New year, new you, blah, blah, blah…

I consider myself a curious cynic, meaning that I'm always willing to give anything a shot: 10-day juice cleanse, charcoal toothpaste, 30-day water challenge—throw it at me, but I remain a skeptic until proven otherwise.

When I saw my Instagram feed clog up with all this talk of holistic wellness, I was indeed apprehensive. But then I increasingly noticed celebrities like Gisele Bundchen and Kate Hudson meditating, and Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and even Angelina Jolie touting the benefits of Reiki, the Japanese practice of spiritual healing. Admittedly, curiosity got the best of me.

I went to go see celebrity Reiki Master Kelsey Patel, whom Jamie-Lynn Sigler credits with helping The Sopranos actress manage the pain from chronic MS. We met in Kelsey's private penthouse apartment and got right to it.

In a Nutshell

Reiki is a way of using the chakras (spiritual power points in the body) to transfer healing energy to a recipient and help them heal from the inside out. As a Reiki Master, Kelsey works as a conduit for that energy. However, it's up to the recipient—me, in this instance—to accept said energy and process whatever my problem is in order to shift that energy. When used over a period of time, Kelsey noted, Reiki can help you find balance, a sense of clarity and focus and even help to lift people out of physical pain. She also said it's most effective paired with a meditation practice. (You know what they say: 10 minutes of meditation a day keeps the bad energy away.)

Acknowledging My Issues

When I first arrived to Kelsey's apartment, I wrote down three things that had been bothering me. The Reiki expert then began questioning me about them—like a concerned friend, not a prying co-worker. But when I gave more vague or general answers, she would look at me squarely in the eyes until I cut to the chase. We talked for about 30 minutes…until I was able to articulate exactly what I was feeling but was too afraid to say out loud.

Tapping Out

When I was able to communicate what truly was on my mind, Kelsey started to literally tap on (not into) my problems. As I closed my eyes, she held my right hand in hers and began tapping on different pressure points on my hands, forehead, chin and sides. She repeated mantras to me and had me repeat them back to her. "I will not overwhelm myself with work and personal commitments," I said out loud. "I will work things out with my mom." "My weight doesn't define me." Each mantra ended with the affirmation that I would accept these feelings and let them go. As we moved through different mantras, I started feeling less stressed about each passing thing, lighter if you will.

Traditional Reiki

After about 15 minutes, Kelsey had me lay down, and more traditional Reiki ensued. She placed her hands on my head and started softly chanting under her breath. I could feel my head immediately warm up, and my ears felt really hot. She worked her way down my body, holding her hands just above me—sometimes chanting, sometimes just being quiet. Despite having my eyes closed, I could "feel" her just above my skin. Wherever she was hovering, my body would go really hot and then suddenly get cold and then go hot again. I swear I could see lights dancing in front of my eyes.

The Results

After just one session, I felt incredibly light and relaxed. My mind was so quiet—the complete opposite of the usual ticker tape of things whizzing through it at any given moment. The most noticeable effects of my Reiki session came after I left Kelsey's apartment. Maybe I was just in a good mood or the world sensed my energy, but as I drove home, I noticed cars ahead of me were moving out of my lane, almost like they were parting the way for me. When my mom called later that night, we had a really good conversation about what had been bothering me, and the conflict then resolved itself easily. I felt like I could think more clearly about decisions I needed to make, large or small. Even the stress around making those decisions didn't feel as great.

I never in a million years expected to have such a strong reaction to something I knew nothing about at the onset. I know it may sound abstract, but I also know what the calmness and clarity I felt was very real. I've booked my next appointment and am excited to see where this experiment with Reiki can take me. Who knows? Maybe I'll bump into Gwyneth, and we can chat about enlightenment over tea someday.

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