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Sun., Aug. 30
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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Reiki making its way into parts of St. Lawrence County


MASSENA - More than 3,000 years after the type of healing associated with Reiki originated from Tibetan sutras, Reiki has arrived in Massena and Potsdam.

The Japanese term Reiki was developed in 1922 by Dr. Mikao Usui and two locations for the spiritual healing practice are now open for business in St. Lawrence County.

Winthrop resident and Reiki practitioner Eunice Shippee recently opened “Health & Healing Times Two” at 3 Church St., Massena. Potsdam native Sarah (Pickard) Geagan has been a Reiki master since 2011 and has her location at 235 River Road in Potsdam.

“Reiki was originally rediscovered in Japan. It is a type of energy healing. Reiki works with and improves all of the energy systems,” Ms. Geagan explained.

Ms. Geagan works with her sister, Martha Pickard Palmer, who is a nutritionist. The two grew up in Potsdam but only Ms. Pickard Palmer lives there now. Ms. Geagan commutes from Connecticut.

“We share our office and we’re sisters so we do workshops together,” Ms. Pickard Palmer said. “I’m a clinical nutritionist so I work with people on the nutritional deficiencies they may have. I identify them and how they affect their overall health.

“I have a focus in young children because I have children now. But I think the entire population is concerned about staying well so they can have a good quality of life.”

Ms. Pickard Palmer added that the “holistic model” is based on physical, emotional and spiritual wellness. Through their work, the sisters aim to address each of the three prongs.

The two sisters work in conjunction to form Upper Room Reiki and Nourished Roots Nutrition in Potsdam. Ms. Pickard Palmer studied at Cornell University and says she has been involved with her work for 13 years. Ms. Geagan meanwhile took a slightly different route to get to where she is today.

“I was first a middle school ESL teacher for 16 years. Then I discovered Reiki as I was recovering from an illness. I ended up studying the first two levels of Reiki and then I severely herniated a disc in my back and lost complete use of one of my legs,” she said.

“I used Reiki on myself. It’s called self-Reiki and I made a very rapid and full recovery. Then I knew that I needed to finish my studies so I went on to become a Reiki master so that I could tell people about this and teach them so they could help themselves.”

In order to become a Reiki master, one must study under another master for a period of time and eventually teach others about the healing practice, Ms. Geagan explained.

The Reiki master explained that given her six-hour commute, she only comes to Potsdam once per month to teach classes, hold workshops and seek clients. While her schedule generally changes each month, she said she will be in town on Oct. 23 and 24.

Her sister, on the other hand, now lives in Potsdam with her family, and has seen first hand an increased interest in both types of services recently.

“I’ve been really welcomed by the pediatricians here, and they have been asking for my services, which has been really fun. So I think people are really realizing we have an obesity epidemic and children’s health is declining,” Ms. Pickard Palmer said.

“I think people are really looking for faith alternatives and people want to feel better. People are looking for ways to feel better and they are seeking us out to do this. In general most people are struggling with some health issue or they’re watching their friends and family members struggle with various diseases and they are looking for ways to help prevent that.”

During a typical Reiki session the person receiving the treatment is relaxed and fully clothed on a table or chair. The healer can either place their hands on or above the recipient and a session can last anywhere from 15, 30, 60 minutes or even longer.

Ms. Shippee said that the practice has become more popular with many medical professionals.

“This is a technique that’s used in hospitals for managing pain, as in cancer pain and anxiety. Hospice has a Reiki person on staff to help with anxiety and pain. So what I provide is a place to come, it’s very relaxing, very quiet,” she said.

“Someone would come in and I would give them a Reiki treatment. ... What you’re doing is you’re providing energy to that person’s energy field. When you’re sick and you’re hot there’s extra energy there. So what I can do is run my hands over your energy field, looking for hot and cold spots which indicate that there’s something not quite right going on in that spot.

“Then what I do is I focus energy that’s all around us, the energy of creation, God’s healing love, whatever you wish to call it; by many names it’s the energy that’s all around us, and focus that through my hands and kind of give that person a little extra energy. Then what it does is it causes the person to relax and it instigates a relaxation response.”

Ms. Shippee noted that enabling the recipient to relax is critical and if done so, they are the one’s healing, not her. She is responsible for making the person feel relaxed, which in turn helps them de-stress and ultimately heal.

The Winthrop resident said that she was initially introduced to Reiki 20 years ago during a church disciplinary study group. She was reintroduced to the subject more recently, however.

“Unbeknownst to me, I was reintroduced to it about three years ago up here. I didn’t think there was anybody up here (who did Reiki) and I hadn’t thought about it for 20 years,” Ms. Shippee said. “I was following my spiritual path, trying to discern what God wanted me to do and Reiki just popped into my head and low and behold I found a couple of teachers. So I started taking the attunements, and I started doing Reiki for my family and some friends. So it just blossomed from there.”

Even though Ms. Shippee considers Reiki a form of prayer, she pointed out that for someone to receive or perform the healing they can be any religion, even an Atheist.

Reiki is used on both people and animals, and Ms. Shippee said she used the healing on her sick cat in the past.

The ancient, Japanese healing practice is not a substitute for internal medicine, just something to complement it she said.

“There are no guarantees with it. But if you want a relaxing experience that’ll perhaps help you de-stress, be less anxious or help boost your immune system; as I said cancer (patients) use it,” Ms. Shippee said. “Sometimes it works with the medicines. Reiki is not instead of medicines; it works with the doctors. So you should never just do energy massage and not deal with your physical ailment with the doctor. You should always have medical care.

“It’s a complement to it. It’s just something to help everything work a little bit better.”

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