Are you cynical about reiki?

I usually don’t worry about people who don’t believe in reiki or think it’s all a hoax. Nearly all of my clients either believe in reiki, or are open to how it might work. So, it doesn’t seem a good use of energy to worry about those who are cynical.

But at the same time, I think it is useful for me to be able to explain to clients the ways that reiki might work, even though I’m not 100% sure. And what I especially like about this article, ‘Reiki Can’t Possibly Work. So Why Does it?’ from The Atlantic is how balanced, thorough and personal it is.

The author, Jordan Kisner, who writes beautifully, points out:

For decades, experts weren’t precisely sure how acetaminophen (Tylenol) eases pain, but Americans still took billions of doses every year. Many medical treatments are adopted for their efficacy long before their mechanisms are known or understood. Why should this be different?

But while she argues that we don’t need to know precisely how reiki works, there are a lot of reasons why and how it might work. Her approach is very close to mine: the truth is that I’m not exactly sure how reiki works, and I recognise to outsiders there are aspects of reiki that could seem quite unbelievable. But I feel it works and my clients report that it works in different ways. If what I am offering is simply my time, attention and “an act of caring” and that works for my clients, I’m happy to go with that.

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given over 1,800 reiki treatments.
Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it brings them. Folks visit from all over Sydney and elsewhere to see me. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney.

I’m not sure your energy is blocked

If you type into Google ‘energy blocked’, depending on the day, it comes up with between 350 and 499 million results. Seriously.

A typical website, as from Integral Psychology, will tell you that people suffer trauma and the trauma gets stuck in the body. It comes from the field of Somatic Therapy, which ‘looks at the connection of mind and body and uses both psychotherapy and physical therapies for holistic healing’.

Many more websites will tell you how to find out why your chakras are blocked. How can you tell? A typical answer:

You may feel more tired or lacking energy, you may feel unmotivated or experiencing more anxiety 
and stress, dealing with digestive issues and just not feeling like your true self mentally, 
physically and spiritually.

I have to admit that when I first put up this website, and was trying to explain reiki, I explained reiki in this way too. I said that that we gather stress or blockages with time, and so reiki works to get rid of those blocks and help our energy move more freely.

I don’t know where I got that explanation from because I don’t believe it anymore!

I think my doubt started with so many of my clients coming for treatments for energy blockages and blocks in their chakras. But when asked how they were, the answers were much more simple. Rather than their heart chakra being blocked, preventing them from finding a good relationship or because they were hurt, it felt more true to me that they had been through a bad relationship, and that finding good relationships is difficult and needs work! Or that they were hurt, in a romantic or family relationship. When people said they are tired, it was likely that they live a busy life, or have young children to look after, or aren’t getting enough sleep. And the idea of ‘not feeling like oneself’? The older that I’ve gotten, the more I realise that we have many selves, and that it is a mistake to create a story about how we are always the same.

I feel a great fault of the new age movement and new age language is convincing so many people (and so many of my clients) that something is wrong with them: their chakras are blocked or not aligned; they have accumulated negative energy and they need a clearing. A few clients say they have negative energy and need it cleared, but this is a lesson, not necessarily easy, that we can learn for ourselves. If someone is angry at us, we can both see if there are valid reasons for it, and if there are not, to see that their anger is their issue, it is about them, not us, and try to not be affected by it.

What I also take issue with is the story that the older we get, that we accumulate pain and trauma and blocks: life is dangerous and we need to be healed from it. What if we told ourselves a different story, a more positive story? What if the older we are, and the more wise, the more we learn to be less stressed, less blocked and less troubled? I think that’s as good a theory as any. As my reiki teacher, Frans Stiene, says, if the energy in our body was truly blocked, we’d be … dead.

