By Robert Ross 

On Alternative Therapies 
REIKI Therapy  


Today, there’s an abundance of choices in the alternative health field . . . almost too many. And it’s no easy task to decipher the promotional ads, which are sometimes laced with confusing new age jargon. Over the next few issues of Awareness Magazine, I plan on exploring some of the more prevalent alternative therapies available, and sharing my experiences with the Awareness readers. 

As I sit at my computer Friday morning at 8:00 a.m., twenty-four hours after my Reiki treatment and attunement, I feel incredibly groggy. I can’t seem to wake up. Was it the exercise class I attended last night? I’ve been going to the class for a couple of months now, but have never felt like this the following day. Or does the groggy feeling have something to do with the Reiki treatment and “attunement” I received yesterday?  The practitioner said that as a part of my Reiki attunement, I would be embarking on an energy cleansing process that would last twenty-one days. An energy cleansing that may produce — as a bi-product, some less than desirable sensations. Is this grogginess  part of the energy cleansing process? 

Twenty-four hours earlier 
Oceanside is about a forty-five minute drive from San Diego — for me, forty five-minutes of reflection and getting my thoughts together for the upcoming interview and Reiki treatment. I exit the freeway and do a series of left-hand  and right-hand turns finally ending up in a fairly new housing development, with well-manicured homes atop a hill east of downtown Oceanside. 

Phil Angermaier, Reiki Master Teacher, greets me at the door. I am immediately struck by his smile, the sparkle in his eyes and his noticeable enthusiasm for life. After brief social pleasantries, we sit down and talk  about Reiki for about an hour. Because of Angermaier’s engineering background, he is quite articulate, explaining concepts and theories as precisely as one could hope for, given we were, at times, using terms and concepts that might be challenged by mainstream medicine. The interview complete, it was time to lie on a massage table and begin my treatment. 

Reiki, according to some accounts, is believed to have originated in Tibet centuries ago. But it wasn’t until Dr. Usui rediscovered Reiki while having a mystical experience on Mount Kurama in Japan, in the early 1900’s, that Reiki began its current day incarnation. According to William Lee Rand in his book  Reiki, The Healing Touch, it was during that experience that Usui received the “Reiki energy.” Usui realized that he had received a gift — the ability to give healing to others without depleting his own energy. After the mystical experience, Dr. Usui  started a Reiki organization in Japan and began utilizing Reiki as a healing tool. 

When Hawayo Takata (a Hawaiian born to Japanese immigrant parents), became initiated as a Reiki Master many years later, Reiki began to spread to the west. Today, Reiki is a worldwide phenomenon. Surprisingly though, in Japan today, Reiki is a generic word, and is used to describe many types of healing and spiritual work. 

With a new age music tape turned on, I climb onto the massage table, lying on my back. Angermaier begins treating me by placing both of his hands on my head area. The hands are placed close together and held stationary for a few minutes or so, before being moved to a new location. I’m  fully clothed and am told before the treatment that a Reiki practitioner’s hands are “conduits or pipes for energy.”  The hands can be placed on the client or slightly above the client. They can also be held together in close proximity or apart. Since the energy coming through a practitioner’s hands is from a higher source, Reiki can be defined as “spiritually guided life force energy.”  The energy, according to Angermaier, “flows through the practitioner into the client. The client’s  highest and best self will put this healing energy to use, in an appropriate manner.”

 The treatment seemed to last about an hour, although I’m not sure of the time frame because I spent most of the time drifting in and out of a sleep-like state. After the treatment, I feel somewhat groggy, but pull myself together for the attunement I am about to receive. 

Tunes of a different kind 
In Reiki, the word “attunement” is frequently heard. The attunement is a ceremony in which one receives the ability to do a healing act, or give attunements. The receiver becomes in tune with a certain healing energy. In a Reiki I attunement, the recipient becomes a conduit for a universal healing energy. This is a healing energy which can, with some practice be used on others. In a Reiki II attunement, the recipient  receives an energy which allows him or her to heal over distance and time. A Reiki III attunement allows the practitioner  to give attunements to others

. The “Attunement I” procedure that I received lasted about five minutes. Angermaier performed various attunement activities on and around me, while I sat on a low stool. The activities seemed to focus on my head and neck area with some hands-on work and breathwork by Angermaier. 

Reiki healing is not under the umbrella of one unified organization. There are competing factions and practitioners, all claiming to be the real McCoy. You might see an ad where a practitioner claims to be from the Usui lineage, which refers to Dr. Usui’s methodology. Others may claim to be using a Tibetan methodology. There is also the  “Karuna Reiki” which is an indication that the practitioner has had Reiki Master training and gone on to receive other attunements. 

Reiki is growing in popularity. It’s easy to learn and easy to utilize. Since there is an abundance of practitioners, choosing one may be easier said than done. Probably the best way to find a Reiki practitioner would be through word-of-mouth from a satisfied customer. 

So I leave Oceanside after my treatment and attunement and drive south back to San Diego, all the while, looking for evidence of my new healing capabilities. That night I sleep deeply and awake the following morning to a groggy feeling that stays with me most of the day. 

The following evening I perform my first healing treatment on my wife. She too, soon drifts off into a sleep-like state. According to Angermaier, I’ve embarked on twenty-one days of energy cleansing . . . these next couple of weeks should be interesting. Oh, if you’re wondering how to pronounce Reiki, according to Angermaier it’s “ray” as in ray of sunshine, and “key” as in car key. Reiki! 

There are a host of organizations and individuals available to answer your questions about Reiki. In the San Diego and Oceanside area  contact Phil Angermaier,  at (760 ) 966-1763. On the web visit 

Robert Ross can be reached by e-mail at   

Copyright 2001 by Robert Ross, all rights reserved

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