Reiki may aid self-care routine, says new columist

Courtesy photo Registered nurse Karen Pischke performs reiki on former Gloucester Poet Laureate Ruth Anne "Rufus" Collinson.

Hello readers of the Gloucester Daily Times. My name is Kelly Knox, and I am the development officer at SeniorCare Inc. I will be writing the Senior Lookout column. I have some big shoes to fill, but I will do the best I can. My focus will be how to improve your well-being through self-care.

Self-care encompasses so much, from getting enough sleep, eating right for your body and health issues, to starting a meditation practice, tai chi, reiki, massage, and other techniques that can enhance your health. There is a mix that will work for each of us. My goal is to introduce you to or remind you of self-care therapies that will complement the care you receive regularly from your doctor and, or health care team. Working hand in hand with your doctor will help to improve the quality of your life. As the song goes: “Together is better than one.”

The first topic I’ll cover is the practice of reiki and how you can use it as part of your self-care routine. “Reiki Ryoho,” is a Japanese healing method or art began in 1922 with founder Mikao Usui.

Recently a colleague of mine, registered nurse Karen Pischke and her student Suzanne Sweeney provided a group reiki informational session at Central Grammar Apartments in Gloucester. It was a great hit! The women that participated in a 10-minute chair reiki session all experienced genuine relaxation and joy after the session was over. Pischke is trained in both western and Japanese forms of reiki, and has over 17 years of experience offering reiki in hospitals and health care.

What exactly is reiki?

According to Pamela Miles, founder of the Institute for the Advancement of Complementary Therapies, reiki is a vibrational, or subtle energy, therapy most commonly facilitated by light touch.

At Central Grammar, Pischke and Sweeney gently placed their hands on the women receiving reiki.

“Placing of hands creates a relaxed state of mind and body that helps to promote ‘balance and harmony,” said Pischke. “The goal of reiki is being able to produce comfort, calm and a sense of inner peace,” she added.

Central Grammar participant Molly Blue said the experience was “lovely,” and Rosemarie Asaro said it was “very relaxing.”

Ruth Anne “Rufus” Collinson, who also received reiki from Pischke, said that it felt like her “body was floating.”

If you would like to try reiki to see if it works for you, you have two opportunities:

The Rose Baker Senior Center, 6 Manuel F Lewis St. in Gloucester, offers reiki sessions the second and fourth Friday each month at 10 a.m. Donations are welcome (no more than $5 is accepted).

Reiki Share at the Manchester Community Center, 40 Beach St. in Manchester, takes place the first Tuesday of the month, from 5:15 to 8:15 p.m. (the next will be June 2). Pischke runs this program. Cost for seniors is $10, and $20 for the general public).

Take some “me” time and visit the Rose Baker Senior Center or the Manchester Community Center and see if this ancient practice helps improve the quality of your life!

To learn more about reiki visit the National Institute of Health (NIH) online at

Kelly Knox is the development officer of SeniorCare Inc., Cape Ann’s local area agency on aging. To reach SeniorCare, call 978-281-1750.

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