If the Japanese practice of reiki is new to you, you’re not alone. Unlike massage therapy, acupuncture or even water therapy, it doesn’t seem to have hit it big in Toronto yet. And as someone who lived in Japan for several years, even I didn’t really know a whole lot about it.
So when the owner of Japan Reiki Studio first showed interest in joining the AllergyBites discount card, I admit I was a tad skeptical. Was this going to be another case of natural medicine promising to cure food allergies? Luckily, it was quite the opposite. As Nasreen and I chatted back and forth, I learned that the service she was offering was a new, refreshing way for busy allergy parents to switch off, de-stress and relax.
So what is reiki? It’s a Japanese healing practice that helps reduce stress and promotes relaxation, among other things. Unlike massage, the technique involves a very light touch, or possibly a hands-off approach where the practitioner’s hands are held slightly above your body. And you get to keep your clothes on during a session!
Japan holds a special place in my heart, and (full disclosure) Nasreen and I were both members of a traditional Japanese dance troupe years ago, so I decided to take the leap! And after experiencing reiki earlier this month, I have to say I’m really glad I did!
But don’t just take my word for it. Allergy mom Leigh Ashford and Allergy Thriver Liz Frederiksen also decided to try it out. Read about their experiences below.
“Nasreen said that my energy flowed really well except for the area where I recently had an injury. It was crazy she could feel that without me even mentioning it!“
Nasreen was very warm and welcoming, and I really enjoyed chatting with her before and after my treatment. Her studio has a very mellow vibe, and I loved the calming music and herbal tea selection.
The treatment itself was very relaxing—in large part because I don’t often get to take an hour to myself to just ‘lay’ there! It did take me some time to ease into it, but that was probably because I had an eye mask on and didn’t really know what was going on. And while Nasreen had told me I could ask questions during the treatment, I enjoyed listening to the music and having some quiet time instead.
After the treatment, we sat and talked. Nasreen said that my energy flowed really well except for the area around my lower back, where I had recently had an injury. It was crazy she could feel that without me even mentioning it! She also said she could tell I was worrying about something that may happen in the future, which was also accurate. (I am a chronic worrier.)
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience. Nasreen has a lovely presence and she made me feel very comfortable. I can’t say for sure that the treatment improved my stress levels, but Nasreen did say that it takes a number of treatments to really feel a difference. I would definitely be open to trying reiki again in the future!
“Nasreen is AMAZING! Such a beautiful soul. She picked up on everything without me telling her anything.”
In my early 20s, I actually studied Reiki. I hadn’t received many treatments since then, so I was excited to experience it again. When I woke up on the day of my reiki appointment, I felt relieved. I knew I needed it. As parents, we all know that feeling of running on no sleep and no fuel—that feeling when self-care becomes critical for survival. It was my turn to be in that place. Winter had been stressful, with multiple bad colds, family obligations, and work demands.
But as I journeyed over to the Japan Reiki Studio in Etobicoke, my dull, tired stress turned into sharp panic. I was running 20 minutes late, and had just missed the bus from Kipling Station. By the time I arrived, I was windblown and completely frazzled!
Nasreen’s calming nature put me at ease immediately. As she led me into the airy studio filled with beautiful crystals, I managed to take a deep breath and ground myself a little bit. I lay down on her healing table, and Nasreen gave me some crystals to hold while she placed a light pad filled with crystal chips on my stomach. Once the session began, I noticed that she was interspersing static hand positions with dynamic sweeping motions. It seemed that she was working hard to try to calm my mind—like attempts to clear some of the tense energy my body was holding.
The treatment felt relaxing and healing, but I was disappointed that I was having trouble letting go and being present and open. I tried to change that, but focusing on it just made it worse. That’s not in any way Nasreen’s fault! Sometimes we have to protect ourselves to make it through life’s challenges in one piece, and it appears I was doing that a little too well.
