Potholes, Life, and Hot Tar

When I was little, I loved those hot summer days when the street repair guys came along by our house. They had two trucks: one that carried gravel, and another that had a big tank of hot, smoking tar. There was a guy walking behind the hot tar truck, usually with a cigarette dangling from his lip, and I thought he had the most awesome job: he had this big thing that looked potholelike a gun with a long barrel, attached to the hot tar truck with a hose. When they came to a pothole, he would point that tar gun at the hole, squeeze the trigger, and spray smoking hot tar into it. Then, a guy from the gravel truck would put a couple of shovels full of gravel into the hole, on top of the hot tar, and pat it down.  As a finishing touch, Hot Tar Guy would then spray the whole thing over with more melted tar to seal it and bond it all together.  Within a day or two, the tar had totally cooled and congealed, and the pothole was smooth… and so was the ride.

At age four, as I watched the big trucks rumble by, with the workmen filling the holes and making the road smoother and easier to travel, my Dream was to be the Hot Tar Guy when I grew up.  But life often… usually, actually… changes our early dreams.

When I graduated from high school, I joined the Navy, intending to get highly trained in nuclear energy and be a glowing success (pun intended).  But, I didn’t have the science and math background for it then, and it didn’t work out. I transferred into the electronics field, and although the math was still there, it was not quite so daunting and actually made sense.

But working with “things” was unsatisfying.  I found that I preferred interacting with people, instead of spending all my time trying to make uncooperative transmitters, radar systems, and satellite communication systems cooperate with me.

Finally, in the last couple of years of my service in the Navy, I found a job that was immensely satisfying: helping people with drug and alcohol abuse issues as the full-time Command DAPA (Drug and Alcohol Program Advisor) on the USS Yosemite. And when I got out after over 12 years of active Navy duty, my intention was to go into that sort of work as a civilian.  But it was not to be.

Becoming a civilian addiction counselor would have taken me another 3 to 6 years of education, on top of my two bachelor’s degrees and my master’s degree. Add to that the fact that the pay for such a counselor was even less than I made as a sailor (and I had a growing family to support), so that made it impractical. But the desire to help others never left me.

I spent a few years doing a variety of things as a civilian: field engineer, technical trainer, technical writer, course developer, college instructor, public school teacher, writer, publisher… and while these things paid well, they were never as satisfying as the last job I had in the Navy—helping people deal with personal issues that were disrupting their lives.

A few years back, I had an accident where I was pretty badly injured, and had occasion to experience the healing and pain relieving power of Reiki. After that, I determined to learn more about this form of energy medicine… and I did, ultimately training and qualifying as Reiki Master in three different forms of Reiki.

As I learned more about energy therapy, I also discovered EFT, or tapping, and how powerful and helpful it can be in assisting people with both emotional AND physical issues.  So, I found a great trainer for that, and became trained and certified as a professional EFT practitioner.

Now, a large part of my life is once more about helping people deal with their issues. Sometimes the issues are physical: healing from injuries or disease, dealing with the side effects of conventional medical treatment, dealing with pain.  Sometimes the issues are emotional: dealing with past traumas, conquering disabling beliefs or fears, overcoming addictions or bad habits. And sometimes, it’s a combination of things: the memories, emotions and thoughts are often major components of the physical issues, so relieving one helps the other.

Just today, I was thinking about that Hot Tar Guy… the fellow that my four-year-old self wanted to be. As I remembered those hot summer days, with the smoke and scent of the sweat and the hot tar wafting through my mind, I had to smile.  Even though I’m not a guy in a dirty white tee shirt, muscles bulging as he manhandles the hot tar gun to fill up the potholes, I’m still helping to make at least a few people’s roads smoother… helping them to clear up the potholes that may be shaking them up emotionally or physically. In life, we can’t always avoid those kinds of potholes. But we CAN often make them so they are not jarring nor painful to run over.



Visit my website at http://www.hillside-holistic.com/


Does Energy Matter?

Does Energy Matter?

Or more importantly, IS energy matter?  Or is matter energy?

I’m not messing with your head, seriously.  I just want you to think about something that is a very important concept: the idea (the fact, if you will) that matter and energy really are the same thing. And I REALLY want you to think about how that relates to energy therapy such as Reiki and EFT.

Let’s look at it in a top-down view.

