Taking Reiki on the Road

One day, as I was meandering downtown through the streets of Seattle where I live, I noticed the stereotypical Starbucks stores on each corner and thought, why couldn’t Reiki strive for the same type of presence in our society? I was reminded of the spiritual truth that if you can dream it, it can become a reality. So, I let my creative imagination go wild.

The result was Mobile Reiki Healing. I imagined venues where people could come in and receive a short (20 minute) session while reclining in a comfortable chair, with some sort of sleep mask and headphones to take them into a deeper sense of relaxation while a practitioner provided a Reiki treatment. The idea would be similar to the “massage bars” in airports, but instead of facing forward in a massage chair, recipients would be reclining. With the addition of eye and ear covering and a warm blanket, the recipient would be able to tune out external distractions and tune in to their inner healing.

To fulfill my vision, I knew I would need a team of practitioners, rather than just my solo self. I created an organization called the “Reiki Fellowship,”and invited graduates of my Reiki training program as well as other practitioners from around the country to join in our mission of “Connecting the World With Reiki.” The activities of the group include educational outreach and participation at local festivals and expositions. In addition, we have a Web site where members post their biographies and links to their own Web sites. Annual membership fees offset the costs of entry fees and needed equipment. Since its creation in the summer of 2007, the Reiki Fellowship has become a group of more than forty members across the US.

The group’s first outreach activity was providing “Mobile Reiki” sessions at a local festival. We pooled our resources and purchased a portable 10 x 10 display booth and banners and brought folding chairs. It’s a very different experience than working within the quiet confines of your own private office. Each time we set up our display, we’d learn something new about working out in the open.

For a successful festival experience, it is essential to schedule practitioners to man the booth as well as practitioners to give treatments. The booth crew can field questions and talk about Reiki, give out brochures, sell items, take pictures, encourage visitors to sign mailing lists, and respond to unanticipated events like bad weather, wind knocking over the tent, and brochures blowing around.

With festivals, practitioners need to realize that there are noises beyond their control. There is crowd noise, music, utility trucks backing up with beepers, and the interested people coming up to you to ask you what you are doing. As a practitioner, its vital to remain grounded, and if noise is a bother, that you have a way to shut it out, with a device such as an iPod that has serene music pre-recorded on it. The person you are giving Reiki to should also have such a device, as well as eye covering to block out light and a blanket or sheet that not only acts as insulation against the weather but also helps define treatment space.

 

 

After successfully presenting and practicing at four neighborhood festivals, we felt we had enough experience to provide sessions in shifts during a two-day health exposition at a Seattle convention center. Fifteen practitioners performed over 400 sessions.  Only three of the recipients declined to be included on our mailing list! Since that time, each practitioner has reported several appointments and/or students resulting from this outreach.  That’s about a 10% return on the effort involved.

During the expo, practitioner Peggy Snow ran into a teenage girl she had treated earlier in the day and found the girl excitedly sharing with her friends what she had experienced in the Reiki session. The girls were anxious to have Peggy share information about Reiki, her work, and The Reiki Fellowship.

The experience of doing Mobile Reiki outdoors and in a large convention center reinforced what we know as practitioners; when you create the space for healing, Reiki flows, regardless of the noise and activities going on around you. With these experiences under our belts, several of us decided to take Mobile Reiki to the next level—into corporate America.

Reiki Master Tom Brophy was instrumental in opening the corporate door for The Reiki Fellowship and Mobile Reiki. He approached the Human Resources department of a large Seattle corporation, explained Reiki and suggested it would be a great benefit for workers going through the stress of potential lay-offs. HR was open to the idea as long as they didn’t have to pay for it, so the arrangement was made to have employees pay the Reiki practitioners directly for their services. Tom agreed to handle scheduling of appointments and put out the word to employees through inter-office email that Reiki sessions would be available the following week. Employees signed up for 20-minute treatments during their break times. He found a suitable room in his building that was quiet and insulated from the noises of the surrounding office for sessions.

Reiki Master Jennifer Yost and I provided the treatments. On the first day, she and I saw four clients each in two hours.  Many we worked with were suffering from stress and anxiety. Some suffered from chronic aliments such as diabetes or chronic fatigue. Our focus was bringing compassionate attention and calm to each session, despite unforeseen interruptions, noises outside the treatment room, temperature changes in the room, clients missing appointments, etc.

One client reported that a long-held tightness in her left hip had released during the session, providing her immediate comfort. She was quite surprised because I didn’t even place my hand on that hip. That experience provided an impetus for an abbreviated discussion on how Reiki works and the client pursuing Reiki training.

Each client received a feedback form with the option to be included on our mailing list.  Since its inception, we have seen over 20 clients over the last month.  All wished to be added to our list. Several have become clients and/or students outside of the office sessions.

Unfortunately due to the lay-offs at this company, Tom was also let go, and with that, our contact to continue corporate Reiki at this time.

What Jen and I learned from being able to offer Reiki within the office environment were several key points.  For one, having an ‘inside contact’ was much easier than cold-calling and trying to convince HR or the appropriate department of the merits of Reiki.  Having an organization like the Reiki Fellowship had created a pool of talented Reiki practitioners from which we were able to have that ‘inside contact’.  We also learned that we needed to allow an extra ten minutes for each 20 minute session due to clients running late from meetings and/or needing some extra time to discuss what they were feeling in the session or any questions they had about Reiki.

The potential of incorporating Mobile Reiki Healing sessions into other venues is limitless. Businesses such as spas, medical offices, beauty salons, and events such as employee appreciation days can provide venues. Another possibility is actually presenting itself at the time of this writing. The brother of one of our Reiki Fellowship members is a wild animal trainer who has worked with various movie producers for almost 20 years. Through experiencing Reiki first hand and being impressed with the results, he is beginning to spread the word about Mobile Reiki Healing for actors. I can picture our portable chairs and iPods on set and our providing sessions to the actors before and/or after they perform. Reiki-infused performances! Stay tuned for further developments coming from Hollywood!

In doing such outreach, its helpful and advantageous to create a practitioner group, similar to The Reiki Fellowship, to provide ample support to handle the demands of the particular setting in which you are offering service. Having a group of other practitioners allows the trade off of shifts and the building of camaraderie and community with each outreach event. For a festival or exposition, a group of 5-15 practitioners may be required, whereas a corporate service or one offered in a spa or other therapeutic setting might only need one or two practitioners.

Each outreach is an opportunity for the practitioner to market their services to the public. If a practitioner had to do this presentation alone, the costs of the festival entrance fee and booth equipment might be prohibitive. It would be difficult for one person to handle giving treatments, explaining Reiki to passersby, and everything else that needs to be done. With a group of practitioners, those who are more experienced at public speaking can take the “stage” and answer questions while others handle the “business” of scheduling, and those who are more treatment-oriented give sample demonstrations. Practitioners can learn from each other, gain confidence working in different roles, and gain valuable practical experience in working with the public.

Thoughtful planning, careful scheduling, good equipment, proper dress, and being on time are all key factors in a successful outreach. The Reiki Fellowship had black and white T-shirts printed up with the slogans “Receive Your Reiki” to serve as a casual uniform for public outreaches. Even though we are individual practitioners, the T-shirts symbolize our cooperation under the umbrella of the Fellowship.

The opportunities for expanding the reach of Reiki are limitless. A group such as The Reiki Fellowship affords practitioners an opportunity to increase their individual success, contribute to the success of the group, and raise awareness about Reiki in their communities. If we can dream it, we can do it!

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