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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Reiki Perspectives: Reiki research and Reiki practice

Rather than disciplining themselves to stay within the simple practice they were taught, some Reiki students succumb to the desire to change things or complicate the practice. Rather than being patient and seeing what would happen through practice alone--including letting the practice heal their need and desire for more--some practitioners are quick to judge what's happening, and hastily change the practice to make it somehow better, or more powerful, or whatever they think needs to be fixed in the practice. This has been happening since a few years after Mrs. Takata's death in 1980. Reiki master Robert Fueston was concerned about the differences among the practices he was taught, and sought out Takata's original students to research the situation. Read more...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The weekly waka

green gunpowder
in white porcelain -
neat stacks
of yuzen and rice paper
waiting to be stitched

by Beth Lowell

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spiritual Cinema Circle

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Review: Reiki - A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II by Marianne Streich

By Beth Lowell

Although her book covers a lot of territory, Marianne Streich’s Reiki – A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II is written clearly and concisely and is a pleasure to read. Infused with Streich’s passion for Reiki and down to earth style, the 8" x 10” comb bound book is chock full of illustrations, diagrams and photographs that make it visually appealing and easy to understand.

The book is organized by chapter and can be broken down roughly into four sections:

Reiki and its history
The treatment – what happens before, during and after
Self treatment and distant Reiki
Looking forward

Detailed information includes the pillars of Reiki, the human energy field, the chakra system, variations in hand positions and space clearing.

Because of her understanding of Reiki, Streich easily navigates topics like inner wisdom and calling in Reiki to assist in every facet of life. She has developed her own style of teaching and intuited several techniques. She includes  information on how and when to use these techniques, along with other visualizations, mantras and prayers she’s learned from her teachers throughout her spiritual journey.

A robust Appendices section includes the Code of Ethics, handouts, resources, music and meditation CDs, articles and books, Japanese pronunciation, handouts and FAQs.

Reiki A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II will be useful to practitioners of all levels and will make a great addition to your Reiki library. You can purchase it at

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The weekly waka

through the snow
on a morning late in March

by Beth Lowell 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Reiki for Cancer patients in the Wall Street Journal

By Beth Lowell

On Tuesday, March 15, the Wall Street Journal featured this article about Reiki for cancer patients, mentioning the program at Memorial Sloan-Kettering hospital. It's still clear that when people hear the word "touch", they understand it to mean "massage".   

Click here to learn more

Reiki perspectives: Usui Reiki or not Reiki?

By Pamela Miles

The term "Reiki" is used in various and ambiguous ways. There is much controversy about what the term Reiki really means, and what it should mean in the marketplace. Is it reasonable to assume that a product called "Reiki" can be traced back to the practice of Mikao Usui through the lineage he founded? Do Reiki professionals appreciate how the public struggles trying to get clear information about Reiki, and how that limits the field? Can we have a reasoned, respectful conversation about this? Maybe, and maybe not. Read more here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Usui in context - the great Kanto earthquake of 1923

"In September of (1923), there was a great earthquake and a conflagration broke out. Everywhere there were groans of pain from the wounded. Sensei (teacher), feeling pity for them, went out every morning to go around the town, and he cured and saved an innumerable number of people. This is just a broad outline of his relief activities during such an emergency."

From the Mikao Usui memorial stone (translated by Hyakuten Inamoto)

The above passage is exerpted from Janet Dagley Dagley's article, "Usui in Context: the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923', originally published in December, 2010 after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. We republish it now as the world focuses on helping and healing Japan in the aftermath of disaster. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Reiki focus group announced

The Reiki Digest is conducting our first focus group. Artist and Reiki practitioner Pam Turczyn would like your help by asking for your feedback after practicing Reiki using her mandala. We've received responses in all for categories of participants (offering a Reiki treatment, self care, distance treatments and meditations) but we still need more. One participant in each category will be eligible to receive an archival print of the mandala valued at $200.00. To read details, read the original announcement. readers' choice awards announced's reader choice awards have been announced! Congratulations to our own editor at large, Pamela Miles,for best Reiki blog and also to Llewellyn for best Reiki music - you can read a review of his 'Reiki Gold' CD  which was featured right here on The Reiki Digest in December, 2010. Well done!

The weekly waka

on a March morning
for reading in bed
with a cup of tea

by Beth Lowell

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan needs our help

Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Reiki meets Prana and it’s another case of no separation!

By Heather Alexander, Contributing Editor

In just a few weeks time thousands of Yogis will descend on Miami, Florida for the first of the years Wanderlust gatherings. It’s Yoga by day, rock music by night, all against a backdrop of sun and sand. The festival is now 4 times as big as it was when it started in 2009 which adds to a mountain of evidence that Yoga is one of the major success stories of spiritual practice. So we thought this would be a good chance to get into how exactly it works and how it fits with the practice of the system of Reiki.

