Tired of the Same Old New Year’s Resolutions? Here’s a New Possibility

Have you already forgotten your New Year’s resolutions or given up on them and feel guilty? Stop a moment and relax. Consider another way to prepare for the coming year.

Often in the fast paced environment of Washington, D.C., we get caught up in doing what we need to do and spend little time on being: being happy, being relaxed, being content. How can we learn to make this shift -- to enjoy our lives and to be well -- even as we remain busy and productive?

Feeling peaceful, centered and relaxed is key to being well, both physically and psychologically. One way to access a deep sense of relaxation and peace is to experience Reiki - a form of energy movement. What other cultures have recognized for centuries, and scientific research now confirms, is that our bodies and, in fact, all of life, are made of energy. This energy has been called “Chi” in China, “Prana” in India, and “Ki” in Japan. Reiki is a Japanese word that means the source of universal or vital energy. “Rei” means spirit or soul and “Ki” means energy.

Reiki is based on the principal that an unseen "life energy" flows through us and is the source of our aliveness. When we are not in tune with life energy, we become vulnerable and can get sick. If life energy flows freely in and around our bodies, we are likely to feel healthy and whole.

For the past decade, Reiki has been integrated with conventional medicine. It is now offered for free in hospitals - and is used in cancer management, pain alleviation, shock trauma, with military and veteran groups, and in both pre and post heart surgery. One local area university offers continuing education for health professionals in Reiki and other types of complementary medicine to serve caregivers, patients, and their families.

Reiki treats the whole person including body, emotions, mind, and spirit. It helps reduce stress, promote relaxation and improve overall well being and provides a powerful yet subtle energy that helps trigger the body’s capacity for balancing itself. The experience of Reiki has been described as soothing. Some people feel a tingling, warmth, or a cascade of energy moving through and around them.

During a Reiki treatment the flow of energy is transmitted to a person by the practitioner placing their hands close to the person’s body or by using a gentle touch. Both the capacity to transmit this energy and the interactions with a Reiki practitioner during a Reiki session must resonate with the client in order for there to be a meaningful connection.

Reiki is not a religion or cult; yet, the principles, the teachings, and the techniques of Reiki are deeply rooted in a sense of spirituality. Reiki has no dogma, and there is nothing a person must believe in to benefit from it. Reiki is safe – nothing negative occurs by experiencing Reiki.

In addition to helping to reduce stress and increase relaxation, Reiki can also help with improving sleep, with chronic problems such as headaches, colds, and digestive disorders, assisting the body in releasing toxins, reducing some of the side effects of drugs, assisting the body in diminishing the adverse effects of drug therapy before surgery and chemotherapy, calming the mind, supporting the immune system, and increasing vitality.

As the 2013 year begins, we have the opportunity to be more present, more relaxed and more peaceful in our lives. Be open to different ways of promoting a healthy and balanced life. Cultivate flexibility. Be willing to change. How’s that for a compelling New Year’s resolution?

Aixa Alemán-Díaz is a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, Karuna Reiki I-II, and Kagyu DC member in a Tibetan Buddhist group on Capitol Hill. Originally from Puerto Rico, Aixa has lived in DC since 2010, first working with the federal government, and now as a PhD student at American University. Aixa will begin her Reiki practice in Capitol Hill this January 2013 in a group of mental health professionals. To reach her call 787-376-7950 cell and/or write aixa.aleman@yahoo.com (Spanish, English, Portuguese)

Ronda Bresnick Hauss is a licensed clinical social worker and the founder of the Quiet Waters Center for Trauma, Stress and Resilience, on Capitol Hill. She uses an integrative & holistic approach to psychotherapy – addressing the connection between the mind, body and spirit through the use of traditional talk therapy, hypnosis, meditation, visualization, and creative, non-verbal techniques. She can be reached at: 202-544-5050 or at www.quietwaterscenter.com