Everything–table salt, flowers, water, cars, skin cells, air, roast turkey, ad infinitum–is composed of atoms and molecules.  Everyone probably knows this.  Some substances are complex: for example, air is composed of oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide, and generally a few other substances as well: water vapor, pollution, etc. Table salt is a pretty simple molecule, composed of atoms of chlorine (a poisonous gas) and sodium (a poisonous, soft metal). In some cases, they may add a little iodine for health reasons, but let’s just consider the pure stuff for now.

Salt is a nice, easy molecule to consider, because it is so simple.  Each atom of sodium shares electrons with one atom of chlorine, in a salt molecule. (Don’t worry… no complex chemistry in this article!)

But, for a moment, let’s look at the structure of the atoms a little more closely. We usually tend to think of those atoms as little balls, or maybe little star-shaped “things”. However, if you could take the atoms and magnify them enough, you would see that the atoms really are more complex than that. Take the sodium atom, for example.  Sodium is a soft metal.  It’s poisonous.  It’s unstable; in fact, if you were to take a little pea-sized piece of pure sodium and drop it in a bathtub of water, the sodium would burst into flame in that water.

Here is an illustration of a sodium atom, but it’s far from realistic. One thing that isn’t shown here is, the nucleus is composed eleven protons and twelve neutrons, but it is accurate in that it shows eleven electrons orbiting around the nucleus.


Simple illustration of a sodium atom

Each of those electrons, and each of those protons, is not really a solid ball, though. Instead, each is actually a little bundle of energy, in the form of an electric charge. The electrons are negative charges, and the protons are positive charges. The eleven positive charges of the protons, balance the eleven negative charges of the electrons. (Oh, the neutrons?  They have no charge, and are neutral, thus their name.)

Something else that’s very important that isn’t shown here, are the relative sizes and distances involved. Those electrons don’t travel in nice, neat little circular paths that are only a couple of electron diameters wide.  Instead, they race madly around the nucleus, frenziedly traveling at “warp speed”, in paths that (if you could see them) would look like a hazy shell, or cloud.  Now they DO stay pretty much at their own distance from the nucleus, but they are racing around the nucleus in those paths at unbelievable speed… and at relative distances from the nucleus that are impossible to illustrate here with a picture.

But you can get an idea of that with this analogy: IF the nucleus were the size of a basketball, then the first two electrons would be about the size of flies, and would be orbiting about two miles away from that basketball-sized nucleus.

The only thing holding that atom together, is energy.  And the only thing that keeps the sodium atom attached to the chlorine atom in our little salt molecule, is energy. If you could somehow, magically, take away all the energy in that molecule, it would fall apart. There would be nothing to hold the nuclei together. There would be nothing to keep the electrons in their orbits.  In fact, the electrons and protons wouldn’t exist without their energy charges—they would all be neutrons, dull and boring.

Think of it like the prom being held at a (fictional) Neils H. Bohr High School. Students are the protons and electrons who are energetically dancing with each other, and the neutrons are the dull, boring chaperones. Consider what would happen if, by some stroke of magic, all the students suddenly lost their energy, and everyone there looked alike: same age, same face, same clothes, etc. No one would be attracted to anyone else. All the students would wander around aimlessly, getting mixed up with the chaperones. The prom would break up and everyone would leave.

Simply put, without energy, matter cannot exist.  That’s because matter IS energy, made up of tiny energy packages called atoms and molecules.

So, why does this matter?

(You see what I did there?)

It is important because the human body is made up of trillions of different molecules, each with its own energy charge of some sort.  Energy charges are cumulative, when they are aligned properly. Think about it: a flashlight with six D-cell batteries in it will shine brighter than a flashlight with two D-cells. Conversely, if you take one of the batteries in that flashlight and turn it backwards, the flashlight won’t work, because the electrical energy is not aligned properly.


I worked in electronics for years.  I taught electricity and electronics at the high school level, the college level, and in the military. What if the energy gets blocked or impeded?  I’ve seen how those kinds of problems can happen with electronic or electrical equipment. Sometimes it’s because a fuse blows to protect a circuit when too much energy flows, or if there is no fuse, sometimes a wire simply will burn through. Sometimes it’s because the conductive surfaces (contacts) become corroded or dirty, and this impedes energy flow. Sometimes it’s because the position of a switch is changed.

