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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Post your New Year's resolutions here

If you keep a New Year's resolution to yourself, it's easier to break, isn't it?

So we invite you to post your resolutions here and get the support of our global Reiki community.

To state your intentions for 2009, just add them as a comment to this post on our web site, or email them to

Happy New Year!

2008: The year in Reiki

Welcome to this year's final edition of The Reiki Digest. We won't be publishing on December 25 or January 1, so our next edition will be January 8, 2009. Instead, we'll be asking our readers to post their New Year's resolutions on our web site during our hiatus.

(Our other Reiki enterprise, The Reiki Dojo in New York City, will be open on Mondays only for the next two weeks. Our regular weekly meetings will be held as usual on Dec. 22 and 29.)

This week, we're wrapping up 2008 with a look back. 

As 2008 began, we had hundreds of readers in 80 countries, and our goal was to reach at least 100 nations by year's end. We're happy to report that we now have more than 1,500 readers in 142 countries, and we thank each and every one of you for the attention you've given us this year. We hope this review will be especially helpful to those who just joined us recently, but it's good for all of us to pause and reflect now and then.

In January, we reported that a new national healthcare council was being set up in the United Kingdom for the voluntary regulation of complementary therapies. That organization, the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, was established in April and had one meeting in July. Practitioners can begin registering sometime in January 2009, according to the organization's web site. The group's board of directors is already in place, and the majority of them seem to have a background in conventional medicine.

In March, Reiki made headlines in Wired magazine with an article about therapies for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, and Sully the Shetland Sheepdog became our first four-legged Celeb-Reiki.

In April, we celebrated cherry blossom season and introduced a regular feature, the Weekly Waka. What's a waka? It's not only a form of poetry, but it's one of the major genres of Japanese literature. Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki, recommended using waka as part of the hatsurei-ho meditation. They are also used at the meetings of the Japanese Reiki association (Usui Reiki Ryoho Gakkai) and at The Reiki Dojo as well.

In May, Reiki practitioner and mountain climber Santiago Quintero reached the summit of the world's fifth-highest mountain, Makalu, on the Tibet/Nepal border, even though he had lost most of his toes on a 2002 climb in South America. Also in May, I had the privilege of completing my third Reiki Master program, this time in Komyo Reiki with the founder of that lineage, Hyakuten Inamoto.

In June, The Reiki Digest celebrated its second anniversary, and we had a lively discussion on Reiki, the precepts, and the Law of Attraction that went on for most of that month.

And of course, throughout the year, we welcomed guest writers with great articles about their own experiences with Reiki, something we hope to do even more of in 2009.

We have lots of other plans for the New Year, too, and we look forward to learning about yours.

Happy Holidays, and we'll see you in January!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The weekly waka


A wee grain of sand,
So irritates an oyster
That it spends its life
Transforming the tiny speck
Into a beautiful pearl.
(By Michael Dagley)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Barack Obama: Celeb-Reiki

We still haven't come up with any evidence that Barack Obama has a Reiki connection, but we're hoping that someone on his health care transition team will learn about it. The President-elect, who today introduced his health care team, is our Celeb-Reiki this week because of an email we got this morning from Reiki Master and author Pamela Miles. We got it several more times during the day, forwarded from Reiki practitioners all over the United States who wanted to make sure other Reiki aficionadoes saw it, too, in time to take advantage of the opportunity to contribute our input. Here it is:

Dear Janet,

The Obama/Biden health care transition team is taking comments from the public. This is an unprecedented opportunity for Americans to express ourselves directly to our government, without having to go through layers of elected officials and lobbyists.

I urge you to take the time to express your values, needs, and suggestions for health care reform. And while doing so, consider mentioning Reiki specifically. You might, for example, express your preference to have non-invasive complementary therapies such as Reiki reimbursed by insurance and offered in mainstream care.

If you choose to mention Reiki, here are a couple of points to keep in mind as you compose your comment:

Write as a health care consumer rather than as a Reiki practitioner, expressing that you have found Reiki to be useful both in your wellness care and to support you when addressing medical conditions, and that you would like to have full access to Reiki treatment and training for yourself and your family.

Include the link to NCCAM's Reiki Backgrounder to show that Reiki is already recognized by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the government's health agency.

Click here to share your comments with the Obama/Biden team. You can copy and paste this link to the NCCAM Reiki Backgrounder

Please let your friends know about this opportunity, whether or not they are Reiki practitioners.

