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I am one of America’s uninsured, and have been for a large portion of my adult life. It’s not that I don’t want insurance, just that I haven’t always followed a career path where that has been an option or a given. As a result, I’ve learned much about a wide variety of natural and alternative healing methods to keep myself healthy, and have used this accumulated knowledge to support and educate others on their own journeys.
I operate a small healing arts practice in central Maine, where I regularly employ two of the most ancient, potent and gentle healing forces that I know: Reiki, a hands-on healing art, and Cannabis, one of our safest and most widely beneficial herbal allies. Individually, each has its own unique powers, but when used together, these two therapies are natural adjuncts to one another, and work as a sort of mind-body-spirit “reset button,” allowing the individual to return to kind of homeostasis and balance.
For those unfamiliar, The International Center for Reiki Training defines the practice of Reiki as “a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.” To some, the notion of this life force energy is quite abstract, particularly if one is not accustomed to the idea that we are energetic beings, generating and pouring enormous amounts of our energy out into the world, 24/7.
Humor me for a moment. Rub your hands briskly together, and I do mean briskly, for about 30 seconds. You should begin to feel some heat generate. Now, stop rubbing and hold your palms closely together, about a quarter inch apart but not touching. Get quiet and see what you feel. It might start as a tingle, a teensy vibe, a prickle. Some people feel a little seed or ball of energy begin to develop; others feel a little magnetic resistance, like putting two magnets together at the wrong ends. Whatever you feel, that is all YOU. You created that energy, and it flows through and from you. Feeling that flow coming from one’s hands is a new experience for many. Now imagine that same energy, in increased volume, flooding, even blasting from your hands, and you have an idea of what Reiki is and can be like.
Reiki is a healing practice that falls into the category of energy medicine, a system that allows the practitioner to act as a channel for an increased level of this energy. Everyone has the innate ability to channel healing energy to themselves: smack your elbow on something and your hands immediately go to the spot to soothe it. It’s healing energy, but it’s not Reiki. The ability to perform Reiki is passed from teacher to student through an initiation process called an attunement, and once attuned, the practitioner then uses a series of symbols and the power of intention to activate the flow of energy, for themselves or others. One of these symbols, called the Cho-Ku-Rei, translates as “Put the power here” or “Turn the power on.” Envision it, and voila! It turns on.
No one knows how or why Reiki works. We don’t yet possess the understanding or technology to measure how or why this system of healing does what it does. It just IS.
Who can explain why, if I rest my hands on the top of your head and leave them there for five minutes, the pain in your left ankle abates? Or how it is that, if I put my hands on your shoulders, you see a wild array of colors and visuals pass behind closed eyes and your weeks-old headache is suddenly gone?
Each Reiki experience is totally unique to the individual, and to the moment. It can be mind-blowing, or it can be subtle. An average treatment consists of the client lying fully clothed on a massage table, but I have done Reiki on the guy who comes to collect my trash on the front lawn in a beach chair and had excellent results.
The practitioner places her hands in a series of positions on (or over) the body that correspond with the body’s various energy centers. Some clients fall immediately into a deep meditative trance, even to sleep. As energies begin to be stirred in the body, some are moved to tears and feel long held grief begin to shift, or pains that had existed for years just disappear. Some people feel a cold, swirling energy circulating around and through them, while in others there may be a warm, hot compressed energy centered at one location. In fact, Reiki seems to possess an innate intelligence of its own, providing the exact kind of healing that the body in front of it needs at that time.
While it’s risky in this litigious world for any alternative health practitioner to make extraordinary claims about the efficacy of a particular healing modality, I have witnessed fantastic, nearly unbelievable effects on some individuals, and any practitioner of this art will attest and have their own miracle stories to tell.
So how does cannabis figure into all of this? Here in Maine, where qualifying patients can access their medicine from a number of sources, I am fortunate to be a medical marijuana caregiver, licensed by the State to grow, prepare, and provide medical cannabis in a variety of forms to a small number of patients. It is good work that I am proud of and feel very blessed to do, a calling that ten years ago I would never have imagined possible.
Although my Reiki practice is open to all, I find that my work has taken a very exciting turn in a new direction with those of my clients who are also medical marijuana patients. I believe that cannabis use immediately before a Reiki session facilitates deeper healing by allowing a client to enter into a state of relaxation and readiness, priming them to accept and integrate the energies that will follow to their maximum benefit. If it feels appropriate, and depending on the client’s particular need and desire at the time, I select a strain and method of ingestion from my apothecary that supports the work at hand (Indica or Sativa? Tincture or Vapor?), assist the client in their use of it, get the client centered and comfortable, and then begin the treatment.
Just as Reiki seems to possess an intuitive ability of its own, so too does Cannabis. For how can we explain a medicine that can be used soothe both an upset stomach and bring healing tears, reduce physical and emotional pain at the same time? In conjunction, Reiki and cannabis would seem to be an access point into an ancient and universal healing wisdom that is just waiting to be tapped into.
We can imagine the body as a radio. Cannabis prepares the client to receive the information; Reiki allows the client to tune or dial into the proper frequency needed to achieve or restore balance. With the field of cannabis science exploding, amazing diversity with so many new strains emerging, each with its own frequency and energetic signature, it seems only a matter of time before we are able to treat any and every ailment with its most appropriate strain. (Am I implying “panacea?” Yes, I am.) Cannabis can and does offer profound healing for many, and I can foresee the day when it, and Reiki, and all the other “fringe” modalities will be widely acknowledged and honored as the legitimate and powerful methods of self-healing that they truly are.
While we may have varying opinions about what constitutes quality, affordable “health care,” I believe that we can agree that individuals deserve the power of choice, the right of sovereignty over their own bodies, and the right to treat themselves with the forms of healing and medicine that serve and suit them best. I want that for myself, and I want it for you, too.