While woo-woo will never be a "trend," interest in alternative healing therapies is on the rise because Western medicine is, in some cases, failing us. Whether it's back pain, autoimmune disease, or long-term hormonal disruptions, we're turning to different therapies, some old and some new, to feel better. Reiki is a healing modality skeptics love to hate. It involves a gentle hovering or touch of the healer's hands on the receiver's body. There's no right or wrong experience—some feel tingling or heat, others fall asleep, while others lay awake wondering what they are supposed to feel. Because it works on the subtle energy in the body, reiki can take a few sessions in order to feel comfortable enough or quiet enough to experience the shifts it can facilitate. In the spirit of sharing, we asked a group of women what their first reiki experiences were like. This is what they said:
8 Real Women Share Their First Experiences With Reiki
1. Anne Marie, content editor.
"The first time I tried reiki was at a tiny little Japanese healing center near Union Square in New York City. A woman who barely spoke English held her hands up to me as I sat in front of her with my eyes closed. I sat and sat for probably 15 minutes, and thought I felt a bit warmer or lighter throughout, but I wasn't sure if it was true or just a placebo effect. When it was done, she told me she saw a white orb of light around me, and that my energy was synonymous with that of an angel, and that I had a lot to offer others in the way of energy. Needless to say, I was happy with my reading, but am still not 100 percent sure if I believe in its accuracy :)."
2. Cristine, writer.
"My first experience was terrible. My shoulder was hurting from some overzealous stretching and a co-worker offered to do reiki on it. Instead of helping though, it made it hurt more. I felt the energy, but didn't feel the healing. I did make me understand the power of the practice though—the next time, I found someone better credentialed and had a much better experience."
3. Melissa, lawyer.
"I thought it wouldn't feel like anything, but I was surprised at how much energy and heat I felt. It was as relaxing as getting a massage."
4. Elizabeth, social media manager.
"Reiki is one of those things I always wanted to feel but never actually did until my third or fourth experience (I always fell asleep before). We had a reiki healer come into the office to lead a group session, and the whole time I kept thinking, here we go again—kind of already accepting that I wouldn’t feel anything. But in the last few minutes of the workshop, I started to feel full body vibrations, like some kind of energy surging through my limbs. Right as things started to get moving, the session ended, but it was cool to finally feel physical sensations via this practice."
5. Emma, associate editor.
"I tried reiki for the first time for a story and really didn’t know what to expect. I found the experience to be totally surreal—by the end of my hourlong session, it felt like five different practitioners were working on me, when really it was just one woman’s hands. I’m sure that means I have some sort of energetic blockage, and though I haven’t kept up with the practice, I’ve always been meaning to get back into it."
6. Rosemary, yoga teacher.
"So my first reiki experience was when I was in college. My stepmom took me to an energy healer because I was working through a lot of stuff. A bad break up, general stress from being at a very big college, and just a lot of changes and transitions. I felt some shifts and changes, but I don’t think I really understood it until I developed a regular self-care and yoga practice. My teacher Kate Posch led a summer seasonal workshop, and the experience was a lot more profound. I felt clearer afterward for a longer period of time.... it’s something that is so hard to describe with words."
7. Rebecca Stump, senior brand experience manager.
"I expected to emerge from my first reiki session—which was a group session at an event with Kelsey Patel—feeling like I had just meditated. Instead, I had a vision where I was floating on a cloud and landed on a castle, where a door opened and there was someone making a giant stew. I came out of it not really knowing where I was and feeling incredibly relaxed and at ease."
8. Kelsey Patel, reiki master.
"My first treatment, I was definitely in a place in my life where I had a ton of anxiety and back pain. Lying down and receiving a reiki treatment was very foreign to me. I was always used to deep massages where I was in a little bit of pain that ended up helping me relax. I walked out of my first session feeling lighter and that my back pain had dissipated. I was not sure at all what had just happened, but I knew I felt better. My mind couldn't comprehend it, but I was very aware that my mind was relaxed and my body felt so much better. That's when my journey with reiki began..."