For post #3 in the month-long string of FebYOUary posts, we are going to talk about something that combines emotional, mental, and physical health. Something most have never heard of, but it is the practice of Reiki. We met and asked local Caren Chaffee to give us the scoop about Reiki.
Caren started the interview off with “As a Reiki Practitioner, I facilitate the leveling and balancing of the chakra system within the human body. I do this by the “Laying on of Hands”. The relief one finds in meditation or within the practice of yoga, a practitioner may bring this to the client as they lay on the massage table. I have been practicing for 15 years.”
Meditation and balance promotes emotional health and Caren says “emotional health is important because many times during a period of stress, there are times when we experience intense emotions. Sometimes, life brings us loss. What we do as a person to get through such times vary. If we store the suffering within ourselves, guarding against emotional pain… that pain stays within us. Many people avoid their emotional health because they don’t know how to navigate through in a healthy way. Unprocessed emotions that hide within our bodies show up as neck and back pain, ulcers and sometimes cancer… to name a few aliments brought on by stress.”
What is Chakra, one may ask- The Sanskrit word Chakra literally translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. There are seven main chakras, which align the spine, starting from the base of the spine through to the crown of the head. To visualize a chakra in the body, imagine a swirling wheel of energy where matter and consciousness meet. This invisible energy, called Prana, is vital life force, which keeps us vibrant, healthy, and alive. These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centers in the body. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Since everything is moving, it’s essential that our seven main chakras stay open, aligned, and fluid. If there is a blockage, energy cannot flow. Think of something as simple as your bathtub drain. If you allow too much hair to go into the drain, the bathtub will back up with water, stagnate and eventually bacteria and mold will grow. So is too with our bodies and the chakras. A bathtub is simple; it’s physical so the fix is easy.
Keeping a chakra open is a bit more of a challenge, but not so difficult when you have awareness. Since mind, body, soul, and spirit are intimately connected, awareness of an imbalance in one area will help bring the others back into balance. Take for example, a wife, who has recently lost her husband. She develops acute bronchitis, which remains in the chest, and then gets chest pains each time she coughs. The whole heart chakra is affected in this case. If she realizes the connection between the loss and the bronchitis, healing will occur much faster if she honors the grieving process and treats that as well as the physical ailment.
We asked Caren what steps could be taken to promote your emotional/chakra health? She said “Meditation is a great way to promote mindfulness. Walking in nature, talking with a friend or a therapist. Hobbies or making time to do the things we love moves creative energy within the body and brings helpful and positive emotions. Join a gym to work off excess stress, and take time to do the things you love. Like going to the beach or taking a walk. Getting a massage or a reiki session is wonderful maintenance.”
She says that daily stresses can be managed in healthy ways, “Breathing with intention is a great way to manage daily stress. Stress comes from either being too much in the future as in worrying too much. Or, Stress can be found from thinking too much about the past… with emotions of regrets and shame. When these feelings come in… instead of burying them in our psyche through ignoring them… lean into them and feel the emotions while focusing on breathing. The emotions will pass and a clear vision of the correct response will come into view.”
Caren ended the interview with the signs of managing stress in a negative way. She said “abrupt tempers, substance abuse, intolerance or impatience to people including our loved ones are definitely signs. Physical symptoms may appear after extended period of time in repression, such as; migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, neck and shoulder pain and grinding teeth and clenching of the jaw.”
Find out more about Caren and her practice of Reiki: Caren Chaffee