DeKALB – Although she freely admits her family thought she was a little nutty when she started the practice, Joan Protano said Reiki has worked miracles in her life.
“I went through a severe depression and when my therapist suggested drug therapy, I asked about alternatives,” the DeKalb resident said.
Acupuncture therapy led her to Reiki, which she calls a lifesaver. Pronounced ray-key, this Japanese technique is a gentle one for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing.
Protano and as many as 40 other area residents meet on the first Tuesday of each month at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in DeKalb for a Reiki share. Meeting since the fall of 2005, the shares are open to anyone who has practiced Reiki or is interested in learning more.
The evening starts by passing a basket containing slips of paper. On them, all are invited to write down a prayer request. No one reads the requests, but at the end of the evening, they are burned, symbolically sending the request to the creator.
“God knows our prayers,” Protano said.
The next step is a guided visualization. The room is quiet and dimly-lit as Protano’s soft voice provides instruction on breathing deeply and letting go of the day’s stress.
Each person is given an opportunity to give and receive Reiki’s healing energy. Lying fully clothed on a massage table, the receiver may have several people surrounding them, praying, providing the gentle touch. Touch is not provided until permission is given.
Protano said she practices Reiki daily, and called it love energy from the creator.
“It balances you, reduces stress and it has created miracles in my life,” she said.
Cindy Harness, owner of Wise Owl Wellness in Sycamore, said Reiki has helped her realize her voice.
“I felt more confident, more grounded and less shaken up when things pop up in my life,” Harness said.
She said the healing touch of Reiki has helped her aging dog with stiffness.
A massage therapist by trade, Katie Burke said she first took Reiki classes for continuing education credit. Since learning the techniques, she said she can’t turn it off.
“It’s just a part of you, like breathing,” Burke said.
It is a Japanese technique for relaxation that also promotes healing through a light laying of hands. Practitioners say warm, soothing energy flows from the hands into the client, promoting relaxation and releasing of tension. It is said to reduce stress and pain; accelerate physical, emotional and mental healing; increase mental and physical energy; improve self-confidence and self-esteem; enhance problem solving and memory retention; expand creativity and communication; support natural and orthodox methods and medicine.