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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

A Healing Touch

Healing sound chakra bowls (Photo by Good Vibes Wellness)

What is Reiki?

by Linda Sechrist with additional reporting by Kimberly Lawson

According to the website, more than one million U.S. adults have received at least one Reiki session in their life. That number is growing thanks to wider adoption of this method of stress reduction and healing, including traditional medical settings as hospitals, medical clinics and hospice programs.

Claiming origins in early Christian healing practices, laying on of hands for healing purposes is now practiced worldwide under many different names. One is Reiki, developed in Japan during the mid-19th century by Dr. Mikao Usui, who received the ability of “healing without energy depletion” following three weeks of fasting and meditating on Mount Kuarma near Kyoto. Hawayo Takata then introduced Reiki into the United States early in the following century.

Present-day styles of Reiki vary, though all have their foundation in Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki, the traditional form largely taught by independent teachers and Reiki Masters who often form their own schools to instruct students in Reiki levels I, II and III. Level I concentrates on the physical body and Level II on the mental and emotional aspects along with distance healing. Level III focuses on spiritual aspects, mastership and teaching.

For people to truly be happy, Usui believed they need to address their psychological help. That’s why he developed the Reiki Principles, which he encouraged people to recite every day. “Just for today, do not be angry. Just for today, do not be worried. Just for today, be grateful. Just for today, do your duties fully. Just for today, be kind to others.”

As late as the early 1980s, journalists covering alternative healing therapies tended to make light of Reiki, but by the early 1990s a shift had taken place, and Reiki began to be viewed more positively. Now scientific-based studies such as those published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine lend added credibility.

The International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP) is the global professional association founded in 1997, joining the voices of thousands of members in 50+ countries. Its free locator service helps the public find registered practitioners and teachers who meet association requirements and abide by its professional code of ethics.

IARP founder Linda M. LaFlamme has taught Reiki globally for decades. She notes how “This gentle non-invasive healing technique, which strengthens energy pathways, clears blockages and brings more energy into the body’s systems, is used just as much as a proactive wellness tool as a healing assistance tool.” It can make a gentle beneficial contribution to a personal wellness program “by bringing the body’s energy system into a healing balance.”

Locally, Barbara Campbell, a Reiki Master since 1999, hosts a Reiki Share the third Saturday of every month at The Nook in Davidson. “A treatment feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through and around you,” she says. “Reiki treats the whole person including body, mind, spirit, and emotions creating many beneficial effects that include relaxation and feelings of peace, calming, security, comfort, reassurance, and wellbeing.”

Many people suffering from chronic pain turn to Reiki for pain management, sometimes finding that it works better than medication or therapies prescribed by physicians. Campbell, for example, says she undergoes Reiki treatments to better manage her symptoms of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome. A friend of hers, also a Reiki Master, used to spend 20 minutes every morning on her husband’s back. “No matter what the specialists or chiropractor did his pain was not subsiding,” Campbell says. “After about a month the pain subsided and has been gone for several years now.”

Rev. Rebecca Nagy of the Living Light Spiritual Center in Charlotte is a Reiki Master Teacher who studied under Ethel Lombardi, the second Reiki master initiated in the U.S. by Takata. Nagy says she views Reiki as universal healing energy. “It’s a focus for the innate healing energy that we all have within us.”

According to Nagy, the practitioner is just a conduit for the energy. “You are doing the healing, they are giving you an amp up,” Nagy says. She offers this metaphor: “They’re kind of sticking you into an electric circuit.”

Nagy says if you’re looking for someone to do Reiki with, make sure the practitioner is really living the lifestyle.

“Self-practice is the beginning and remains the foundation of Reiki practice at all levels,” Nagy says. “Are they practicing it? Are they doing their Reiki Master exercises that you’re supposed to do once a day? Make sure you know who the person is that’s doing Reiki on you.”

To learn more about the International Association of Reiki Professionals, visit


Local Reiki Resources

A Reiki Life Academy: Nancy Bunt has more than 20 years of experience in both private practice and in clinical settings. Park Rd., Ste. 105. 704-996-4079.

A Reiki Place: Bryce Goebel has been doing natural healing for people and animals since she was a child. 51 Union St., S. Ste. 202, Concord. 704-654-7070.

Good Vibes Wellness: Gayle Taggart offers Reiki and yoga sessions in her in-home studio. 1917 Union St. 980-355-2585.

Living Light Spiritual Center: Formerly the Spiritual Light Center of Charlotte. Has several Reiki Masters and a healing room. 7300 Mallard Creek Rd. 704-665-1886.

Okra: Tabitha Hall offers 60, 90, and 120 minute Reiki and Reiki/Massage sessions. 1912 Commonwealth Ave. 704-266-1443.

Reiki Education and Research Institute: Begun as a meetup group in 2007 by husband and wife team William Coryer and Mei Yin Hung, RERI is now a nonprofit organization striving to educate people about the health benefits of Reiki, in addition to helping grow the local Reiki community. 725 Providence Rd., Ste. 200. 704-644-3644.

Respira Vita: This family-owned luxury wellness spa offers salt therapy, infrared sauna and Reiki by a certified Reiki Master. 7800-F Stevens Mill Rd., Matthews. 704-628-5788.

The Nook: Reiki Master Barbara Campbell offers a Reiki Healing Circle the third Saturday of every month at The Nook, located on Lake Norman. 400 N. Harbor Place Dr. Ste C. Email [email protected] for more information.


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