Blown fuse

These same sorts of conditions can happen in the human body. Our body is designed to protect itself automatically at some levels. Have you ever seen someone faint when they see something that is simply too frightening?  Or how about how when people are exposed to something so horrible that their mind simply blocks out that memory? These occurrences are like blown fuses or tripped breakers: they stop energy flow to certain areas, to protect our minds.blown fuse

Dirty contacts

What about the dirty contacts? We can have emotional or mental ideas that may not totally stop the energy, but do slow it down. Maybe you have a fear of flying that doesn’t keep you from boarding an airplane, but to make it through the flight without panicking, you “self-medicate” with alcohol.  Perhaps you are a runner, and you’ve plateaued—just can’t get past that (reasonable) threshold of speed, no matter how hard you try. The fear of failure may be keeping you from getting better. Or, perhaps PTSD from a car accident, a close brush with death, or trauma during military service, keeps you from doing things that you once could do easily—like shopping in a mall, driving on the highway, or simply leaving your house.

Flipped switch

Occasionally what happens is a re-routing of energy—flipping a switch­—such as when we are in a life-threatening situation, and our body changes the path of energy flow. Imagine one of our ancestors, being faced down by a hungry saber-toothed tiger. More blood flow went to her muscles, to enable the “fight-or-flight” action, and blood went away from her digestion (for example) because the body knows that, at that point in time, it’s more important to avoid being torn apart than to digest that food. Her body may have even decided to “get rid” of the food, because it’s extra weight in the stomach and can’t be digested right away.

It’s great that, in today’s modern society, we are seldom faced with being eaten by a tiger, or run down by a rhinoceros. Unfortunately, our bodies have adapted to apply the same re-routing to modern stressful situations: being confronted by an angry boss, facing an impossible-to-meet deadline, or running late for an important appointment. Even worse, sometimes these reactions in the body tend to linger on, even after the stressful situation has passed… especially when we face several stressful situations over a short period of time. This is not good for the emotions, nor for the body.

How Energy Therapy Helps

Energy therapy (Reiki, EFT, Chios, or various other techniques) is all about working with the energies in the human body, to help the body return to health, or to maintain good health, whether that is physical health or mental/emotional health.  And don’t misunderstand—your mental and emotional health impacts your physical health.  Tension headaches, back pain, ulcers, rashes, and many other physical ailments can have their roots in emotional or mental distress.

These energy therapy methods act to restore proper balance of the energies in the body, to make sure energy flows where it should and not where it shouldn’t. By doing this, people have seen results such as:

By the way, energy therapy of any kind is NOT intended to replace nor supplant conventional medical care.  Rather, it is intended as a complementary therapy to aid in healing, alongside traditional medical practice. Sometimes energy therapy CAN work without conventional medicine. (For example, I’ve used Reiki to relieve muscle pain, headaches, and upset stomachs, without taking any medicine. For that matter, Reiki treatments to my shoulder gave me total healing, and kept me out of the operating room, for a torn rotator cuff.)  But a legitimate, ethical therapist will never tell you to abandon your physician or medicine; rather, he or she will advise you to consult with your doctor and ask him or her what would be best.

If you are interested in seeing what energy therapy can do for you, feel free to contact me, or some energy therapist closer to you.  I’ll be happy to discuss your particular needs with you, and make recommendations based on that discussion.  What do you have to lose?

Cure or Heal?

Sometimes people ask me “Does energy therapy cure/heal [insert your disease or illness of choice here]?”  I usually take a deep breath, and try to figure out how to address the verbal dichotomy that is “Cure versus Heal”, and then explain how energy therapy works.  Problematically, because most people want a short, pat answer, some view my extended explanation as an attempt to muddy the waters, or even deceive them.

First, let’s talk about what is meant by curing, and then compare that to healing.  To cure a person, means to restore a person to health, to remove the symptoms and their cause(s), and provide a full remedy of the person’s disease.  Essentially, it means returning the person to full and healthy function, with no symptoms. Also, curing someone usually refers to a disease, illness, or other condition rather than an injury.  Normally, no one speaks of curing a broken leg, or a hangnail, or a gunshot wound, or anything like that.

Then, what is healing?  From the Medical Dictionary, we have this definition: “the process of returning to health; the restoration of structure and function of injured or diseased tissues. The healing processes include blood clotting, tissue mending, scarring, and bone healing.” Also, “the process of helping someone return to health.” And from the website of the National Institute for Health, we have this definition: “the process of bringing together aspects of one’s self, body-mind-spirit, at deeper levels of inner knowing, leading toward integration and balance with each aspect having equal importance and value.”

