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The power to ease stress is in your hands

WHAT do Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie, Naomi Watts and Sadie Frost have in common? Other than being A-listers who are frequently on the red carpet, in the public eye and have their private lives open for scrutiny in magazines, newspapers, and on the internet?

Well, it could be said they all suffer from the possibility of extreme levels of stress, due to said relentless scrutiny, their high-profile relationships, and their creative and taxing careers. And they've all reportedly found a common way to cope with it: reiki.

Reiki is a non-invasive healing technique that enables healing on all levels -- mental, physical and spiritual.

Established in the early 20th century in Japan, by Doctor Mikao Usui, the term itself is explained in its syllables: "rei" (universal) and "ki" (life energy). The reiki practitioner, via the laying on of hands, sends this universal life energy to the client in order to alleviate all manner of complaints.

One common complaint we all have, A-list notwithstanding, is stress. Stress comes in many forms -- some of it is manageable, and can even be said to be enjoyable. Some of it is not, however, and can open the door to breakdown.

So how does it work? The practitioner, who has been attuned to the reiki frequency, uses a series of hand positions on the fully-clothed body (never invasively, or in inappropriate ways) through which to channel the healing energy. The energy comes from all around us, kind of like the way that Wi-Fi is all around us: we can't see it, but we know when we're connected. As with the kind of energy that provides us with heat and light, we don't have to think about where it comes from, we just flick a switch and there it is. The reiki practitioner has a "switch" and they act as channels through which the energy flows.

People experience reiki in a variety of fashions. Some feel heat coming from the practitioner's hands, some feel tingling and some feel a sensation akin to a cool breeze. Some people fall asleep almost immediately.

As someone who has had numerous reiki treatments, and is certified to administer and teach reiki, I can vouch for its effectiveness. The procedure is very simple, but also very effective, and the benefits of one session can last over a long time. There is a quick sensation of relaxation, that feeling of release from the cares of the present moment, that one finds when doing yoga, or receiving massage. The busy mentality is quickly disengaged, and cares and worries just drift away.

Another wonderful thing about reiki is that anyone can learn how to do it. There are workshops available all across the country, in which one can learn more about the healing energy, and become attuned to channel it.

Imagine being able to chill out at any time, and to be able to offer relief to friends and family . . . the power is in your hands.