Reiki blessings,

Just in case someone on the Obama team -- or anyone else, for that matter -- wants to know more about Reiki, Pamela has put together a very nice video on the subject as well.

Pamela will be our guest at The Reiki Dojo in New York on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. for Top 3 Secrets of a Medical Reiki Master: A Conversation with Pamela Miles. If you're in the New York City area, we hope you'll be able to join us.

Ask Jenn: How can I keep my clients coming back?

Editor's note: Our readers ask, and The Reiki Digest's advice columnist Jenn Givler answers. Here's her column for this month. If you have a question for Jenn, send it to or add it as a comment to this post on our web site.

By Jenn Givler, Reiki Master and Intuitive Business Coach

Hi Jenn,

This is the second time in two days that you have either been recommended or have appeared in some communication, so I'm taking the cue from the Universe and writing this evening.

I am a Reiki Ryoho Master/Teacher and I face the challenge of attracting and retaining clients who are committed enough to wellness to consistently practice Reiki. Many clients see the benefits of Reiki; however, it doesn't typically make their prioritized list of things to do. I originally targeted my niche market as individuals interested in holistic wellness, being proactive about their well-being and open to a "non-traditional" modality for wellness.

How do I incent individuals to come to me and return?



I’m so glad you took a cue from the Universe and reached out ;)

There are many ways that you can try to incent clients to return for repeat sessions. However, the best thing to first address is your niche.

When thinking about your niche, it’s really important to focus on a specific group of people with a specific challenge that you can help them with. And I know you’ve identified a niche, but I’m going to challenge you to focus that group even more.

The reason for this is two-fold. First, it will allow you to work with only your ideal clients – those people that you truly and deeply resonate with, and who truly and deeply resonate with you. And secondly, when you are out in the world with your business, it will help people understand exactly how you can help them.

To understand this a little better, let’s do a visualization exercise. Take a few deep breaths and become centered. Clear your mind. Now, visualize yourself at a big party full of great people, great food, and a wonderful atmosphere. Really sink into that vision. Imagine you are being introduced to someone for the first time. After the initial introductions and a small amount of getting to know one another, the question arises, “What do you do?” How do you answer that question? And how do you feel when you’re asked that question?

If you answered that question by trying to explain or educate the other person, or if you felt fear or anxiety when asked, there’s a good chance your niche isn’t defined enough.

When your niche is too general, you have to use very general language when talking to people about what it is that you do. For example, you might say something like “I’m a Reiki Practitioner.”

From there, the other person might say, “Oh, wonderful – and what exactly is it that you do?” And you go on to explain what you do in regard to Reiki, and possibly have to educate the person a little bit on what a session is like, and what exactly Reiki is.

In this instance, depending on the other person, they may understand what you do, but they may still be unclear on exactly how you can help them.

However, if you can define your niche as being a specific group of people with a specific challenge, you can give a very defined answer to that question – no education or explanation needs to take place, and most importantly – people feel an almost instant connection with you and what you do. They quickly understand how you can help them or someone they know.

An example of that would be “I’m a Reiki Practitioner and I specialize in helping moms reconnect with their spirit.”

A statement like that instantly connects with a busy mom… or someone who knows a busy mom. Hearing something like that, someone might respond with an answer like “Oh wow – I’m a mom of 2 busy boys, sometimes I forget who I am. And it seems lately, I even forget what I enjoy doing!”

When I look at the niche you’ve cited above, it’s actually a bit broad. And even though we want our niches to include lots of people, we want them to be more defined.

From a marketing standpoint, this makes your message so much clearer, and you voice easier to hear. You’ll know exactly how to write your marketing materials (including your web site, brochures, fliers, etc. . .) in a way that really reaches and connects with the people who need you. And, you’ll know exactly where those folks are congregating so you can put yourself right in front of them.

From a practice standpoint, this will help people understand why regular Reiki treatments with you are important. If the mom in the example above understands that you can help her reconnect with her Divine Spirit – and even remember her hobbies, and learn how to take time for herself – she’ll come back to you again and again.

By narrowing your niche, you’ll deepen your work with your clients. You’ll understand exactly what these folks are needing from you and you’ll be able to structure your practice around their needs – you’ll be able to offer sessions, session packages, workshops, etc. . . all based on their specific needs.

DPReiki, I could talk for days about how having a niche helps your practice – both from a marketing stand-point, and a deepening stand-point. If you have follow-up questions, please feel free to post them here. I’m happy to carry on the discussion!

