Reiki practitioners use a hands-on healing technique where energy is transferred from the practitioner to the recipient.
Emma Clegg visits local specialist Heidi Rearden of Heidi Reiki for a treatment

Reiki – Japanese for ‘universal life energy’ – is a system of natural healing. It was founded by healer and teacher Mikao Usi (1865–1926) in the early 20th century.

I have had various alternative treatments over the years, but reiki was new to me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I met Heidi, she explained that Reiki is all about the flow of energy. Every living being and inanimate object has an energy force. This concept goes firmly back to physics and how everything with mass (whether animate or inanimate) has an energy vibration. This vibrational force is why opera singers are able to shatter a glass when they sing at a certain pitch and volume, so the glass shatters as a result of the vibration of the voice. The energy of the voice combined with the energy of the atoms of the glass become so powerful that the glass’s atoms fly apart and break the glass. It is in fact scientifically possible for two energy waves to interact and cancel each other out. Physics also recognises that in humans, when energies are constructive and give more power, we physically experience these energies as ‘good vibes’, or, if there is a weakened energy state, as ‘bad vibes’. Reiki harnesses these concepts.

Reiki is used to help the body emotionally or spiritually. It is a gentle treatment that can be used alongside other conventional or complementary treatments. Practitioners are not trained in diagnosis and will not predict any outcome from a Reiki treatment. There is no scrutiny of specific areas – the focus is rather on the whole person. Heidi describes it as “enabling gentle energy” that can help improve well-being and bring about balance. The energy received from a reiki treatment can be used by the person to help restore their own balance of health and happiness and – for those who are open to it – can enable an individual’s own healing process.

It can be used to release emotional experiences that we might hold on to in our bodies. If these emotional experiences are not acknowledged and resolved, then they can sometimes cause pain and illness.

The treatment itself lasted about an hour. I lay fully clothed on the treatment couch. Heidi then used her hands to cover different parts of my body, starting with the head and moving down to the feet. There was no touch involved – although some reiki practitioners use a gentle touch – her hands hovered over me, close enough for me to feel the warmth. Each of the hand positions was sustained for a number of minutes, and I turned over halfway through to allow the same process on the other side.

Some people apparently feel particular sensations when they have a treatment, seeing colours or experiencing tingling, and others respond emotionally. I have bad circulation and some nerve damage in my feet and lower legs, and once the treatment was over I had a clear sense of energetic tingling in my feet and legs, the sensation that things were moving around more actively and that this area had been deeply stimulated. I also felt a peaceful sense of togetherness and relaxation, which lasted for a good 24 hours.

Heidi has been a practising Buddhist for 30 years and sees finding and using Reiki as part of her journey in life to help others as well as herself. She uses her Buddhist practice within the treatments, chanting to herself as she passes on the energy to her clients. The treatment finishes with the use of a rather beautiful Tibetan singing bowl, creating a sonorous, deep, dwelling reverberation as the bowl moves across the body.

It was a fascinating experience and I was most intrigued by the fact that the treatment has so many connections with the physical science of energy and at the same time has a deep-seated and holistic spiritual link. Perhaps it creates the best of both worlds.

A Reiki session is 1 hour and 15 minutes. Individual Reiki sessions: £50; three sessions: £40; six sessions: £35; Heidi Reiki: heidi@heidireiki.com; heidireiki.com