Reiki is a therapy where essentially you lie down and the practitioner moves their hands over you, sometimes laying their hands on your body (in a non-dodgy way) and sometimes just moving their hands above. If you're more comfortable sitting up or not being touched at all, a good practitioner will work with you happily. The idea is that reiki – energy, in broad terms – flows from the practitioner into you. For me, a reiki session can make me feel as relaxed and energised as going on holiday for a week, and gives me a new perspective on things. It has other benefits as well, which aren't always immediately apparent at the time, but can be seen when you look back. For example, and at the risk of everyone thinking I am a bit odd, since I started receiving reiki, and especially since I received my level one attunement, I feel happier in my skin, more relaxed, and more intuitive. There have also been some fairly big changes in my life direction, which I feel reiki supported me through.
|Jodie, still smiling after I'd quizzed her for an hour and drunk her tea|
Anyway, I went to see Jodie yesterday in her new treatment room (near the Grafton, for those of you in Cambridge, very convenient and near many car parks). I have reconstructed this from my notes so you might want to attribute anything questionable to me rather than Jodie. On with the interview!
|The treatment room. Always a good sign when you can keep plants alive|
I connect people with the best of themselves through reiki, which is an energy-based therapy like acupuncture or shiatsu. The difference with reiki, however, is that you're introducing direct energy into the body, rather than working with energy that's already there – you're charging up the body with energy, and it induces physical and emotional wellbeing.
Although there is a tendency to think reiki is weird, it's actually just energy work, like a lot of other complementary therapies.
What made you begin practicing reiki?
I was motivated by the success I had with reiki in my personal life. I started when I was going through a bad time at work [note from me, I laughed here in a hollow, Sid-James kind of way], and I came to it new, and very quickly felt the benefit. It was extremely intense. When I learned level 1, I immediately knew that this was what I was meant to be doing: I felt a sense of connection and peace. After not knowing what I wanted to do, I knew this was the right thing to be doing, and that even if the process was difficult, it was right.
Did you meet any opposition to your decision?
Yes! (laughs). When I first started, I didn't tell anyone what I was doing, because I was worried there would be opposition. And, it turned out, my fears… were entirely justified. People were very critical initially. Once when I was still working as a secretary, I was having lunch and reading a book when another secretary, who I didn't even know very well, came and tapped me on the shoulder and told me she thought reiki was nonsense. Also, I often meet people who go out of their way to tell me they don't believe in reiki, and then say 'but don't do it on me!'.
[We discussed here a bit about why people react like this, because if people think reiki is bullshit, fair enough, but why then be so nervous of it. We discussed how reiki is a lot about confronting the truth about yourself, which can be very difficult and unpleasant, but is fundamental to everything].
|The Love Chi corner. Who needs eharmony?|
Basically, the clients do the work: 99% of clients are prepared to do it. Sometimes when someone is having a wobble, I have the skills to keep them on track, but in terms of the progress people make, that's about their subconscious letting the reiki in. Reiki can change lives – it can change your relationships, sex life, work, everything. I can't take the credit for these things, I witness them but I don't own them. I just feel it's vitally important for me to do this work.
What about physical illnesses? Because I often think one of the potential problems with complementary therapies is if people suggest they can cure illnesses.
Physical illnesses aren't my speciality, although I do see people with illnesses, some of them terminal. Reiki can help you deal with and confront illness better. No reiki practitioner should promise to cure anything. One of the problems with complementary therapists is that they often promise to 'treat' illness, which obviously people hear as 'treat with a view to curing'. This can be misleading.
What kinds of things do you feel when giving/ receiving a treatment? [note from me, I am very prone to seeing patterns and colours. If you look at the rest of my blog, this will not surprise you ;-].
When people are on the table, they can feel heat, tingling, they can see colours; they can feel a sinking sensation, or feel deeply relaxed, as if their mind is stopping [note from me, I also see eyes. I do not know the significance of that. Always eyes]. In terms of being a practitioner, the sensations shift and change. When I began, I had heat and tingling in my hands, but now I feel more a sense of magnetism – as if my hands want to go to certain positions. Sensations become more subtle as the process becomes more subconscious, as your practice develops. This is why self-practice is important.
People often seem to get very annoyed about complementary therapies. Why do you think this is, and do you think it's justified?
I think the standards people expect complementary medicine to meet are higher. Conventional medicine can kill, and lots of medical treatment is very invasive – not only that, we often don't know why it works on one person and not on another.
Do you think there are complementary therapists who are charlatans, though?
Yes, there are charlatans about, and it's important to shop around until you find someone you're comfortable with. I'm always happy for a client to see another reiki practitioner. I've also found that if a therapist isn't honest with colleagues, they're likely not to be honest with clients: a lack of professional integrity often goes along with general inappropriate behaviour. And it's been my experience that female clients should be wary of male therapists. Because they can be pervy. [Note from me: names were not named and we are not suggesting that men in general are pervy. Although, let me tell you about this one time... no, I'm joking ;-) ].
How would you advise someone to go about finding a good reiki practitioner?
See what your options are, and be realistic about who you are, and what you need. If you feel the person isn't for you, don't go to them. Take your time, and don't go with anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable. The difficult thing about finding a practitioner is that often people wanting to start reiki are at a difficult place in their lives and that's not a very easy time to be doing research and comparing, but try to take the time.
Are there any therapies you think are a bit daft?
Anything involving electricity. And my particular bugbear is psychics. I think it's an ability we all have to an extent, but some people capitalise on it, and it's disempowering. It hands power over to someone else. We need to have confidence in our own intuition, not wait for it to be validated by someone who says they're channelling messages. Also, it's a huge industry, making loads of money, especially the phone lines. [Note from me, Derek Acorah! Nous accusons!].
Do you feel you relate to the world differently since you've been practicing reiki?
Yes, profoundly. In terms of my personal development, I'm phenomenally more confident, comfortable, and happy, and my instincts have developed enormously – I work on instinct all the time. I also have a sense of clarity, and even if I'm not always happy with particular circumstances, I have some kind of peace of mind. As an individual changes, it ripples out and changes other people. Often, clients change and then the people around them do, too.
I also feel more aware of life on an energetic level – I feel more in touch with the transitory nature of life. I hang onto things less, and I'm happier to let go and invite in the chaos.
You can find Jodie on her website, Reiki with Jodie, and also on the Cambridge Complementary website, which has details of other treatments available in the studio. For anyone in the Cambridge area, I would recommend Jodie very highly – I think she's great. For people outside of Cambridge (I know that's most of you ;-) ), who might be interested in trying reiki, give it a go. As my brother Dan says, even if it's all complete rubbish it's a nice lie down for half an hour. And if it isn't complete rubbish, then, who knows where it'll take you? (Wooooo!).