News from the Treatment Room with Amanda Apps
Our newest blogger, Amanda Apps gives us the background behind her love for alternative therapies and introduces us to Jikiden Reiki.
“So how long have you been doing alternative therapies?” I am asked this question many times and I am surprised when I think back and realise that it is over 20 years since I began my training although my interest began even before that!
During my twenties I spent time attending weekend workshops with various friends who were persuaded to join me. We practised massage, reflexology, Alexander technique, Indian head massage and learnt about aromatherapy oils – all were good fun and I thoroughly enjoyed them but it began sparking an interest. For me it was a great opportunity to spend time with my friends and even my friend’s Mother, as well as learning something new and away from the corporate world I was living in during the week.
Following being somersaulted into divorce in my early thirties and coupled with a stressful job working as a PA to a Managing Director some madness overtook me that seemed to think it would be a good idea to do some further courses.
A little investigation resulted in finding that the only courses were either a 6 week or a full year with an ITEC qualification at the end of it. Persuading myself that the cost was the equivalent to having a weekly massage, which I would surely have as we would need to practice on each other, I duly signed up. Three years later and exams under my belt I qualified in Anatomy, Physiology and Body Massage, Aromatherapy and Reflexology, Hot Stone Massage and Advanced Reflexology.
By this time I have learnt the joy of treating clients – but clients who become friends. I consider it a very special privilege to make people feel relaxed, comfortable, rejuvenated and rebalanced.
Although my journey began this way it is by no means where I have found myself now for life moved on and over time I realised that something was missing from my treatments. Massage can be very punishing on the hands and more than four good, deep tissue massages a day is exhausting.
I knew I needed to find something to compliment my therapies. I had heard about reiki but I had preconceptions that it was maybe a little too alternative with a hippy, “far out”, kaftan wearing, bead curtain image!
I looked up in the yellow pages (yes they did exist!) about alternative therapies and found a few adverts but everyone I called was either a practitioner only or they no longer offered reiki.
What struck me most was that everyone I contacted was unable to say what form of reiki they had learned and every one of them had lost touch with their teacher. Either the teacher had moved away to distant shores; wales, Crete, Florida … or they had retired from teaching reiki. Even more worrying from my point of view was that there was no contact whatsoever with fellow students, no reiki share events or letters or phone calls to keep everyone in touch.
It was, by pure accident, while searching on-line, in those early days of the internet that I found Jikiden Reiki. I had no idea that there were different forms under the reiki umbrella or even that there were different umbrellas!
Jikiden Reiki is a pure, simple form, directly from the original teachings of Mikao Usui, the founder. This form was first introduced to a western student in Japan only in 2002. In fact, the first English students taught in the UK by Tadao Yamaguchi sensei, the head of the Jikiden Reiki Institute, was at a seminar in September 2004.
I was shocked that this amazing technique had been lost to Japanese society but as I learned more I was intrigued to learn how “western” reiki had been rocked by the events of WWII, the hippy generation and how other techniques had been added to its formation. There is no doubt that without “western” forms of reiki then Jikiden Reiki would not have survived and for this I am truly grateful. However, I am also saddened that some aspects have been changed, lost in translation and “Chinese whispers” or even completely forgotten and omitted.
Delightfully I found that there were no beaded curtains or rainbow jumpers required – in fact Jikiden Reiki works hard to dispel the myths and introduce reiki as a treatment similar to acupuncture, which is far more readily accepted in our society, except there are no needles or pressure points, purely a light touch.
Once I started my Jikiden Reiki journey I found I had a huge desire to gain more experience, learn more and so I began on my road to teaching this amazing technique …