Kristi Nori Nakayama of Nori Reiki, is a Reiki Master that works with clients that are interested in taking control of their own mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health through holistic healing methods. Kristi's background in Biological Psychology, the study of the brain's impact on the body and behavior, plus her over 20 years of experience working in the medical industry with physicians across the country, brings a scientific and western science background to her eastern healing techniques. Kristi also works at Muir Woods Adolescent In-patient Trauma Center in Petaluma, CA providing Reiki and guiding teens on how to better manage their mental and energetic health.
Russ: Well, I’m excited today because I have a friend: Kristi Nakayama of Nori Reiki.
What is Reiki?
Kristi: To break it down the actual word Reiki, it’s a Japanese form of healing. Sarah, I’m sure you know energy healing has been around for centuries. So I guess, you could call this a little bit more of a modern technique, because it’s from the early 1900’s. But if you break down the word Reiki, “Rei” actually means spiritual wisdom or universal and “ki” is life force energy. So the origins of Reiki, as we know it in Western society, really stemmed from a man named Dr. Mikao Usui and he studied a whole host of different things in his upbringing from medicine to spirituality. It’s not a religion. But he also studied psychology, divination. He had a number of different careers. One of his most notable careers was he was secretary to the Head of the Department of Health in Japan. And that man later became the Mayor of Tokyo. So he was a much respected man in Japan. When he started practicing Reiki as his energy healing form, there was an earthquake shortly thereafter, in 1923 that killed over 140,000 people in Japan. Reiki really became accepted and gained a lot of notable attention at that point. He was recognized and awarded by the Japanese Government for healing so many people across the country. I’d like to share that up front. Because when some people think of energy healing, they think “Oh, this is hippie! You just put your hands on.”
It actually does come from an individual who’s very well respected within Japanese mainstream society.
And one of his closest students was a doctor in the military in Japan. That doctor had patient from a medical (or what we think of as Western medicine) perspective to use Reiki on his patients to heal.
How did you get started in this?
Kristi: I know a lot of people don’t believe in this. But I truly believe what experiences you have in life are part of your path. I’m a daughter of immigrants from Japan. And Sarah, you have talked about epigenetics quite a bit on your podcast on different episodes. So I’m fascinated with epigenetics. My studies at university were biological psychology. So my thought process is all science backed. A lot of that study was looking at the brain’s effect on body and behavior. So going back to being a daughter of immigrants, my parents were born and grew up throughout World War II in Japan. And so you can imagine there was a lot of trauma that they experienced as young children. And being of the baby boomer age, therapy wasn’t a thing. You didn’t talk about your feelings with your parents. And in Japanese culture, you really didn’t talk about your feelings. So there are these two young kids that were both separated from their primary caregivers at a very young age, which we now know through epigenetics can cause a lot of trauma. And epigenetics means, on top of your genes, so it’s not a change in your DNA, think about a little top of a cupcake, like the frosting, it changes the way your genes respond. So, I grew up and, as long as I can remember, I had anxiety and depression. And finally at 24, I was diagnosed with severe and recurrent major depressive disorder and chronic anxiety. But I had it my whole life. I just always thought that there was something wrong with me. Interestingly enough, I didn’t really know why I wanted to get into biological psychology, but it all makes sense now. And also, right out of college, I went into pharmaceutical sales, and two years of that I made up my mind, drugs are going to be the last resort for me. I decided to go to pharmaceutical sales, thinking maybe I want to go back to school and get into medicine. I realized a western medicine approach alone was not for me. So when I got sick after that, I started going to acupuncture. I changed my diet. I silently struggled. Russ, I don’t know if you ever knew me when I was really battling depression, but I hit it a wall. I was always very successful. But I was battling depressive episodes once a month, every other month for decades. Then one day I found a physician when I was in my early 30s, I felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown. I went into a doctor’s office in San Francisco, and I asked for a physician who was very holistic focused, an MD who would help me without medication and try to come back from this cliff I felt like I was about to fall off. And I worked with him once a month. We tried things that improve my sleep, and one day he said, “Have you tried energy work?” And I said, “I’ll do anything.” So, he said, “Okay, pop up on the table and let’s close your eyes.” And I didn’t see what he was doing. I could feel things in my body moving and my stomach was making these gurgling noises and it was like a someone was playing with my hair but he wasn’t up there. I just had this tingling sensation on my scalp. And I slept so well that night. So, I started going to him once a month for about 12 to 16 months and now I have been now doing energy work for about seven years once a month.
I do Reiki on myself every day. I am depression free. I haven’t had a depressive episode in years.
