In our bodies, everything is connected. Our sense of touch can change our mood. Our sense of sight affects our perception of flavor. Our sense of smell can transport us to a fond memory. Our sense of taste can dictate what we choose to put in our bodies, and how we feel. And our sixth sense has the power to connect us to our truest selves and raise our vibration.

Today we speak with Reiki Master Luciana Naclerio, about how the healing practice of reiki connects our physical, mental, and spiritual energy.

Splendid Spoon: Hi Luciana! Tell us about your journey.

Luciana Naclerio: I came to reiki through yoga, and I came to yoga through ballet. Being a ballerina was a key (and very romantic) part of my identity for a long time. It gave me a deep appreciation for beauty, discipline, and balance, but in reality, it was a rigid life.

The moment I decided to be free from ballet, my world became much more exciting: there was more room for mystery! I met a mentor who took me in and taught me everything she knew. We traveled the world and I learned about plant medicine, sacred ceremonies, and healing techniques from different cultures. I became the apprentice of Deborah Hanekamp [aka Mama Medicine — Ed.] and she certified me as a Reiki Master.

SS: Can you explain what reiki is?

LN: Reiki is an ancient healing art which was created in Japan. Quite literally, reiki translates to “the life energy that flows through all living things”. A reiki session works to balance, strengthen, and heal the body’s energy.

SS: Does reiki focus more on physical or mental change, or both?

LN: Imagine you have writer’s block. It’s a mental obstacle that originates in the sacral area of the body. The sacral space is the place of creation i.e. the womb. When this space is balanced, life, ideas, creativity, poetry, and art flow through you. Emotionally you’re inspired, and the physicality of it manifests as paintings, music, novels. Reiki uses energy to encourage a state of flow through the mental, physical and spiritual — it’s all connected.

SS: Why do your clients typically first decide to try Reiki?

LN: Pure curiosity!

SS: What happens in a Reiki session?

LN: That’s secret! I honestly can’t share fully because I never know what will come up. Reiki deals with what needs to be healed in the present moment in order to bring the body and spirit into harmony. A session will typically start with a conversation and then move onto a massage table to begin the reiki treatment. Light touch, sound healing, and aromatherapy are all part of a typical reiki session.

SS: How do people tend to feel after a reiki session?

LN: People generally feel an overall sense of release. They feel at peace, relaxed, held. It’s often a very emotional experience.

SS: When can reiki be used?

LN: Once you receive a reiki attunement, reiki energy becomes a river that flows through you which you can always draw upon. You can use it when you feel you need empowerment, protection, stability, compassion, and healing.

SS: Reiki is based on the energy transfer that happens with human contact. Does this energy transfer happen in our daily lives too?

LN: Definitely. I work with at-risk children in Ethiopia and India. Their energy, joy and gratitude rearranges something in my body every time I visit them. From the moment I see them, they take turns holding my hands throughout the day, and through this simple touch, there is such a deep sense of balance, safety and purpose. Reiki is just a high vibration of love and nourishment.

SS: What is a simple practice we can do to nourish and ground ourselves?

LN: Look into nature. If you need grounding, stand on the earth barefoot. If you need to be cleansed or forgiven, go to the sea. If you need guidance, stand in the wind with your arms stretched wide. For inspiration, watch a flame dance in darkness.

SS: In your work with at-risk youth programs, you often work with people from a distance. Since reiki is such a hands-on practice, how does healing from a distance work?

LN: For me, I feel that distance reiki is even more powerful than hands-on. It eliminates the physical body completely and goes right to working on the subtle body or spirit. When I send distance reiki to a child who is sick or suffering, in my mind I can remove the child from his or her circumstance and focus on healing his or her essence.

SS: How do you stay grounded while living in NYC and traveling so much?

LN: Actually, traveling grounds me! Being around different cultures gives me a break from who I usually am and connects me to part of myself that I don’t experience every day. It spreads me wider and closer to who I truly am. As for when I’m home in the city, I have a very beautiful bedroom in Brooklyn filled with flowers and plants. Waking up and falling asleep in beauty is very important to me.

SS: When do you feel most at peace?

LN: Sitting at the big wooden table in my parent’s garden in the early morning with coffee, my mom’s poetry books, and nature singing. Or playing in the sea with my sister in Italy.