I should clarify what I’m saying. I don’t discount the idea that we can suffer trauma and that it can affect our bodies, and therefore our energy. But I don’t think it’s useful for most people to believe that we have suffered trauma and that it has affected our bodies. If you think this might be the case for you, DO see a somatic therapist or a psychotherapist or another counsellor, and uncover and define what trauma you might have suffered and address the issue directly. But don’t self-diagnose yourself and believe without questioning that you have something blocked in your body, which is the reason for not feeling great.

It’s just not healthy to walk around believing that there’s something wrong with us. There are a lot of good reasons why we might not feel great in our lives. Convincing people that our mysterious energy system is malfunctioning, I believe, takes away the power from people to address why we might not feel great. Many of the websites that tell people their chakras are blocked advise buying crystals or visiting someone who can clear their chakras. Has this all been invented as a commercial scam? I think it’s a terrible thing to convince people they are walking around with their chakras blocked and trauma stuck in their body. If you believe this, ask yourself why. How did you come to believe this?

If you know that work and life is busy, too busy for you, then you can consider finding ways of carving out time for yourself, of treating yourself well, and finding ways to slow down. If you feel tired, would taking time to yourself, or going for a walk, or doing some exercise, help you? It could be a physical issue that you should chat with a doctor or nutritionist about. If your heart is broken, perhaps talking to friends, or a counsellor, or treating yourself nicely, and also recognising that you are hurt and that there are good reasons for it, will probably help more than a rose quartz crystal for your heart. I believe that looking to ourselves to understand why we might be feeling low (or happy) is a way to give the power and responsibility back to ourselves to be able to do something about it.

A reiki treatment could be part of this. But rather than seeing a reiki practitioner to clear your blocks and align your chakras, I think the real healing comes in being proactive about wanting to feel better, gathering tools for your toolbox so you know what works for you in feeling better, and seeing your issues as something that, while they might not be easy to heal, can be healed with you taking an active part in making it happen.

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given nearly 1,700 reiki treatments.
Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney. A recent client told me she found me by googling ‘Best Reiki Sydney’. Come see for yourself. 

The Goop Lab episode on energy healing

I had at least three clients come to me after they saw the show ‘Heal’ on Netflix (which I wrote about here) and not that long ago, I had a client come because they’d seen the episode on energy healing on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Lab series on Netflix. So, I thought I better watch it and see what it was about.

The premise of the show is pretty simple. Some of Gwyneth’s staff, a guest actor, Julianne Hough, and Gwyneth herself all have treatments with one John Amaral, a chiropractor who has developed a ‘somatic energy healing practice’ which he calls the ‘Energy Flow Formula’. He also tries to show one of his friends how to do it.

In one scene, Julianne and three of the Goop team are invited to lie face down on a treatment table (if you come for reiki, you’ll know I do treatments with you face up). He begins the treatment, with his hands swooping above the body and down towards it, a magician of sorts. Julianne immediately contorts her body into various positions that perhaps only a dancer or actor could do (she is a regular client of John’s I believe). And she shudders and it looks like she’s possessed.

One of the other clients seems to get quite emotional, and she lifts her torso up during the treatment, although John is sort of telling her to do so, so it’s hard to tell what’s happening.

On the other hand, another of the clients, the staff member who admitted being most cynical, is not shown to have any particular reaction to the treatment.

After the treatment, they mainly talk about having emotional releases, and they also interview some of John’s clients who find the treatments really helped them. The cynical staff member said he felt a release.

But the narrative is really short on details or a simple explanation of what the healing practice involves. They use, at one point, an appeal to science and quantum physics to explain it (which doesn’t make any sense) and John sort of goes into a verbal la-la land about the magical process. He also explains why people need it, something about accumulating stress in our bodies so we’re in a constant fight or flight state.

I looked up John Amaral on Google after the show, and I found an article in People magazine, where they paid for one of their reporters to have a VIP treatment of 90 minutes that cost $2,500 (this is US dollars) and described it in the headline as ‘exorcism-like’. The journalist describes feeling deeply relaxed, and then emotional, and then uncontrollable writhing and jerking around. The result: she felt lighter and less tense, though ‘not a drastic difference’.

