One of the most dramatic shifts along my journey from complex trauma toward a more integrated and embodied sense of self came when I first received Reiki, a form of energy healing originating in Japan. Reiki practitioners tune into universal life force energy or qi ("chi"), a phenomenon that has been recognized in the East for over 2000 years, to direct healing were it is most needed. Those initial sessions were so impactful that I soon became attuned as a Reiki practitioner, and later a Certified Massage Therapist, both of which led me on the path to completing my MA and becoming a Somatic Psychotherapist. Reiki was the catalyst that put into motion the future I would grow.
This month's post is an introduction to Reiki, as explained by Caroline Vigery, an accomplished Reiki Master, and CMT who offers intuitive Healing Sessions in San Francisco. Caroline grew up in France, enjoyed a successful career in corporate advertising and gave birth to her first of two beautiful children prior to becoming a Reiki practitioner 10 years ago. Fittingly, many of Caroline's clients are women working in corporate jobs with a desire to shift some aspect of their lives.
Erika Shershun - Welcome Caroline, I'm grateful for the opportunity to introduce your work to my readers. Can you briefly explain what Reiki is for those who are unfamiliar with the practice?
Caroline Vigery - Reiki is energy healing. We all have energy flowing through us, and sometimes when we have stress or tension this energy gets blocked or doesn't flow as freely. Reiki helps the body to naturally restore that energy flow, release blocks, and bring balance so that we feel more at-ease and energized.
E.S. - What does one of your Reiki sessions look like?
C.V. - If you were to come in we would first spend time talking about your intentions or goals, which could be physical, emotional and/or mental. You may experience an overall lack of vitality or feeling stuck. Then, we will move to the massage table were you will lie fully clothed, covered with a warm blanket, and I will spend the next 60 minutes gently placing my hands where healing is needed.
E.S. - I find it interesting how many people think that Reiki does not involve touch.
C.V. - With Reiki it is common to place your hands directly on the body or slightly above. In my work I usually apply light pressure because it's a way for me to connect to your body and listen to what it's telling me.
E.S. - How might your Reiki sessions differ from other practitioners?
C.V. - In my healing sessions I also incorporate myofascial release (on the soft connective tissue found throughout the body where stress and trauma can be stored). This technique allows me to work with tissue memory for a deep and lasting healing experience.
After the hands-on healing I take up to 20 minutes to share insights I've gained during the session. Based on my personal experience, and my client's feedback, these insights are a significant part of their healing progress.
E.S. - Can you give some examples of what that might look like?
C.V. - By connecting with the client’s body I can feel energetic imbalances, emotions that may not have been completely processed. I sometimes intuitively see images or hear messages. All this information helps bring awareness to the healing that is needed and to the areas we'll focus on for optimal well-being.
E.S. - I know first hand from my own Reiki practice and having received Reiki from you, how powerful this information can be. Is there an example you would like to share that illustrates this?
C.V. - A woman in her 30's came to see me because she was feeling stuck in her life. She was complaining about low energy, lack of motivation, symptoms of anxiety, and had a desire for change. During her first session I sensed there were unhealed wounds from her childhood, and those unresolved issues were impacting her current life.
The intention of the healing work together was to release the emotional aspects of the trauma, and to strengthen her sense of self worth and confidence. By bringing this to her conscious awareness, over the next 5 sessions we were able to restore her energy level, integrate her past trauma, and give her the confidence to move toward the next phase of her life – which involved a career change.
E.S. - That's rather dramatic for just 5 sessions! Do you always see such quick results, or, I imagine it's dependant on how much unprocessed trauma is present and how resourced the individual is?
C.V. - Yes, you are right. The number of sessions varies according to each individual and how much balance or healing is needed. Sometimes a very profound healing will occur during a session and the next session will be more subtle - integrating and restoring balance. I’ve always noticed fast results. In most cases, clients only need a few sessions, and sometimes just one session is sufficient!
E.S Finally, would you agree that somatic psychotherapy and Reiki compliment each other?
C.V. – Absolutely! From personal experience and from what clients undergoing therapy have told me, Reiki helped support the integration of trauma allowing them to heal faster. One of my clients, a sexual abuse survivor, told me that working with a therapist and an energy healer gave both her body and mind the ability to heal and regain her long-lost self-esteem and confidence.
E.S. - Thank you for sharing your passion for Reiki with us, Caroline.
One last note, Reiki is not a magical cure all and should be used in conjunction with proper medical care, including a doctor's supervision when appropriate. Skeptics dismiss the concept of life force energy and won't be satisfied until they have undisputable scientific evidence; meanwhile countless people all over the world continue to experience the healing benefits of Reiki first hand.
To schedule a Reiki session with Caroline you can visit her website at www.carolinevigery.com or call 415.713.6776.