I went to meet co creator of Wanderlust, Schuyler Grant. She’s no stranger to the press banging on her door. She was a child star, playing Anne’s best friend Diana in Anne of Green Gables. She’s since transformed into a leading lady of Yoga, founding New York’s Kula Yoga Project. Schuyler has also done Reiki level 1 and told me it was an amazing and powerful experience which changed her whole feeling about energy work.

Schuyler hosted a Reiki 1 class at Kula Yoga, it was a five day class and she says even after just that her experience of energy was palpable. She said she liked it because it wasn’t woo woo or fruity, it was very evidence based, “I was a blockhead, Earthbound tourist, American person, very much about what I could touch and feel, it became clear very quickly that the energy was just as tangible as being touched physically, it felt very real.”

Now I have never really got into Yoga so I was keen to ask her exactly what the deal is. Her explanation was very clear. Yoga means union or yoking, in this case connecting breath and movement, so when you practice poses or asanas you move consciously. She said breath was the biggest key to that and is what changes Yoga from just moving your body into an energetic practice. An energetic practice designed connect us to universal energy or Prana and guide us to some sort of enlightenment. On that journey the role of the asanas is to prepare you for sitting meditation. Schuyler says “the whole point is not the asana, the point is to be able to sit and you cant sit well until you can move well, and you sit so you can attain stillness.”

Now in my mind there can be no difference between what Yogis call Prana and what Reiki practitioners call Reiki. Call it what you like but universal energy is universal, right? Schuyler agreed they were “the same thing but with a slightly different execution.” While Yogis practice asanas and sitting, Reiki practitioners practice with the symbols and mantras, attunements, precepts and meditations which altogether lead us to effective hands on healing for ourselves and others.

So can coming at something from two different directions be helpful? I asked Schuyler what happened with her Yoga practice after she had done Reiki 1. She said it changed her Yoga teaching dramatically, “people in my Yoga classes would say when I touched them my hands were so hot it was amazing, Yoga is a touch practice as well so even if you are speaking the instructions so much is said in the way you touch someone’s body, the way we give cues by touching the top of their head. If you had cultivated a Reiki practice it would be really helpful.”

All I have to do now is check out whether practicing Yoga helps my practice of the system of Reiki! But perhaps some of you have some comments about that...

Find out more about Schuyler and the Wanderlust festival here.

Heather Alexander is the New York Partner Teacher for the International House of Reiki. She is also the presenter of NewUnderstanding, the online health and wellness show.

Interested in Health and Wellness news?


Reiki teacher Heather Alexander has just launched a fantastic new service for the spiritually minded. will realease a top quality new video each week. Follow Heather and her team as they interview the best practitioners like Qi Gong master Robert Peng and Yoga teacher Schuyler Grant featured in her article above. They'll try out different techniques so you know what's out there and what might work for you.

Watch the first episode at NOW! And subscribe to receive your weekly update.

Contact Heather for more information.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Participate in our first ever focus group: Can visual art support the healing process? - and be eligible to win an archival mandala print valued at $200.00!

Pamela Turczyn's mandala titled "Unconditional Love"
Could an image have the capacity to support your Reiki practice? Brooklyn and Woodstock, NY, based artist Pam Turczyn, a level 2 Reiki practitioner since 1998, wants to know. We do too, so we're calling for Reiki practitioner participants to help her find out about the potential of visual art to support the healing process by participating in a focus group. Pam's intention in creating art is to support universal evolution, as a healing modality, as a point of focus for manifesting a positive outcome and as a link to oneness consciousness.

All participants need do is to practice Reiki with the added element of Pam Turczyn's mandala titled, "Reiki: the Infinite Field."

We're looking for at least 15 and up to 40 participants each in four categories:

Practitioners treating clients in person, professionally or not
Practitioners doing distant treatments
Practitioners doing self care
Practitioners meditating

Practitioners of self-care, distant healing or Reiki meditation will practice in front of an image of the mandala on their computer screen. Practitioners offering Reiki in person to another person or animal will practice using a printed version of the mandala that will be mailed to them.

The focus group will run for a total of eight weeks, during which time, participants will use the mandala at least 5 times. At the end of eight weeks, participants will receive a questionnaire to complete. Results will be published here on The Reiki Digest, and the mandala used for practice in the focus group will be revealed. Identities of the participants will be kept private, unless you notify us otherwise.