As a reiki practitioner, the episode does no service to us, as it doesn’t mention reiki specifically at all, and because of that, Amaral, on his website, has to explain under his frequently asked questions that he doesn’t do reiki!

I also have real problems with the elite nature of his work. While he says that ‘anyone’ can benefit from his healings, the truth is that a one-on-one session is far more expensive than mostly everyone can afford. While he offers some free or low-cost online classes or tasters, the fact is still that his treatments cost a huge amount.

The episode would be of far more value to people in explaining that affordable healing is available to anyone, like reiki, meditation, acupuncture, qi gong, yoga, kinesiology: whatever works for you. Exploring accessible treatments would really have been a great service to people rather than an episode on an energy healer to the stars.

The other problem I have is that there is a strong underlying message that there is something wrong with everyone (and thus, everyone can benefit from a healing). I used to also believe that we get blocks in our energy, but I no longer believe this: I’m going to write a separate blog post on it. But I think it’s a dangerous thing to tell people that life is dangerous and unhealthy and you need healing because it.

Goop’s message does seem to be that we can feel better and feel healthy and that we should explore different ways to do this. And their web page on energy healing does describe reiki in a positive way. But this episode of the Goop Lab seems to really be what the opening warning says, to be taken as entertainment rather than medical advice, and that by focusing on a healer so dramatic and showy, I think it makes viewers wonder if something is wrong with them and wish they were as rich as Gwyneth Paltrow to be able to afford such treatments.

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given nearly 1,700 reiki treatments.
Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney. A recent client told me she found me by googling ‘Best Reiki Sydney’. Come see for yourself. 

A brief shutdown: COVID-19

A forest in Abruzzo, Italy.

What a strange world. I’ve never lived through a global pandemic where access to information is immediate. So, we’re living in a health crisis where our friends and family, around the world, are being simultaneously affected. Workplaces and schools are being shut down. Events, flights and holidays are being cancelled. New developments are happening not only a weekly or daily basis, but every few hours.

So, it’s been interesting for me to observe what’s happening and think about how to apply it to Reiki Surry Hills. While I’m hoping that with 300 cases currently, Australia has some control over COVID-19, this is not for certain. Friends on Facebook, many of them health professionals and those who work on social and economic policy, are coming together in consensus that as much social distancing as possible is needed, and non-essential social contacts should be avoided.

This is in the face of unknown risk, that even if incidence of COVID-19 may be minimal, it is best practice and shows community responsibility for us all to do our part right now.

So, for now:

  • As reiki treatments involve prolonged contact in close quarters between myself and a client
  • I don’t have the expertise or desire to interrogate clients that I don’t know about whether they have been at risk of COVID-19
  • While I like to think Reiki is essential, in the bigger picture, it is not.

… I think it’s a wise decision for now, for me, for you and for the community, for Reiki Surry Hills to go on a little break, hopefully only temporarily. Right now, I’ve blocked off appointments until the end of March but I’ll keep monitoring the situation and make decisions according to the information that I have.

So, apologies if you’re trying to get an appointment. I hope to give you a treatment on the other side of this!

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given more than 1,500 reiki treatments.
Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. Folks come from all over Sydney and elsewhere to see me. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney.

Reviews from Bookwell

How wonderful! In the last period, I received a whole bunch of really great reviews, on the Bookwell site, on Google and on Facebook. I thought I’d start by posting the ones from Bookwell (my booking service, that allows you to choose your time online and if you wish, pay in advance by card). I can see I haven’t shared these since May! Thanks to my clients for sharing their experiences.

Emma ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
visited November 2019

Was a very healing session, in a beautiful space. It is obvious that Andy is very balanced and offers a very authentic and powerful healing experience. Very grateful I found my way there. Would definitely recommend to others.
Carole ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
visited November 2019

I aways have a great healing with Andy. I was pleased to find annoying pain in my body, heal and it’s gone and hasn’t come back.

