Part I: Holistic Lifestyle- WHY REIKI?
As I become more knowledgeable about holistic medical care and the tremendous importance of the allied professionals necessary for the health and healing of a patient, I am crossing paths with some amazing health practitioners that are most often not recognized for their talents and abilities. This is particularly true with regard to the conventional/ mainstream medical community and the lack of acceptance of alternative healing modalities. Because of this, I’d like to highlight, what I believe are important holistic practices, that may not be well understood but are absolutely essential to the overall wellbeing of a patient.
The following is an interview recorded on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014 at 5:30 pm. My questions are in the un-italicized text. Responses by Izzy Swanson are italicized.
Today, I am sitting down with a phenomenal Reiki practitioner, Izzy Swanson, so that she can shed some light on what Reiki healing is and how it is used. Izzy is a Shamanic Reiki Master who says that she has always known that she was going to help others overcome challenges. She began this call to service at the age of 14 after discovering Wicca. Her knowledge was expanded in 2009 after joining the Women’s Shamanic Wisdom Circle of Austin. She received her apprenticeship in Shamanic Reiki through the Awakening Journey Apprenticeship and has further studied at the Wolf Lodge Center for Shamanism. I am honored to know Izzy and excited about the wisdom that she will share with us.
Hi Izzy, How are you?
Thank you for being here and speaking with me today. So let’s dive right in.
Please explain to the audience what Reiki is, as I’m sure many people are unaware? And secondly, tell us what Reiki is NOT?
This is probably the hardest question to answer. It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t had Reiki, what Reiki is. You do have to, in order to give Reiki, you have to be given Reiki. You have to be attuned to the symbols of Reiki that are given to your soul.
Everything is energy. Human beings are made up of energy, plants, animals, everything in the entire planet and even farther than that, everything in the universe, everything is made up of energy. And when someone is experiencing a physical illness or a mental situation or emotional or even spiritual, their energy is also experiencing that. They have stagnation in their spiritual body, in their emotional body, in their mental body, as well as whatever pain they are feeling in their physical body. So, Reiki is energetic healing. I channel Reiki energy into someone to help their energy move and relax and release. It is the divine energy of the universe. It is pure love. I know that sounds kind of hokey, but that’s what it is.
It’s not witchcraft. It has nothing to do with whether or not you believe in Jesus, or whether or not you believe in Buddha or Allah. It’s not about which god you believe in. It’s not about how you practice your daily faith. It’s all about healing of energy and healing yourself so that you heal others around you and it radiates and it affects the entire world. Reiki can complement any spiritual practice. I am a goddess believer and goddess worshiper, so my daily practices include me using Reiki. But it doesn’t have anything to do with what you believe in. It’s not invasive. It’s not evil, it cannot hurt you, it can only help you. There is no harm that can be done with Reiki. Have I made that more confusing or is it clear?
No, that was awesome. I especially like the second part because for those who may have an idea of what the word Reiki is but may be ignorant to some of the facts about it and that is exactly what we needed to hear. What is not going on or happening.
Why did you embark on this journey personally? Why is this important work?
That’s a long answer. In the beginning, I didn’t know that I was going to be doing this for other people, I did it for myself. Truth be told, I am a recovering drug addict, and a survivor of physical, and sexual, and verbal and mental abuse. So I have experienced it all and I have lived through it all and I started on my path to help myself. To clear pain. I did not want to stay in a place of pain, I was so desperate. And, I didn’t want to be this very angry person that I was. And so I began to seek out a path that would help me. That aligned with how I felt spiritually and over time, taking various little step or working through the groups that I have worked with, I have now become a completely different person. I don’t even recognize that person from before. And so I’m inspired to help other people change from being angry, broken people. Because I know that it can be done, because I did it. And because I need to help people, because I want to help people, because there are so many broken people out there.
This work is also really important to me, the sexual abuse aspect of this is a big deal to me. I became ordained as part of my work with Reiki- because there are some legal restrictions and things like that, but it’s bigger than that. I have a goal to take the work that I do with Reiki out into the world and help people who have lived with sexual abuse and sexual trauma and any kind of trauma, but mostly sexual abuse. Especially women and teenagers. That’s why this work is important to me.
First, thank you for sharing that personal perspective. Tell me a little more. You were seeking something but how did you end up seeking Reiki? How did that end up being where you went for help?
You know, Reiki was actually unintentional and that’s what makes it even more beautiful to me. I never thought that I’d be practicing Reiki, I didn’t set out to practice Reiki. Instead, I set out to do Shamanic work and to do past life work and to do soul retrieval and to learn how to drum journey and connect with Celtic and Native American ways of doing things. Through that, someone said, one of my teachers had to leave and another teacher stepped in and said, ‘Oh, I’ll teach you Reiki, do you want to learn it’ and I said ‘I do’ and after the first attunement, it became my life and I knew that it was what I was going to do. And so, even today, what it really comes down to, ultimately, for me is listening to my higher power. It’s not my will, it’s not what I want to do. I turn it over and I just ask to be a messenger of love, light, peace and truth every day. That is my goal. I’m not always perfect in it but that is my goal. And if I stick to that, every step I take leads me to where I am supposed to go. And that’s how I ended up here.
So it does get really spiritual. I don’t want to scare anyone away from it because I’m so spiritual. But, yeah, for me, it’s really spiritual.
Well, that’s wonderful. Thank you. Okay, let’s switch gears a little bit. And let’s talk to my colleagues, my medical colleagues who laugh at you. Who say that this is ridiculous, this isn’t proven. First, tell me what kinds of ailments or conditions would Reiki be helpful for? And what kind of patient should consider Reiki?
