Black Women and Wellness: Reiki May Be the Answer to Your Emotional and Physical Pain
Oct. 19, 2017
If you feel like nearly every Black woman on social media is talking about Reiki, well you're not alone.
The Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation, which also promotes healing, is quickly going from fringe wellness practice to mainstream — much like hot yoga and crystal therapy a few years ago.
On a recent episode of the New York Times podcast Still Processing host Jenna Wortham confessed that she was "obsessed" with Reiki, while wellness guru Lauren Ash, founder of Black Girl in Om, is too an enthusiast.
But what is it about the practice that has so many so hype?
To better understand why over a million people have hashtagged Reiki on Instagram, we spoke with Liana Naima. Not only is she a Reiki practitioner, but she's also a Black woman helping to change the face and perception of wellness.
Liana's Reiki journey is a pretty interesting one. "In 2014, I experienced an excruciating back injury due to compressed nerves and herniated discs. It was my breaking point and spiritual awakening," she says.
"At the time, I was dependent on painkillers to numb my pain all the while ignoring my inner turmoil. So I devoted a few years to healing my story and my body," she goes on to share. After this experience, a literal healing from the inside out, she decided to get Reiki certified in order to expand her intuitive knowledge.
If Reiki were to be summarized in a few words, it would probably be spiritual healing through shared energy.
Unlike hot yoga or even mediation, there aren't a set of guidelines on how the sessions unfold. But a typical session tends to last for about 60 to 90 minutes and what happens during that time really depends on you and the practitioner, such as Liana. However, intention setting, deep reflective questions, and even some possible chanting are commonplace.
If you're still struggling to wrap your head around it, we did too — until giving it a try. As Liana guided various breathing exercises, visual meditations and asked spiritually probing questions it became apparent just how important it is to turn inward — if only for an hour.
"People assume that the benefits of doing Reiki are not tangible, when in actuality the benefits are endless: clarity, a still mind, reduced stress and anxiety, a healthier immune system," Liana says. "Energy healing causes you to question the energy you are attracting and emitting with your thoughts, subconscious beliefs, and behavior; the impact is profound."
When asked about her experience being a Black woman in wellness Liana gets excited. "Women of color have uplifted me throughout my life, so it is no surprise that they have been my biggest support on my spiritual path. I knew coming into this work that I wanted to guide women home to their higher selves."
So often we forget just how intertwined our mind, energy and therefore spiritual and physical wellbeing are, but Reiki makes this delicate balance visceral — which might be why so many Black women can't get enough of it.