Here is a short biographical sketch, with a longer version below:
I love helping people realize they can feel better and be happier. Feeling better and being happier is a simple spiritual shift that makes it easier to make whatever other changes are needed. When we feel better, we function better, and we make better choices.
I have been a student of yoga and meditation for more than 50 years. When I learned to practice Reiki in 1986, I was already a spiritual teacher and professional healer, educating and guiding my clients to regain and protect every aspect of their well-being — spiritual, mental, emotional, social, and physical.
You have no idea how much difference a few small tweaks can make — what doctors refer to as lifestyle medicine. I offer very concrete, practical, and doable steps to help you recapture your love of life. Then you’ll engage in self care as a natural expression of your love of self, others, and life itself.
For 20 years, I have been the most prominent Reiki master pioneering the use of Reiki practice in conventional medicine to relieve the suffering of patients, families, and staff. I have collaborated with prestigious healthcare institutions on care, education and research, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), medical schools (Harvard, Yale, Einstein) and hospitals (New York Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center, St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center).
Specifically I have:
- Been published in peer-reviewed medical journals, including the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology
- Developed the first Reiki program in a hospital infectious disease clinic
- Presented and taught Reiki in medical schools across the country, including Harvard and Yale
- Collaborated on medical research, including an NIH-funded study and a heart rate variability (HRV) study at Yale
- Served as the lead reviewer for the NIH/NCCAM Reiki Backgrounder
- Presented at medical conferences, including the NIH/NCI/OCCAM research conference, October 2007 and Integrative Healthcare Symposium
- Trained the global Reiki community in skills and perspective needed for conventional healthcare collaboration
- Consulted with hospital administrators integrating Reiki practice into clinical care.
Additionally, I am the author of the award-winning book REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide (Tarcher/Penguin) and numerous popular articles, and a leading spokesperson for Reiki in the media, including The Dr. Oz Show, US News and World Report, and Allure magazine.
With master bansuri flutist Steve Gorn, I recorded Meditate to make the practice of meditation — a mainstay of my life for 50 years — accessible to even those people who are convinced that whatever happens when they sit is anything but meditation.
My private practice is based on the upper west side of Manhattan, in New York City, but the internet and skype make it possible to work together no matter where you are. Here are the way I can help you:
- individual healing sessions,
- Reiki training,
- professional development for Reiki practitioners,
- research, and
- development of institutional Reiki programs.
When I was eleven, I asked my mom for a book about yoga. How I knew about yoga, why it seemed like a book that would be fun to read — I have no idea. Even to me, it seemed a bit strange, yet I was fascinated. As I opened the book, the direction of my life shifted, imperceptibly and irrevocably.
I experimented with the postures in the yoga book, and began tapping into meditation. I became aware of the mind in an entirely new way that was exciting and gratifying. As a teenager, I gravitated toward other natural approaches to maintain health and restore balance, learning about botanicals and the healing power of food.
In college, I lost my taste for meat (something my dad, who called me “the prime rib kid,” never comprehended). I became vegetarian, took yoga classes, and learned self-hypnosis and other natural healing practices.
People who wanted what I had approached me for help, so I started working with clients, teaching meditation and mind-body healing, sharing with others what worked in my own self-care, and guiding clients to access their innate spirituality and enhance ability to self-heal.
Soon after college, I immersed myself in spiritual practice while living in a monastery in India.
Years later, pregnant with my daughter and in the throes of first-trimester blahs, a friend offered me a Reiki treatment. Although she had been practicing just a week, the treatment was effective and totally delightful. Minutes after she placed her hands lightly on the crown of my head, I felt cascades of healing pulsations and dropped effortlessly into a profoundly refreshing meditative state.
As I was marveled how easily it had all happened, she mentioned I could learn Reiki self practice.
That got my attention, and I took a First degree Reiki class the following week. I began practicing daily Reiki self treatment, and incorporated Reiki practice into my client sessions.
My enthusiasm for Reiki practice was unbounded. Having the ability to help myself feel better on every level — body, mind, and spirit — quite literally in the palms of my hands was so very…encouraging. It helped me feel I could meet whatever challenges life brought my way.
That was 1986.
I cherish the master healers I know, and make use of their services regularly, but I’ve never been content to turn over my well-being to someone else. Self-empowerment and self-care have always appealed to me; empowering my clients was my goal from the beginning.
Years of meditation practice helped me understand that meditation is the cornerstone of self-healing, and I was always encouraging my clients to meditate regularly. Actually, I nagged them about it. They’d do well when we meditated together, but…
Well, let’s just say I found other people didn’t take to meditation as readily as I had; it was too much like dieting, with a lot of time and effort invested before experiencing any payoff.
But Reiki gives fast relief, perfect for busy people like you and me. First degree practice is easily learned by anyone with the interest. Becoming a Reiki master would empower me to empower my clients to practice Reiki self-treatment (which often invokes a meditative state). So that’s what I did.
It was 1990.
Within a few years, I was asked to start a Reiki program at Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) to teach people with HIV/AIDS to practice First degree Reiki. That was before the pharmaceuticals used today had been developed, when conventional medicine was very limited in its ability to help.
My classes at GMHC led to my collaboration in the first integrative HIV program in an inner-city hospital clinic, where we offered training and treatment to out-patients. To my knowledge, ours was the first in-hospital Reiki program. We documented the benefits of Reiki to the patients, including reduced anxiety and pain. That work became the foundation of all I’ve accomplished toward integrating Reiki into conventional health care.
As I came in touch with the wider Reiki community, I realized how much I’d benefited from learning Reiki after studying meditation and yoga for 25 years. Those years of practice developed my perspective and gave me a different context in which to experience Reiki, one more nuanced than the usual Western approach, more like the context in which an Asian would receive and understand the practice.
Although it was not presented to me as such, I recognized Reiki as a spiritual practice. Subsequent information about the founder Usui Mikao has since become available, and supports that understanding.
Reiki practice made profound sense to me from the very beginning. The simplicity of the practice made it easier for me to teach and communicate Reiki in language that can be understood by everyone — students, the public, and health care professionals.
And that is a good thing, because my intention is to have Reiki readily available to ease the suffering of the world. In the words of Hawayo. Takata, who brought Reiki to the US from Japan, “I want Reiki to be as available as aspirin.”
To that end, I wrote the award-winning REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide, the most credible, documented Reiki book available and the only one written for the mainstream public and healthcare professionals. My book guides you to qualified Reiki professionals and classes in your area, and draws on my two decades of collaboration in conventional medicine to detail how Reiki practice is being used in health care today. Please read excerpts on the book page.