For now, here are a few questions to help you start the process of narrowing your niche:

1. Who are your favorite clients to work with? List them out.
2. Why is it that you like working with them so much?
3. What qualities and traits do these people share?
4. What common challenges and issues that you feel strongly about helping them with?
5. What do you bring from your past experience that makes helping them resonate so deeply?

If you see commonalities, or patterns, or you see a particular defined group emerging – excellent! From here, you can begin to address those people and those challenges directly in your practice.

Thanks, Jenn, and thanks, dpreiki!

Reiki Roundup

This week our roundup begins in the "world's largest-circulation magazine," AARP: The Magazine, where Reiki gets a mention in an article about natural remedies for chronic pain. For the rest of the world, AARP stands for American Association of Retired Persons, most of whom aren't actually retired.

Rest in peace

Reiki practitioner Bernice Sobel Bock, 77, of Carrboro, Virginia, August 23, 2008. 

Reiki Master Mary Elizabeth Kulick Almas, 59, of Long Beach, California, October 28, 2008.

Reiki Master Teacher Kamala St. Germain, 75, Hocksett, New Hampshire, December 1, 2008.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The weekly waka


Sunset comes early
As chilly nights grow longer
And winter draws near,
Its frozen fingers tickling
Us beneath our heavy coats.
(By Michael Dagley)

Upcoming events at The Reiki Dojo

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2:30-4 pm: Top 3 Secrets of a Medical Reiki Master: A Conversation with Pamela Miles. $30 in advance/$35 at the door. Spaces are limited! Click here to register.

Monday, Dec. 15, 5-7 pm: Reiki mini-sessions: 20 minutes/$25.  Spaces are extremely limited! Click here to reserve your session. Available every Monday.

Monday, Dec. 15, 7-8 pm: Private meditation group

Monday, Dec. 15, 8-9 pm: Open meeting, guests welcome. Reservations strongly recommended. Click here to reserve your space

For more information, email or call 917-512-1330

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Round and Round: A Reiki Story

Dear readers,

Today we present another in our occasional series,
My Reiki Story. If you'd like to share your own Reiki Story, please send it to us at

Round and Round: Reiki and Vestibular Disorders

Elise M. Brenner practicing Reiki

Imagine visiting New York City for the first time in your life, but you are not able to look at thrilling architectural sights beyond the first floor. Imagine accompanying excited children to the playground, but you are not able to watch your own children swoop with glee on the swings or squeal with delight on the merry-go-round. Imagine that everyday tasks, such as dusting and doing laundry, are minefields with disaster looming with each turn of the head. This puzzling set of challenges is what individuals suffering from inner-ear balance disorders, known as vestibular disorders, face every day.

For two decades I battled a vestibular disorder which interfered with my daily activities and created serious anxiety. I faced constant uncertainty, not knowing what wrong move I might make would set off an “episode.” An “episode” for me went something like this: I either wake up in the morning with the room spinning, or I engage in an activity during the day that sets off dizziness. The dizziness soon induces nausea. The nausea, in turn, causes vomiting. At this point, whatever people or places were supposed to fill my day, were completely over for me. All I could do was to sit completely still, perhaps moaning a bit, between bouts of vomiting. Despite attempts at various medications, the scenario may well end with a trip to the emergency room due to severe dehydration.

Biomedical interventions through the years provided some relief, but were never a guarantee that an agonizing day would not ensue. The anxiety in my life at that time centered not around job or family, but around whether I would get through the day, week, month without a horrifying dizzy-nausea-vomiting episode. I can recall many frantic moments making phone calls, during which I could barely speak, to get a substitute instructor or to otherwise inform co-workers and employers that I was too ill to work. Needless to say, sufferers from vestibular disorders endure chronic and severe physical and emotional symptoms from which most folks are blessedly shielded.

The gift of Reiki and a reprieve from my own vestibular disorder came in an unexpected way, as is common to many Reiki practitioners and clients. My sister-in-law, attuned to Reiki 1, offered to treat a back strain I experienced. I was surprised and delighted to feel intense warmth emanating from her hands during the treatment, and elated to walk away with great comfort in my lower back. I sought out my sister-in-law several more times over the next few years for exercise-related knee pain and back aches. I always asked her to put her hands over the injured body part, and was completely unaware that whole body treatments were possible. Each time she treated me I was blessed with relief from the specific pain and my healing time was greatly reduced. I was grateful to my sister-in-law for the Reiki treatments and amazed at the results, but nothing further occurred to me at the time.

