Here is a short biographical sketch, with a longer version below:
My life’s focus is staying healthy and happy and helping others to do the same. I have been a student of yoga and meditation for more than 45 years. When I learned to practice Reiki in 1986, I was already a professional healer, educating and guiding my clients to regain and protect their well-being. I delight in helping people realize they can feel better and be happier, and in giving them very concrete, practical, and doable steps to do so.
As a Reiki master, I have pioneered the use of Reiki in conventional medicine through:
- Publishing papers in peer-reviewed medical journals
- Developing Reiki programs in prominent New York City hospitals
- Presenting and teaching Reiki in medical schools across the country, including Harvard and Yale
- Collaborating on research, including an NIH-funded study
- Serving as the lead reviewer for the NIH/NCCAM Reiki Backgrounder
- Speaking at medical conferences, including the NIH/NCI/OCCAM research conference, October 2007
- Teaching Reiki practitioners the skills and perspective needed to collaborate in conventional health care
- Consulting with health care administrators regarding integrating Reiki into clinical care.
Additionally, I am the author of REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide (Tarcher/Penguin) and numerous popular articles, and a leading spokesperson for Reiki in the media, including The Dr. Oz Show and Allure magazine.
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. I can help you with:
- 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 maintaining health and restoring balance, and began learning about botanicals and the healing power of food.
At some point 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, learned self-hypnosis, and started working with clients, teaching meditation and mind-body healing techniques, sharing with others what worked in my own self-care, and guiding clients as a medical intuitive to connect with their ability to heal themselves. Soon after college, I immersed myself in spiritual practices 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 for 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. And as I was marveling at how easily it had all happened, she said I could learn to do this for myself.
The following week, I did just that. I took a First degree Reiki class. I began giving myself daily Reiki treatment, and incorporating Reiki into my client sessions.
My enthusiasm for Reiki was unbounded. Having the capacity 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 that I could meet whatever challenges life brought my way.
That was 1986.
Although I cherish the master healing practitioners I know, and make use of their services regularly, I’ve never been content to turn over my well-being to someone else. Self-empowerment and self-care has always appealed to me, and empowering my clients was a goal of mine from the beginning. Years of meditation practice showed me 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. And the First degree practice is easily learned by anyone who is interested. 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. This was before the pharmaceuticals used today had been developed, when conventional medicine was very limited in its ability to help. The work 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. We documented the benefits of Reiki to these patients, including reduced anxiety and pain, and this work became the foundation of all that 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. These years of practice developed my perspective and gave me a different context in which to experience Reiki, one that was far more nuanced than Westerners usually have, more like the context in which an Asian would receive—and make sense of—Reiki. Reiki made profound sense to me from the very beginning. The simplicity and authenticity of the context in which I experienced Reiki 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 Mrs. Takata, who brought Reiki to the US from Japan, “I want Reiki to be as available as aspirin.”