In 2003, when LaDonna McAninch was trying to helping her ailing dog, she didn’t know anything about an alternative energy healing therapy called Reiki.

In 2003, when LaDonna McAninch was trying to helping her ailing dog, she didn’t know anything about an alternative energy healing therapy called Reiki.

All she wanted was to ease her pet’s suffering.

“Our dog was sick and I put my hands on her –– trying to comfort her. But after a few minutes I realized more was going on than I knew. Her breathing eased and all of a sudden she got up and began walking away. She stopped, turned around and looked at me and it was like she was saying, ‘Thank you. You made me feel better,’” McAninch said.

The experience ignited a small flame within the Ardmore woman, who began wondering if it was possible she could actually help people through what she perceived was energy healing. A few days later she told her sister-in-law about her experience.

“I told her I knew there was more to energy related healing than I had thought. She said to me, ‘I know where you need to go to learn about it,’ and she gifted me with Reiki classes in Phoenix,” she said.

McAninch accepted the gift, flew to Phoenix and began a journey that she is still on today. What did she learn in those first classes? That Reiki is a Japanese form of balanced energy healing and anyone, with the desire to learn can do it. She returned to Oklahoma after gaining Reiki First and Second Degree status and she began to offer what she learned to family and friends.

Is it some kind of weird religious cult hocus pocus? Does she claim to work miracles? Does she advise those who seek Reiki therapy to disregard traditional doctors’ treatments and medicines?
The answer to all of the above is absolutely not.

“Reiki isn’t a religion, but it is spiritual although the person who receives it doesn’t have to believe any certain way. In Reiki the energy comes from God –– the Source, it just comes through the person who offers it,” she said.

McAninch said Reiki benefits are recognized as complimenting traditional medicine.

“Reiki will improve the results (of traditional medicine), shorten healing time, reduce or eliminate pain, reduce stress and help create optimism,” she said. “In fact, many hospitals offer Reiki as a complementary therapy.”

How does Reiki fit into treatment plans?

“It is non-drug therapy. Reiki is used in addition to pain medications and regular procedures, not to replace them. Other examples of complimentary therapy are massage, relaxation, and soothing music. Sometimes people are reluctant to try complementary therapy because of a mistaken idea that any level of success with the complementary therapy will result in pain medicine or regular procedures being decreased or withheld. That’s not true,” she said.

So exactly was a Reiki session like?

“The Reiki experience has been described by some as a ‘warm glowing radiance.’ You lie on a message table or sit in a chair, if you’re unable to lie down. You’re not asked to remove any clothing or jewelry. The Reiki therapist conducts all sessions hands off, working in the space about 6 inches above your body. The session lasts about an hour,” she said.

And the more McAninch practiced and shared her newly acquired abilities to soothe and help others, the more she hungered for more knowledge about the practice. So she traveled to Phoenix and studied again, attaining Third Degree status. Returning to Ardmore, McAninch continued to offer Reiki in the same way she had previously –– with quiet modesty. She offers no carnival barker atmosphere or high pressure sales job. She believes in what she does and she treats her skills with reverence.

Although her goal to help others had been accomplished by her Third Degree skills, McAninch continued to feel a tug at her heartstrings. Last December the tug became stronger and stronger when she learned the master she had studied with was going to offer a unique opportunity –– a class that if successfully completed would grant students’ master status.

“I inquired about the class and I was offered the opportunity to take an entry exam and go through an interview process. Following those steps I was chosen as one of 22 students from throughout the United States to study with this master of 26 years,” she said.

And study she did during an intense five months, which included multiple trips to Phoenix, individual study, lectures, hands-on training, writing and final exams. She successfully completed the course just a few weeks ago.

What comes with her new master status?

“I’m now qualified to teach Reiki Degrees One and Two,” she said, adding she will offer to share her knowledge with a class starting in a few weeks.

McAninch said teaching Reiki to others will be like passing a healing torch.

“It’s a wonderful tool for healing yourself and others,” she said.

Marsha Miller 221-6529