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

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.

Don’t live in regret

The most common reasons that clients come for reiki is to seek relief from stress or anxiety, or from a stressful or anxious situation. So mental health is something that I’ve come to think about a lot, and I always advise clients that a reiki treatment might help bring relief or bring some motivation for change, but for longstanding issues, reiki will only be a part of the set of choices you make to feel better about your life.

Regret is an interesting issue, and a number of clients do arrive, asking how to let go of old hurts and old wounds and how to move on from bad situations they’ve been in. Often, the situation will be in the past, but they feel that they are still having problems moving forward. So, these seems to be forms of regret.

So, I’d like to recommend this article:

6 steps to turn regret into self-improvement

It’s written by a clinical psychologist, and appears in the New York Times.

What I particularly like about the article is that it seems to practical. They are all practical steps that are within our capability to do. It just requires some commitment to do them.

And they make sense to me: do some reflection about the cause of the regret, and how you cope with regret. Use some practical techniques to change the narrative of the incident, or to coach yourself through it with empathy. More advice is to take action. If you have thoughts that are harming you that you keep repeating or returning to, she recommends interrupting them. I wouldn’t have imagined putting your face in ice-cold water as a solution, but it sounds like it works! She also recommends to take action so that you are not regretting a situation.

It seems to me to be sensible and practical advice. I learned from it.

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 900 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.