CLEVELAND — At River Flower Wellness in Cleveland heights, Jon Passow, a Reiki practitioner and massage therapist, enjoys meditating, doing yoga and taking time to be present. 

What You Need To Know

  • Many people look to modern western medicine to help them heal from pain, disease or mental health issues

  • In recent years, some are turning to alternative or more holistic forms of medicine, including Reiki

  • Reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing that's been around for centuries

  • It’s becoming more mainstream here in the U.S.

“I would definitely describe myself as holistic,” Passow said. “But at the same point, you know, I am human. I enjoy beer, whiskey, I listen to heavy metal. I'm not some guru on the mountain. I’m just me.”

Twelve years ago, he received Reiki for the first time and said he had a life-changing experience.

“To this day, it is one of the most baffling and confusing things I have ever felt,” Passow said. 

He now works to give others a similar experience. 

“At any given point, you know, you can feel like a kind of a buzzing sensation, not in like, I'm getting electrocuted, but kind of like this vibration,” Passow said. “Some people feel warmth flowing out of my hands. Some people feel like a sense of like a cool wind, just like a breeze.”

Jon Passow, Reiki Practitioner. (Spectrum News 1/ Taylor Bruck)

Reiki is a Japanese form of energy healing that’s been around for centuries. It was founded by Mikao Usui. The word “Reiki” is a combination of two Japanese words: “rei,” which means “God’s wisdom” or “the higher power”, and “ki,” which means “life force energy", according to The International Center for Reiki Training. During a session, the practitioner places their hands on or just above a client’s body. Unlike massage, a Reiki session does not involve any form of physical manipulation.

“We're energetic beings. It's registered, it's recordable,” Passow said. “Reiki is just a channeling of universal energy. It basically comes in through the top of my head and then out through my hands and into the client.”

Passow said he knows that to some, it looks weird and freaky, but he said you have to feel it for yourself to believe it. 

“You really don't have anything to lose, but you have a lot to gain,” Passow said. 

In recent years, the concept has become more mainstream, with health systems like The Cleveland Clinic adopting it, stating online that Reiki promotes relaxation, stress reduction and symptom relief to improve overall health and well-being. 

“I've had people actually break down and cry when I removed a particular blockage. Just like trauma in general, you know, PTSD. People hold on to that in their muscles. Your muscles have memory. Same thing with your energy. Your energy has memory, too. So by helping the energy, we can then help the person,” Passow said. “It can help balance energy, balance chakras. It can help with broken bones, psychological scars, psychological issues.”

In the last 10 years, Passow said he’s seen the practice being integrated with modern Western medicine. Integrative wellness centers are popping up in hospitals, offering things like acupuncture, reiki, group therapy and more. 

“It's just wonderful to see that integration of a more holistic view of people because some things it's more appropriate to go to a doctor for and some things it's more appropriate to do more of a Eastern modality, whether that's traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture or Reiki, it all has its place,” Passow said. “In Western medicine, a lot of it is treating symptoms, taking symptoms, diagnosing and then treating symptoms. What I love about energy medicine, Reiki, and you know, Eastern medicine is it looks at the person as a whole, not just the symptoms. The symptoms are a part of it and it tries to treat the root of the issue, not just the symptom.” 

According to the International Center for Reiki training, there are at least one million Reiki practitioners in the world, with more being attuned or trained each day. Reiki classes are taught all over the country and in many parts of the world.

 Clients like Faith Morris use Reiki for her anxiety and depression.

Faith Morris, Reiki client. (Spectrum News 1/ Taylor Bruck)

“I knew there had to be a better way to feel, a better way to live,” Morris said. “I knew that happiness is possible. And I feel that healing is possible. I've always known that. So just having that belief, I feel that if you commit to that belief and know that healing and happiness is possible, you'll be guided down that path to discovering it and being able to find healing within yourself and with others and within the world.”

She said Reiki has helped treat the root of her issues, not just the symptoms. 

“Reiki helps me to feel more free, and that's really my ultimate goal in life is just feeling freedom in every aspect of life, physical, emotional, mental,” Morris said. “Reiki helps to move that energy. Like we are energetic beings. So just being able to channel that energy and have access to healing our energy. It's been really helpful in helping me to free up stagnant areas of my body.” 

They say everyone’s energy is connected, so when you heal one person, you help heal all. 

“The world just needs more love and energy in general and however we can do that, whether it's Reiki or just holding the door for a stranger and being kind,” Passow said. “That all has an impact and this world really needs it.”

For more information about reiki, click here. For more information about River Flower Wellness, click here