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She taps the universe to fuel healing hands

A Brandon woman practices Reiki, which seeks to heal by freeing energy and showing bad vibes the door.

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 17, 2006

"Don't worry, the bad energy will go out the back door," the Rev. Irene Dryer said.

The Reiki masters and masters-in-training nodded and rubbed their hands together. They closed their eyes and visualized the ancient symbols that would allow them to channel the healing energies of the universe.

In a room filled with crystals, framed Bible quotes and candles, the Reiki session began.

It starts this way on the third Thursday of every month, at Tree of Light Metaphysical Awareness and Worship Center in a cozy room off Dryer's Brandon home.

In the room, a painted tree covers most of the wall. From the ceiling, an angel on a wooden swing sways back and forth. The center's members discuss whether it's angels or the air conditioning that move the swing.

The common healing method used on these Thursday night sessions is Reiki, Japanese for "universal life energy." Based on ancient Buddhist scriptures, Japanese educator Mikao Usui developed the nonintrusive healing practice in the 1800s. Believers say Reiki relieves pain, speeds up the body's healing process and reduces stress by relieving blocked energy.

A Reiki master harnesses energy from the universe and then channels it to the recipient, believers say.

"It's a matter of reawakening the consciousness," Dryer said.

We all have this ability, she said. The healing power is innate and ancient, but often we are unaware of our abilities.

Dryer has witnessed Reiki's healing powers and believes firmly in the ancient art. She knows an 80-year-old woman diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After Reiki treatments, the woman's doctor was unable to find the cancer, she said.

Dryer herself says she doesn't always need the 800 milligrams of Motrin her doctor recommends that she take daily. She credits this to Reiki.

"Reiki does what it needs to do," Dryer said.

She recommends that Reiki and other alternative medicine be used to supplement doctor visits and prescribed medications, not replace them.

At times during the healing circle at Dryer's home, only the sound of a recorded flute permeated the quiet. Other moments were filled with laughter and chitchat about perfume and local real estate.

Two of the healers grabbed each other's wrists and dragged their hands over the body of a man being treated through Reiki. This helped to rid the negative energy they stirred up during the session, they said. They made small circles around his body with a kyanite stone, cleaning his aura.

Afterward, the man looked a little dazed as he drank Gatorade.

Fluids are essential after a Reiki session, Dryer said.

"It's exhilarating," said Dryer after the session. "There's so much satisfaction knowing you helped someone."

Afterward, people dropped a few dollars into a collection bowl on Dryer's kitchen counter. Those who can't afford a donation are allowed to pay with a hug or a "thank you."

"The healing involves an exchange of energy," Dryer said of the donations.

The National Institutes of Health funded studies on the healing power of Reiki, which showed it was helpful in treating various orthopedic conditions such as fractures, arthritis and muscle injuries.

Dryer knows many people will put the concept of Reiki on the "maybe shelf." That's what she calls the place in the mind where people put ideas that seem too extraordinary for immediate acceptance.

She believes, though, that healing comes from the universe, and that the Reiki master is a vessel for the healing. The vessel is like a straw, she said.

"Even when you're done using a straw, there's still something left in it," she said.

Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this remark. Helen Anne Travis can be reached at 661-2439 or at

[Last modified February 16, 2006, 15:20:34]

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