Reiki can be helpful for anything. If you can go see a doctor for it, or you can go see a massage therapist for it, or you can see an acupuncturist for it, or a chiropractor, you can go and get Reiki for it. Everything, remember, is energy. So, let’s say you have a broken bone and you’re healing a broken bone. You can get Reiki to help repair the energy around that broken bone, to relax your muscles and your body, so that your body will self-heal. And it will aid in the healing process and it actually can provide pain relief. So, anything, if you’re feeling run down, if you’ve just gotten over a cold, if you have an autoimmune disorder, especially if you have an autoimmune disorder, Reiki can help your body heal itself, by moving that energy and keeping it moving. When you’re injured and when you’re sick, you’re energy is stuck. It’s not moving and that’s what Reiki does. It helps to get it moving.
And what would you say to a practitioner who says, ‘This is hokey, prove it to me, where is the science?’
There’s actually a lot of science out there. I can’t quote specifically articles right now but William Lee Rand has, I can’t remember the name of his website, but he has an entire website dedicated to Reiki, and a part of that website dedicated to actual studies, that are peer-reviewed and challenged and evaluated and they have got some good evidence showing that Reiki does help patients recover faster. And they have positive results. There is another program that I have volunteered for called VET Triip, it’s a non-profit organization to help veterans with PTSD and they have provided some research about how Reiki, along with other methods- Qi Gong, massage, EFT- all of those things, are actually helping soldiers to get through the PTSD process. There’s a lot of research out there, that is accurate and that can be easily found.
I would also say to them, to at least give me a chance. Give me one chance. I mean come in and see me, I make no guarantees, but the one thing I will say is that you will at least leave here calm, you will at least relax. And that is a big thing for your body.
Awesome. Now let’s turn to patient experience. What can a patient expect from a Reiki session? It’s their first session, their nervous, they don’t know what to expect. What would you tell them?
This is a good question because I’ve gotten a lot of new patients lately and I explain it to them upfront, so that they aren’t confused. They will just come in and lay down on a massage table. They don’t have to take off any clothes, they do need to take off their shoes, but they don’t have to take off anything, they don’t have to worry about being vulnerable in that way. They’ll lie down, I’ll cover their eyes, I’ll dim the lights, I’ll play a little bit of music. I will begin by touching their head and around their neck and their shoulders, but I will hover over the rest of your body. And I will touch their feet towards the end to help ground them again. They may feel a little bit of sensation, like pushing or pulling, or a burst of hot, or a burst of cold energy. Some people experience more, some people feel their body moving, feel their body tingling. It depends but usually the person will feel the warmth of my hands hovering over them.
And so what about a patient who can’t relax. Because it sounds like they need to be in a relaxed position, they need to probably be breathing deeply. For patients who don’t have experience meditating or relaxing, is this a block for you doing Reiki with them or does it not matter what condition they are in and you are going to be able to give them what they need?
It doesn’t matter what condition they are in. Even if they are blocked to accepting it, the Reiki will still go and do what it needs. It may just have to, it can hover and wait before it works. Even if they can’t accept it right then. So when a person first comes to me, I ask them when they first lie down to breath in and out deeply and I remind them that there is nothing that they have to do. You don’t need to figure anything out, you don’t need to do any work, I will take care of it for you.
That’s great. Thank you. So many people in our society enjoy the immediate results that are often provided, like take a pill and feel better or go through the drive thru and eat right away. Is Reiki something that will provide immediate results and is it something that can be done once or does it need to be kept up with on a regular basis?
I would say that it depends on how stagnant your energy is. There are some people who come to me, who haven’t had any kind of energy work at all, who haven’t done any work on themselves otherwise or any other type of modality, therapy or other spiritual practice or anything. And their energy has not moved at all. And I see that, especially, in people who have experienced a lot of trauma. And, yes, those people, I recommend that they come back on a regular basis, and we work to remove the layers and layers and layers of blockages. Some people do some work on themselves and they say ‘Maybe, I need a little help’ and they come to me and I see them once a month, or once every couple of months.
I, personally believe for myself, that Reiki can work immediately. It begins to move your energy immediately. But it may take time to see results, it may take a little while before you really realize the effect that Reiki is having on your body.
And is there ever any resistance. Has anyone ever said, ‘this is not for me, I can’t do this.’ What is that experience like?
That’s never happened to me in the room itself. By the time that people come to me, they have come to the point where they have made an appointment, their ready. But I have talked with other people, when I suggest to people “Maybe you should try Reiki?” I actually had one person tell me, ‘I know what’s wrong with me, I do not want Reiki.’ Some people are very resistant to it and I just have to honor that. I do not want to force this one anyone.
Absolutely. So my last question is why would you consider Reiki an important part of health and holistic wellness?
Because, I believe that there is more than one aspect to it. It’s not just your physical body. You have your mind, you have your emotions and you have your spirit or energy, how I’m translating it. And you can’t heal one without healing the other. You can keep healing your physical body, but if you are not taking care of the rest of it, you’re not really healing. And you keep going through the same patterns and you keep getting sick and keep doing it over and over. So you have to have it all.
Thank you so much Izzy, this was extremely enlightening and I’m pretty sure those who read this will agree.
You may find more information about Izzy Swanson and her practice at transformationreiki.com and please do give her a call if you are ready to start energy healing.
Thank you to Izzy for participating in this interview. I do hope it diminishes some of the myth that is associated with Reiki and offers healthcare practitioners and patients an ancillary tool that can be utilized to further the healing process as part of a holistic lifestyle.