Massage & Bodywork

September/October 2012

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SEEK OUT CREDIBLE REIKI TRAINING There are no regulations for reiki treatment or training, so it's important to choose your practitioner or teacher carefully. You can learn to practice reiki self-treatment in a 12-hour group class. Look for an experienced teacher whose training took a few years rather than a few hours, who is professional, and with whom you feel a rapport. Ask if the teacher practices hands-on reiki self-treatment every day. Since this is the foundation practice, if the answer is "no," or even "mostly," move on. Find out what practice and mentoring opportunities the teacher offers once your first-degree class is finished. First-degree, hands-on practice is all most people need. Keep it simple and you'll practice for life. selves—and a feeling of oneness and open-ended, all-enveloping beneficence or love. It is through spiritual experience that we discover wholeness and meaning, venturing beyond the limits of what can be known, and embracing mystery. Spiritual practices connect us to our unique inner perspective in much the same way physical exercise and movement connects us to our own bodies. Although spiritual practices may be wrapped in religious or cultural trappings, the practices themselves are neutral and nondogmatic. The catch to reaping the benefits of spiritual practice is that we have to actually practice. Spiritual practice is not a spectator sport; it is participatory. No one else can do our practice for us. And we don't really get more skilled at spiritual practice; rather, we become more deeply engaged as we practice consistently over time. SPIRITUAL PRACTICE OR HEALTH-CARE MODALITY? Spiritual practices such as meditation, reiki, and yoga carry health benefits that are increasingly documented by research, but let's not blur the distinction between spiritual practice and health-care modalities. The goal of spiritual practice is to stay mindfully connected to our essential self. Health benefits such as stress reduction and enhanced self-healing are by-products of the centering that is an essential part of any spiritual practice. By contrast, health-care interventions such as bodywork and energy work target specific health outcomes directly, in accordance with the basic medical model. Health-care practitioners listen to the patient's complaint, form a diagnosis according to their modality, create an appropriate treatment plan, implement the treatment plan, and then assess the response. The approach of a reiki practitioner is much simpler. The reiki practitioner does not need to know the client's complaint, nor does the client need to have one. The reiki practitioner places hands lightly on the client, or on herself for self-treatment. No diagnosis is required, and the same protocol can be used in any situation; modified as circumstances require, such as when the practitioner or receiver have limited range of motion; or completely set aside as needed. Additionally, the practice has no time constraints. Even a few moments of reiki touch can be profoundly beneficial, especially in an emergency or time of distress. Since only the length of time and the number of hands can be quantified, and the impact of those variables is not linear, reiki treatment cannot be dosed in a medical sense. Any reiki contact can be beneficial, and the only guideline for treatment is that, within reason, more is generally better. Reiki practice is balancing, and there is no pathology attached to balance, so overdosing is not a concern. Since the touch is non-manipulative, very light, or just off the body, and the client isn't ingesting 112 massage & bodywork september/october 2012

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