And if you compare this to the decades of therapy. Russ, we’ve talked about it. I did thousands of dollars in Landmark education and self-help courses. And it all kept me alive, but nothing was as effective as energy healing. And so, it’s one of those things where eventually I got so well, I decided: “This is it. I need to share this with others.” It’s so effective. I became a Reiki practitioner.
Sarah: That’s so cool. I mean, it’s interesting what you say about the trauma from your parents?
Do you think that that trauma was somehow passed on to you energetically or do you think, it’s an epigenetic effect where their DNA was changed, and they passed that on to you?
Kristi: I think both. So if you think about epigenetics, and I had the classic symptoms outside of just anxiety, depression or like irritable bowel syndrome, reckless behavior as a teenager in my 20s, and things like that. But also, I’m an empath. I could feel the hurt and the unresolved anger, really from my dad. And so when I was around him, my whole body would tense up. And he was a loving man, everybody loved him. He was doing the best he could with what tools he was given, but there weren’t a lot of tools. So, I look at him as doing the best he could, but from an energetic standpoint, my body was picking up a lot from his energetic body.
Sarah: When you were doing the Reiki, or when you were having Reiki, do you think you were working on your father’s trauma in a way to heal yourself?
Kristi: Well, this is a whole another topic for another podcast, I’ve done quite a bit of ancestral healing as well. And I feel like that really helped. I don’t know if any listeners have ever felt this way, but there’s something in you where you feel like it doesn’t belong to you. And I had that sense my whole life. I had these really violent nightmares from the time I was a little kid. And then violent daymares. I’d be walking my dog on the street, and then I’d have just this image of me getting hit by a car, my dog getting hit by a car, and just really worrisome and troubling. And I say a couple years into my energy work. And then when I added on top of that ancestral healing, those daymares and nightmares are gone. And so that’s something that really can’t be explained. Other than the healing is really going on some of that unexplainable trauma that was likely passed down.
Can you explain about the Reiki technique?
Kristi: I think acupuncture is so well accepted, I would say think of it very similarly to acupuncture. So acupuncture also plays and works on your body’s flow of ki - Reiki or Chi as it is called in Chinese culture. There is a little a level of trust that you have to have in your Reiki practitioner.
The beautiful thing about Reiki, and my mom says you could do this until you’re 80, is doesn’t take energy away from me. I’m not passing anything from my energetic space on to you. It’s a process called an attunement, where you are opened up to the frequency at which Reiki energy works.
When you become a Reiki practitioner or you learn Reiki for yourself, you are now opened up to the Reiki energy. So think of it as a pipe has been open. Reiki energy flows through me to you or to my client. From that perspective, it’s not something that I’m really doing to you, I’m just placing my hands on or hovering over the area and the energy does all the work itself. It’s a very healing, loving energy. I mean, my clients at the end look like they’ve just got a two-hour massage, I call it the Reiki glow in their face. But it is really such a loving healing energy. You just feel an abundance of love at the end. There’re also different levels of Reiki training. I think one of the most credible is the International Center for Reiki training (ICRT). That’s where I got my masters training from. And it’s probably the highest or most scrutinized in terms of the type of training out there. So that’s something that you could look for if you’re interested in finding a practitioner who went through a little more rigorous training, I should say.
Tell us a little bit about what the training involves, because it sounds quite simplistic when you said that you just become a channel and the energy comes through. Are you feeling something or how are you learning to channel that energy?
Kristi: Yeah, so great question. So there’s three levels of Reiki training. There’s Reiki one, Reiki two, and then Reiki three is when you become a Reiki Master. In Reiki one, you are open to the first level of frequencies in Reiki. That’s where you learn hands on Reiki. The practitioner classes are typically on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 8 to 10 hours a day. It’s very rigorous if you want to become a practitioner. We talk about different hand placements, intention, protecting your energetic space, really working with clients to make sure that they feel safe, because there are things like if I want to work on your heart, I’m going to put your hand on your heart, and then my hand over your heart if you’re a woman, so I’m not touching your boobs. I also teach a class called Reiki for everyday health. So if people don’t want to become practitioners, but they want to learn how to do Reiki on themselves, or Reiki on a loved one, it’s a condensed class, because you’re not trying to create a practice. Then Reiki two is where you learn how to do Reiki distantly and you learn what are called Reiki symbols. There’s three of them in Reiki two training. There’s one where you can send Reiki distantly. When I mean distantly Sarah, I could do a session with you while you’re in London or Amsterdam, and I’m here in San Francisco. We would do it over the phone or Zoom, I would tap into your energetic space and send Reiki distantly through these symbols. And then there’s other symbols for like deep healing, trauma and relaxation, and then another called a power symbol for certain areas that need a lot more energy. And then Reiki three, you learn a fourth symbol, but that opens you up to the highest level of energy where you’re a master Reiki practitioner, and in that you can teach others and you can attune others in that process where you open up others to do Reiki themselves.