One participant in each category will be selected by drawing to receive an 8"x8" signed and numbered print from the limited edition of Pam's "Reiki: The Infinite Field" mandala, printed on heavyweight Hahnemuhle archival paper, similar to the paper used for the original painting and which is valued at $200.00

If you'd like to participate in this focus group, please send an email to me, bethlowell @ and be sure to include the words "focus group" in the subject line.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Reiki perspectives: Getting your Reiki house in order

Reiki treatment is balancing. It's impossible to predict what might change when our systems are in balance, what unexpected benefits might show up. One of my students stopped drinking coffee. What's most surprising is that she wasn't trying. Another was able to get out from under the piles and start keeping her house in order. It all starts with relaxation, and we never know what path our healing will take from there. Read more here.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Reiki perspectives: Reiki myths...What is Reiki energy?

By Pamela Miles

In the Reiki community, the term Reiki energy is bantered about with little inquiry as to what it might actually mean, or if such a thing even exists.

I realize that simply stating this will trigger a knee jerk reaction in many practitioners. But why not take a look at the words we take for granted? We have so much to lose by using terms we don't really understand, without realizing we don't understand them, and using them to stop the inquiry rather than invite it. Read more

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Please welcome this month's guest editor, Marianne Streich

Dear readers,

Please welcome Marianne Streich.  Marianne has practiced and taught Reiki in Seattle since 2002. She has written numerous articles about Reiki, publishes a monthly e-newsletter, and is the author of Reiki: A Guide for the Practice of Levels I and II. She organized and coordinates the efforts of a group of practitioners, “The Distant Reiki Angels,” who respond to requests for distant healing. “I begin each day,” she says, “with the intention of being a healing presence in every thought, word, and deed. I never completely succeed, of course, but I always try.”

All Reiki is Usui Reiki

By Marianne Streich

Last fall I took a Reiki class with an instructor from Japan. During the class a fellow student began a question with, “I was trained in Usui Reiki….” The instructor quickly responded, “All Reiki is Usui Reiki.”

Reiki has taken myriad forms since Mikao Usui developed his natural healing method in the 1920’s, Dr. Hayashi expanded it within the context of his medical training, and Mrs. Takata introduced her variation of Hayashi’s work to the West in the 1930’s. There are now countless expressions of Reiki throughout the world—numerous schools, numerous lineages, numerous programs, and as many individual expressions as there are practitioners. No matter the expression it takes, ALL Reiki IS Usui Reiki. There is only one requisite—that the practitioner be attuned by an instructor who traces his or her lineage back to Usui Sensei. The path of that lineage is of much less consequence than where it leads.

Yes, it is important to seek instruction from competent teachers who are actively involved in the practice of Reiki, who give thorough instruction, continually grow in their own knowledge and practice, willingly answer questions, and are committed to supporting students in their Reiki journeys. Equally important, I believe, is what we do with the instruction we are given. If we are to reach our full Reiki potential, Reiki training is simply a springboard, a place to begin what will inevitably become a very personal journey, if we are willing to embark upon it. The lineage with which we are associated is but the beginning of that journey, the catalyst that impels us forward. It is not an end in itself.

Whatever our lineage, ultimately, Reiki itself is our best teacher. Although we learn a great deal from instructors, mentors, colleagues, articles and books, I believe it is through actual practice that Reiki reveals itself to us in a profoundly personal way, teaching each of us individually the best way to work with it. We need only to yield to its healing grace and allow ourselves to learn its lessons.

Recently, a client told me that during the treatment she had lost all sense of my having a physical body and “saw” me, hands and body, as only light. Not long after that, while I was receiving a treatment from my Reiki exchange partner, I became aware through closed eyelids of a bright light beside the table. At first I thought it was a lamp that I hadn’t been aware of previously, but then I realized that the light was my exchange partner. My sense of her body was of a dim shadow outlined within a bright field of light. This, I believe, is the goal of Reiki—that we merge with the energy to the degree that we become not only channels for Reiki, but Reiki itself.