Healing is related to curing, of course, and sometimes the two terms are confused and/or misused. But there are a few things you should remember, that are really important.

  1. No one outside ourselves can heal us.   That is because…
  2. Healing is a natural, internal process. That means our bodies heal themselves.  Our minds heal themselves.  No one external to us, heals us. Someone or something may HELP us to heal… may accelerate or assist in the healing process… may aid us in removing blockages to healing… but ultimately, we heal ourselves.
  3. Even after a cure, there is usually a need for healing of some sort.

But… aren’t you an energy healer?”puzzled look

These things may sound odd coming from someone like me… someone who is an energy therapist–a Reiki Master in multiple forms of Reiki and an EFT practitioner.  And I will admit: there was a time when I made the mistake of calling myself an energy healer.  But I stopped doing that some time back, when I realized how wrong that is.

I don’t care who is helping you with your health issues: chiropractor, surgeon, osteopath, dentist, acupuncturist, medical physician, Reiki practitioner, psychiatrist… doesn’t matter. None of those people can HEAL you.  And if one of them says they CAN heal you, you should tread carefully and keep a tight grip on your wallet.

Many people are capable of helping us heal.  A surgeon may help me by removing a malignant growth, or correcting a damaged organ, and then my body is able to focus on healing the damage. An acupuncturist may help my body to heal, by realigning and balancing the qi (chi or life energy) along the meridians, but after that my body must heal itself by properly using that energy. A dentist may remove an abscessed tooth that is poisoning my body, but after that removal it is my body that heals the removal wound and filters the toxins from my body, allowing me to return to a state of health. In all cases, it is MY body that does the healing.

“Healing after curing?”

Yes, there is very often a need for healing after curing.  Let’s say, for example, that someone is a cancer sufferer. And let’s say further that the cancer sufferer is subjected to radiation therapy that effectively kills the cancer cells, and is declared “cancer free” by their oncologist.  Great!  They are cured!

But let’s also look realistically at the aftermath of that cure.  For many people, radiation therapy is a lifesaving godsend that carries its own burden of problems. The side effects of radiation therapy are numerous and varied, and can be debilitating and discouraging. Depending on the person’s reactions to the radiation therapy, and the particular side effects, he or she may need ongoing medical treatment, or even therapeutic counseling.

If I sound like I am condemning conventional medicine, don’t think that! If I fall from a ladder and break my arm, the first place I’m going, is the closest Emergency Room!  But after they set my arm and put a cast on it, it’s up to me and my body to do the actual healing.  If I accidentally ingest a poison, I definitely want to have the help of a physician in counteracting that poison, with whatever substance they feel is best. Afterwards, my body will work hard at doing whatever is necessary to get me to one hundred percent, or as close to that as my 60-plus years will allow.

Maybe it seems like I am splitting hairs, but I don’t think so.  Words are important, and have power to set up our expectations for us. So, if someone asked me, “Hey, can Reiki cure cancer?” or even “Can Reiki heal cancer?”, I would have to say that it can’t directly cure or heal cancer, or at least that I cannot say whether it will or not.  (After all, I do believe in miracles.)

However, I do know that Reiki can help a cancer patient deal with the effects of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.  I do know that Reiki can help relieve pain (provide palliative care) that may sometimes accompany cancer. I know that studies have shown that people heal faster and more easily when they are relaxed and free from anxiety or stress, and Reiki is well-known as a relaxation technique and stress reliever.  And, above all, I know that Reiki… and other forms of energy therapy… can dramatically help the human body to heal itself faster and more completely.

And, I know that EFT can help overcome and heal long-standing problems such as (but not limited to) PTSD, phobias, insomnia, addictions, limiting fears and beliefs, and even physical ailments that have their roots in emotional issues.

“So, is energy therapy a placebo?”  

Some people may think that Reiki, Acupuncture, EFT, Qi Gong, or other forms of energy therapy are placebos, simply because there is no consensus among medical professionals showing that they “cure.”  However, there have been blind studies that have shown that Reiki and other forms of energy therapy have aided in the healing process of human beings.  Further, Reiki has been used to help animals heal—horses, dogs, cats, even birds—and we can’t say that animals have an agenda or a mindset that would allow any form of energy therapy to affect them as a sugar pill might affect a human being.File written by Adobe Photoshop? 4.0

Probably, if any other energy therapists read this article, there will be a few who get their backs up about what I say here.  Many people are convinced that THEY do the healing, rather than the individual healing himself or herself.

