What is Reiki?
written by Barbara Smith of Reiki Retreat for Living Healthy Magazine, Winter 2011 issue

Reiki is an ancient hands-on healing art, which supports the body’s ability to heal itself. Reiki promotes deep relaxation and helps release physical and emotional blockages (pain).
To understand Reiki you first need to understand energy. Everything and everyone is made of and has energy. When walking up to someone we can often tell if that person is in a good mood or a bad mood even before we talk to them. We get that feeling from their energy (aura). Negative energy pulls us down, positive energy lifts us up. Why do we feel so good, so alive, when we are in nature whether in a forest, hiking up a mountain or at the ocean? It’s the energy of these places that we are naturally attracted to. Reiki energy can give us this same feeling.

When our physical body gets out of balance because of stress in our everyday life or from an injury or disease, we lose our energy and can get blockages (pain) in our body. We are all surrounded by electronic equipment (cell phone, computer, TV) that produces energy vibration that may disrupt our energy. Even our emotions, such as anger can push us out of a natural healthy state.
Reiki can remove these blocks and restore our body to a state of natural healing. The longer we have had the stress or illness, the longer it may take to remove the blockages. We all know that when we get a cut our body heals that cut all on its own. If the body is not well, it will usually take longer. By restoring the balance or by keeping our body in balance we can think clearer, feel better and cope better with our everyday lives. 

Reiki pronounced Ray-Key is a Japanese word meaning “universal life energy”. Reiki is based on the premise that we can draw limitless amounts of energy from the universe to support and enhance the body’s ability to heal itself. 

It is important to find a practitioner that you are comfortable with because the more you relax the more you will enjoy your session, letting the body receive the Reiki energy. Make sure the surroundings are clean and inviting and let your practitioner know of any concerns or if you are not comfortable lying in a certain position. Scented candles, a light weight blanket and an eye pillow may be offered to enhance your session. A practitioner will gently place his or her hands in several positions on or above the body and hold the position for a few minutes while the energy is guided by the body’s own natural wisdom, treating the whole person as it works to correct physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual imbalances.

During the hour long session you may feel heat or cold from the practitioner’s hands, tingling in your body or even the energy moving. Everyone feels the Reiki energy differently. Reiki offers many benefits including relaxation, a decrease in discomfort and enhanced feelings of peace and wellbeing. Reiki sessions are done with comfortable clothes on and your shoes off. Even children and older adult enjoy Reiki. A shorter session is usually the protocol for these two age groups.
The results of Reiki are wide-ranging: back pain removed before the date of the scheduled surgery, migraine headaches controlled with regular sessions, depression lessoned with or without talk therapy, arthritis aches and pain controlled with regular Reiki sessions, clearing the overactive thoughts to think clearer are just a few.

More and more hospitals are offering Reiki to their oncology patients as they realize the benefits of Reiki. Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Lebanon, NH, Cottage Hospital, Woodsville, NH, North Country Hospital, Newport, VT and Norris Cotton Cancer Center in St. Johnsbury, VT are some of the hospitals that do offer Reiki in our region.  

Treatments are tailored to the individual's needs and will include one or more of the following:

Biofield Tuning (sound therapy method) is a unique non-medical therapetic method that uses sound waves produced by tuning forks in the biomagnetic field, or biofield, that surrounds the human body. Biofield Tuning was developed by pioneering researcher and practitioner Eileen Day McKusick and is based on her 20 years of clinical inquiry into the Biofield Anatomy. It is a simple, non-invasive, and ancient method that can produce profound and powerful outcomes. Biofield Tuning sessions can be experienced in person or at a distance, singularly or in a group.


Zero Balancing is a hands-on body/mind system of therapy designed to enhance health by balancing body energy with body structure.

“If you can balance something to neutral without judgment or comparison by holding it in its own space, it will naturally move to its highest possible benefit” Fritz Smith, MD.  


Reiki is a natural and simple healing method which allows you to absorb more life force energy. The Reiki method vitalizes our life force and balances the energies in your body. This natural healing energy flows in a powerful and concentrated form through the hands of the Reiki practitioner.The laying on of the hands directs the healing energy into the body of the receiver. Reiki can be experienced in person or at a distance.


Massage involves working and acting on the body with pressure-structured, unstructured, stationary, or moving-tension, motion or vibration, done manually. Massage can be applied with hands, fingers, elbows, forearms or a massage device. Depending on the application and technique used, massage is used to promote relaxation and well-being.


Reflexology is the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the feet, hands or ears. Reflexologists believe that these reflex points correspond to different body organs and systems, and that pressing them has a beneficial effect on the person’s health.