I felt curious about how such beneficial results were possible, but had drawn a boundary in my mind between Western science and “anything else.” Although I am an anthropologist and have developed a deep respect for ancient and cross-cultural healing practices, as a Westerner, I felt that such techniques belonged to others and we should not appropriate this knowledge for ourselves. I had drawn a line which took my own journey with Reiki to erase. With time, and Reiki, I was able to truly know and feel that all peoples and all wisdom are connected. I was able to let go of the feeling that certain knowledge and practices are “owned” by one culture and not available to others.

As a busy anthropology instructor, with many students and piles of papers to correct, I rarely had time to peruse community publications. But one day, for what seemed like no particular reason, I happened to pick up a copy of a local newsletter and there I read about a Reiki 1 class being offered. Without hesitation, I called and registered for the class. There have been only a few events in my life that I undertook without deliberation, and all of these were among the most valuable events in my life. Reiki 1 was no exception. I loved every moment of every hour of the class. The attunements felt natural to me; they felt like something for which I had always been waiting. I began self-treatments immediately, and have not missed a day ever since.
One day, perhaps a month or two later, I stopped short in the middle of an ordinary day and suddenly realized I had not experienced a dizzy-nausea-vomiting episode for quite some time. I thought to myself, “could it be the Reiki?” I tried to work out the timing of my Reiki 1 class and the apparent cessation of my vestibular disorder symptoms. Well, the timing sure seemed about right. Still, despite the facts that stared me in the face, the scientific me was still looming over the Reiki me, being skeptical about the whole thing. I persisted in my self-treatments and the months without any symptoms of dizziness rolled by. I thought about the balancing effects of Reiki and considered that the self-treatments had literally balanced me! I did not suddenly flirt with danger, and run outside to do somersaults on the lawn or trek out to Six Flags to hit the giant roller coaster, but my daily trepidation and anxiety had melted away along with the vestibular disorder symptoms.

Months had passed by now, and during that time I was blessed again to take Reiki 2. Still a busy person who rarely read community publications, I happened to pick up the newsletter from my local hospital. On the last page was a list of support groups. What made me read through the list, I do not know, but there was a Vestibular Disorders Support Group! So many thoughts flooded my mind, “why didn’t I know about this years ago? What a boon to people who suffer in ways that no one else can really relate to! Hey, maybe I have a responsibility to contact the group and share with them my experience with the healing benefits of Reiki!!” Yet, as a Reiki practitioner with a fledgling private practice, I felt that touting the benefits of Reiki to a Vestibular Support group would smack of self-serving marketing. On the other hand, I was, in fact, actively seeking clients at that time. I went back and forth: should I contact the group? Do I have a real responsibility here? What is the path of honesty for me in this situation? In the end, with the encouragement of Reiki friends, I took the plunge and phoned the support group’s facilitator. She was open and welcoming, with only a hint of doubt and skepticism. She knew how difficult Vestibular Disorders are to treat and that her group members were always looking for help. I discussed my experiences, and how Reiki alleviated my symptoms. I was invited to make a presentation at the group’s meeting in two months.

Prior to the presentation, the group’s facilitator made an appointment to receive a full Reiki treatment from me. She wanted to be able to personally vouch for me to her group’s members. The treatment, she felt, was beneficial, and she further felt comfortable recommending Reiki treatment to her members. Given that this was to be my first semi-public presentation about Reiki, I planned everything ahead of time: first, there would be brief introductions during which people could also tell what they knew about Reiki; second, I would tell my own story; third, I would explain what Reiki is and what a treatment is like; finally, I would take questions and offer sample treatments. I planned to bring books, articles, and brochures for people to browse through while I gave sample treatments. I assumed I’d be lucky if two, or at most, three, people volunteered to receive sample treatments.

The presentation went something like I’d imagined and planned for. The major differences were, first, that the members were warmer, more encouraging, and more welcoming that I’d envisioned. Second, every single person sitting around the large table wanted a sample treatment! After checking with the facilitator, who gave me the go-ahead, I gave sample treatments to each of the group members in turn. And, yes, I gave out my business cards. I offered all Vestibular Disorders Support group members a perpetual discount off each Reiki session, since my heart was inextricably connected to them and their pain. After the meeting, the facilitator emailed the members, asking them for their reactions to the presentation and sample treatments. Several reported sleeping better that very night and several were hoping to try Reiki. A few weeks later, two of the group members became clients of mine. One benefited immediately with relief from insomnia. The other made a long-term commitment to Reiki treatments, feeling that the Reiki definitely was helping her feel clearer headed. She is now looking forward to becoming attuned to Reiki herself.