Some people say that I should give God the glory for all healing, and honestly, I can’t disagree with that.  God made us. God indwells us.  So, when I say, “We heal ourselves,” that is not shoving God out of the picture. God is in us at all times, and also is a part of our healing process.  If it makes you more comfortable for me to say, “God and I are responsible for my healing,” that’s fine.  I can’t fault it.


For further reading…

Why People Don’t Heal, and How They Can by Caroline Myss

The Energy Healing Experiments: Science Reveals Our Natural Power to Heal by Gary Schwartz, PhD

The Animal Reiki Handbook by Kathleen Prasad

Why Do Reiki Practitioners Get Sick?

Dealing with a recent health issue for myself, brought to mind this question I have heard sick persona few times from skeptics: If Reiki works, why do Reiki practitioners ever get sick? I guess, at first glance, it seems like a reasonable question.  But I’d like to meet it with a few of my own:

  • Why do people committed to aerobic exercise, ever have heart attacks?
  • Why do psychiatrists ever have any form of mental or emotional imbalance?
  • Why do the cars of good mechanics, sometimes break down?
  • Why do people who brush their teeth, occasionally get cavities?
  • Why do black belts sometimes get beaten up?
  • Why is it that, even when you make all the right choices and do all the right things, you may still fail to achieve your goals?

In other words, why would you think that any particular skill or practice is 100% protection?

The obvious answer is, it is not. People who wish to doubt the efficacy of a particular practice will sometimes point to occasional failure as a total proof of the inadequacy of that practice. But the same people who say “Reiki is hogwash, because Reiki practitioners sometimes get sick!”, would never say, “Changing your oil regularly is pointless, because sometimes cars break down anyway!” or “Training in martial arts is worthless, because sometimes a black belt will be defeated!”

Jim Fixx, the man who really put aerobic exercises such as running and jogging on the physical fitness map, was a dedicated runner. In 1977, he authored a best-selling book titled The Complete Book of Running.Fixx Book of Running

Fixx started running in 1967 at age 35. When he started, he weighed 214 pounds and smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. Ten years later, when his book was published, he was 60 pounds lighter and didn’t smoke at all.

Yet, in 1982, after publishing a second and third book, Jim Fixx died of a massive heart attack… while running. Critics immediately pounced on this as proof that his theories about aerobic exercise and health were junk. But an autopsy established that Fixx had a congenitally enlarged heart, with massive damage from his years of smoking and poor diet before, and also had a genetic predisposition to heart problems (his father had died of a heart attack). The consensus was, if he had NOT started running, he would have died much earlier.

Jim Fixx was a great evangelist for aerobic exercise, even with his death from a heart attack.

Why do I mention him? Because he is a great example. First of all, Fixx was human, and had human failings that predisposed him to heart attacks. We don’t know how long he would have lived if he had not started running, but we can say with some certainty that he would have been heavier and unhealthier from smoking.

bulletproof duckReiki practitioners, just like anyone else, will sometimes make mistakes, because of their humanity. They may fail to take care of their bodies in one way or another. They may focus on helping others, and ignore their own health, thinking (mistakenly) that their Reiki attunement makes them somehow “immune” to the things that beset us all. As wonderful as Reiki can be at speeding healing, it does not make us bulletproof! And especially if we ignore our own health, for whatever reason, it is easy for us to become victims of our own humanity.

For myself, my own health issue came to a head when I had a ruptured varix in my esophagus, leading to a severe, life-threatening upper GI bleed. I won’t go into all the details, but it was a dangerous situation. What caused it?

Esophageal varices (the plural of varix) are caused when the liver does not have sufficient blood flow. This may be because of fatty liver disease, cirrhosis of the liver, an enlarged spleen, or other factors.  In my case, I had hitherto-undiagnosed fatty liver disease. It had never cropped up in any medical examination, and was lurking there, just waiting to take advantage of me.

I am grateful for conventional medical treatment, because it saved my life.  And I am also grateful for Reiki, because I have been giving myself Reiki every day since that, with the specific aim of reducing and healing the problem.  And, the Reiki has been helping to reduce the symptoms.

