This healing Japanese therapy could help you improve your running and boost your body’s ability to recover after a run, says Tina Chantrey.
Reiki is a complementary therapy that focuses on your life force energy; by boosting this you aid your body’s natural healing processes. Reiki is a holistic therapy – it treats the ‘whole’ person, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
Reiki Master Caroline Trowbridge has been running since she was a school girl. She’s completed all distances up to marathon and her next adventure is an ultra in the mountains. ‘The word Reiki is made of two Japanese words,’ she explains, Rei which means God’s wisdom or the higher power and Ki which is life force energy. So Reiki is actually spiritually guided life force energy.’
By working with your life force energy, Reiki has many benefits for runners. It can help injuries heal, help you relax while you run (especially important before and after an A race) and assist you to reconnect with why you run. ‘By balancing your energy levels Reiki promotes natural healing in your body,’ says Caroline, ‘but it gives so much more. It will help your mind and body relax and promote a greater awareness about why you choose to run.’
Think of Reiki turning negative energy into positive energy, which helps you achieve optimum wellbeing in body and spirit. Caroline believes Reiki, or energy work, is as important as strength training, sessions and stretching.
What should you expect from Reiki?
During a Reiki treatment expect to remain fully clothed. Whilst lying down on a Reiki table, or sitting in a chair, your practitioner will progress through a series of ‘laying on hands’ positions, starting from your head and working through to your feet .You will be then asked to roll over so this can continue on your back and legs. Expect a session to take approximately 90 minutes.
‘Reiki is natural, safe, powerful and profound in its ability to connect you to your spiritual self and life purpose,’ says Caroline. ‘It’s a wonderfully relaxing therapy that instantly impacts your state of wellness. During a session you may sense a radiant wave of flowing energy around and through you which is peaceful and serene.
‘I find it is useful for us to agree on your intention by using a single verb for the Reiki session to help focus on what you would like from the treatment. For example, you may decide overall “to relax” or perhaps “to reconnect” or “to release”.’
Thoughts may come and go, as you settle into a deeply relaxing state, you may even find that you fall asleep at some point. All this is natural and a normal response to receiving Reiki. You may experience a sense of being connected to your own Ki energy which is incredibly empowering.’
What will you feel during a Reiki treatment?
You may feel Reiki physically as heat omitting from a practitioner’s hands, which can feel more intense when they are guided to a particular area in need of attention. ‘You may experience an emotional release,’ says Caroline, ‘all of this is safe and normal. Some runners experience twitching of their muscles, some a floating sensation, others feel very sleepy.’
Remember, Reiki is working for the highest good of all and by releasing these emotional blocks you can move forward towards a happier and healthier you. ‘I would always advocate drinking plenty of water during the day and especially after your treatment,’ advises Caroline. ‘Your body is re-energising so staying hydrated, eating well and avoiding alcohol is advisable over the few days after a treatment.’
One Reiki session per month can help you maintain your overall wellness. For more acute conditions, it’s normally recommended to have four consecutive day treatments, or two treatments per week over two weeks in order for Reiki to flow well through all energy fields: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
How will you feel after a Reiki session?
‘After Reiki you may find you are much more connected to your environment, noticing your route, sounds, smells and new sights,’ adds Caroline. ‘You may feel less pressure to perform, and achieve times or personal bests, and allow yourself to enjoy the moment.’
Reiki is an opportunity for all runners to reconnect to their core person and be present for each mile they run. ‘Forget about Strava segments,’ she says, ‘and begin to see the world around you so much more clearly, and how beautiful each and every run is. Try new routes, run along canals, rivers and explore parks. And don’t forget to smile at the other runners you see.’