By Shelby Tuttle
If you consider yourself to be spiritually attuned or open to alternative methods of healing, you’ve no doubt heard of reiki. Noted by many to be a complementary healing modality to Western medicine, reiki practitioners work with the Eastern medicine belief that living things have energy fields that support their vitality or life force. In the practice of reiki, practitioners place their hands on (or hover just above) a client’s body to move stagnant energy held within them. Oftentimes, these blocks are associated with either physical or emotional trauma and have the capacity to cause illness or disease.
Notably, the practice of reiki healing is currently offered in 15% of U.S. hospitals. What’s more? Top-tier institutes like Harvard, Yale, UCLA, and the University of Arizona offer reiki as a treatment adjacent to traditional medical measures.
Derived from the Japanese word “rei,” meaning universal, and “ki,” meaning life energy, the most common form of the modality was taught by Mikao Usui in Japan in the 1920s. Considered the founder of modern reiki, Usui’s teachings were brought to Hawaii in the 1930s by a Japanese-American woman named Hawayo Takata. Takata returned to Japan to seek help for her own health conditions and was so profoundly impacted that she learned reiki from one of Usui’s students, and then became the first person to teach reiki in the U.S.
There are three levels of reiki training, which can traditionally take several years to complete when allowing for proper practice, integration, and energetic attunement.
Scottsdale’s Danielle McGhee has been practicing reiki for nearly 11 years and was introduced to the modality when her local yoga studio held a reiki circle in 2013.
“After receiving reiki that night, I knew I had to learn more. I had tapped into a level of relaxation and understanding that I hadn’t felt before that moment,” says McGhee. I immediately signed up for my reiki Level 1 certification and started my journey.”
Traveling almost weekly for work and planning large-scale seminars and events meant McGhee not only experienced high levels of stress, but she was subjected to the chaotic energy that can come from being in rooms with hundreds of people every weekend.
“My nervous system was so depleted,” she says.
Now a reiki master who left her corporate job to open Modern Reiki full time in 2019, McGhee notes that she works primarily with women whose experiences are similar to hers.
“I mostly work with high-achieving women who want to tap into their intuitive gifts and feel really good in their bodies while doing it,” she notes. “A lot of times, they will find this work when going through massive transitions and knowing they are meant to operate and work in a new and different way.”
Cassi Cruz was introduced to reiki over 17 years ago, at a time in her life when she was suffering from serious bouts of depression due to the loss of her grandmother.
“I had a neighbor introduce me to a reiki master, which was not something that was known like it is today,” Cruz states.
Now a reiki master herself, Cruz says she finds that her clientele tend to also be healers in their own right.
“My clientele find that there is something more to them but they can’t really explain it — people who are unaware of their gifts,” she says. “I find that the people I attract are people who have gone through similar things I have.”
What’s a reiki session like, anyway?
Cruz describes reiki as a Roto Rooter for energy blockages.
“Most people don’t realize that our emotions can create clogging when we are not consciously feeling them. A lot of times, people become too busy and distracted and sometimes disconnected from themselves,” she notes. “Energy work is a great way to move stuck energy and to bring it to the surface so we can feel it in order to heal it.”
She notes that when working with her clients (who are 100% referral-based), Cruz experiences pain or discomfort in her body to alert her to the problem areas where energy needs to be moved within her clients’ bodies.
“I can also feel anxiety and disharmony in their body. I like to get to the roots of when and how the stagnation began by connecting the dots and showing them where patterns show up in their life that keeps them stuck.” She continues, “I find it very important to communicate with people what I find so it can help them see where their patterns play a part in their life. The person who’s really healing themselves is [the client], by the choices and decisions [they make]. I’m just the conduit.”
When beginning a typical 90-minute session, McGhee checks in with her clients to gain a better understanding of why they’re there, inquiring into anything they may be feeling emotionally or physically in the body. Sessions are bookended with guided meditations to help ease the client into and out of the energy work itself.
For the hands-on work, McGhee says, “We work on each chakra point, along with other various areas of the body that tend to hold tension — large joints, the hands, knees, and the feet.”
McGhee also brings other intuitive gifts into her sessions with clients.
She notes that as humans, our intuition and connection to the divine can ebb and flow at different times of our lives. In sessions with her clients, she currently channels messages from her client’s individual spirit guides or angels, has the capacity to act as a medium, and interpret the Akashic records for each of her clients, helping to bring past life experiences to light.
In any given session, McGhee notes that clients may experience a number of sensations, including deep relaxation, comfort, and a feeling of ease in the body. After a number of sessions, clients have reported feeling a stronger spiritual connection and have clarity around their purpose and mission.
“They can see the bigger picture and have an unshakeable knowing of themselves and their place in the world,” she says.
Says Cruz, “When we have physical pain, it is our body’s way of trying to help us by saying ‘hey, something feels stuck here.’ But we have been taught not to listen to that or blame it on sleeping funny. My goal is to teach them how to listen to their body’s cues for healing and wholeness.
To learn more about Danielle McGhee or to book an appointment, visit www.modernreiki.co. To learn more about Cassi Cruz or to get in touch with her, visit her on Instagram at @cassicruz1.