After the session, Nasreen told me that she could feel the buzzing creative energy in my mind. She also said that she felt I was keeping a protective shield up, and that I was hard to read. I was astonished that she noticed it too! Since I have some reiki training, she gave me some tips for self-healing, and assured me that once I made a point to begin practicing again, I would feel more open and grounded soon. I left her studio feeling relaxed and optimistic. I definitely want to find time to go again!
“What amazed me most was waking up energized instead of groggy, as I typically would after a massage. Yes, I nodded off—how’s that for relaxation?!”
I’m a visual person, so my first impression of Japan Reiki Studio was all about the appearance. The studio was clean, bright and inviting. The healing room, on the other hand, was dimly lit with soft music playing and a gorgeous display of crystals on the healing table. And I couldn’t help but notice the selection of beautiful bracelets that decorated Nasreen’s wrists.
Nasreen mentioned that, during the session, I might feel heat, a tingling sensation or nothing at all. The cynic in me didn’t expect to feel anything, so I was pleasantly surprised by the very noticeable tingling that occurred on the part of my body her hands were focused on.
But what amazed me most about the experience was waking up energized instead groggy, as I typically would after a massage. (Yes, I nodded off—how’s that for relaxation?!) Feeling awake and clear-headed was especially surprising that day as I had had a sleepless night, and was feeling some pretty major brain fog prior to the appointment. By session’s end, I definitely felt less stressed and more energized. The whole thing was a really unique experience, and I’d definitely love to try out the Reiki Cafe next!
Get to know Nasreen in this short interview
Why Reiki? Who or what inspired you to get into this line of work?
(1) My mother. I have a practical mind that doesn’t believe anything I can’t see or feel. When my mother practiced reiki on me, I never felt anything and didn’t know how it was affecting me. But you don’t say no to your mother. I didn’t know it or appreciate it at the time, but I realize now that my mother’s reiki was helping me keep my balance.
(2) Japan Reiki Association. They wanted me to translate their reiki textbook into English. I was a translator at the time, so I happily complied. Translating the textbook gave me great insight into the theory. But I still couldn’t make sense of it.
(3) India. At a large outdoor reiki circle in India, I was standing in the centre (because I was the interpreter), and I finally felt it. I felt the reiki. I understood. After that, I formally re-trained with the Association and became their certified teacher.
And so here I am today. Very happy to be doing what I do, and amazed every day at the wonders of Reiki.
What’s your connection with Japan?
My heritage is Indian. My heart is Japanese.
My great-grandfather used to trade goods between India and China, and one of his trips, he happened to do business in Japan. He fell in love with the country, and decided to live there. Ever since, my father’s family has spent time living in both Japan and India.
In my case, I was born and raised in Japan.
Why do you think it’s beneficial for everyday people to learn to do reiki on our own?
I believe everyone must have a wellness practice. For me, that is reiki. You connect with reiki and place your hands where it is needed (on your body). Personally, reiki gives me energy and has kept me sane while raising my twins (who are 2.5 years old). Doing reiki every day helps me keep my energy levels up, and I am not exhausted by the end of the day. It’s a simple yet powerful tool to maintain one’s mind and body in good health.
Do you think reiki has an element of mindfulness/meditation to it?
Yes, definitely. Self-healing practice is very meditative. Receiving reiki is also very relaxing and over time gets you in the meditative state without you having to make the effort. Reiki practice emphasizes the NOW.
Tell us about Reiki Café.
At Reiki Café, silence is our conversation and reiki our drink. It is a casual space to experience and practice reiki. It is a space for our students, clients and other reiki enthusiasts to recharge and relax a little. There is no cost to attend Reiki Café—your enthusiasm for reiki is the only prerequisite. 🙂
You are generously offering AllergyBites cardholders a discount of 5% off MeTime Reiki, HealMe Reiki and Chakra Balancing for the remainder of 2018. What drew you to the food allergy community?
Actually, I am quite ignorant about the plight of allergy parents. I only became more aware of the challenges through your writings. I wanted to offer reiki as a way to relieve a parent’s stress. Children with food allergies would definitely benefit from reiki too!
Friendly. Supportive. Encouraging.
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