8 things to know about Reiki

8 things to know about Reiki

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Site: Yeong Sassall

After trying Reiki for the first time, Yeong Sassall recounts her experience with the energy healing therapy

Let me start by saying, until a few years ago I had absolutely no idea in hell what Reiki even was. It was introduced to me by a friend of a friend who was studying to be a practitioner, and as she tried to explain about shifting energy, I was, admittedly, intrigued/confused. While I wouldn't call myself overly New Age-y, nor a total sceptic, my belief in that whole kind of other realm (alternative therapy, mysticism, astrology etc) can be summed up as "Hey, I'm curious and I'd give most things a try, at least once". So when the opportunity to experience Reiki first-hand came, I went in with no expectations and no idea really what was going to happen.

Below, a summary of everything I learned and experienced during my Reiki session.

1. Officially, Reiki can be categorised as a healing technique that basically just shifts energy in the body.
If that seems like a really vague, mumbo-jumbo sentiment, bear with me. My Reiki healer Tania Dobbie explains it as universal energy. "The difference between Reiki and other healing techniques is your receive no treatment," she says. "When we do Reiki we actually receive Reiki and the energy comes through us. It's whatever your body is ready to process it will be how your session goes."

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2.  The practice of Reiki has its roots in Japan.
"It all goes back to doctor Mikao Usui," says Tania. "He hurt himself on a mountain in Japan, but then the universal energy came through him and healed him." According to Usui, there are five principles of Reiki, which are:

-          Just for today do not be angry
-          Just for today do not worry
-          Just for today be grateful
-          Just for today work hard
-          Just for today be kind to others

3. Anyone can benefit from Reiki.
"It's basically used to balance emotional, mental and physical energy. It helps to heal the body, reduce stress and provide relaxation," explains Tania. It was reportedly used after the Hiroshima bomb went off in Japan in 1945. "[Mikao Usui] attuned a lot of people - he came and helped with the healing and the trauma. Even in America Reiki is used in hospitals for cancer patients - it's actually recognised as healing."

4. Many people have regular Reiki sessions.
"It's like massage, you'll know when you need to come," says Tania. "I have a person that comes and sees me once a month. Every session is completely different."

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5. Like yoga, there's a focus on your breath.
Why? "I like to think of the body is a house, everything that we feel, we take a breath," says Tania. "[With] prominent things in our life, whether it's fear, joy, excitement, grief - we usually take a breath and that breath fills up the body. We don't remember everything; it's our coping mechanism... But your body remembers everything."

According to some reports, some people experience difficulty breathing during their session. "Whatever you experience it will pass, just breathe," suggests Tania. "Sometimes you feel like you can't breathe, like you're choking, just keep focusing on breathing and it will release the energy.

6. So, what happens during a session?
During your session, your Reiki practitioner will lay you on the table and ask you to focus on breathing normally. Your healer will then go to work, moving their hands (but never touching) above different parts of your body. "What your body is ready to release, it will release," says Tania. While people's Reiki experiences vary wildly (more on that later), a Reiki master healer will be able to pick up on the energy they feel in your body.

"When I put your hands on you I can usually feel pain and you might feel an emotional response - sadness, joy, laughter," says Tania "You might feel very hot, very cold, you might have some memory come through the tissue. I don't talk to you at all during the session, otherwise it becomes about me and it's all about you."

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7. Once the Reiki session is over, your master healer will then discuss what they felt.
"I'll talk to you at the end of the session about what I feel and then I'll talk to you about what you felt. You'll definitely feel very relaxed [afterwards]. You might feel very tired because emotional release, energetic release is more intense than physical release. And also, we're not always aware of what we're carrying."

For me, this is where things got personal... and eerily accurate. While I'll refrain from going into the private stuff, there were lifestyle matters that Tania picked up on almost immediately. While I didn't have any problem breathing, at one point during my session, when Tania passed her hands over my head and neck, I felt a tingly, electrical sensation. As we discussed what happened afterwards, Tania asked me if I worked around a lot of computer screens and did I have two monitors. Working in an open plan office where I am literally surrounded by computers and being the only member of my team with two screens, this kind of freaked me out. Apparently she could feel a buzzing, electrical energy - likely from the computers, phones and electronic devices I constantly surround myself with. Hmm.

Tania also sensed intense baby energy around me - also weird, because my I'd just visited by brother's newborn the day before. (Freaky or clever coincidence? You decide.) And then there were the personality traits, family history and other random bits and pieces... Being slightly cynical, I tried not to reveal too much about myself in the beginning, but it was certainly interesting seeing what Tania picked up without a word from me. 

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8. Everyone experiences Reiki differently.
I spoke to friends who also visited Tania and had their own Reiki experiences and we all compared notes. While we were mixture of cynics and believers (as in, the kind to see a psychic), we all had markedly different reactions. One person felt the aforementioned choking sensation, another was completely freaked out by the experience, and another reportedly had a deceased family member watching over her during the session. Some of us were surprised by what Tania brought up and others were shaken; but we all left feeling that something had definitely happened during our session.

For me personally, I ended my Reiki session feeling calmer than when I went in, and left thinking about how to tackle all the personal and lifestyle-related issues we had talked about. To this day, I can't quite explain even what happened during my session, but I'm definitely intrigued enough to try it again.   

Tania Dobbie practises Reiki at the Face Plus Medispa at Bondi Beach. To book or for more info, visit

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