Yes, Reiki can help you run a marathon or any other race. That’s the short answer. If you want the long answer, then read on.
Reiki is a Japanese practice that promotes healing by nudging your system — mind, body and spirit — into restoring its own natural balance. During a typical in-person session, a client lies fully clothed on a massage table while the practitioner gently places their hands on or above different parts of the head and body to facilitate healing.
Because Reiki helps strengthen the body’s own natural healing process, it can be a useful tool for injury prevention and recovery. But from my experience as a runner, Reiki client and practitioner, I believe that the greatest difference Reiki can make for runners is not through the physical healing that it facilitates, but the emotional and mental benefits it offers.
With the 2018 TCS New York City Marathon coming up on Nov. 4, it’s a great time to look at how Reiki can help runners during training, pre-race prep, the race itself, the post-race recovery period, and any other time, really.
Reiki for Training
Cross training, foam rolling, stretching, physical therapy, massage, proper nutrition and ample rest are all important elements of marathon training. You can look at Reiki as a complementary addition to your training toolkit — a tool that will only help enhance your other efforts.
Regular Reiki sessions during marathon training can help ensure you remain in balance as you train. Your body’s own healing process can become stronger through Reiki, and because of this, you might be able to prevent injuries or experience faster, more thorough recovery.
Because Reiki also balances the mind and spirit, it may also help you stay motivated to keep going during even the toughest training periods and stay focused on your runs. If you usually dread the long runs, then you might actually start looking forward to them.
Reiki for Pre-Race Prep
If you’re anything like me, or many runners I know, then you may experience some anxiety in the days and minutes leading up to a race — no matter how much you’ve trained, and even if you’re not trying to win or break a record. This is where Reiki can make a big difference. A Reiki session one day or a few days before your race can help both your body and mind relax. It’s a great way to ease muscle tension and keep those pre-race jitters from getting the best of you.
Reiki During the Race
Sometimes the hardest part of a race isn’t actually running — it’s staying out of your head and focusing on finishing, especially if you’ve hit the dreaded wall. Reiki can help you do just that.
In my experience, if I’m able to just enjoy my surroundings, let my body do it’s thing and appreciate what it’s able to do, then a race becomes a much more pleasant experience for me, and I can avoid hitting the wall — or at least get through it faster. Reiki changes my mindset during a run to help me do that. Instead of focusing on difficulties, I give thanks that my body is able to run. I listen to what my body needs to finish the race — even if it’s sore and tired and I need to run at a slower, more sustainable pace.
If you’ve had a Reiki session close to the race, or you’ve been going to sessions regularly beforehand, then it’s likely that the ongoing effects will carry over into the race. You can also ask a Reiki practitioner to send you distance Reiki during a race.
Reiki for Post-Race Recovery
Scheduling a Reiki session for the night or day after a big race can be beneficial for many reasons. I know that when I finish a race, I want to treat myself. Often, I want to get a massage, because I love massages. But from what I’ve learned, our muscles aren’t necessarily ready for a massage right after a race.
Reiki can be a more gentle way to relax, treat yourself for a job well done and start the healing process after a race. That’s because it only uses gentle touch, and it doesn’t manipulate your muscles like a massage does. Also, because it activates your body’s own natural healing process, Reiki can help facilitate a faster race recovery.
Year-Round Benefits of Reiki
Even though Reiki can be especially helpful to you when you’re running a marathon, it can be just as helpful when you’re not. You can have all of the benefits I’ve listed here — balancing of the body, mind and spirit, the mental and emotional boost, relaxation, and strengthening of your body’s own healing process — any time you have a Reiki session.