How Reiki Energy Healing Gave Me A Self-Esteem And Confidence Boost

facebookWhat if you could replace all the sad energy you are experiencing with pure, loving energy?

Sounds like magic, right?

But that’s exactly what I found in my very first Reiki treatment, and every single energy healing session to follow.

I was introduced to my Reiki practitioners by a friend who knew I was ready to release old energy patterns (stress and anxiety), self-limiting beliefs (I’m not good enough), and experience a deep level of clarity and calm.

When I think back to my life before I was introduced to Reiki and energy work, I picture a hamster on its wheel, feverishly running non-stop, chasing after something just out of reach, and getting frustrated, exhausted, discouraged and even depressed.

I used to think if I just ran harder, faster and for longer, I could have, be and do anything I wanted. But the truth is, my nervous system was overwhelmed from the hectic pace I had established for myself. Couple that with being an empath (easily picking up on the energy of others), and living and working in an over-stimulated city like New York, I felt as though I was in a constant state of fight-or-flight.

I was surviving rather than thriving.

My adrenals were shot, my cortisol levels (the “stress hormone”) were on the rise, I felt hot and sweaty even in the winter, fatigue followed me around like a lost puppy.

So when a trusted friend suggested Reiki to me as a way to slow down, breathe, rest, relax, trust, surrender and connect to my inner wisdom and loving energy of the Universe, I stepped off my hamster wheel and onto a massage table for a reiki treatment.

After receiving Reiki treatments on a regular basis, I felt such a shift–physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, energetically. Quite simply put, I felt reconnected to myself. I felt a lot lighter. I felt more freedom and clarity in my thoughts, less pain and fatigue in my body and a deeper calm and wisdom overall. I felt ready to trade in my negative self-talk for deep self-love, compassion and appreciation for myself and others.

Everything just feels better after a Reiki session. There is a knowing that all is well.

I fell so in love with the healing power of Reiki that I decided to become a certified Reiki master myself. I was so intrigued by its history and benefits, that I wanted to learn more and be able to help others feel the peace and calm I was experiencing.

The best way I can describe Reiki is that it helps reconnect us with our hearts, realigning us with our Higher Self.

It is an ancient Japanese energy healing technique that assists in relieving or reducing pain and discomfort by balancing the body’s energy centers, also known as chakras. Reiki supports deep relaxation and healing by removing blocks to the flow of energy in your body. This natural technique is so powerful and effective because it infuses your chakras and body with Universal light energy. I call it pure loving energy.

It is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.

As a practitioner, my job is to simply act as a conduit for the Universal energy to flow and allow optimal healing to take place. Patients tell me they feel much more grounded, peaceful, calm, relaxed and clear after just one session.

When I’m working with a client, I look for blocked energy in the  body, whether it is physical pain or emotional trauma. To free up a client’s energy and get it flowing naturally again, I use my hands and lightly and gently touch different areas of the body to release blockages and promote peace, calm, relaxation, rejuvenation and pain relief.

My Reiki teacher, Sean, told me a healthy human body is like a free-flowing river. When a river is flowing, there’s fish and wildlife in it. When it starts to stagnate and become blocked, fish die because there’s not enough oxygen.

One of my strategies is to remove energy blocks in the body by going underneath people’s defense mechanisms (unconscious coping techniques) to offer healing from abuse, trauma, stress—anything trapped and stored in the body.

Through training and practice, I study how my clients move and speak, and can feel where each person is holding on and tightening up in the body.

During each session, I remove energy blocks and tension so energy can pass through and be released from the body. I tell clients to imagine energy that no longer serves them shooting out of their feet or head in a bright golden light. Imagine releasing it into Mother Earth or the Cosmos to be transformed.

In turn, the client becomes healthier and experiences more freedom in mind, body and spirit. That feeling of being “stuck” is removed.

Another benefit of receiving energy work like Reiki is pain relief, the type of pain that can’t even be found by a doctor. As a Reiki practitioner, I create a sacred, safe, compassionate, nonjudgmental environment where clients don’t have to hide from their emotions—they can embrace whatever comes up and release it.

I find it beautiful to watch people transform after a session or series of sessions, and no longer ignore what’s going on in their bodies or be desensitized to their pain. When I assist clients in getting in touch with what’s going on inside them, they can start healing on their own in between sessions and be in more balance.

For some, the benefits of Reiki energy healing may seem too “magical” to be real, but from my own personal experience, just making the decision to schedule a Reiki session is already beginning an incredible healing journey.

Reiki Meaning:

REI – Spirit, Power, Essence
KI – Life Force, Breath, Chi
So Reiki actually means “spiritually guided life force energy.”

