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Dealing with stress through energy work

Petaluma healer, Reiki therapist in high demand during as pandemic uncertainties weigh heavy on people|

When the shelter in place order was enacted at the beginning of the pandemic, Sally Carstensen of Garden Path Healing Center closed her doors and put her sessions on hold for three months.

As her clients began reaching out again she decided it was time to go beyond her resistance to technology. She began doing Zoom and telephone sessions, helping her clients overcome the anxiety caused by the pandemic.

Carstensen has evolved her practice to include what she calls a delicious dessert tray of options. She said that she never knows which of her many healing tools might be chosen in the flow of the moment.

Carstensen’s healing techniques include Reiki, hypnotherapy, and other energy work. In a typical session she utilizes breathing, relaxation techniques and guided imagery, creating a feeling very much like day dreaming. She said that while in this state it’s easier to examine and reprogram thoughts, shift deep core issues and release behaviors that no longer serve the client.

Distance Reiki, based on a healing technique of channeling energy, is an especially beneficial mode of energy work during the lockdown as it allows the work to happen from anywhere. Carstensen does distance Reiki and offers the option to be present via Zoom or to work completely remotely. She said she prefers Zoom sessions because it allows her to support the individual as they process what unfolds in the moment.

“Reiki is an intelligent healing modality with the ability to support an individual in the exact way they most need for their highest and greatest good,” Carstensen said.

Carstensen said that people hold energy in their body, causing discomfort.

“My hands are like a divining rod and I have the ability to scan and locate the issue,” she said.

Her attention is called to the area where the energy is stuck. She said she knows there’s an issue when she can’t seem to move past it or remove her attention from it.

Carstensen said her work helps individuals connect with the aha moment as they discover how to tap into their own resources and ability to access and utilize energy for their own well being.

She said that as her clients connect with their higher awareness within, they’re transformed. Her favorite experience is to witness an individual step into a session and literally change before her eyes.

“They look more peaceful, have a twinkle in their eye and often even look younger. What I really love sharing are take home tools, body scans, relaxation and imagery techniques and simple tools that can powerfully shift your experience of the world and your life,” Carstensen said.

For those who may want to explore energy work as an option for dealing with their increased anxiety during the pandemic, Carstensen advises that they approach it with the playfulness and curiosity of a child.

“Release expectations,” Carstensen said. “Needing to know how it’s going to turn out or what will happen limits the range of possible outcomes and ultimately limits your experience as a result.”

Carstensen has witnessed a wide range of client responses from physical to emotional breakthroughs. She also works with animals and has witnessed similar benefits with them that she does with her human patients.

She’s seen a hypnosis session that turned into an energy clearing which resulted in the return of a person’s ability to cry. She witnessed a cow walking better after a Reiki treatment, a feral cat accepting Reiki and ultimately feeling safe enough to flop over, belly up in her hands, and a dog that backed into her hands repeatedly to connect with the energy.

She described seeing an individual completely change in demeanor from crying and distressed to sparkly and upbeat in one session. She’s had many clients say they could feel her hands when she wasn’t actually physically touching them during the session.

“My own skeptical husband humored my newfound Reiki practice and was surprised to feel his back shift during a treatment,” she said.

With the uncertainties surrounding us during the pandemic, many are reaching for a sense of security within this environment of constant change, Carstensen said.

She said that her foundation in energy work has given her the ability to see the benefit in every occurrence, even the job loss, the business closures, the financial strain and the personal freedom restrictions.

Carstensen said there’s an opportunity to grow through this stressful situation and that energy work allows you to take the experience and find the positive benefit in it.

“It’s an amazing feeling to be in awareness of thoughts and body sensations and have the power to change the experience rapidly with simple energy tools,” she said. “Energy work helps support that awareness and ability to notice those subtleties every single day, and I really want to share that with others.”

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