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Ta k e 5 a n d t r y A B M P F i v e - M i n u t e M u s c l e s a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / f i v e - m i n u t e - m u s c l e s . 73 it's been presented, let's take another look at it." There is tremendous value in the relief reiki practice can provide, and Miles says it's a shame if people aren't exploring it because of the language and model presented. The Importance of Daily Self-Practice Regardless the schools they attended, the lineages they follow, or their years of practice, Miles says there is only one question you really need to ask a professional reiki practitioner to know if they are qualified: Do you practice hands-on self-reiki every day? "That is the deal breaker. If the person says anything other than, 'Yes, of course,' then I encourage the public to find someone else, because that's where the profound understanding comes from: that daily self-practice." Why is self-practice so important? "Daily self- practice tethers you to your own inherent wellness, which then becomes your core identification and your command center," Miles says. "That's where you live from and that means it's much more likely that you make choices that contribute to your happiness and health, and the well-being of others. It all comes back to the distinction between spiritual practice and energy work," Miles says. "It's as if reiki practitioners got so fascinated by the phenomena that they missed the heart of the practice. I can't imagine missing a day of self-practice." Self-practice is especially critical if you will be laying hands on another. "If you aren't practicing every day, you are unlikely to maintain your detachment when practicing on others. When people are 'helpaholics,' when they are on a rescue mission and have lost their detachment to outcomes, they are in danger no matter what they do. They start leaking their own vitality because they don't have confidence in the practice. And it's a lot harder to speak truthfully and meaningfully about reiki as a spiritual practice when you don't have the experience yourself." If you have a self-practice protocol, Miles says be sure to follow it daily. "Just do what you were taught. As Hawayo Takata (who with her Reiki Master, Chujiro Hayashi—a direct student of Usui—brought reiki practice to the West) said, 'Any reiki practice is better than none.' I say, let's move out of right and wrong and look at reiki practice as good and optimal. Anytime you can get even one hand to your body, that's good; optimal is your full protocol. Conclusion It's hard to talk about spirituality because we feel like we have to know everything about it. But spirituality is the realm of mystery, exploration, and discovery, Miles says. "It's where we discover our values, where we discover meaning. When we go inside, that's where we retreat to—our spiritual self. And that's where we discover who we truly are, what matters to us, and what gifts we have to offer." Miles says it's more important today than ever that people access their spirituality, their inner resources. "See the difference even a week of daily reiki self-practice makes in how you feel and how you function, in your attitude toward yourself, your work, your life, and how it protects you from burnout." From that base of self-care, Miles says you can share reiki practice with clients using straightforward, commonsense language that anyone can relate to. "Gently guide them to notice how your reiki touch adds to their session, drawing attention to discernible and rapid physiologic improvements in breathing, heart rate, even muscle tension, as well as the unfolding sense of centeredness and safety." Karrie Osborn is senior editor at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals. Pamela Miles, author of Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide (Tarcher, 2006), has been pioneering the integration of reiki into conventional medicine since the 1990s. A reiki professional since 1986, Miles has collaborated with prestigious academic medical centers including Harvard and Yale medical schools, the National Institutes of Health, and New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. Miles teaches reiki practice in New York City and on live, interactive teleconferences, and offers reiki continuing education, including her signature Reiki & Medicine Intensive, to help professionals bring traditional reiki practice to the mainstream public and health care. Reach her at

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