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Reiki making its way into parts of St. Lawrence County

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More than 3,000 years after the type of healing associated with Reiki originated from Tibetan sutras, and 91 years after Dr. Mikao Usui developed the Japanese term, Reiki has arrived in Massena and Potsdam.

Potsdam native Sarah Pickard Geagan has been a Reiki master since 2011 and has set up a 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 said.

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

“We share our office and we’re sisters, so we do workshops together,” Ms. 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.”

Ms. Palmer said 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 sisters worked in conjunction to form Upper Room Reiki and Nourished Roots Nutrition in Potsdam. Ms. Palmer studied at Cornell University, Ithaca, and said 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,” she said. “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. I used Reiki on myself. It’s called self-Reiki and I made a very rapid and full recovery.”

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 said.

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

Her sister recently has seen first-hand an increased interest in both types of services.

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

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

Winthrop resident and Reiki practitioner Eunice Shippee recently opened “Health & Healing Times Two” at 3 Church St., Massena. Ms. Shippee said 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,” she said. “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.”

Mrs. Shippee said she focuses on her clients’ energy fields.

“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,” she said. “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.”

Mrs. Shippee said she initially was 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 lo 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.”

Reiki is used on both people and animals, and Ms. Shippee said she has 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.

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