In your mind, what’s happening? Because you’re saying you’re a symbol. So presumably, that’s like an actual symbol, a sign that you’re then focusing on. What’s your take on how that’s actually working?
Kristi: I think it’s very intentional. And as you know, cuz I’ve listened to some of your episodes now, we’re all connected energetically. If you think from a very scientific perspective, I’d like to tell my clients this, like we’re all made of atoms. And the only thing that changes one form another is how quickly your atoms are moving. So think of the distance symbol as a certain frequency like if you use a remote control for your TV, that’s not actually touching anything within your TV, but your remote is able to change the volume and change the channel from across the room.
It’s an intention, but also a really tuned you into certain frequency where you can connect with someone from a distance
Sarah: The TV controller uses light, doesn’t it? Do you think it’s something like that? Could it be something like light or is it another universal energy between humans? What’s the mechanism?
Kristi: Good question. So I’ve done some research on this. And I found some PhD studies and not necessarily randomized control trials or anything like that. But in these PhD papers that I’ve read, they tested placebo versus someone doing the symbol, and there’s not scientific evidence to show how it exactly works, but that it does work. And so, throughout the pandemic, I went 100% distance sessions, my clients pretty much come to me once a month. And they’ve had breakthroughs in career, love relationships, physical pain, I do Reiki on my mom a lot. She’s in Southern California, and she had two years of chronic leg pain, and in two different sessions, we resolved it, so then she’s able to walk, have better overall health. So there really is something to the distance symbol and how that works. But it is one of those sort of mysteries, Sarah, I’m like you, I’ve been in the medical industry for over 20 years, and I want scientific evidence. So this has been a very interesting journey for me to trust and trust my intuition for the first time, trust in spirit or higher power, or Universal Power. I never thought that I would ever be someone who wasn’t depressed. It just wasn’t in the realm of possibility. I just was like, I’m just going to be a depressed person for the rest of my life, and I’ll do things to manage. So the possibility of my life without depression is priceless. I just accept it.
What about measuring? Do you do anything to measure outcomes? Do you use any of these gadgets?
Kristi: I also work at an Inpatient Trauma Center for Adolescents. They stay between 30 to 45 days, and these are all adolescent girls who have been through an immense amount of trauma in early period of time. I mean, for the first time, we had a 12-year-old, come to stay as an inpatient. When I first started with them, I know the owner who had started these programs, and he was very open. I surveyed them from before the session and after for about four months. And again, these girls stay anywhere from 30 to 45 days depending on what insurance covers so I had a rotation of girls. But I did a scale on depression, concentration, anxiety, pain, it was on a scale of one to 10 and how they felt before and after. And there was a huge decline before and after each session. On their first Reiki session, let’s say they had scores of eight to 10 on all those measures, and then post Reiki session, it would go down to two or one, but then the next time I saw them, maybe their baseline was still up at a seven but not as bad as when they started. And so I did a lot of measuring that way. Do you know Kirlian Photography?
Sarah: Yeah. I have done some studies using Kirlian Photography.
Kristi: Where you take a few photographs when the Reiki practitioner isn’t intending to start sending Reiki and then they do and then you see the energy flow that comes out of their hands. Coming from a science background myself when I read about that I thought, okay, there is something to this energy flowing that’s not just an intention or a placebo effect. But we can see from those photographs that there’s really a difference when a Reiki practitioner starts send Reiki versus not.
Russ: We need to talk I think through blockages, right? Because I think that’s the core of this. And I have always had stomach problems, my stress centers into my stomach. And it’s always I have gut problems. And when Christy and I talked about Reiki for the first time about a year ago I was having just terrible stomach pains. I had blockages in there. We did a session or two. I will say I felt like I was asleep during the entire thing. But I wasn’t asleep, I was just in a different state. And I’ve felt better ever since. And I can say that anecdotally that it’s helped me.
I would like to talk about blockages and identifying them? Are they self? Are they self-identified by your clients? Or do you find them when you’re doing it?
