Last year, like many, I sought to take advantage of freelancing or improving my freelance business as much as I could while working from home full-time. As I've mentioned before, I work well in solitude and actually flourish when able to set my own schedule.
But I'm completely cognizant of the fact that a lot of people don't take well to solitude like I do, and that spurred my interest in sharing ways that people could cope with the psychological effects of the quarantine. I noticed some time ago that, along with the increase in other concepts related to "esoteric spirituality," Reiki healing has enjoyed a bit of a popularity boom in recent years. So I decided to pitch an article to Spirituality & Health magazine to see how Reiki masters are handling the fallout of the quarantine isolation with their business, which typically involves in-person interaction.
I was surprised to find out that a lot of Reiki masters are actually thriving, and the healing technique does not in fact require in-person interaction. And there was indeed a story in that.
Sadly, Spirituality & Health decided not to run the article, so I've decided that all that hard work and the messages shared by the Reiki masters that I interviewed should not languish in obscurity. So I'm sharing the piece here on my blog in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.
I may not have the reach and audience of S&H, but I know a worthwhile story when I see it (as well as typically before mainstream pubs see it). So I want to thank Juanita Martin and LeMar Moore for taking the time and energy *wink* to talk to me and share their message with a community that is still very much attempting to cope with the effects of isolation and loss.
Now without further ado ...
By Candace Nicholson
The year 2020 has left most of us in a constant state of adjusting to new norms and shifting priorities, so it’s no surprise many are looking for ways to tackle the stress and anxiety that comes with feeling uncertain about the future. Some are turning to new exercise regimens that avoid gyms or pools. Others have moved their psychotherapy and counseling sessions to phone-in appointments only. And an ever-growing number are turning to the Japanese energy healing technique of Reiki to help them make it through the day.
“Over the last 5 to 10 years, 9 out of 10 clients come to me for stress and anxiety. It’s always been a major source of my clients seeking help on their journey. But now people are really stressed,” says Juanita Martin, Reiki master and owner of Nitjuan Designs located in South Orange, New Jersey. “A huge number of people have been reaching out since the quarantine began. My client base has definitely increased.”
Martin recognizes that the increase is a sign of the unfortunate circumstances many find themselves in as they try to cope with a day-to-day lifestyle that seems to defy planning ahead combined with an unending “Breaking News” cycle, but she’s also glad that she can provide her services to those who need them without having to be onsite.
Although most of her clients are in the tri-state area, Martin, who has practiced Reiki since 2002, finds that the ability to hold long-distance sessions is another advantage in a time of mandated social distancing. Because energy transcends time and space, a Reiki practitioner who is in a different location can do a session with a client at any time, anywhere in the world.
Most in-person sessions last 45-75 minutes, but Martin finds the long-distance sessions require much less time to treat a client. “It’s a different experience, but no less powerful. You get much more during an in-person, but you get more specifics in a long-distance session. In a distance session, people go deeper faster, so it only takes 30-45 minutes to work through their energy.”
Every Reiki practitioner approaches their long-distance technique in a different way, but for Martin, a distance session usually begins with a phone call with the client. “Sometimes I can talk to people on the phone, and I just get that they’re coming to me for stress and anxiety. We talk beforehand, then I do my session from home. Afterwards, I call them. No Zoom or Skype, unless the person would prefer it,” details Martin. “I’ve found that a lot of clients really enjoy the distance sessions because now they’re not immediately going to get in their cars to head home, encountering stressful situations along the way. Instead, they can get off the phone with me and they’re already home. So they get to maintain that psychological clarity and emotional calm that comes after a Reiki session.”
Holistic health coach LeMar Moore echoes this sentiment: “Reiki can be practiced over distance. The practitioner and client don’t necessarily need to be in the same room to tap into the same energy. There’s nothing different in how I approach the session in-person vs long-distance.”
Based in New York City, Moore was first introduced to the energy healing practice through the Minka center in Brooklyn, then he immediately pursued it as a part of his own healing journey. “I basically went through a breakdown myself. I take healing and taking care of myself very seriously. I did a lot of daily exercise, and even became a certified physical trainer,” Moore continues. “Following on to that, I wanted to take care of my mind as well.”
Now with three years as a Reiki practitioner under his belt, he is a part of the Harlem Wellness Network as a Holistic Health Coach, but has contacts from around the world. “Quarantine has actually led to an increase in people seeking Reiki. There’s also a growing interest in Reiki from newcomers to the wellness movement,” explains Moore.
When asked about anxiety’s direct link to Reiki, Moore says, “I think anxiety is the body’s reaction to reaching its uncertainty threshold, especially in today’s world. Our tolerance for uncertainty is going down; ambiguity is increasing. So it’s no surprise that anxiety is spiking.” According to Moore, people are feeling like “I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. How do I deal with the world when I don’t know what is going to happen?”
Perhaps that’s why Martin finds her Reiki teaching practice to be just as beneficial as her treatment sessions during these stressful times. “What I try not to do is tell people that they need to keep coming back. I try to give people tools they can use to help themselves,” says the veteran healer. “I started teaching in 2009 and now it’s almost like I have to teach. For each level of Reiki, I wrote my own manuals. And I’m now a mentor for every person I teach.”
Teaching Reiki during the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly been a challenge for Martin, but she’s embraced the demand as each course allows her to influence the lives within the community around her. “I think stress and anxiety is the root cause of most diseases, and Reiki can help with your mental, physical and spiritual journey. Plus, teaching allows me to be selfish in my approach to changing the world,” asserts Martin.
“Reiki is just pure love that comes from your heart, so a lot of people will practice for themselves and their families. Level 1 is about self-care. Level 2 is about becoming a practitioner for other people. Mastership is where you can teach and go a little deeper for yourself,” Martin explains, noting those seeking out her skills as a Reiki teacher are just as numerous as those seeking out her skills as a Reiki master.
Although not a teacher yet, Moore is equally encouraged by the increased interest in Reiki and other esoteric services during today’s volatile environment. “I personally believe that as someone who channels that life force that I create connections,” Moore reveals. “I think Reiki helps because it aids with deep relaxation, and connects to that core deep inside of us that tells us we’re safe and everything is going to be OK.”
And Martin couldn’t agree more: “We’re all born healers, but we’ve gotten away from it because of how we live culturally. It’s built into our bodies and we’ve forgotten how to do it. That’s why I implore my students to make it their own. And everyone is going to make it their own and reflect their authenticity.”
Top Image: Walking in Sunshine by Aditya Saxena | Centered Middle Image: Port Renfrew Canada by Faye Cornish | Right-Side Middle Image: Juanita Martin c/o Juanita Martin | Right-Side Bottom Image: LeMar Moore c/o LeMar Moore