Aaron ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

visited October 2019

Amazing experience with Andy, who was very accommodating and generous with all aspects of the Reiki session. Provided a perfect environment and his professionalism was without fault. He followed up afterwards and made himself available for any further inquires, which for a person new to the experience, was very helpful and appreciated. The session itself was magical in the truest sense of the word. Something wondrous did occur and to try and define exactly what transpired would do the process a disservice. Would highly recommend Reiki with Andy. He is someone who understands and respects the tradition and delivers it in the most respectful way in an environment which is comfortable for the client.

Amy ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

visited September 2019
Andy is Magic. I’ve had several sessions recently, whilst experiencing varying degrees of turmoil, and each time I have left with a profound sense of calm, clarity and a softening towards myself and others. A gentleness. It’s hard to articulate but somehow Andy has been able to deliver exactly what I needed in the moment. He puts you at ease instantly, and his peaceful space and beautiful music adds to the experience. Thank you, Andy.
Fay ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
visited September 2019
Patricia ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
visited September 2019

Very relaxing and calming. Walked out of my session refreshed and at peace. Great session!

Luhana ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
visited September 2019

Andy has a wonderful energy! I really recommend this experience

Alice ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
visited August 2019

I feel very fortunate to have discovered Andy, a highly intuitive and gifted healer. My session was impactful and profound. Cannot recommend highly enough.

Vipasha ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

visited August 2019

Norah ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

visited July 2019

Jodie ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

visited July 2019
Matthew ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

visited July 2019
Andy is awesome – would highly recommend!
Vanessa ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

visited June 2019

The experience with Andy was great! Highly recommended.

Tiffany ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

visited June 2019
Emilio ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
visited May 2019

Incredibly relaxing experience, got to levels of relaxation I have not achieved through meditation alone.

✨ ✨ ✨

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given over 1,350 reiki treatments.

Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. Folks come from all over Sydney and elsewhere to see me. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney.

Cope with anxiety: 5-4-3-2-1

Of course, there’s always gelato.

💫

Because the most common issue that clients come with is anxiety, I am always interested in hearing about new ways to deal with it. While I hope that reiki can help, especially if it’s a long-term problem, reiki may only be one of the tools in your toolbox to help you. I often recommend a therapist if you’re not seeing one already. A good therapist will tackle anxiety in two ways: by looking for the root causes, which could be an issue from the past (and may not be evident), and by giving you techniques you can use right away, in a practical sense.

I just stumbled on a technique that I was unfamiliar with. It was attached to a New York Times article that advises parents to stop shaming their kids who have tantrums by posting videos on Instagram! But that’s how the internet works, right? One thing leads to another, and suddenly here’s a new technique to manage anxiety.

In a post from the University of Rochester, it advises that if you catch yourself feeling anxious, or if you know you’re going into a situation that will cause you anxiety, to focus on the present moment, your breathing and then your senses. It starts by saying: notice five things around you that you can see …

Check it out if it might help you! And report back in the comments section if you’ve tried it and find it useful (or not).

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given over 1,200 reiki treatments.

Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. Folks come from all over Sydney and elsewhere to see me. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney.

My last seven clients (and a really nice review)

I often have clients, at the end of a reiki treatment, ask me ‘what’s normal to feel?’ The answer, as in much of life, is that there is no ‘normal’. As human beings, we are a remarkably diverse group.

By giving you an idea of the experiences of my latest clients though, it can show you the range of experiences you might feel, though of course, you might experience something completely unique.

This will be a mix of feedback from follow-up emails and observations at the time, and of course, spoken in general terms to not break confidentiality.

1. My latest feedback was from a client who is exploring issues from their past, and wanting to move on from them and heal. They said ‘Since the treatment I’ve felt great. I’ve noticed that I’ve felt relaxed and at ease.’

2. Another client was still hopeful that their second client would be as useful as the first, where they didn’t feel a lot at the time of the treatment, but noticed in the days afterwards that it had really helped what they had come for: grief at losing a close family member.