Now, I am 60 years old, and for many of those years I was somewhat sedentary. I’m not obese, but I’m not cheetah-sleek, either. I don’t expect to be a shining example of athleticism and good health, because that is not the foundation I laid for many years. I enjoyed too many “all you can eat” pizza buffets, and sat on my rump for too many hours when I was younger.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t do maintenance on my house now, keeping up the electrical and the plumbing, and making sure the paint looks good. (Metaphors here, folks. Stay with me.)

Reiki has helped me more times than I can count, when dealing with problems that I created for myself by earlier bad choices. And who knows? It could very well be that regular self-Reiki helped to keep off a ruptured varix for a few years… among other things. There’s no way to scientifically test it in my case… no double-blind, no control group. But as long as I can, I intend to keep giving myself Reiki. I know this: it cannot harm me.  And I am very sure it helps. What do I have to lose?

Being attuned to Reiki does not create a Superman nor a Wonder Woman. But it does give us another tool to use in establishing, and maintaining, good health for ourselves and others. I think that makes it worthwhile.

What Does Reiki Do?

Sometimes, people ask me “Exactly what does Reiki do?”  I have heard, and used, many of the standard quick answers given by energy workers: it clears negative energy, it aligns the chakras, it balances the body’s natural energy, it relaxes the body, and by so doing allows the body to heal itself.

All these are true.  But I’d like to offer another couple of phrases, that may be useful to those who are trying to understand Reiki, and those who are trying to explain it.

It’s really pretty simple: Reiki both illuminates and empowers the one who receives Reiki. That means for the person who is seeking healing (the client, perhaps), and the one who is supplying the channel for the Reiki to flow, as both are recipients of Reiki.

But what does that mean?

Illumination can mean many things, to different people.  It means, literally, to fill with light. Reiki, the universal life force energy, illuminates us. It fills us with light. That is why so many energy healers who use Reiki, call themselves “Light Workers.” It is easier to find things in a well-lit area, whether you are talking about a child playing hide-and-seek, a hunted rabbit, a spider lurking in your bedroom, or the keys you dropped when you had your hands full coming into your house.illuminated being

Bringing in Light

The illumination of Reiki helps both the practitioner and the client to reveal things that are troubling the client. Maybe it is an emotional issue that has buried itself deep within the heart, sending out tendrils of pain to different parts of the body. Maybe it is physical damage that is small and well hidden, but still causes trouble at times. Or perhaps it is stress and tension from a job, a family situation, social issues, or some other cause, that masks itself as a headache or digestive issues such as diarrhea or heartburn.


Illumination can also mean giving knowledge. Sometimes, the person who is seeking relief via Reiki has issues that they don’t even know about, that cause problems for them. I recall a client once who had a sore back, and didn’t know why. She had not done anything to strain it; she had a good, comfortable bed to sleep in; her shoes fit well (trust me: bad shoes CAN cause a backache!), and she had no idea why her back had begun aching two weeks before.

When I worked with her, I detected what seemed to be a problem with the energy near her heart chakra, a little above it and close to the thymus. The heart chakra deals with relationships with others, and the upper heart chakra, located near the thymus, also deals with relationships, but with those closer to us: family, spouse, children.

We talked about this, and I discovered that she recently had to take on caring for her aging and infirm mother. She loved her mother, but as we spoke, it became clear that the relationship was becoming strained—her mother was very demanding, and took up a great deal of her time. Plus, she was raising her own two children, caring for her household, and working a job to help pay the bills. She refused at first to say anything about resenting caring for her mother, but eventually she began to cry and revealed how she felt like she had so much to do, that she was losing her own identity, and beginning to dislike her mother.

After we spoke, and she admitted these things, she had to leave—she only had limited time for a Reiki session, because of her caregiving duties.  But when she stood up from the treatment table, the look on her face was priceless. “My back doesn’t hurt now!” she said.

In this case, the Reiki really didn’t “heal” her back. But it did help to reveal to her some of her own feelings, and by dealing with them, her body rid itself of the pain. Oh, she did come back a couple of times, but it was mostly for different issues, because after some more discussion later, she realized that she had to deal with her anger and resentment at carrying the burdens of caregiver, housewife, mother, and employee. It was that burden—not a heavy physical load, but an emotional load—that was causing her back pain.


I am not talking about the empowerment of righteous anger that may drive a protester, or the empowerment of autonomy on the job—although these are valid things. Instead, I am referring to the idea of empowering the body to heal itself.protestors

Our bodies do heal themselves. If people required university-trained physicians and surgeons to heal, the human race would have died out eons ago. I am not discounting the advantage of modern medicine—I have taken advantage of it many times.