Reiki Principals:

Just for today: Do not be angry
Just for today: Do not be worried
Just for today: Be grateful
Just for today: Work hard on improving yourself
Just for today: Be kind to others

~Dr. Mikao Usui

Read my story on mindbodygreen.com

My Response To Being Publicly Body Shamed


Heather Hazzan Photography

Would you put on a bathing suit, walk into a corporate office, stand under horrific fluorescent lighting, be filmed on a camera phone and broadcast on a major news organization’s Facebook Live feed in front of more than 50,000 viewers?

That’s exactly what I recently did. I work as a “plus-size” model (I’m a size 12) in New York City, and was hired by a swimsuit client to model the latest swim trends for summer alongside a size 2 swimsuit model. The point was to show different styles on different body types.

Live viewers, of course, were able to ask questions and make comments. Out of about 400 comments, 395 of them were nice, some even extremely kind and body positive, yet I found myself focusing on the few comments that were mean-spirited.

One man said I needed a gym membership.

Another man proclaimed, “No fat chicks.”

Another viewer, also a man, questioned how I was a swimsuit model.

I can’t say I was shocked people could be so cruel, but I found it interesting that the ONLY negative comments came from men. Women in the chat were very complimentary, some even elated to see someone with their body type modeling swimsuits so they could see what it would actually look like on them, and even told the authors of the rude comments to, “Be nice, and try doing what she’s doing!”

I’m not saying these comments didn’t affect me at all, because for a few hours, I did think about them, and even found myself questioning my weight.

I knew I had a choice. I could choose to internalize these few, isolated hateful comments and feel victimized and horrible about my body, or I could choose to be the victor and speak openly about my experience in the hope of encouraging others to embrace their bodies, whatever the shape or size, and honor it with daily acts of self care like exercise, meditation and clean eating. When I think of everything my body does for me day in and day out, I am filled with such a sense of gratitude and all I can say is, “Thank you.”

The shame of not fitting into society’s itsy-bitsy standard of beauty has been replaced by the grace of self-acceptance, and knowledge that I am so much more than what I look like in a swimsuit, especially in poor lighting.

This body-shaming experience isn’t just about me. I am a grown woman in my 30s who chooses to put myself out there and work as a model. I can handle it.

But what about all the young girls and women in the world who are my size or bigger (which is the majority of the population), who see and hear women’s bodies being criticized in this way? That’s what I have a problem with.

The message is you are not beautiful, worthy or good enough unless you are a size 2 or look really skinny in a swimsuit. Heck, even size zero supermodels like Chrissy Teigen have spoken publicly about being body-shamed and called “fat.”

Here’s what I know for sure:

What people say about you has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them. Case in point: The man who said, “No fat chicks,” weighs no less than 400 pounds. Yes, I clicked on his comment and looked at his Facebook page.

I have compassion for this man. He was talking to himself. His self-hatred could be SO DEEP that he took the time to make a mean comment about a woman he does not know. A comment attacking a woman’s body.

I send this man love. He is in pain. He does not know me. He doesn’t know I have “big thighs” because I am built like my 6’5″ athletic father. He doesn’t know I swam competitively for 17 years and can leg press 245 pounds.

He doesn’t know I recently lost two dear friends to suicide, and sometimes when the pain is too great, I deal with it by over-eating, something it seems he can relate to.

When I went to work that day, I focused on making the suits look lovely and comfortable. When I watch the video, all I see is a woman glowing from the inside out, smiling so bright and having fun. That’s what beauty is to me. Self-confidence and owning who you are and where you are (weight fluctuations and all), is drop-dead gorgeous to me. Nothing is sexier than being kind to others.

While some of the comments weren’t pleasant to read, I saw this as an important opportunity to heal and grow, and acknowledge the times when I have not been kind to myself or my body. The times I used to think my body’s appearance defined my self worth instead of who I am on the inside. The times I compared myself to the size zero models standing next to me, and felt uncomfortable being the “big girl” on set, questioning why I, too, could not have their “perfect” body type. The times I chose to over-indulge with food and alcohol, and then be mad at my body for not looking and performing a certain way. I, too, have been guilty of dishing out some pretty harsh criticism.

My behavior and my thoughts about my body are really the only ones that matter.

For the record, I do have a gym membership, two of them actually. I train three to four times a week, and my trainer tells me I’m far and away his strongest female client. No, I’m not the skinniest girl at the gym or on set, but I’m fit, healthy, and most importantly, I’m kind-hearted, supportive of others and happy.


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