3. One client had a frustrating set of physical issues, somewhat mysterious, possibly the result of glandular fever. Their first treatment gave them a ton of energy. The second treatment made them feel both relaxed and really emotional. They’re still experience pain though, so there’s more to go for the healing.

4. One client received a treatment for their birthday! They felt calm after the treatment, and also a sense of ‘letting go’.

5.  Another client had extreme anxiety before some major travel: they felt dizzy and a ‘bit lost’ after the treatment, but in a good mood. They slept really well the next two days and felt more confident and relaxed.

6. A client reported that the treatment was “exactly what I needed”.

7. Another client (in fact, more than one in the last period) reported feeling sensations that they’ve never felt before in their body, so unfamiliar that they didn’t really know how to describe it. They generally found the treatment relaxing and calming, and enjoyed it, but also found the treatment strange and different.

Finally, I’d like to share with you a comprehensive review that a client, Laila, left on the Bookwell site:

Andy has supported me with his Reiki treatment during challenging times when I was seeking some stress relief and needed extra support, beyond my regular daily meditations. Even after seeing Andy my very first time and first time trying Reiki, it provided me a calm support and outlook that remained with me for two full week, despite having a really stressful week at work with new responsibilities and chaos. Normally I would have ‘freaked out’ a bit and stressed a lot, but somehow I managed to deal with it all so much better than I could imagine. I do really think the Reiki helped me cope with work. I have since then encounter further challenges and internal turbulences to work through and have found doing Reiki with Andy at those moments when I need extra support has provided relief and provided space to deal with things better. What I really appreciate about Andy’s approach and style is that he is very neutral and asks very simple yet powerful questions that makes you reflect on your experience. Andy provides a spot-on-summary after each session that captures the sentiment and experience perfectly without putting any opinions or trying to influence. I prefer this over someone telling me what to do or giving me advice based on their subjective experience. I appreciate Andy’s work and objectivity, and it is good to know there is this support availability for future challenges or if I just need to relax.

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given over 1,200 reiki treatments.

Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. Folks come from all over Sydney and elsewhere to see me. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney.

Reiki hurts!

It has surprised me to learn over the years that sometimes a reiki treatment is not completely pleasant, nor are its after-effects. And sometimes, it even hurts!

Clients report that a treatment sometimes will activate old injuries and they’ll feel energy there, an itchy feeling or pressure or even a bit of pain.

Some report feeling a bit of a headache.

Others have reported feeling pressure, sometimes unpleasant, at a part of their body, usually their chest or throat area.

I even had a period where I was feeling sensations of pain in my arms or legs or elsewhere and then after the treatment, the client would tell me they had felt pain in the same places. Spooky! I told my reiki teacher who said that it made sense: as the whole point of a treatment is to achieve oneness, to be in the same healing space with a client and not feel a separation (or duality), so it’s actually a good sign if we’re feeling the same sensations.

After treatments as well, clients don’t always feel great. I think the most common unpleasant feeling that I’ve had reported is fatigue, feeling really, really tired the night of the treatment, or the next day or even longer. A few clients have felt emotional (one said her boyfriend was really worried about her). One client felt so out of sorts he snapped at his partner!

And yet, during or after a treatment, any negative feelings are temporary and clients feel better than before afterwards. My teacher, Frans, gives the analogy of a wound where the process of the scar forming might not feel pleasant: itchy, irritated and even painful. But it’s a necessary part of the healing.

I’ve found that clients like to know what they can expect from a treatment, and that those who are most disappointed are the ones who have very specific ideas about what will happen, and whose expectations are not met. So I do try to let people know: not all the time, and maybe never for you, but for some people: reiki hurts!

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given over 1,100 reiki treatments.

Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. Folks come from all over Sydney and elsewhere to see me. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney.

Falling out of practice

I fell out of practice of doing regular blogs and articles.

I was doing so well for a while!