But our tissue heals itself. Our cells regenerate. Some regenerate more slowly than others, and we can’t, like some animals, grow back a severed foot. But it does not always require pharmaceuticals or surgery to heal, when the body is given appropriate resources of rest and energy.  In fact, the average human body replaces its ENTIRE covering of skin, about every four weeks or so.

Reiki, by relaxing the body and balancing the energy flow within it (that invisible energy that so infuriates some scientists because it is nearly impossible to measure and quantify), gives your body the resources it needs to heal. Scientists have shown that relaxation can aid the body in healing and becoming healthier, in a variety of ways.

Relaxation may seem to be the opposite of empowerment, but think about it: if you were having some yard work done, and were told, “Hey, you don’t have to worry about it!  Seriously, we are going to take care of it,” by some trusted workmen, wouldn’t that empower you?  Wouldn’t you feel empowered to let go of that worry, of that task, so you could focus on other things?

Reiki also empowers us by helping to balance our own internal energy. Compare it to a shopping cart in a grocery store. Have you ever gotten one of those where the wheels on one side drag and pull?  How maddening to have to deal with that imbalance! The heavier it gets, the more groceries are in it, the more you have to strain and pull to keep from running into other shoppers, or knocking over that display of pineapples in the produce section!

When our own internal energy is out of kilter–out of balance–we often struggle to get through the day. We are required to exert more effort in one direction or another, to keep from running off the rails, whether that means drinking too much coffee (or wine!), yelling at the ones we care about, or being overcome with rage about the person who happened to be in just as much of a hurry as we were, and thus barged in ahead of us on the drive to work.

By balancing our internal energies, we are helped to find better ways to deal with the sometimes unavoidable stresses of life. We are empowered to step back in our minds and say, “Wait a minute–maybe I don’t have to make an obscene gesture at that rude driver–he could be late to work too,” or, “Maybe my angry posting on Facebook really isn’t going to do anything to change things, but only alienate my friends.”


Practicing Reiki or getting a Reiki session from a practitioner certainly will not make you a perfectly calm and peaceful saint, filled with the light of all understanding. You will not necessarily become a bodhisattva. But Reiki CAN be a part of finding balance and healing, as you allow the light and knowledge to come into you, and allow your body to empower itself to heal.
buddha face


Wow… it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything on the blog.  I can make some excuses, of course, but it’s up to you to decide whether or not you feel they are valid.

But never mind that. I have been working hard on getting my EFT certifications, Levels 1 and 2, and using the EFT/tapping to work on my own issues as well as issues for others.  I have found that I really love tapping!

It’s a great addition to my other energy work (Reiki and Chios), as it is also a form of energy work. But EFT is applied directly to the ends of the body’s energy meridians (acupoints) while verbally working on our mental, emotional, and physical issues. EFT is related to acupuncture and acupressure, but it doesn’t use needles. Reiki, Chios, and EFT work very well together as an integrated form of energy therapy.

It’s no secret that our emotions and thoughts affect how we feel.  How often have you (or perhaps someone you know) felt queasy at the approach of an important event such as a big exam, a court date, or a wedding? When I was younger, I knew one person who would throw up before every major school exam, and taking the college entrance exams put her in bed for three or four days.

But we can affect our mental and emotional states, and thus the energy in our bodies, by tapping on the acupoints while telling ourselves… our SELVES… the things we need to hear.

Think about this: EMOTION equals ENERGY IN MOTION. The emotions in our minds can cause issues for our energy flow, and that disruption in our energy flow impacts our health. Chinese and other Oriental medical practitioners have known this for centuries, but Western medicine has only begun to recognize these facts in recent years.

These issues have been especially evident in those who suffer from PTSD, whether from combat-related stress, a catastrophic event such as accident, or anything that causes the body to hit “stress overload.”

Physical problems that seem to have no connection to our emotions and thoughts have been successfully treated with EFT: menopausal hot flashes, chronic back pain, diabetes, hypertension, and other issues.  Further, mental-physical issues like addictions and cravings can be conquered through the use of EFT.

Tapping has also been found to be a very effective performance enhancer. Not an illegal enhancer like anabolic steroids or HGH (human growth hormone)Rather, EFT helps improve performance by helping to balance the energy in our body through dealing with thoughts and emotions that (knowingly or unknowingly) limit us.

