This is about one author's personal, anecdotal experience and should not substitute medical advice. If you're having health concerns of any kind, we urge you to speak to a healthcare professional.
When I received an email asking if I wanted to try a reiki session with one of Sydney's most sought-after master healers, I thought, why not? I wouldn't call myself spiritual, but at the same time, I'm not opposed to it. (I mean, I've dabbled in meditation, and that counts, right?). My initial thoughts were that perhaps pieces of crystal would be balanced along the length of my spine, and I'd even receive a little light massage. But I was wrong. Admittedly, I didn't even Google "reiki" beforehand, and I think I'm glad I didn't.
To give a little context, I'm in my 20s and work in digital publishing (Captain Obvious, I know). I work long hours, but I love my job and receive so much enjoyment and fulfillment from it. I eat well, exercise regularly, have a wonderful family, and live in beautiful Australia. My life is really special; this I know. At the time of my appointment, I'd had a stressful week (bills and fines, to put it bluntly), but I didn't think I harbored any bad energy. It seems I was wrong—or burying it, so to speak. When I underwent a reiki session, it wound up being very personal, so much so that I second-guessed writing about it. But I think that a lot of people who have been curious about reiki will appreciate my firsthand account, so here we go.
Keep scrolling to read about my experience with reiki.
What Is Reiki?
What Is Reiki?
A healing technique that dates back to ancient Japan in which a practitioner transmits energy through their hands—touch is often part of it but not required—to allow qi, or life force, to flow more naturally through the recipient's body.
Before getting started on my reiki session, master healer Tania Dobbie explained to me that reiki is an ancient Japanese healing practice built upon that thought that it charges the body with positive energy, in turn, clearing and healing our own energy pathways and allowing our "life force" to flow in a healthy, natural way. She explained that while our mind often blocks out certain emotions or experiences as a coping mechanism, the body remembers it all. I was told I may feel either very hot, freezing cold, or like I'm unable to breathe, or experience memory flashes (among other things)—all the different ways your body can respond.
Benefits of Reiki
- Helps with relaxation
- May be beneficial in reducing pain levels
While more research needs to be done, reiki is believed to aid in centering you—allowing you time to focus on yourself and your emotions. A 2017 study found that reiki worked better than a placebo in terms of managing health conditions and showed promise for use as a post-operative therapy. (It's currently used by certain hospitals or for those in need of cancer support or drug and alcohol rehabilitation). What's more, the study noted that reiki "activates the parasympathetic nervous system to heal body and mind."
Other studies have found that reiki also has an impact on mental health and pain, specifically among older adults suffering from depression. The participants of that study found the practice to be relaxing and calming, with reiki intervention "significantly [improving] measures of pain, depression, and anxiety when compared with those who did not receive the intervention."
How to Prepare for a Reiki Session
Reiki practitioners recommend that you refrain from drinking alcohol, coffee, and sugary drinks at least three hours before your session. It's also a good idea to decompress a bit before your session—you can take a short walk, practice deep breathing exercises, or do a meditation session about an hour to 30 minutes before your appointment. And most importantly, be sure to wear comfortable, lightweight clothing. Yoga pants and a cotton T-shirt are great options.
What to Expect During a Reiki Session
My session was held at Face Plus Medispa in Bondi Beach near Sydney, and now that it's all said and done, I can't recommend master healer Tania Dobbie enough. To start, I walked into a dark room and laid on the bed. Aside from a few warm heat packs and Tania's hands placed lightly on my back, stomach, ears, and neck, not a whole lot is actually involved.
I focused on breathing and clearing my mind, and I found that after a while, I zoned out to the point where I wasn't sure if Tania had her hands on me at all. I didn't have vivid flashes in my mind, but I did have some weird moments where I wasn't sure if I was awake or asleep and I felt my heart rate speed up.
Once we were finished, Dobbie told me to gently open my eyes before she began to explain everything she felt. One of the first questions she asked me was if I was close to my grandfather. I answered that I was close to my grandfathers on both sides, but my mom's dad had passed within the last few years. She proceeded to tell me that she felt him by my right ear (she described it as a warm feeling). I thought this a little bizarre, as my grandfather had a stroke in the left side of his body, so he only had use of the right side. My "guide," was the word she used to explain it. She also added that I was holding onto a lot of grief, anxiety, and negative energy relating to something traumatic that happened to me as a child.
This struck me, as I've only ever visited a psychic once before, who also told me I had endured something very traumatic as a child. I've always thought it was b.s. (I had a happy childhood, as far as I'm concerned), but just this morning, a friend of mine (after I debriefed her about my reiki experience) suggested I ask my mom about my birth, as often a traumatic birth will stay with you for life. I didn't even need to call my mom—I knew that I was yanked out with forceps, resulting in back problems that have plagued me for the greater part of my life. I'd like to note that Dobbie also made a point of calling out that physical issues with my back were causing me not to breathe deeply. This really made a lot of sense and was kind of a lightbulb moment for me.
Dobbie told me the rest of her reading—a lot relating back to stress, too much screen time, and a need to ground myself—and suggested some areas for me to focus on in order to shift some of the negative energy and emotions. Apparently, salt lamps and crystals on your desk are supposed to be great at preventing screen radiation from tampering with your energy.
Potential Side Effects
I left my reiki session feeling a little heavy and very affected, if that makes sense. Plus, I carried everything she said with me for the rest of the day (and even now as I write this story). Depending on your session, you could feel incredibly euphoric and experience a significant mood boost, or you could feel tired and maybe been a bit drained and fatigued. It's advised that you clear some time on your schedule (even just 20 minutes) after your session to help process your feelings and mood.
The average cost of a single reiki session is anywhere between $60-$90. As always, this cost can vary by your location, the treatment center, and your practitioner. Your cost will also vary based on the length of your treatment, which can range anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.
After a reiki session, you might feel a little sad, or even slightly overwhelmed. That's completely normal. You'll want to make sure to schedule some self-care time after your treatment—that could mean reading a book, meditating, drinking some tea and doing a crossword puzzle, doing a bit of journaling and reflection, taking a long walk, or calling a friend. Reiki practitioners also advise you to avoid alcohol and smoking for 24 hours after your session and to drink plenty of water afterward.
The Final Takeaway
Overall, I think it was incredible, and I'll be going back (maybe after I work on my "focus" areas to see if Dobbie notices anything different). I do think it's best to go in with an open mind, which I did, but it was amazing to have one person so dedicated and in tune with what I was feeling internally—both consciously and subconsciously. Dobbie brought to light a lot of issues I didn't even know I was dealing with. If you're feeling low, stressed, defeated, or generally down, I really can't recommend reiki enough. Likewise, if you're looking for an overall detoxing experience, it's 100 percent worth booking. Dobbie says it's more detoxifying than some massages.
Anjana Kundu, Rebecca Dolan-Oves, Martha A. Dimmers, Cara B. Towle, Ardith Z. Doorenbos,
Reiki training for caregivers of hospitalized pediatric patients: A pilot program,
Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice,
Volume 19, Issue 1,
Vitale, Anne T. MSN, APRN, BC; O'Connor, Priscilla C. PhD, APRN, BC The Effect of Reiki on Pain and Anxiety in Women With Abdominal Hysterectomies, Holistic Nursing Practice: November 2006 - Volume 20 - Issue 6 - p 263-272