What is reiki, how does it work, and how can it benefit bodywork practitioners, both personally and professionally? The concept for this article began with a newly published book, written by reiki master Pamela Miles, simply titled Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide. I had collaborated with Miles a few years back when reporting on a reiki study for Massage & Bodywork’s Somatic Research column. Despite Miles’ best efforts to guide my understanding of this spiritual healing practice, my mind remained in a muddle.
All life is movement. We experience movement in our lives in three ways: as expansion, contraction, and integration.
Expansion in our lives expresses itself as moving to a new city, starting a new job, or meeting new people. We are opening ourselves to change, to something new. We are risking getting out of our comfort zone.
Contraction is experienced in how we feel after a busy week, after reading a good book, writing a report, or completing a course or training. Contraction comes from having gone through an expansion and completing that cycle.
“There is but one temple in the Universe … and that is the human body. Nothing is holier than that high form. We touch heaven, when we lay our hand upon the human body.”
— Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher
Ping Lee’s training as an engineer comes in handy when he’s explaining the concept of energy. “Conceptualize the word air,” he says. “The Chinese have a lot of expressions with the word air. It sounds insignificant, so when you say something is air, what type of thing is it? Can you picture a steam locomotive, do you know how powerful that is? When we use the word steam we think of a cloud, but it is only a condensation of air — energy. What I teach in class, when we talk about energy, is seeing the word air as energy. You can feel a person’s presence, that’s energy.