I’ve been familiar with the practices of both hypnotherapy and reiki for quite some time. Both are spiritual healing practices, led by specialized practitioners, meant to facilitate a greater sense of mindfulness. What I hadn’t heard of, though, is hypno-reiki. So, a few months ago, when I was invited to an introductory group session at the Magnolia Wellness center in Costa Mesa, California, I was intrigued.
The hypno-reiki session was for a small group of women, and led by hypnotherapist Andrea Fagenholz and reiki master Jessica Stone. As we were guided into a visualization meditation, we simultaneously received reiki, from practitioners Andrea Fagenholz and Jessica Stone. My experience was so surreal, I booked a private session so I could dive deeper into this form of mental, physical, and spiritual healing.
Below, learn what happened when I tried a private hypo-reiki healing session. (Plus, get a quick refresher on the backstory of both hypnotherapy and reiki.)
What is hypnotherapy?
Hypnosis is a mindfulness practice that differs from other types of meditation mostly due to a difference in goal. “Meditation clears the mind to encourage the stillness,” says Fagenholz. “Hypnosis is intention-based; we want the mind to play and communicate back with us via images, colors, symbols, feelings, and so much more.”
While in a state of hypnosis, you’re more open to suggestions, which can make striking real progress and change more conceivable. “You have more direct access to your subconscious mind, which is otherwise heavily guarded,” says Fagenholz. So if you’ve been resistant to a type of change—consciously or subconsciously—tapping into this state allows the therapist to help you “shift patterns, behaviors, beliefs, or how you feel,” while looking into emotional triggers.
Check out what a hypnotherapy session is really like in our episode of What the Wellness, below.
Fagenholz uses a visualization style of mediation, guiding the client with imagery “as a communication method.” Some people merely visualize while others “smell, taste, and feel,” since hypnosis heightens senses. “The more we connect emotions, feelings, smells, sounds, and prior positive experiences to our communication, the stronger the communication is and the quicker we can get to the desired outcome,” she says. In essence, it’s the carpool lane to creating mental, emotional, and physical changes.
What is reiki?
This practice’s roots stem from Eastern medicine. “Reiki is an energy healing modality that began in Japan,” says Stone. “Your body is basically getting ‘tuned’ like a guitar to be more on key, and when that happens, your mind, body, and soul function together in harmony creating a more aware existence.”
During a reiki session, the practitioner uses their energy to adjust your vibrations. In theory, the results of this tuning of vibrational frequency (and finding your energetic equilibrium) leads to improved physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.
What is hypno-reiki?
Why put these two practices together? The idea is that it gets you into a “ready to receive” state. “When the mind is in a state of hypnosis, the subconscious receives the healing energy easier without resistance,” says Stone. “Together, both practices have longer-lasting effects and the client gets a deeper connection.”
I found hypno-reiki to be a supercharged self-care treatment, combing energy work, anxiety release, quiet time, meditation, introspection, and relaxation all in one. During the initial group session, I ended up seeing colors. And I don’t mean I was imagining colors; it was like the colors were painted onto the inside of my eyelids. But there wasn’t any light in the room that would actually have such an effect on my eyes. The room was completely dim, yet somehow, explosions of deep, rich cerulean and royal blue, indigo and amethyst were right there, in my eyes.
The same thing happened in my private session, but to a stronger extent. Here’s how that session took shape: First, Fagenholz wanted to learn my vocabulary, so we had a lengthy assessment conversation. This allowed her to set goals for the session and also highlight what words might stand out to me while I was in a subconscious state. (We decided on “clarity.”) Simultaneously, Stone was able to assess my energetic needs, and by communicating this to me, she helped me get clear about what I wanted and needed from this treatment.
After the consultation, we moved to room with a warmed, massage-table bed in the center, topped with a soft blanket. I slipped off my shoes and laid down to find a relaxing position. From there, Fagenholz started counting backward to put me into a state of hypnosis. She asked me to stare at focal point on the ceiling and close my eyes when she listed odd numbers, and open them on even numbers. After I was counted down, Fagenholz talked me through a guided-breathing exercise before doing a brief body scan. The meditation portion lasted roughly 20 minutes once I was in the hypnotic state.
During the meditation session, while I was in a hypnotic state, Stone performed reiki. She went from chakra to chakra, tuning the frequency of each to their equilibrium and balancing my body’s vibrations. While she was at each chakra, Fagenholz used imagery with the colors of each respective chakra in her meditations. At certain chakras, I could actually see the color, and at times, I also felt a tingling sensation, like warm water was being poured over me, despite feeling no physical contact from anything in the room.
After Fagenholz snapped me out of the session and cued me to open my eyes, thereby concluding the meditation, we chatted about my experience. Immediately following the session, I felt tranquil and calm, and the effects extended beyond just that day.
Since Fagenholz sent me a recording of our session that I could take with me, I was able to re-create the state of hypnosis on my own. And, as a result of takeaways from the reiki reading, I’ve been working to trust my spiritual intuition, use my heart a little more, and pay attention to my creative energy. The insight I received about energetic blockages and how to potentially overcome them has informed how I’ve been making certain decisions.
So, given that Stone says “insight, growth, inner calm, and understanding of self,” are the main takeaways from the practice, I’d call hypno-reiki mindfulness win.
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