Tucked away in a tiny treatment room in Causeway Bay is a woman with healing hands. Satoe Sasaki has been practicing reiki in Hong Kong for two years, using the often overlooked spiritual art to help busy professionals overcome everything from relationship troubles to cancer.
Having previously tried reiki to little effect at the amateur hands of my mother, I was keen to see if getting the professional treatment at the Shine Body & Soul Healing Centre on Hennessy Road would be any different.
After a few minutes lying on the bed and listening to the soothing music, I took a peek through my closed eyelids and glimpsed Satoe simply holding her hands above my head, initially instilling me with the fear that my second reiki experience would be as uneventful as my first. However, it only took a few minutes before I began to feel a noticeable warmth through my body and a deep sense of relaxation.
Developed by Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui in 1922, reiki uses a technique commonly known as palm healing, where hands are laid on the body in a prescribed pattern for the transferal of universal energy (reiki), thought to promote self-healing and equilibrium. Unlike some reiki practitioners who use a completely hands-off approach, however, Satoe combines her treatments with bursts of gentle massage, a system she developed herself during five years of training in Japan.
After a thoroughly tranquil and enjoyable hour, I was amazed when Satoe sat me down after the session and reeled off a list of my previously undisclosed ailments, ranging from a stiff knee to recent loss of appetite.
“Physical, emotional and spiritual are all very closely linked and all affect each other,” Satoe told me. “I read people’s energy with intuition. A lot of the time I can feel the energy from my hands, but sometimes I get messages in my mind. It may be just a word or a vision. Every case is different.”
While science-loving cynics may scoff at such a suggestion, Satoe claims that reiki is the key to success in the city.“Hong Kong is a very fast-paced city and a lot of high demands are placed on professionals,” said Satoe. “Most people are very stressed, sad or angry when they come in, but after the session they are very calm, relaxed and happy. If you are relaxed you can be more successful.”
Despite a lack of scientific evidence, Satoe also believes that reiki can even cure something as serious as cancer. “Cancer is a cell-based disease. It’s produced and disappears as a movement within yourself,” she said. “Even if you are healthy, cancer can be produced, but it can also be removed again. Often something physical is linked with something mental.”