Reiki course complete – what a relief….

After a week of Reiki, Shiatsu, yoga & dynamic meditation I feel…… Not any different to be honest. I was hoping to be much more centred, balanced & have a clearer head. I feel just as confused, distracted & overwhelmed as I did prior to starting the course. I don’t feel like I have gained any clarity or enhanced in any way. Was it a wasted week?? Why do I bother with this self improvement & continued professional development??

I feel like I’m striving for outward gains when what I need to do is look internally & focus on what’s inside & self discovery.

On completion of the course I am unsure how I feel about Reiki, my capabilities to facilitate it & my belief in it. I feel like I haven’t been led by optimal reiki masters. I have a belief & trust in Reiki but I think I’ve been let down. I’m disappointed by this experience & annoyed that my time & money hasn’t been channeled optimally. I feel like there’s nothing I can do about it now, but going forward I can be more selective about my teachers & be assertive enough to be able to stop a course when I feel like I’m not getting anything out of it. It’s a shame.

On my last day the people at the centre held a celebration party in my honour. I can be very shy & I was absolutely apprehensive at what this would entail. The party was a made up of my reiki instructor & a couple of people who ran the centre as well as 4 local children. I was presented with my certificates & wholly embarrassed with the fuss & being the centre of attention! After a few cringe worthy photographs we had a dance party where we threw our best moves to meditation music. I have never felt more awkward!!!! Sober dancing can be bad enough when you’re not in the mood, never mind to music you can’t dance to & an audience of people keen to see your western moves.

When I think of it I’m transported straight back to that room & what could well be a life peak of discomfort & embarrassed artificial enjoyment.

I managed 30 minutes of stiff swaying & more fake laughter & ‘smiling through it’ that I thought I could muster. The 30 minute mark came – but we didn’t stop. Welcome to my absolute hell! I was so uncomfortable. I was working down a list through my head of sudden illnesses I could feign to get out of this. If I was back in Ireland I could just should that I left the immersion on then flee.

After 10 more long, unrelenting minutes the ceremony was finally over. We gave each other awkward hugs. I was losing the will to live. I was so happy to leave. I have never endured such prolonged embarrassing discomfort of being uncomfortable in my own skin & exposed to unwanted attention.


Reiki Level 2, Pokhara, Nepal

After 3 days I’m starting to wonder have I signed up for a Reiki course or am I paying an old man to watch me sleep??

I’m unsure whether I’ve signed up to a Reiki course or I’m just paying an old man to watch me sleep…..

I had a dismal experience in India completing Reiki Level 1 so why I proceeded with a sinister looking Reiki master in Nepal for Level 2, I’ll never know. I feel really uncomfortable with my reiki master. I find his voice grating & his attitude & teaching dull & uninspiring. During our sessions I repeat words I don’t understand while etching symbols in the air that have no meaning to me. This is not the most productive use of my time I agree. I continue anyway, hating every moment.

When the Reiki master gets bored of me he asks me to lie down while he performs Reiki on me. Or so he says. I quickly fall asleep. Every time. I wake to him informing me the session is over & I am covered in dainty little flowers. When did that happen!??

I thank him & pretend to be refreshed &, ‘like, totally attuned’…. He opens his arms to hug me & I shudder. I hold my arms open, mirroring his gesture, but holding my distance. I know this move has worked the last few days at deterring the follow through of a hug. He nods confused at his weird socially incompetent student. He presumes we don’t do hugging in Ireland. I don’t correct him.

I leave happy of my intact personal space but wondering how I always get myself into these situations & why I don’t do anything to break the habit. I turn up the next day for 3 painful hours & a creepy nap. This is my life now. I am a mere puppet to my hastened life choices.


Ayurvedic Medicine

One of my friends follows Ayurvedic medicine & is really passionate about it. When I told her I was going to India she was extremely excited about my close proximity to Ayurvedic experts in the home of Ayurvedic medicine. I’m open to trying most things & her enthusiasm certainly added to my motivation. I had heard about Dosha’s before but they were never fully explained to me. I noticed some massage centres & drop in clinics & shacks on the side of the street offered to read your dosha. I found a place with good reviews nearby & went to find out about my Dosha!

I will tell you about Dosha’s first, beginning with the google definition:

In Ayurvedic medicine it is believed that people are composed of 3 energies: Kapha, Pitta & Vata. Each of these express unique blends of physical, mental & emotional characteristics which make up our personal body/mind constitution. These 3 energies have different characteristics, natures & needs comprising to health & well being.

The optimal lifestyle is to achieve a balance & dynamic state to balance your dominant dosha. I hope in identifying my personal dosha combination I can implement lifestyle choices to create a more balanced state between my mind, body & environment.

I booked into a small centre in Bhagsu, a 15 minute scenic, monkey free, walk from Mcleod Ganj. I had a spring in my step excited at what my appointment would reveal. The lady led me to a classroom for my assessment.

First of all she went through an objective checklist noting my physical characteristics such as body weight, skin texture, face shape & complexion.

After this the lady asked me subjective questions about mental traits & behaviour. Some of them were really straightforward, such as appetite, bowel movement & sexual desire. The subjective nature made me really struggle with other questions, depending on which context I put them into:

  • How well do you manage your finances?
  • Order animals in preference
  • How good is your memory?
  • Do you perspire a normal amount?
  • Are you organised?