Kristi: This is fascinating because every session with every client is so different. I give them the opportunity to tell me do you have anything going on physically, mentally, emotionally, that you want to share before session? I had a client, it was the first time and she said no, I’m just interested, I’ve heard about it before, and I kind of just want like a tune up, just open up anything. And she had a breakthrough. It was an in-person session. Typically, I start from head to toe, and then put them on their stomach and do head to toe again and then go back to areas that I can tell need a little extra opening and little extra healing. And for whatever reason, I just could not get off the Sacral Chakra, and the Sacral Chakra is all about your healthy connection to your sexuality, your creativity, and I would try to move on to other areas. I was like, “Nope, nope, come back to her Sacral Chakra” and it was just like the floodgates opened of her telling me how much she had this traumatic experience that she had been holding on to she couldn’t talk to anyone. I love when that happens. And its things that people don’t even realize are impacting their energetic and their physical health as much as it is. Other things of like, someone hadn’t had her period in I think she said six months, but she didn’t tell me that before the session. And again, this time I was working on a lot down on her Root Chakra, which is the first chakra at the base of your spine, and her Sacral Chakra and I get intuitive messages and one of them was talk to your client at the end of the session about her periods. So I just said, I worked on her a lot and then after I said, “So when was the last time you had a period?” And she said, “Oh six months. I really never get them I never know when they’re going to come are really what that’s about” and it’s okay, we did a lot of work there and it just kept coming up. Asking you about your periods and she got her period the next day, she texts me, she says, “I can’t believe this.”
When you have a healthy energetic body, the best way I like to describe it as think of a river.
Your body is a flowing river, beautiful, healthy water, everything’s flowing just fine. But your ‘ki’ gets disrupted by negative thoughts, emotional trauma.
And when you’re young, something happens and you decide, “Oh, I’m not worthy.” And so you go through life kind of looking for subconsciously, proof to show that you’re not worthy. So every time you say to yourself, “I’m not worthy, or I’m not enough, or I’m not loved”, think of as little sticks that get thrown into your river. Over time, those sticks build up and it’ll slow the river. But eventually if you don’t take those sticks out and treat those blockages, you’re going to have a full day and a full stop. And that’s where Reiki energy really helps us to if you think about clear your river of those sticks. But your energy is very susceptible to your thoughts and when it comes to gut health. And I’m glad you brought that up Russ because I am working now with a leading gastroenterologist in the Bay Area. Who I think he’s a diamond in the rough.
We’re really focused on mindfulness and diet, and ways to change your lifestyle.
Sarah: We need more of those. And that’s exactly what we need for gut health.
Kristi: I know they’ve been so trained to look for things through endoscopy and colonoscopies. And if they find something, they take it out. It’s almost like a surgical perspective. But there’s so much of a connection between mind gut health and trauma, 95% of your serotonin is in your gut and not just in your brain. And so, we’re starting to create programs to talk about the mind gut connection and how blockages in your mind can create a feedback loop. You have a negative thought that gets sent to your body and your body sends a feeling back to your mind. And so then in your mind, you’re like, “Oh, well, yes, I must be not worthy, because I feel unworthy”, but that originated in your mind. And when that feedback loop goes around and around, “I’m not worthy, I feel not worthy, I’m not worthy, I feel not worthy”, then that creates the stagnation of just I’m insecure. And that’s just how you feel you portray in the world and that’s just who you believe you are. But Reiki actually helps take those negative thoughts and those blockages and replaces it with feelings of love.
And that’s what Reiki does, it releases the negative energy and replaces it with loving energy.
Sarah: How are you working with gastroenterologist guy? Are you doing a Reiki treatment for the gut-brain?
Kristi: Well, it’s a lot about education as well. I teach ways to protect your energetic health in between sessions, and the impact that your thoughts have on your body, your feelings, and including your gut reaction. I took this from a book called Change the Channel.
So when you have a negative thought, “I’m not worthy”, you change it to, “I am worthy”. I tell my adolescent girls just ‘fake it till you make it’. So, when you have that negative thought, just change the channel to your positive thought.
And so we’re doing the same thing around anxiety, depression and the effect of gut health and poor gut health back on the effect of your anxiety and depression. And then, Dr. Watson out of UCSF, and he’s been a meditator, I think his background is Buddhist, but he’s really gotten into teaching his clients about mindfulness and the effect on gut health. We’re doing community sessions together where we talk about your mental health and the impact on your energetic body, your physical body. He will lead people in a guided meditation as well, to really help them lovingly have gratitude for their gut.
Think of your thoughts as what you put into your body as well as food.
