Reiki is a gentle practice that supports relaxation and helps bring balance to the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Each of us has electro-magnetic fields and subtle energies that can come out of balance as a result of stress, illness, or simply from everyday life. Each of us also has an innate ability to heal and return to balance. Reiki is a special method of supporting that innate healing ability.
Reiki can have a profound effect on the recipient’s sense of well-being. Reiki is extremely relaxing. After a session, many recipients report a great sense of calmness and balance. This relaxation response has powerful effects of its own. Studies have shown that Reiki can benefit people who are tense, stressed, anxious, or fatigued. Studies also have shown that Reiki can help people manage chronic or acute pain. Reiki supports the well-being of persons undergoing other medical procedures, including treatment for cancer.
Reiki often is done in-person, but also can be done remotely. During an in-person Reiki session, the Susan's hands may rest lightly on the recipient or they may be in the area around the recipient. The recipient remains clothed, and no pressure or manipulation is involved. For those who prefer, an entire session can be done without touch.
Reiki also can be done remotely. It is hard to explain what Reiki is and how it works, even when the provider and recipient are physically in the same place. An April 2020 Atlantic article captured this with the headline, "Reiki Can't Possibly Work. So Why Does It?" One answer is that Reiki works not just with the body's electro-magnetic fields but also with spirit. If one accepts the concept of spirit, then feeling better and returning to a place of balance would not just be a matter of working with the physical body but also would involve spirit. Spirit is not limited by time or place. Reiki thus can work at a distance. Susan and her husband, Jon Bernhardt, have taught many Reiki classes. The second level classes include doing distance Reiki. In each class, they have had a volunteer receiver at another location. Often the students and the recipient do not know each other. They touch base by phone, hang up, and then the class gives distance Reiki. The class calls the recipient afterward. Every time, without exception, the recipients have noticed an effect, and both the providers and recipients often have had specific identical observations.
Reiki works in harmony with conventional medical care. It can be used as a complementary therapy alongside Western medical treatments. Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment under the care of a licensed physician, but will not interfere with that care.
Susan has been certified as a Reiki Master Teacher since 2015, as has her husband, Jon Bernhardt. They each provide Reiki sessions in person and by distance, and also can jointly give Reiki for a more powerful session. They also hold Reiki training classes, from Reiki I through the Master Teacher level. They both have volunteered as Reiki providers with Lifespark Cancer Resources, a non-profit organization that provides Reiki treatments free of charge to people with cancer and their caregivers.
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Saint Paul, Minnesota
Photo: Arabian Sea, Palghar, Maharashtra, India, by Susan Bernhardt, 3/2017