EFT/tapping has been used to help with sports performance: aiding in improving golf scores, getting rid of rodeo performance fears, basketball teamwork, diving fears, and other hindrances to best performance. And not only with physical activities such as sports– EFT has helped salespersons achieve their very best and executives to rise to their full potential.

One other beautiful thing about EFT is that you don’t have to be physically present with the practitioner!  An EFT session can take place over the phone or over a computer video connection such as Skype, and still be just as effective.

If you have been struggling with some sort of limiting belief, fear, craving/addiction, or other issue, why not give EFT/tapping a chance to help?  If you don’t know of anyone close to you, who is an EFT practitioner, email me!  I’ll be happy to arrange a session with you in person, or via Skype or over the phone.  What is the risk, after all? You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!


Anthony Burton is a trained and certified Reiki Master and EFT Practitioner who lives in NW Georgia, USA. You may contact him via email or through his website.


A New Reiki Research Study, and I’m Part of It

This week I was selected to be part of a study by the Center For Reiki Research, as a Reiki Master delivering Reiki to clients. The study is headed by Dr. Natalie Leigh Trent, a Research Fellow at Harvard University’s Department of Psychology.

The Center for Reiki Research has conducted and/or compiled information from research in a variety of clinical settings, and has promulgated both those that indicate Reiki to be helpful and those that show Reiki to be less than helpful. The Center has shown itself to be very fair-minded in how it performs studies, and how the data from such studies is given to the public.

Why do Reiki research?

For the same sort of reason why research is done to judge the efficacy of a new drug, a particular surgical procedure, a diet, or anything else that affects human health: to see if it is worthwhile. There’s no reason to spend time or money with something that doesn’t work, or even worse, may be harmful to you. That is why I am happy to be part of this research study.

From the Center for Reiki Research website: “The Center for Reiki Research is dedicated to gaining acceptance for the practice of Reiki by the medical community by persistently using rigorous professional and scientific methods. This goal is meaningful to us because those in hospitals or clinics are often people who have the greatest need for the therapeutic value Reiki can offer. In order to maintain our high standards and to achieve our purpose in a healthy and mutually supportive way we focus on the use of Reiki energy and principles in all our activities, both within our group and with all those with whom we work and interact.”

The purpose of this particular research study, is to compile a database of the results of Reiki sessions using a standardized session form that is used to collect data on the condition of the client both before and after a Reiki session. The data will be analyzed to determine the effectiveness of the sessions based on the improvement or lack thereof, for various conditions.

Why is such research important?

Although Energy Healing in general has been used for thousands of years, and the specific modality called “Reiki” has been in use for over 100 years, many people remain skeptical. Almost all of these skeptics are people who have never received Reiki for healing.  This sort of skepticism exists in a vacuum–it’s like telling people that broccoli tastes terrible, when you yourself have never tasted broccoli.

Some people are skeptical because Reiki is outside their frame of reference. In other words, they’ve never heard of it, or perhaps only heard the word in passing.

Others are skeptical because, to them, it is non-quantifiable: they can’t see the Reiki energy, they can’t measure its strength in definite units the way you can a dosage of a drug or the strength of a radiation exposure.

Some people are worried that Reiki is “spiritually dangerous”–in other words, that their soul may be imperiled if they allow something that is “heathen” to be used to help them. (Of course, Reiki is not heathen or devilish, but there are people out there who think anything not specifically endorsed in their scriptures, is wrong. By that yardstick, penicillin is from Satan, and automobiles are sinful.)

A few others are skeptical, or maybe fearful is a better word, because they have the idea that, if Reiki works, their own medical practice or pharmaceutical business is endangered. In other words, “Why would people spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on treatment or pharmaceuticals, when they can obtain relief and healing much more cheaply and easily, without any sort of invasive action or possibility of side effects?” The thing is, Reiki practitioners do NOT try to get people to give up their usual medical care. We try to work in consonance with physicians, surgeons, and so forth.

So… although research can’t do much to change the minds of those who are fearful of imagined spiritual danger, and probably even less to change the minds of those who are focused on their own wallets more than the health and well-being of their patients, it CAN be helpful to those who either don’t know what Reiki is or those who are concerned that Reiki has not been validated by clinical studies.

Scientifically designed clinical research can, and does, help show what Reiki does, whether it works or not, and what it works best to help.