Tokyo), spiritual development, spiritual release and energy management, and hypnotherapy.
That sounded pretty good to me, but how would I know if my energy needed healing? What was my energy like? What if my energy was broken beyond repair? (I didn't say I wasn't dramatic.) But In said that one of the major benefits of reiki is stress reduction and relaxation, so at least during and after the session maybe I'd feel a bit calmer and wouldn't ask crazy questions. "It allows for any energetic baggage that has been absorbed in unhealthy environments or situations to be released," she said. "Reiki can also provide clarity in relation to which chakra needs more energetic work and therefore relay what the emotional body is trying to express."
Since I was doing a distance reiki session instead of an in-person one, I wondered how effective that would be and what the differences were. We would be doing it over the phone, which I was wary about. How would In feel my energy if I was in Los Angeles and she was in San Francisco? I had my doubts, that's for sure.
"While many people prefer an in-person session, a distance session is able to provide the same benefits to those who may not have a Reiki practice in their area," In told me. "When carried out correctly by an experienced practitioner, it can provide a sense of hope and a better understanding of the effects of energy, even to those who are skeptical."
With that all in mind, I was ready to prep and do my first session.
Before the Session
I scheduled the treatment for midday on a Friday, and I made sure I could work from home that day so that I wouldn't be distracted in the office while talking on the phone. I was told that I would need to lie down during it, and if someone walked by and saw me lying down in a conference room, that would be awkward.
In suggested I drink plenty of water before and after to help with energy flow. To be honest, I forgot about that part so I only had a few sips of water during the morning. She also had this piece of advice for me, "It's very important to keep an open mind in your first Reiki session as skepticism can hinder the effectiveness. Remember that your practitioner is here to help you look introspectively and open doors for you in ways you have never imagined."
After making sure I had a place to lie down, I popped my AirPods in and gave In a call. I thought putting her on speakerphone might be too jarring, but do whatever works best for you.
During the Session
Photo:Photo Alto/John Dowland/Getty Images
In started the session by explaining to me what we were going to do and answering any lingering questions I had about reiki. Because her voice was so calming, I already felt at ease.
She then asked me for the date, time, and place of my birth. This was for the astrology portion of the session, which differs from regular reiki, whether distance or in-person. In told me that she uses astrology along with the energy work in her practice to give a different insight into your birth chart because it can help give you an interpretation of your soul's purpose, drive, and what you need for guidance. As someone who likes to dabble in astrology from time to time, I was more than happy to get more information.
In then shared a Spotify playlist with me of some soothing music and instructed me to play the music, lie down with my palms facing up, and close my eyes. She said after about 15 minutes, she would "call" me out and we would discuss what she felt from my energy. I have to admit, this was the hardest part because I felt a little awkward, and tried to tell myself to quiet my mind but kept overthinking doing the session "correctly." I think this takes some getting used to if I do more sessions.
After 15 minutes, In told me to turn off the music and we talked about the energy she felt and what was happening energy-wise in my different chakras and parts of my body, like my crown chakra, third eye, heart, and solar plexus (basically my gut).
I won't go into too much detail about the interpretation and guidance she gave me, since it's pretty personal, but I will say that a lot of it was very true to what I am feeling at this very moment in time. I made a big cross-country move six months ago and I still find myself slowly settling and rebuilding a new life—and a lot of what she told me was about not overthinking things and taking more action, letting go of fear, and opening myself up more to others and being more present. I know that sounds like something you'll hear just about anywhere, but trust me, it's not BS. When she went into detail about these concepts, I really felt like I was connecting with the session.
After the Session
The whole session took about an hour—15 minutes for the eye-closing and reclining portion, and 45 minutes to discuss my energy and birth chart. What really struck me about the distance session was that I didn't physically feel the energy work (that's more for in-person sessions, I think), but I found it to be more like a session with a therapist or wise friend. I came away from the whole thing with validation and recognition for things I had been feeling and thinking about, more insight into why I do or feel about certain things, and some action items to improve and better my life. I found it very thought-provoking, and as I write about it now, a few days later, I'm still thinking about the suggestions In gave me when I'm going about my day-to-day.
For those who are contemplating a distance session but are skeptical about energy work, from my experience, it was more about bettering your mind and actions as well as getting more insight into your current situation and some things you're struggling with subconsciously. I believe that anyone who is looking for some guidance or answers, or a different perspective, would benefit from this—and honestly, aren't we all looking for these things? The key thing is to just keep an open mind. As for me, I came out of the session more interested in reiki and am contemplating booking another treatment soon to talk about the topics we barely touched on during the first one. And if you're wondering about pricing, a distant healing session is $60 per hour.
As far as how often you should schedule a session, In told me that it depends on personal preference. "Depending on the intention or journey the individual is seeking, reiki can be very beneficial when practiced consistently," she said. "Many clients seek treatment once a week until the desired goal is reached and then follow up as needed. Reiki is great for pain treatment, directing energy toward specific goals, or simply working on one's self-development."