John D’Hondt likens reiki to playing a stringed instrument: plucking one string causes the other strings to vibrate with it. A reiki practitioner, he explains, channels energy to trouble spots to help the body correct energy imbalances and boost self-healing.
Last winter D’Hondt left behind a 17-year career in design and engineering when it became too stressful. Reiki had been a sideline for about a year, and he decided to try making a business of it.
“I thought maybe I should try this out and see where it goes,” he said.
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that promotes healing. It’s based on the belief that unseen life-force energy flows through the body and can be directed by a reiki practitioner through a series of hand positions.
D’Hondt has been interested in energy systems and healing for a number of years, but he only chanced upon reiki two years ago. He was reconnecting with old friends on Facebook and stumbled across a woman from Kitchener who had written a meditation on her personal page – the same meditation D’Hondt used years earlier to deal with stress. He discovered she was a reiki practitioner and was intrigued.
After doing some reading he hunted out places to learn reiki and discovered there are a number of teachers in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Guelph area. Each level requires classes that take place over a day or few days, with extra practice time after class.
There are three levels to reiki training. At the first level, students learn the history and theory of reiki, the energy systems, hand positions and how to heal themselves and others. Level two focuses on learning the Japanese healing symbols and sending reiki energy from a distance. After completing the third level, the student becomes a master and is able to teach reiki to others.
D’Hondt practices out of his home on Nightingale Crescent. A room in the basement is designated the “reiki room” – his son made the sign above the door – and is outfitted with a massage table and low lighting. Quiet music helps to set a calming, relaxing mood.
D’Hondt hopes to complete his reiki master level this year. He has also trained in therapeutic touch, taken an introductory course on acupressure and plans to take a full hypnosis course in the fall, to add regression therapy to the services he offers.
Practitioners use reiki to treat problems like stress, headaches and certain types of pain. D’Hondt emphasizes that reiki is not meant to be a substitute for medical care, and works well in conjunction with other treatments.
He acknowledges that reactions to reiki are mixed. Some people are enthusiastic or curious, while others are skeptical or even afraid of the concept. That makes education a necessary part of his business. He also offers a discounted rate on the first two sessions for people who want to give it a try.
“It’s actually a very simple method of healing,” he said. “My goal is to help people – help them be more comfortable, less stressed.”