I believe we achieve this deep connection, not because of the particular lineage we bear, but by cultivating consciousness. Some of the ways we can cultivate the consciousness of Reiki:

  • Attempting to vibrate at the very highest level possible in every situation. This means choosing compassion not only when we are giving a treatment to a client, but also when someone cuts us off in traffic.
  • Adhering to the highest ethical standards in our practice of Reiki and in our personal lives.
  • Refraining from judging others or comparing ourselves with others so that we may know them and ourselves as Light.
  • Engaging in a personal spiritual practice, including a daily meditation or quiet time.
  • Daily Reiki self-treatment and a deep commitment to our own healing on all levels. (Elaine Grundy’s research, reported on in the February issue, is a powerful testament to the effectiveness of self-treatment.)
  • Receiving Reiki from other practitioners. The most profound healing and the deepest personal insights have come to me during treatments from my Reiki exchange partners.
  • Continually expanding our knowledge and understanding of Reiki.
  • Giving Reiki treatments. I am most open to the lessons Reiki has to teach me while I am giving treatments to others.
  • Remaining awake and aware to Reiki’s lessons and trusting and acting upon the messages we are given.
In ever-growing numbers, we Reiki practitioners bring healing to ourselves, to other beings, and to our planet. Rather than inquiring about his or her lineage when we meet a practitioner for the first time, and perhaps mentally or verbally judging its merit relative to our own, we might better seek answers to questions such as: “How is Reiki expressing in the world through you?” “What has Reiki taught you?” “How has Reiki changed your life?” “How can we support each other on our Reiki paths?” “Are there ways we can collaborate so that each of us becomes more effective?”

We owe it to ourselves to be the best we can be. In striving for excellence, we are richly blessed, and we bring ever-greater blessings to our world.

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The Reiki Roundup

The articles listed below reveal the variety of ways that Reiki is currently showing up in the world and in the news. Among them: Reiki is used at schools in Mumbai, India for exam-related stress reduction and is part of an award-winning employee well-being program in Ohio. An Arlington Heights, Illinois hospital medical director gives his rationale for the use of bio-energy modalities and notes that "effectiveness seems to be related to the experience and qualifications of the healer." A minister decries Reiki as a sin, and a psychologist in Ireland expresses outrage that Reiki, acupuncture, and other "pseudo-science" modalities are offered in health care curriculums at Irish Universities. A full-length article about Reiki confuses Mikao Usui and Dr. Hayashi, asserting that Usui Sensei was a medical doctor. Reiki is offered to hospital patients at a medical center is Northeast Pennsylvania, and a Reiki Master in Massachusetts has created a support group for cancer patients and cancer and heart attack survivors. Finally, Reiki is offered at an exclusive Hamilton Island, Australia spa and used as a fundraiser for a New York library.

Arlington Heights, IL, USA
Tapping into the healing potential of bio-energy

Ireland, UK: No place for 'dodgy' alternative medicine on third-level courses

Mumbai, India: Exam stress? Yoga, reiki, yajnas to the rescue for Mumbai students

Concord Township, Ohio, USA: Lake Health wins statewide employee health award

Broadheadsville, PA, USA: Reiki is a sin, Brodheadsville pastor warns

East Stroudsburg, PA, USA: A touch of reiki

Shrewsbury, MA, USA: Shrewsbury Reiki master offers support for survivors of heart attack, cancer

Bayport, NY, USA: Healing With Faith and Energy, Part I: The Wonder of Reiki

Hamilton Island, Australia: High times on Hamilton

Freedom Plains, NY, USA: Reiki Healing Event Will Aid Library

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The Grammy red carpet wasn't just rolled out for the stars. Nominees were invited to bring their pets to a celebrity pet lounge at a West Hollywood hotel where both stars and critters were feted with music, food, and Reiki.

Even Pets Turn Out to Honor Grammys at Musical Showcase

The Money and Spirit Online Workshop

Music we love to practice Reiki by: "Compassion"

With each note this lovely piano composition takes the listener deeper into a quiet inner space. Composed and performed by Peter Kater, "Compassion" begins with the melodious reverberation of a gong. Ancient gongs and bowls, saxophone, cellos, voice, and flutes punctuate the lush musical pathways of Kater's piano. Intended specifically to accompany healing work, the music evokes the heart of true compassion, for oneself and others. I especially like that the album is one continuous piece, 75 minutes in length.

Kater became one of a handful of instrumental artists spearheading a new music genre, now known as New Age, with the release of his 1983 album, “Spirit.” He has scored more than 100 television and film productions and eleven Broadway productions. Nominated six times in the last seven years for Grammy awards, among Kater’s numerous awards are the 1992 Indie award for “Best New Age Album” for “Migration” with Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, and the Environmental Leadership Award given by the United Nations for his commitment to the well-being of the environment. To learn more and purchase this music, visit Kater's web site or click below to find "Compassion" on iTunes and Amazon:

Compassion - Peter Kater

Hay House, Inc.

The weekly waka

Yearning, yearning to
remain on the mountaintop
and knowing, knowing,
that the lessons of life are
learned in the valleys below.

By Marianne Streich

Spiritual Cinema Circle

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

10 Ways Reiki Helps Relationships

By Deborah Flanagan

Editor's note: This article appeared previously at Your Tango and is republished here with the author's permission. 

