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Twenty Years of Reiki at CancerCare

This March marks CancerCare’s 20-year Reiki milestone. Since 2002, Reiki Master Linda Gnat-Mullin has offered her free monthly Reiki workshops to our CancerCare community. Meeting one Wednesday a month, from 12:30 – 2 p.m., CancerCare's Reiki workshops are open to anyone in our community. Reiki is a gentle energy treatment that balances the body, may support the immune system and leaves many participants feeling more connected. Each workshop (conducted over Zoom) offers Reiki, features a wellness topic and allows for attendees to meet and connect with each other.

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Linda first brought up the idea of offering her Reiki classes to CancerCare shortly after 9/11, while she was offering Reiki to World Trade Center volunteers. Since her first class twenty years ago in the CancerCare New York office, she has served countless clients, social workers and other CancerCare staff. Over the years, many people’s acceptance and understanding of Reiki has also evolved. “In 2002, I had a handout that said ‘What is Reiki?’ and by 2012, I could say ‘we all know what Reiki is now,’” shared Linda. Over time, more people have experienced Reiki through a variety of settings, including hospitals. “Fewer people are unaware of how wonderful Reiki is,” she added. “Occasionally, someone who has never experienced Reiki before will join our class, and they are amazed at how good it feels, even over Zoom!”

Following the Reiki sessions, each workshop gives attendees space to have conversations centered around the monthly topic, which can include anything from how we are all energy practitioners, conscious of our thoughts, to practicing gratitude and experiencing joy. CancerCare clients have the opportunity to explore positive ways to help support themselves. “Students have really wonderful things to offer one another. And it’s great to see that kind of encouragement,” said Linda.

While CancerCare’s Reiki workshops were initially done in-person, they transitioned seamlessly to Zoom at the start of the pandemic, with class sizes averaging around eight to ten people each month. “The energetic component is still there. We can do Reiki at a distance. We’ve had new people join us. We’ve had clients who have been attending class every month and some others who come in and out. And we’ve had classes early in the pandemic where people were joining from Hawaii and Europe, so we would say that our little class that used to meet in a room at CancerCare was now thousands of miles wide. We’ve used technology really successfully.”

What is it about Reiki that keeps people coming back? “One of the great things is that it does not need to involve touch,” shared Linda. “It calms and revitalizes at the same time. It can very gently work on blocks in the body where energy has been redirected. It gives people a sense of hope, so overall, they feel better. Reiki to me is a very loving process. And when people start to feel love in their hearts again, rather than to be frightened or worried, that makes a big difference in their ability to deal with their situation.”

If you’ve never experienced Reiki or have not attended CancerCare’s Reiki workshops, new attendees are always welcome! View our upcoming Reiki workshops or learn more here. Registration is required. Please contact 800‑813‑HOPE (4673) to register.

Posted by Catherine Favorite on March 28, 2022 in Coping and Support, Mind/Body Practices
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