What I have learned is that, unfortunately, for many of us, life has a cumulative affect—all those bumps in the road begin to add up even though we have moved past them. Add to the mix the unsettling events our country has endured in the past dozen years—9/11, Iraq, the struggling economy—and many of us find ourselves carrying more stresses in our lives than ever before.
We feel as though we are in a transitional period, again, but we are older and our minds and bodies seem to have a more difficult time just brushing past things like we use to easily do.
I am no exception.
The stress of life weighs heavily on my mind. I don’t sleep well, I always am “tired” and I just don’t feel good. Stress, as medically proven, can be life-threatening.
Recently, I decided to do something about it and went for my first Reiki session with Gina Clemente.
It will not be my last.
Reiki, (pronounced ray-key,) is an ancient Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. The practice is based on the idea that an unseen life force energy flows through each of us–if our life force is low, we feel unhealthy; if it is high, we feel good and on top of life.
“Reiki is a stress-reduction technique,” explained Gina, who switched careers 10 years ago to open her own business. “We work with the energy source in people’s bodies.”
Gina’s own life took a new direction a decade ago when she was going through a particularly stressful transitional period. She had had a very successful career in retail, working her way up at a popular local Broadway shop from saleslady to manager over the course of 17 years.
But when her personal life and professional life began to undergo major changes, she felt the stress begin to wear on how she was feeling and how she was coping with everyday life.
She had a family to raise and an uncertain future. Life was wearing on her.
She had heard about Reiki, so she decided to try it.
“I had had massages before and I had heard about Reiki,” said Gina, who admits there is a spiritual component to the practice.
The session changed her life.
“I knew it was what I wanted to do,” said Gina, who was raising a young daughter at the time and who was facing the store she had worked at for so many years closing.
The morning I went, I wondered if I could relax enough to let the process do its ‘magic.’ I had a lot on my plate, including interviews, deadlines and horses that wouldn’t stay in their pasture.
Gina met me at her open door. We sat down and had a quiet conversation in her office on Washington Street. Soothing music played quietly in the background and the lights were slightly dimmed.
“During the initial conversation, I try to get a specific reason the person is seeking Reiki or an overall view of what they want,” explained Gina, adding that the process can be personal, emotional and spiritual for many people.
I must admit, going into the session, I was a bit skeptical. It was difficult for me to fathom how one’s energy could pass through the Reiki practitioner’s hands and somehow energize me and make me feel better.
Gina had me remove my shoes and lay down on a small table with a comfortable cushion, pillow and knee pillow. She dimmed the lights a little more. I closed my eyes and waited.
About two minutes later, I felt as Gina gently placed the palms of her hands on my ankles. I worked to concentrate and see if I could “feel” the energy coursing through my body. I was tense.
What surprised me, though, was I did begin to relax and as I did that, I let my thoughts go and quit trying to feel something happening. I listened to the soothing music and the gentle sounds of what sounded like a small creek flowing nearby. My thoughts carried over into other things.
“Some people fall asleep, others relax and meditate, others remain fully aware, but just go with the feelings,” Gina explained.
After about 15 minutes, Gina moved quietly from my feet to right side, gently touching my hip and waist area. It is a very unobtrusive touch—gentle and barely there. After a few minutes, I realized I really could not determine if her palms were still on me, but I did begin to feel what I can only describe as energy moving throughout my body.
It was a warm and pleasant experience. A muscle gently twitched in one of my legs, then another followed a few minutes later.
When she moved to my head and shoulders, the sensation seemed to flow towards her hands. I described it afterwards as a hot flash without the heat and unpleasantness.
Gina explained that when she is working on someone, she can feel their energy force through her palms.
“I am still fascinated by it,” said Gina. “When I am working on someone, I feel it in my hands, head and body.”
She added that the session can also be emotional.
“Sometimes I get emotional readings,” said Gina, adding that the practice of Reiki encompasses “everything”—spiritual, emotional and physical.
“The process never ceases to amaze me—it is the person on the table who actually directs the session,” said Gina, who received her advance Reiki training in 2003 and Master’s training in 2009.
She noted that early in her career, she volunteered at events with Double H Hole in the Woods and most recently working with cancer patients through Glens Falls Hospital providing sessions for women undergoing treatment in a retreat setting. She explained that several of her clients are cancer patients undergoing treatment.
“It helps them feel better,” said Gina. “Reiki is a wonderful compliment to traditional medicine.”
She said that for most people, the concept of Reiki and how it works is difficult to understand, but once they have a session, it becomes much clearer.
“It is very personal. When people experience it, they have a grasp on the process,” said Gina.
When my session was finished, I didn’t magically feel renewed, but I did feel as though I had experienced something special.
I will admit that later that afternoon, I felt as if I had more energy and tackled more chores than usual. I felt better than I had in recent memory.
Gina explained that the experience is unique to each individual, but that once someone decides to release control of the process, the magic, (my word,) takes over.
“When people just learn to trust the process, healing occurs whether mental, physical or emotional,” said Gina, who admits she gets something positive out of the process herself.
“It is a wonderful feeling to see someone start to feel better or to feel renewed,” said Gina. “I know this is what I was meant to do with my life.”
For more information on sessions and private classes, Gina can be reached at (518) 791-6565. She is located at 229 Washington Street and her website is www.reikihealingwithgina.com