Remote reiki: Hands-on healing from afar

Apr 15, 2020

When Dartmouth resident Jennie Kristel was first “attuned” to the world of reiki — a type of energy healing practice — in 1995, she didn’t think anything of it. 

But soon, she felt completely transported, lighter, and began to notice people were more calm or that she would heat up when touching them.

“Suddenly people were feeling different,” Kristel said. “Something was happening.”

After her attunement, the Vermont native completed her certification to become a specialist and started her own healing practice, JourneyWorks, with her husband Michael Watson. 

This past January, the couple expanded the practice to South Dartmouth after moving to town in October.

As a reiki practitioner, Kristel channels universal life force energy, known as “qi,” and focuses it on her patients to promote physical or emotional healing. She said the effects can take up to a day to be felt.

And although the practice normally requires “hands-on” healing, because most of her clientele is from Vermont, Kristel does reiki remotely — which has helped maintain her business during the pandemic. 

She first reaches out to the client so she knows what needs to be healed. This can be any issue, from a simple migraine to cancer, or even Covid-19. Kristel said she knows many people around the world who have the virus.

If a client is someone she doesn’t know, she likes to either get a photo or conduct a quick video chat to get to know the person, so she can have something to visualize during meditation.

“If I know who they are, then I just hold them in my mind,” she said.

Then, all electronics are shut off, as Kristel wants to remain as far away from her computer as she can so she can meditate.

“It’s very much about being present as if you are in the room with me,” she said.

After the session, Kristel said, she likes to check in on clients to see how they are feeling. Often, she hears that they heat up during the time of the session, followed by a cool down —  much like she first experienced in 1995.

“Temperature change is a very typical reiki response,” Kristel said.

She noted that the remote aspect does have its challenges, especially during this pandemic, as she wants to focus her energy on groups such as farmers and other essential workers. 

A big part of practicing reiki is having permission from the client, she said, so it creates a bit of an ethical dilemma for her if she wants to use it in a more general way.

Along with reiki, Kristel can also perform expressive therapies, psychotherapy, and coaching for couples and families, as well as showing support for local artists. 

She also teaches all levels of reiki.

For her, she said, the healing practice is really a course in “how to bring ourselves into the right way of life.”