However, it really did make me question one of my assumptions. I think I saw a few times that when I posted blogs that I was getting clients booking in for treatments. I had also heard that blogging is a basic building block for a social media presence and website. It keeps your website alive with new material, and so it’s supposed to help with your page rankings (basically how high up you’re found on a google search).

The thing is: I didn’t put up a blog post for about six weeks, and yet during this period, I had one of my busiest months ever (matching my record of 51 treatments during a month).

So, I think it’s a good thing to challenge my assumptions and beliefs, and it can be good to get out of practice.

Now, I think there are some things which we will have learned, over time, really are good for our well-being when they are done regularly, and it’s not really good to stray from the practice. For you, this could include eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, meditating and getting regular reiki treatments!

But there may be other routines which we could alter, or take a break from, or drop all together. My family loves vitamins, so I’ve been a pill taker for years: Vitamin C and fish oil, vitamin D and multi-vitamins. And more, on and off. But I’ve seen so many articles that say there just isn’t evidence of any real health benefits of taking vitamin D and fish oil regularly, so after a few years of taking these daily, I’m going to stop!

I also used a fitness tracker daily, and while I found it interesting to know how many steps I walked, I’m not sure in the long run whether it’s encouraged me to walk more. Plus: the latest studies say we need to get our heart rate up, and not just walk. And I miss wearing my colourful watches. So, for now, I’m going to give that routine up (after I think three years!)

I could go on. I don’t know why exactly, but it feels like a time in my life for changing and challenging my routines. By doing so, if I find that there is something that I should NOT be giving up, or doing more regularly, I can set my intention to do that.

How about you? What in your life would you like to do more regularly? What are your habits, good or bad, that you would like to take a break from? Are your beliefs about what’s good for you and what’s not true? Are these beliefs helping your overall well-being?

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given over 1,100 reiki treatments.

Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. Folks come from all over Sydney and elsewhere to see me. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney.

Review: Netflix’s Heal (Documentary)

So, I’ve had three clients come to me in the last month or so because they’ve seen a documentary on Netflix called ‘Heal’ by Kelly Noonan Gores (writer, director and star of).

I knew that I had to check it out, of course, to see what it had to say about reiki and what drew the clients to come and see me.

And right away, I felt threatened. Since this documentary says that it is exploring healing, and the ‘mind-body connection’, it means that viewers might classify all healing therapies in the same way, that we all are likely to subscribe to the same arguments presented in the shiny new documentary on the entertainment phenomenon, Netflix, which is possibly reaching a helluva lot of people. I mean, what if the documentary is horrible?

It is.

This is a horrible documentary.

The thing is: it does say things that I agree with, and in fact, use to explain reiki to clients:

  • There are other types of healing besides Western medicine.
  • The body has a natural intelligence that allows it to heal.
  • We are made of energy (in fact, everything is made of energy).
  • Our emotions and our emotional health can affect our health.
  • Meditation is healing and reiki works along the same wavelengths as meditation.

The problem is that ‘Heal’ jumps from these premises to make direct or indirect claims that I don’t agree with. It follows a dizzying array of talking heads, who, placed side by side, seem to sometimes be making the same argument, but in fact, they are all from very different backgrounds and belief systems. So what’s presented is a complete hodgepodge where assertations are made without any bones of an argument. Accompanied by beautiful images and a soundtrack, and clever animations, it’s easy to lose focus and not notice that nothing coherent is being presented:

