The Happy, Healing Touch

I will have the house to myself today while mi novia trots off to a day-long reiki course. My deep skepticism about the legitimacy of such approaches to healing has been tempered. In particular, this approach, which is based on ancient Tibetan Buddhist teachings, seems to have a degree of validity. Both my limited personal experience and the recognition by the Cleveland Clinic that the practice has merit have mitigated my doubts. The Cleveland Clinic, in discussing the potential benefits of reiki, refers to several studies summarized on the National Library of Medicine’s website. From a personal standpoint, during a brief demonstration in which I was a recipient of the practice, I felt the energy/heat from a practitioner’s hands as she gently touched my shoulders. While the energy may well have been simply the body heat of her hands, its intensity surprised me. It felt soothing; I liked it quite a lot. According to the Cleveland Clinic’s website, “Mikao Usui developed reiki in the early 1900s, deriving the term from the Japanese words rei, meaning ‘universal,’ and ki, which refers to the vital life force energy that flows through all living things.” The Cleveland Clinic calls reiki “an energy healing technique that promotes relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety through gentle touch.”  While I have been an adamant disbeliever in things I call woo-woo practices my entire life, I am slowly coming to the conclusion that my lack of understanding of the mechanisms of such mysterious processes does not necessarily negate their potential value. Though I am by no means an ardent proponent of reiki (yet), my mind is now far more open to such stuff than it has been heretofore. If a reiki practitioner can, through touch, dramatically reduce my shoulder pain, I just might enthusiastically embrace the practice. With that result, I would happily discard my core skepticism. If nothing else, I like being touched. That does not make me a deviant…a pervert…a degenerate freak…does it?

At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.

~ Plato ~


Finally, this morning, I awoke at a reasonable hour. I was up by 4:30 and had my first cup of coffee in hand by 4:40. During the ten minutes between getting out of bed and heading to my study, I weighed myself, got dressed in my morning attire, stabbed my finger for the fifteenth consecutive morning, and swallowed a handful of prescription drugs. In the two weeks since I began the morning bloodletting—to check my blood sugar—my early-morning blood sugar level has dropped dramatically into the “normal” range. And my weight has slid a bit. These changes are due in part to diet, exercise, and (I suppose) the introduction of a new drug to my already extensive list of pharmaceutical “nourishment.” The fact that I call my drugs “nourishment” is based only half-jokingly on my sense that the volume of medications I take seems damn near equal to my intake of food. I hope my lifestyle regimen will lead to a significant reduction in the number and type of medications my doctors expect me to consume. My skepticism be damned: If I thought it would reduce my contribution to the pharmaceutical industry’s enormous misfortune-based wealth, I might be willing to give myself over to witchcraft or faith healing.


The second definition of orgy—after the one referring to revelries involving sex with multiple participantswhich cites actions or proceedings marked by unbridled indulgence of passions—appeals to me. Though I do not recall engaging in such actions or proceedings in the past, I think I might enjoy them, provided the passions were not of the sort involving dangerous and hurtful passions like blind rage or fierce hatred. Though the definition does not explicitly say so, I envision that an orgy involves groups of people. Letting loose one’s passions as part of a passionate mass of humanity seems like it might be a way to conquer stress. Karaoke might be such a group expression of unbridled passion, indulging a fervor for singing and music and the energy of crowds invested with similar interests. Successful karaoke, I have reason to believe, often involves the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. Drinking alcohol tends to cause people to shed many of their inhibitions, thus making singing in public less intimidating and fare more interesting. I suspect alcohol similarly is a key lubricant for revelries associated with the primary definition of orgy, as well. I doubt I would ever be a participant in the public sharing of multiple sex partners, regardless of the amount of alcohol I consumed. But I might be willing to reveal myself as very bad singer. Sadly, I can no longer consume alcohol, thanks to an uncooperative pancreas, so my very bad voice will remain acoustically hidden. But I might watch and listen.

The thought process that brought the matter of orgies to mind originated with a question in my mind about what causes groups of people to unleash their passions, whatever those passions are, publicly. And I wondered whether only extroverts are likely to display their passions in such public ways or whether introverts might. As I think back over the years, I realize I have done so. Years ago, while attending a client association’s conference, I was lured to a karaoke bar by two women who owned a company that belonged to the association. They plied me with liquor (that’s the way I tell it, anyway) and bullied me into joining them in singing Under the Boardwalk. It was just as painful as I could have imagined it to be. Singing in public was not then and is not now my passion, yet I did it. The two women, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy the raucous environment and the part they played in creating it.  Hmm. I think I have drifted away from what caused me to explore the topic of orgies. I am sure I will come back to it one day.


I rarely have more than two cups of coffee in the morning. This morning is no exception. I am on my second cup now; if my history is any indication of what is to come, I will not finish it before it becomes to cold to drink enjoyably. Sometimes, I wonder whether simply having a warm cup nearby is all I need to comfort me; to protect me from the harshness of the onslaught of brutal daylight. I prefer early the darkness of the wee hours and the dimness of daybreak to the brilliance of blazing sunlight. As I look outside now, I cannot yet tell whether the clouds hiding the blue sky are thick or simply translucent and temporary. I will keep watching until I know.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to The Happy, Healing Touch

  1. kozimeg says:

    I share your skepticism about reiki, so am interested that it has medical thumbs up. Thanks. I might have to change my mind.

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