I don’t have one clear set way of life. I can be an organised person with a 9-5 job or I can be travelling with no idea which country I will be in next week, where my next cheque is coming from or if I have all the right travel documents & vaccinations to move on. Although, you do need a degree of organisation & savvy to be able to travel so impulsively. I am exceptional with birthday cards & remembering meaningful dates but I can’t tell you today’s date…. But that is a matter of circumstance. If I had a normal routine & job I would know the date automatically.

I completely did not identify with numerous questions & found myself to be falsifying the results when I just guessed an answer. I was pressed to give an answer even when I was indifferent or unsure.

She then asked me about my life experience throughout the years: my relationship with my parents, any difficult times, any trauma, abuse & current mood.

The session lasted almost an hour in total. After my assessment the lady toted up the marks & told me I was predominantly Pitta (47.5%) & Kapha (36.5%). She described what this told her about what kind of person I am. She also gave me a list of foods which would compliment my dosha’s. Seeing as I had a combination of dosha she gave me 2 lists of contradicting foods I should eat & avoid in summer & winter seasons. When I enquired about this seeking clarity she seemed very confused & didn’t address my query. She advised that I should sleep within 2 hours of sunset & rise before sunrise. This was the best bit of advice she gave me. I presume this is sound advice for everyone & not specific to me & my dosha.

I left feeling ultimately underwhelmed but encouraged that I could do some research myself now that I know my dosha type. Maybe I have to delve deeper in order to understand. I had high hopes for ayurvedic medicine but now I’m less convinced…..

Seeking professional development, Dharamshala, India

I am keen to develop more; as a therapist & spiritually. I am open to various beliefs & modalities of healing & treatments. During my time in Mcleod Ganj I searched for a course in Reiki, Ayurveda & Tibetan massage but found none. I want to do a course I believe that will strengthen my skills & enhance me, not just pick a course of convenience for the sake of doing a course.

I found difficulties at every step, whether it was finding someone to speak to & get information, either the dates were not suitable, the course was too expensive, or the teacher was a creepy man. When I enquired about a price people would just pluck any amount from the air & amend it according to my facial expression – even half it! My abhorrence of being hoodwinked made me tired in such exchanges & I quickly lost optimism that I would find a course.

For being a backpacker & having so much time on my hands it is ironic that I feel like I am running out of time & apparently unable to organise relatively simple things.

My 8 secrets for a cringe free massage

My office

My office

I work in the field of Sports Rehabilitation & massage, normally high end massages in luxury ski resorts or on the other end of the spectrum with sports teams. Looking forward to the upcoming ski season got me thinking about this & what may be some valuable insider information & words of advice for massage therapists everywhere.

Some of the chatter amongst my colleagues circles around when male clients get erections during treatments. I find this massively inappropriate, although hilarious because it is not happening to me of course. It has never happened to me. This situation has happened to my friends many times. Never me. Should I be offended?? I have a 0% erection record & I am determined to maintain this. I started calculating how many massages I have done & dreading that via the law of probability I had one approaching imminently.

I have thus constructed guidelines that I have been living by so I can avoid this situation. These are my tips for when doing massages in a client’s home/chalet. If you work in a spa or with a team you will also be able to adapt & implement some of the tips.

1>Always look sweaty, out of breath & flustered – made believable as you have had to haul your treatment table & kit in the snow for a 20 minute incline whilst more than likely lost & late. This is the client’s first impression of you so it should make a lasting mark. Out of breath panting could be added in a strictly non sexual manner.

2>Exude a simple innocence. A great opportunity to do this is when taking your shoes off. Try to do this when you’re still carrying your treatment table & kit bag. This will look exceptionally awkward & you will inevitably stumble over. This acts to remove any sexual inclination the client may have towards you.

3> Smile. It’s always great to smile. There is no need to be rude to the client. This also discards the mysterious air that men find attractive in moody cows.

4> Be a bit of a mess. This will lower the client’s expectations of you from your initial poor impression digging further the hole of unattractiveness that you want to be consumed by. It’s always helpful to set up your treatment table in a tiny box room, making it physically more difficult will aid in making you look like a hot mess. An unattractive hot mess. While you’re at it why not move the furniture, try to locate plugs & mess around with plug adaptors for your electric blanket.

5> Require pity. When calling the client to commence the massage be sure to look apologetic for your entrance & how long it took you to set up – despite it being a humanely commendable duration to do everything. By mentioning that it took you a long time the client will consider it to have been long & think even less of you. He may doubt your capabilities as a massage therapist, which is a risk. You should easily be able to redeem yourself via your treatment. This lingering sense of disappointment will abolish any sexual tendencies the client may have towards you.

6> The treatment. Carry out an excellent treatment as always. Never compromise on quality, your skills & professional reputation.

7> Chin alignment. At all times keep your head tilted downwards creating a multi chin effect. From the angle your client is at this will be wildly exaggerated & no man or beast would contemplate a sexual encounter with the likes of you.

8> Facial expression. This is your gift to freestyle with. Think unsexy & repulsive. Be as natural as you can with this. It is surprisingly simple to master these looks. In some cases this may actually be your neutral facial expression! So simple! They are highly successful in discouraging an erection.

I hope these tips help you to avoid those those flag pole moments. I can’t imagine the horror in having to deal with this situation – if you have experienced it, please comment & if you have any tips to add please share them.