Here's the Deal With Reiki Healing

I need a lot of healing. I have a recurrent muscle pain in my neck (tech neck—it’s a thing), vague seasonal allergies (pollen—ugh), insomnia fueled by the anxiety of wedding planning (long-stem roses or magnolias?), and, of course, those pesky existential fears that come with growing up (and feeling like a pseudo grown-up most of the time). It was this jumble of ailments and anxieties that led me to say “well, sure,” when offered a reiki healing session in my living room one February evening.

Have a million questions about reiki healing and how it works? I'm about to answer them for you.


A Little Background

The night didn’t start out with healing intentions. Two close Italian friends—Pamela Alfonsi and Giulio Colombo—were visiting California after a spiritual trip to India, where they spent their time teaching Kundalini yoga, making jewelry, and hugging cows. The duo studied reiki healing under renowned shamans in India and is now offering healing sessions here in the U.S.

For a touch of context, reiki originated in Japan at the turn of the century as a way to channel the transcendent source of energy that is always present. It’s believed that this energy has natural healing powers that can be transmitted through the hands of a healer to the receiver. The practice has often been disregarded by the scientific community, but some recent studies indicate reiki may be gaining respect within the medical community. 

“Can you heal my neck muscle situation?” I asked excitedly after hearing the word “healing.” The response was a bit more enlightened than I’d hoped for. “With reiki, we are not healing you ourselves. Instead, we are functioning as an open vessel to channel the divine energy to your body, giving it space to heal itself,” Giulio explained.

So what does that mean, exactly? Essentially, healers use strategic hand placement to open chakras and allow energy to move wherever it is needed for healing. The process is helpful in balancing the mind and body, and releasing toxins and emotional blockages. Often people report that their physical ailments seem to heal themselves.

With an open mind, I got down on the floor and let the session begin.

The Reiki Healing Session

First, let me help you envision this scenario. I lay on the rug, shoes off. Giulio, clad in harem pants and a beard you could braid, sat cross-legged, posture alert, on the floor next to me. Relaxing nature music hummed in the background.

Throughout the course of the session, he slowly placed his hands in strategic places on my body, starting with the head and ending with the feet. He often rubbed his hands together as if channeling energy through friction. For the first 10 minutes, I felt nothing. Well, actually, I felt like I was laying on my living room floor having someone place their palms on me... I was dwelling in the comfortable neurosis of my mind.

I wondered how long this thing would last. I wondered if I’d be a disappointment because I felt nothing. I wondered what I would eat for dinner.  

Then something shifted. I began to feel incredibly relaxed. You know that feeling when you’re deep into a massage and you nod off into a half-asleep state? That’s how I felt. Except there was no massaging happening—strange. Soon I began to feel an intense pulsation throughout my entire body. I felt like I was being recharged and an electrical current was pulsing through me. The energy was strongest wherever he placed his hands and particularly intense on my feet. When he placed his hands on the soles of my feet I felt genuinely electric.

Before I knew it, an hour had passed. I opened my eyes and wondered, What the hell just happened?


The Results

After the session, my body felt like butter and my mind was quiet. I realized my requests to heal a muscle pain and wedding-planning anxiety were valid but ultimately small concerns. Instead, I felt rejuvenated and focused in a way that made me say to myself, Your neck will get better, and the wedding will happen exactly as it should. Period, not ellipsis.

According to Giulio and Pamela, that’s the power of reiki—it gives people the space and clarity to heal themselves. And guess what: My neck got better after a couple of days. Coincidence? Placebo effect? Possibly. But on the other hand, maybe not.

Have you ever tried reiki healing? Would you? We’d love to hear your thoughts!