Rashiah Elam is a Second degree Reiki practitioner and physician in New York City. She was in the first WRITE REIKI program.
My first Reiki experience is now vague. But not my last one.
It was this morning. Like many physicians, I awaken in the dark. Unlike many, I set my timer for Reiki practice. This has been one of the few consistencies in my life since I began medical training 15 years ago.
I was new to motherhood and to doctorhood when I learned to practice Reiki. Balancing an active toddler with a rewarding, but demanding job left me feeling tired, stressed and haunted by a feeling of loss, as if something intangible was missing both at work and home. When a major job change and childcare challenges brought life to a boiling point, I remembered a dear friend and colleague had mentioned Reiki.
We were new physicians eagerly seeking ways to improve our patients’ lives and help them feel better, and frustrated by the limits of prescriptions and 15-minute visits. During one of our impassioned integrative medicine conversations, as we compared techniques with “evidence-based efficacy” and “improved patient outcomes,” she said Reiki was offered at our hospital. When I expressed interest, she directed me to a local Reiki master with a track record in medicine.
I signed up for First degree Reiki class, knowing if it were anything like previous integrative medicine trainings, I’d get a much needed reprieve from my day-to-day, and something to help me help patients.
All that was true, but Reiki was unlike anything I had experienced.
Reiki is a subtle practice, and at first so were the effects. Subtle, yet noticeable. The prevailing sense of clarity, synchronicity, and balance in the first weeks of self practice was unquestionable, and I found myself feeling better than I had in years.
While the effects of my practice were subtle, my immediate love for Reiki practice was anything but. I loved how I could place my hands and feel transported by a five minute self treatment at work, or stop anything I was doing and be refreshed by a momentary Reiki break.
The difference in me during and after Reiki practice was unmistakeable, and I wanted more. I continued to practice daily self Reiki, attend Reiki clinics and participate in various Reiki continuing education events.
It has now been two and a half years. Much has changed, personally and professionally, but my daily Reiki practice keeps life feeling more balanced. I offer Reiki treatment to friends, family, patients and colleagues whenever I can. The feedback is always different, and overwhelmingly positive.
I especially appreciate the Reiki difference at work. It’s hard for people to imagine what it’s like to be a doctor in the current system, with the high rates of dissatisfaction and burnout, and on-going negative interactions. I am aware of the glaring problems in healthcare, and often feel frustrated that so many patients fall through the cracks of our burdened, troubled system.
Reiki practice has helped change how I view my role in this environment. I am better able to offer support and seek solutions in even the bleakest situations. I remain hopeful that providing care in a more balanced, aware, and intentional manner can help heal our broken medical system.
After a few years of Reiki practice, I handle even the most challenging days at the hospital with more ease. A recent day started with a code blue for a hospital employee who became distressed when fired. Moments later, a patient overdosed, and was found unconscious in the waiting room, unresponsive to conventional treatment. A nurse asked for advice about a common — and minor — medical concern, then spiraled into sharing multiple recent tragic family events.
My day was not over. I took after-hours call, and spent the evening entertaining, bathing and feeding my four-year-old, while addressing the numerous concerns of a young woman convinced her abdominal pain was an obscure intestinal disease.
I did what I could, and was content. That is the Reiki difference, and perhaps the greatest gift my Reiki practice gives me. I ended the day as I do every day, with another Reiki self-treatment.