Ki to healing

Namira Hossain writes how the Japanese Reiki technique can be a formidable step toward healing from repressed trauma

pe01In the book, ‘The Everything Guide to Reiki’, by Phylameana Lila Desy, Reiki is described as ‘an ancient hands-on healing art that intentionally channels ki energies to promote balance and well-being.’ The term Reiki is derived from two Japanese syllables, rei and ki (pronounced ‘ray key’), meaning Universal Life Energy.
Kanwal Bhagat first got Reiki healing and attunement in 1997. After that she did not think much about it, but soon it became part of her life again in 2005, after she moved to Dhaka. She heard of a woman named Ranjani Mitra who was a Reiki Master, who had been offering her services. She shares her experience of how Reiki changed her life, ‘I used to be very angry and upset all the time; generally very unhappy. It’s not as though I was suicidal, but I just felt as though life did not have anything else to offer me.’
After getting Reiki healing from Mitra in 2005, she decided to become a healer herself. She went to Ahmedabad and became a Reiki Master and never looked back. ‘Reiki gave me a tool that allows me to live a good life – I feel empowered now,’ says Bhagat.
So far, nobody knows how or why exactly Reiki works. While it is clear that it does work, modern science has, at the present time, provided no reasonable explanation for it. ‘It takes total belief,’ says Bhagat, ‘miracles happen if you have complete belief.’
She goes on to explain how a healing session works, ‘at first when clients come in, the healers talk to them. We ask them how they found out about Reiki, why they have come to us and what their level of belief is.’ After gauging these matters, the healer is ready to proceed with the session – which starts with a healing of the chakras or aura cleansing. There is no actual touching involved, as the healer hovers their hands over the clients’ body and channels the Reiki energy to heal them.
‘Chakras are an integral part of your system – they are energy centres that control emotions as well as physical functions of your body,’ says Bhagat. Traumas from negative experiences, often experienced in childhood are possibly repressed which can cause blocks in the chakras – as well as  physical symptoms such as ailments or chronic pain- these blocks can also cause people to be caught up in unhealthy patterns of behaviour.
pe02Dr Mehtab Khanam, a noted psychologist, says that symptoms of childhood trauma can manifest in a number of ways – from addiction, anger issues, patterns of unhealthy relationships among others. ‘If the primary caregiver was emotionally unavailable when the patient was a child, it can create unprocessed trauma which leads to unhealthy attachment patterns as an adult,’ says Dr. Khanam. These earliest experiences can determine the coping capacities of an individual, ‘this kind of unprocessed trauma can create stress and cause people to over-react to the smallest of issues,’ she says.
She describes the trauma network in our brains as a bead necklace. She says, ‘people tend to undermine these feelings, but one small incident can create the whole network to light up parts of your brain – as though you are experiencing those incidents all over again.’
Abuse that occurred in childhood – emotional, physical or sexual can create huge blocks that are difficult to overcome as often a lot of people are in denial that such incidents have occurred to them. Other symptoms of trauma include behavioural symptoms such as being overly defensive, paranoia, trust issues, anxiety, continued nightmares.
Everybody has experienced some form of trauma in their lifetimes, and the practice of Reiki along with meditation and the use of affirmations can help overcome the negative effects that the trauma has left on an individual’s behaviour and life.
‘Affirmations are positive words that resonate with your thoughts and mind – they change how you think,’ says Rafia Arshad, who is an independent Reiki Master who practices Usui Reiki. She goes on to say, ‘Reiki works on four levels – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual.’ Thus, it is a holistic approach to healing, but Arshad warns of the danger of becoming overly dependent on one’s healer, ‘people expect Reiki to work like magic, but it is a two way street with the healer and recipient.’
While miracles do occur if there is total belief, if one chooses to get Reiki healing – they also have to be willing to take responsibility for their own life in order for Reiki to work. Bhagat says, ‘I give my clients homework which they have to do everyday, to take care of themselves.’ She insists that there are no short cuts, and the root cause of the trauma has to be identified and accepted by the recipient of Reiki healing. When an individual is able to accept that they have a problem and are willing to work on it, they can finally let go of old unresolved issues and pains. ‘Everything we see and perceive is simply energy,’ says Bhagat.

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