Now, instead of going round and round with dizziness, I am able to allow the Reiki energy to flow into me and out to others in a healing cycle. So, it does go round and round, after all.

Note: For more information on vestibular disorders, visit the Vestibular Disorders Association at

Thanks, Elise!

The Reiki Dojo and The Reiki Digest present: Top 3 Secrets of a Medical Reiki Master

Dear readers, 
This is the first event in The Reiki Dojo's new full-time Reiki center in New York, so we'd like to share the excitement with you even if you're too far away to join us. Stay tuned for more special events in the coming year.

Top 3 Secrets of a Medical Reiki Master

A Conversation with Pamela Miles

At The Reiki Dojo in New York

Saturday, December 13, 2008
2:30-4 p.m.

You've probably heard that Reiki is being used with increasing frequency in hospitals and other medical settings. You may have thought about practicing medical Reiki yourself. Or you may be a health-care professional who'd like to offer Reiki to patients. Even if you'd rather stay out of hospitals, you may want to receive referrals from physicians and other conventional health care professionals, or you may find yourself called upon to help a friend or loved one.

Medical Reiki expert Pamela Miles, author of REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide, has worked for decades to serve as a bridge between the medical culture and alternative medicine. Pamela has practiced Reiki in the operating room with Dr. Mehmet Oz, taught medical Reiki classes in the U.S. and beyond, and is the founder of I*ACT, the Institute for the Advancement of Complementary Therapies.

Pamela will be joining us at The Reiki Dojo in New York on Saturday, December 13, 2008, for an enlightening conversation about what she has learned in practicing Reiki alongside doctors and nurses and training them to practice Reiki, and what you need to know to work effectively in the medical culture.

The Reiki Dojo is dedicated to the study and practice of traditional Japanese Reiki. We are located at the Classical Wellness Center, 214 W. 29th St. (between 7th and 8th avenues), Suite 901. For more information, contact us at:

$30 in advance $35 at the door

Spaces are limited!

The Reiki Digest and The Reiki Dojo are both part of Healing Movement LLC.

A video Reiki Roundup

It's our first-ever all-video Reiki Roundup!

First stop, Fresno, California, where KFSN-TV News has a nice report on Reiki for humans and animals -- there are some unfortunate errors, including a misspelling of Reiki, but still, it's a must-see.

Next stop, New York, New York, where Fox 5 News reports on Reiki in a New Jersey hospital.

And finally, from the web site of the Canadian Reiki Association, a TV report on Reiki that's several months old but still current. There's no direct link, so you'll need to scroll down the main page on their site and look for the headline "Reiki on CITY TV's Breakfast Television Show".

We're Number 1! We're Number 1! (In spa trends, that is)

Energy medicine, including Reiki, is the Number 1 spa trend for 2009, according to Spa Finder!

The announcement even includes a quote that you may have read first in The Reiki Digest: Dr. Mehmet Oz telling Oprah that "the next big frontier of medicine…is energy medicine."

Other trends include casinos in spas, medical tourism spas, greener spas, brain exercises, and in-transit spas.

Building your Reiki Practice on BlogTalkRadio

Many thanks to Reiki Digest advice columnist Jenn Givler for having me as a guest on her BlogTalkRadio show yesterday. We talked about Building your Reiki Practice, and it was so much fun not only to talk with Jenn but to see the comments posted in the chatroom during the webcast. If you missed it, no worries: the program is available on demand so you can listen anytime you want.

Reiki sports update: Roulston wins again

Cyclist and Reiki practitioner Hayden Roulston of New Zealand, who came back from a life-threatening heart condition to win Silver and Bronze medals in the Beijing Olympics earlier this year, last month won the Tour of Southland, New Zealand's premier multi-stage road race, for the third straight time. His next stop is Europe, and possibly the Tour de France.

The Celeb-Reiki Report

We have two Celeb-Reikies this week, one a first-timer, the other a re-Celeb-Reiki.

First, the first-time honoree: famed designer and philanthropist Donna Karan. We've been wondering if she had a Reiki connection since we first heard about her Urban Zen Institute last year. But we couldn't establish one until we heard that the institute's new Integrative Therapist Training program will include Reiki.

Our re-Celeb-Reiki is Grammy-winning musician and natural healer Erykah Badu, who seems to be putting even more emphasis on natural healing these days.

Monday, December 01, 2008

The weekly waka


The brittle cocoon,
Split from inside, releases
The new butterfly
To unfold its fragile wings,
A caterpillar reborn.
(By Michael Dagley)