Need to relax? The Walla Walla Volunteer Reiki Organization has begun holding free Reiki healing sessions the last Saturday of each month at the Many Waters Wellness Center, 800 Sprague Ave.
Corbi Copeland, one of the founders of the volunteer group, said the free healing sessions are a way to give back to the community. It's also a way to increase awareness of Reiki healing, a Japanese relaxation method introduced to western culture in the 1930s. This technique is becoming more mainstream as have chiropractic, massage and acupuncture.
"It's a way to clear yourself and move forward," she said. The volunteer organization is a group of about ten Reiki practitioners who want to share healing sessions with others in the community.
"It's about service. It's a great way for a person to come in and experience something new," she said.
What is Reiki? According to Copeland, Rei means "universal" and Ki means "life force energy." So it works out to be "Universal life force energy, God power, universal life force energy," she said.
"The practitioners are conduits; the practitioners never use their own energy or take energy from the person," Copeland explained.
"Reiki energy goes where it's needed, where it can do the highest good for the person's benefit. All you need to do is show up. Come in, lay down and relax, your work is done."
Of course, Copeland said, some people have a hard time relaxing at all, so it's a great opportunity to get quiet.
According to Copeland, Reiki works with other types of healing, such as traditional medicine. Copeland said eventually they would like to connect with the local hospitals to provide Reiki treatments for cancer patients.
"They [patients] could request a Reiki treatment and we'd have a volunteer available. We know there are people who can benefit from Reiki, those who are in chemo, radiation or in pain management. It's easily accessible, you just come in and experience it."
She suggested that anyone who is interested should come in and have a session to see for themselves if it is right for them.
"You should have a session, to experience it. You can decide if you liked it or if it's not for you. Reiki energy also stays in your system for about three days." Everyone's session is different, as is their reaction to it.
According to Copeland, it works well for older people because the process is gentle.
"I've worked with people with hip or back problems. It promotes healing without aggravating sensitivities," she said. A person can get a Reiki healing laying down or seated in a chair if that is easier and more comfortable for them. "For an older person, or someone with sleep apnea, sometimes they can't lay flat. They are in charge of their Reiki session. We want them to be comfortable. It's about their wellness," Copeland said. "That older generation, they may be curious but not really sure. They might be more comfortable in a more familiar environment, in a chair." Some healers do home visits so the new experience is on familiar turf.
Copeland says the generage aged 55 and older is more used to working and giving, rather than receiving.
But Reiki is about balance, and receiving is part of a balanced life. Some of the problems for older adults are joint issues, said Copeland.
"You get the creaking joint stiffness, when arthritis sets in - swelling and inflammation. Sometimes older people have issues with fatigue and low energy." Cognitive and memory problems are also concerns for many as they age. Copeland says that Reiki can address those issues as well.
"It's brain health really. Most people don't focus on it enough. We do a lot for heart health but not as much brain stimulation, that needs to happen to stay healthy."
"Reiki-ing the brain helps align the brain with the rest of your energetic body. It helps ‘chemo brain' that people get when they're being treated for cancer." She said older people are also getting in touch with their source and exploring their spiritual as well as physical health. "We don't honor that as much as we should."
Reiki healing is cited by the National Association of Complementary and Alternative Medicine as complementary to other treatments. Copeland said Reiki helps alleviate side effects of cancer treatments and prescriptions as well as the main physical, emotional or spiritual issue.
Walla Walla-born Copeland observed, "Walla Walla has a huge Reiki community, we wanted to come out of the Reiki closet."
To try Reiki
The Walla Walla Volunteer Reiki Organization's next free Reiki session will be Saturday, March 26. The event runs 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Many Waters Wellness Center, 800 Sprague Ave.
Contact WWVRO at firstname.lastname@example.org or 509-301-9247.