Reiki for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People Part 2
Reiki for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People: Part 2
by Karen K. Harrison, Ed.S, LCPC, LCMFT
First Published in Reiki News Magazine Summer 2017
THE WORD “EMPATH” IS A RELATIVELY NEW TERM that is used to describe a person who is consistently empathic. Both words come from the word “empathy.” Merriam Webster defines empathy as “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also: the capacity for this.”1
That’s a pretty complete explanation of the gifts that an empath or highly sensitive person can offer family members, friends, clients and even strangers in need. However, with these gifts come the challenges that many empaths face when their ability to sense the inner life of another or the environment around them becomes overwhelming. Instead of leaving the energy of others outside themselves, they often lack the know-how to prevent this unwanted energy from leaking in. This can cause physical and emotional issues for the empath. Often, Reiki students, practitioners and teachers are originally drawn to Reiki because they either unknowingly are living in the world as empaths but sensing that Reiki has something to offer them or do know themselves to be one and feel that Reiki could provide a way to better expand their gifts and face their challenges.
In Part 1 of this article,2 I shared the gifts and challenges of empaths and the many Reiki techniques that they can use to protect themselves from taking in other people’s energy. In Part 2, I go on to describe other techniques that I have found to work well for clearing the body and surrounding spaces. There is also a section that offers valuable insights about empathic people from several of my Reiki students.
Clearing Tools for Empaths
One of the simplest ways to clear unwanted energy is to consciously know that this is what you are doing whenever you wash your hands. However, there are several other very successful protocols that you can use.
Sea salt and Epsom salt have healing abilities and clear lower vibrational energies. Take a salt bath with one to three cups of sea salt or Epsom salt combined with one cup of baking soda to increase the detoxification effects. Add in one to three drops of a pure, therapeutic-grade essential oil such as sage, frankincense or lavender (one that does not have added synthetic fragrances to extend it). You can add a favorite crystal to the water. Give Reiki to the water before getting in and set your intention for the bath such as healing, detoxing, releasing or strengthening.3 In the shower, use a salt scrub made with one cup of salt, one half to one cup of a carrier oil with about 10 drops of a single or a blended pure essential oil such as the oils mentioned above or sandalwood, lemon or rosemary. Give Reiki to the salt scrub before using it.
Smudge yourself or have a friend smudge you. You can use an incense of your choice, sage, or palo santo wood. Wave the smudge stick through your energy field while drawing Reiki symbols and holding the intention to clear your energy. If you use palo santo wood, light it with a candle and keep the candle handy because the wood doesn’t stay lit long. You can also use a spray of essential oils in water with sage or palo santo oil.
Ground yourself. Many empaths are not very grounded, meaning they carry the bulk of their energy in their upper chakras and less in their lower chakras. A psychic might see their energy field as floating above the ground rather than connected to the Earth. Grounding helps to clear your energy field and is one of the most important tools for an empath. The following technique has yielded the best results for me. Intend to bring earth energy up through your feet and body and out the crown while inhaling. Then exhale and intend to bring heavenly or sky energy down through your body out your feet and down into the center of the Earth. Do this process three times before the completion step. Breathe earth energy up but this time only to your belly and hold it there while exhaling. Add in a Reiki symbol with the breath for even better results.
The Reiki Moving Meditation described in the Holy Fire II Reiki Master Manual is also a powerful way for empaths to ground. It can be practiced several times a day including upon arising, after work and before bed.
Or you can wear hematite or tourmaline stones or jewelry for grounding; they also shield and transmute negative energy.
Clear and bless your space. Empaths feel the energy of the area and are very affected by it. Keep the energy vibration high by drawing the Reiki symbols on the four walls, ceiling, floor and center of the room. Draw the Mental/Emotional symbol over the doorway, intending that whoever goes through the door is being cleared. Add extra power to your clearing by spraying essential oils, saging, burning incense or using tuning forks.
In a high energy situation like the Reiki Retreat with many healers present, empaths may feel spacey, nauseous, very tired or on an energy high that feels like being out of the body. For help, go to the Reiki room for a session, ground often, wear hematite and take some time by yourself in nature for more grounding.
Change your attitude. The following is taken from the International Center for Reiki Training (ICRT) Philosophy:
Taking personal responsibility for one’s situation in life. Using negative and positive experiences to heal and to grow.
Here is my final technique that has helped me with my own deep emotions, such as the grief over my son’s unexpected death from epilepsy. Imagine dumping all of your (name the emotion) into a pond and surround the pond with love and Reiki, while calling on your Spiritual Source to help you. Then literally imagine that you are diving into the pond and being with all the emotion, accepting it and loving it. Love it until the whole pond transforms into love. It actually happens much more quickly than when resisting the emotion and provides a sense of mastery over the emotion.
While being an empath can be challenging, learning tools to deal with its difficulties while embracing the gifts it has to offer can be life-transforming.
After reading Part 1 and Part 2 of this article, you may wonder if you are an empath. The following is information about the traits of an empath that I compiled from the resources listed below in the footnote.4 In this next footnote, you will find the link to a self-test site.5
Self-Care (Other Than Reiki)
• Rejuvenate with alone time and in nature.
• Be more careful of what you are eating and drinking because empaths feel the energy of it; they often do better with a more plant-based diet.
• Meditation and yoga are beneficial. (Reiki is a form of meditation.)
My Students’ Experiences as an Empath
Some of my empath students have worked with healing energy prior to Reiki and had difficult experiences of picking up other’s energy and then feeling sick. Most of them with Reiki II training now find they are able to comfortably give Reiki without any side effects as long as they remember to ground, power up their body and chakras with the Power symbol, and clear and ground afterwards. My students with Holy Fire Reiki are having the most success with sensitive issues. And of course, all of them have to do their inner work on themselves by giving themselves Reiki every day and hopefully receiving regular Reiki sessions in order to avoid the challenges of being sensitive and to mine the gifts instead.
There are many books such as, The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron or 7 Secrets of the Sensitive: Harness the Empath’s Hidden Power by Diane Kathrine. A google search will return many blogs, YouTube videos and books about empaths.
Reiki is a new-school way of healing versus the “old-school” way of healing that involved shamans taking the negative energy of others through their own bodies to heal it. With Reiki, it is no longer necessary to take on the energy of another and will actually be more helpful to all involved if we send them spiritually guided life force energy—Reiki. I have often wondered if empaths are trying to help others by unconsciously recalling healing techniques from prior lifetimes or from their ancestors.
Ultimately, Reiki helps you to be the best version of yourself, whether you are an empath or more sensitive. The tools in this article have helped many of my students for years. “The best form of protection for any Empath is to create a strong, healthy body and a still mind.”6 Reiki is the perfect tool to achieve these goals.
If you haven’t yet taken a Holy Fire Reiki class, gift yourself this most valuable tool. Remember, focus on how your sensitivity is your superpower!
Karen Harrison is a Co-Director of the Licensed Teacher Training Program for the ICRT and practices
and teaches Reiki as a Holy Fire II Licensed Reiki Master Teacher for the ICRT in Leawood, Kansas. She is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. Karen can be contacted by email at Karen@karenharrison.net or through her website at www.karenharrison.net.
Holy Fire ® Reiki is the registered trademark of the International Center for Reiki Training.
2 Karen Harrison, “Reiki for Empaths and Highly Sensitive People: Part I,” Reiki News Magazine, Spring 2017.
4 www.youtube.com/watch?v=6metM7iu6Cc; hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/