  • The worst are constant potshots at pills and the pharmaceutical industry, even bringing in the ‘world’s most hated man’, Martin Shrkeli, for a cameo. The greed of industry and some pharmaceutical companies, and unfair drug pricing, have NOTHING to do with this film, except to give viewers the feeling that pharmaceutical companies and pills are bad.
  • A number of the speakers say that Western medicine is only useful in acute cases, such as say a car accident. They clearly say for chronic and long-term conditions that pills are ineffective. This is blatantly untrue. Some medications are keeping many people alive. How irresponsible to imply that they are not.
  • Right from the beginning, it jumps from the idea that emotions can cause ill health, to saying that repressed emotions, unhappy childhoods, and society’s general fear and anxiety cause serious illness. The illustration is one of the two women featured, who had stage 4 cancer, which has now been in remission for three years. But you can’t talk about fear and then jump to a woman with cancer. Cancer is not freaking caused by fear. If you’ve heard of the magnificent book, The Emperor of All Maladies, it does note that one in two men and one in three women in the USA will develop cancer, a frightening statistic, but also describes that so many conditions are called cancer, and that cancers are so different from each other, that the word almost becomes meaningless. In this documentary, cancer has almost become a metaphor for the bogeyman, any illness at all, any condition, that is caused by our emotions, toxins, karma or bad eating but can be healed by faith, placebo, prayer, visualisations and letting go of our negative emotions.
  • But I don’t agree. A woman with a PhD cheerily talks about all the techniques used by people whose cancer went into remission. I met, by chance, a few weeks ago a friend of a friend who I knew had been in the hospital. I found out that he found out, suddenly, that he had pancreatic cancer, and almost died, but has now survived (the five-year survival rate is 7%). I am almost certain that he tried none of these techniques mentioned and relied on his doctors and ‘conventional medicine’. There’s simply no evidence of why the woman in the documentary has survived her cancer.
  • In the meantime, the other focus of the documentary is a woman with a terrible skin condition. She tries a few alternative therapies (including tapping, by someone who is also a ‘reiki master’, this is where reiki is mentioned) and nothing works.
  • One of the people giving her a treatment is a neuroacoustic wizard. Really. It shows him playing with dials and machinery to produce a sound frequency to heal her, before concluding that she is so stressed out that when he found that frequency, her body just bounced out of it. Or something like that. I mean: WTF.
  • They complain about her lack of options with Western medicine (antibiotics or steroids) but there’s no proof offered that turning away from Western medicine has helped in any way. It’s a deeply unsatisfying narrative.
  • Similarly, a session with a faith healer is shown with two people, very sick, and an audience, including the narrator (who is also the director and writer of the documentary), and… everyone cries but nothing happens. There’s no follow-up. Did the faith healing have any effect? It’s stirring music and tears that add up to emotional manipulation.

I could go on and on. It’s frustrating because there are ideas that are interesting and that I think people should hear: the benefits of meditation (though that’s not news), the benefits of self-enquiry and understanding childhood trauma, and what kinds of alternative and complementary therapy can help what kinds of conditions for which people.

Or maybe I’m just annoyed that reiki is mentioned, twice, but it’s not explained, just lumped in with the rest of the kinds of treatment. Though better not to be mentioned at all if it was going to be misrepresented.

The most basic formulation of an argument is missing in this film: something that says here’s the proposition, here’s some evidence, here are some detractors and counter-arguments, but here is the logic, proof or reasons why we believe something to be so.

Over the credits, she allows the speakers final words, a series of exhortations to heal ourselves and don’t give up and be happy. The last speaker, seeming to talk with or preach to an audience says: ‘Something is wonderful is happening. And we, we let it be. Now. And forever. And so it is.’ It’s a jumble of new age affirmations with a Beatles lyric thrown in, and adding up to no sense at all. A bit like this whole documentary. People interested in healing, and wanting to heal, deserve better than Netflix’s ‘Heal’.

Discover the gifts and benefits of a session of Japanese reiki therapy, healing energy from an experienced practitioner. Visit my website or Facebook page for more information and SMS, email, call me or book online if you’d like to make an appointment. Since 2011, I’ve given 1,000 reiki treatments.

Clients come to relieve stress, anxiety and for many other issues, or to just give reiki a try to see what it does for them. Folks come from all over Sydney and elsewhere to see me. While it’s easiest to get to me from the CBD, Darlinghurst, Paddington, Kings Cross, Redfern and Potts Point, I’m pretty easy to get to from anywhere in Sydney.