At least for today: Do not be angry. Do not worry. Be grateful. Work with diligence. Be kind to people. Those are the five principles of Reiki that practitioners live by. Simple advice for a better life—but it doesn't stop there. As a Reiki practitioner, I've discovered both personally and through my clients numerous ways Reiki can help with love and relationships specifically.

But first, what exactly is Reiki? You may have had a Reiki session or heard about Reiki through renowned cardiovascular surgeon, Dr. Mehmet Oz, who recently introduced millions of viewers to Reiki, saying it was the number one alternative therapy to try.

But if not, here's a brief overview. Reiki is a hands-on healing technique from Japan and means "transcendent life force." The practice of Reiki guides this "Ki," or energy, that surrounds and permeates every living thing. Reiki enhances wellness by helping your body balance itself, and enables you to take an active role in your health.

How Meditation Led Me To True Love

As a practitioner I place my hands in various positions on or above my client, acting as a channel for the Reiki (or Ki) to move through, clearing and enhancing the energy throughout the client's body, according to what he or she needs. During sessions people often experience a deep feeling of relaxation and warmth. In addition, one of the great things about the system of Reiki is that anyone can learn to use it on themselves, and daily self-care is an empowering component.

While Reiki can be effective with a range of physical and emotional issues, (clients see me for help with stress, anxiety, insomnia, back pain, and depression, to name a few) I've also had many come to me for help with love and relationships. I've highlighted 10 key ways Reiki can help below:

1. Be present

In a Reiki session, focusing on the placement of the practitioner's hands and any accompanying sensations can deeply root you into paying attention to the present moment. After receiving or practicing Reiki regularly, it can help you be in the present moment more often, allowing you to enjoy the journey of dating, for example, rather than spending your time obsessing over "where this is going," and trying to predict the future.

2. Be yourself

Just like your mother always told you. Reiki helps you stay centered in yourself, rather than trying to be what someone else wants you to be. It's often hard to love and value ourselves but Reiki can help you truly connect to that best part of yourself. If you're centered and feeling good about who you are, you'll attract healthy relationships.

3. Let go

Yes, just like the Sting song—"if you love someone set them free." Reiki helps with neediness—rather than being clingy, Reiki helps you connect to yourself and something higher than yourself (Spirit, Universal Energy, God, whatever you want to call it), instead of relying on someone else to fill a void.

4. Have an aha moment

Reiki can help you gain clarity, tap into your intuition, and discover your inner wisdom. I've had clients come to me to gain clarity about what they need from a relationship (e.g. with a boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife, or another family member). It can also give you big-picture perspective to better assess if your relationship is working or if something needs to change.

5. Align what we say we want and what we really want

You know when there's something you really want—say, a healthy relationship, or a specific goal, or a challenge to overcome? And even though it's a positive thing, you can feel in your body where you hold resistance to it. Maybe because change can be scary, maybe because it stretches you to grow, but from whatever place that this resistance is coming from, Reiki can be very effective at softening and helping you let go of it.

6. Have a sense of humor

This one may seem strange, and no, you probably won't roll off the massage table after your session in a wave of giggles, but Reiki does help put things in perspective. Whether it's not taking yourself too seriously, or being able to laugh at yourself instead of being self-righteous in the midst of an argument, having a sense of humor is something everyone can use to deal with the ups and downs of relationships.

7. Take risks

Sometimes even though we may say we want a relationship, deep down the risk of getting hurt and rejected is too painful a prospect. Reiki can help you feel comfortable with risk, by softening resistance and allowing you to be open to possibility.

8. Give and receive

Most people usually have trouble with one or the other. Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin, just like inhaling and exhaling, and it's important in relationships to find a balance. Sometimes clients ask me what they should do during a session—if they should think of an affirmation or focus on their breathing, etc. But a Reiki session is truly the perfect time to do nothing and just receive (and how often do you get to do that?). The session is much more effective the more you let go and are open to receiving whatever you need in the moment.

9. Set boundaries

Reiki helps you set clear boundaries. In relationships, sometimes it's easy to expect another person to fulfill things for you that they simply can't or shouldn't (and vice versa). Reiki helps you gain clarity as you assess what you can and can't do for someone else (with the holidays approaching, family dynamics are certainly a good example of this).

10. Find balance

Lastly, Reiki is all about balance, whether it's your emotions, your physical body, or your life in general. My motto is "balance equals true health" and if all areas of your life are in balance you'll be happier and your relationships will be happier.

Deborah Flanagan has a private Reiki and reflexology practice in New York City and also works with patients at the Initiative for Women with Disbilities, part of Langone Medical Center.