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Natural Awakenings

Reiki: A Healing Touch

Feb 01, 2008 03:00AM ● By Linda Sechrist

According to, more than one million U.S. adults have received at least one Reiki session in their life. That number is growing thanks to wider adoption of this method of stress reduction and healing, including in such traditional medical settings as hospitals, medical clinics and hospice programs.

Claiming origins in early Christian healing practices, laying on of hands for healing purposes is now practiced worldwide under many different names. One is Reiki, developed in Japan during the mid-19th century by Dr. Mikao Usui, who received the ability of “healing without energy depletion” following three weeks of fasting and meditating on Mount Kuarma near Kyoto. Hawayo Takata then introduced Reiki into the United States early in the following century.

Present day styles of Reiki vary, though all have their foundation in Usui Shiki Ryoho Reiki, the traditional form largely taught by independent teachers and Reiki Masters who often form their own schools to instruct students in Reiki levels I, II and III. True Reiki practice channels Universal energy rather than the energy of one’s own localized field.

Though as late as the early 1980s, journalists covering alternative healing therapies tended to make light of Reiki, by the early 1990s a shift had taken place, and Reiki began to be viewed more positively. Now scientific-based studies such as those published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine lend added credibility.

Locally, Karen and Neil Kagan have long taught Reiki at Fort Myers’ Health & Harmony Center. Neil explains that Level I concentrates on the physical body and Level II on the mental and emotional aspects along with distance healing. Level III focuses on spiritual aspects, mastership and teaching.

The Kagan family is living testament to the healing that laying on of hands can do.“Our son had a liver transplant when he was 10 months old, and Karen was his donor,” relates Neil. “Both received Reiki sessions before and after surgery. Though the doctors estimated that our son would be released in a month, he went home after two weeks. Karen was told that her liver values returned to normal faster than any donor they’d ever witnessed.”

The International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP) is the global professional association founded in 1997 joining the voices of thousands of members in 50+ countries. Its free locator service helps the public find registered practitioners and teachers who meet association requirements and abide by its professional code of ethics.

IARP founder Linda M. LaFlamme has taught Reiki globally for decades. She notes how “This gentle non-invasive healing technique, which strengthens energy pathways, clears blockages and brings more energy into the body’s systems, is used just as much as a proactive wellness tool as a healing assistance tool.” It can make a gentle beneficial contribution to a personal wellness program “by bringing the body’s energy system into a healing balance.”

Reiki practitioners, such as Marlene Cleckner, founder of the Masters of Healing & Light Center in Fort Myers, focus on the seven points along the body’s midline that correspond to specific glands, organs and functions. The practitioner, acting as an energy conduit, places her hands over these energy centers, then simply stands in the intention of helping the other person.

Cleckner responds to her students’ and clients’ questions about what Reiki feels like with a helpful metaphor. “I tell them that it feels similar to the sensation of having an ultra-sound.” A teacher for 15 years, Cleckner’s also realized results with long distance Reiki healing.

The effects of a Reiki treatment can last up to 72 hours. It’s not unusual for Cleckner to receive a grateful call from a client after they’ve gone home, relaxed or slept through the night. She notes that “It’s the letting go that makes the difference.”

To connect with Karen and Neil Kagan, call 239-332-3885 in Fort Myers, FL, or visit

To contact Marlene Cleckner at The Masters of Healing & Light Center, located at 7181 College Pkwy., Ste. 26 in Fort Myers, FL, call 239-768-9476.

For information on the International Center for Reiki Training at 21421 Hilltop #28 in Southfield, MI, call William Rand at 800-332-8112 or visit

To learn more about the International Association of Reiki Professionals visit

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