I struggled with meditation for so long because everyone’s like, practice mindfulness. And think positively. But what does that mean? And so that’s why I like to focus on here’s what you can do. Also, I know in previous podcasts you we’ve talked about earthing, I’m a huge supporter of earthling, anytime I’m feeling a little strange in my gut health, I go outside in the grass, I meditate with my bare feet on the grass. And I swear within a couple of days of doing that my gut feels better. For me, I’m passionate about Reiki because it helped me so much. But really, there are so many different holistic techniques, sunshine, things you can do for overall health.
Sarah: We do a seven-day challenge from or guests. Could you give us one thing that we could focus on this week that would somehow connect us with that energy that you’re talking about?
Kristi: Another big thing I like to teach is energetic boundaries. So you think about boundaries that you set with people to protect your physical and emotional health. But setting energetic boundaries is also just as important. Sarah, I’m going to invite you to be creative in it. I teach my clients, when you are about to go into a conversation that you often feel someone drains your energy, or after you talk to them, you just feel yucky, like, you just in your body, you just don’t feel right, we’ve all had those experiences. One thing you can do is to set up an energetic boundary. Warm up your hands, just rubbing them together, and before going in the conversation, you’re feeling a little bit anxious about it just place your warm hands on an area of your body, maybe one in your heart, or belly or around your neck to support good communication, and then to close your eyes and create an imagery of a bubble around you. And this is like an energetic protective bubble and whatever color comes to your mind, Sarah, I know you love red, but close your eyes and think about this conversation and you’ve set the intention for this energetic bubble to be around you before you have that conversation. So, I invite you to play around with protecting your energetic space through that energetic bubble.
Russ: Kristi, I hate to say goodbye. But it’s a goodbye for the day,
Kristi: Thank you both so much. It’s a pleasure and honor.
🚨🗓7 day challenge🗓🚨
Russ: Kristi is just such a wonderful soul. She shared a lot I think it was really nice of her to be so upfront and share what she did, she really does change lives and I think she’s really making an impact in going out on her own now with her Nori Reiki. I’m really proud of her.
Sarah: She was totally brilliant. It was really great fun to have her on. This is a subject, which is a little bit out of my comfort zone. It’s what we talked about on the remote healing podcast. It’s interesting to me, but I want to know the mechanism behind it, I want to know what’s going on. But she was very patient with me asking all of those things, she gave some great explanations, and more than anything else, she is her own living proof.
Russ: I’ve been through a Reiki session with her, unfortunately, it was sort of at the beginning of the pandemic, and I was going through some stomach issues, and which I always am. But now I’ve found the keto way my stomach is feeling so much better. But she talks a lot about protective bubbles and putting yourself in a different type of mind state where you’re really releasing your negative self-talk in focusing on self-love and self-care.
Sarah: Yeah, I thought it was cool, because obviously, we’re all about the environment. And we’ve been talking a lot about food and what you have in your environment. And then we had lovely Abel James, who was talking about the music in your environment, and we mustn’t listen to junk music. And so, Kristi has this concept about other people’s energies, what energies are you allowing or consuming? one of her suggestions was to be very mindful and have a protective bubble when you go outside. What energy are you allowing into your space? And what energy you are putting out to other people? So that was very interesting for me, because that’s not something that I was usually class under environment. But of course it is.
Russ: Yeah, it’s really something I’ve spent a lot of time writing about my wife and I have talked about this. Talk to friends about it. But you can use it in a very different way. I think in therapy. My therapist used to say, “It’s the light that you shine.” So if you’re a light is saying, “I want to invite every narcissist into my world, because I’m a codependent.” And you can see that on my face and you can hear in the tone of how I talk. Narcissists find their way to codependence and they love to abuse them. And then you find people like Kristi, her job is to find people to take care of and to teach. And I imagine it’s kind of dangerous for her to her because she does have to attach to everyone. I mean and not get too attached. And I think there’s a part of that that she talked about. How deep do you go in that attachment? How protective do you need to get? And for someone like her, she can’t, because she has to help people. And so, but for people like you and me, I think we could pick and choose that bubble and create around ourselves.
Sarah: Yeah, she was trying to just be a channel and not take on those energies. “What are you allowing in? And what are you putting out and whether that’s bio photons, whether that’s body language, whatever that is.” It’s very interesting that she has a technique for dealing with it. And it’s a technique that can be done remotely.
Russ: Yeah, it is. It does. I mean, it worked for me. I think I’ve seen her physically as well do it with my wife and my wife had some neck pain, she really worked through kind of my wife’s blockage areas. I’ve always had stomach issues. And, you know, block areas as well. But I think there’s something about the way I meditate now, because of Kristi. And I mentioned this to her as well. And we talked that I do put myself into a protective self-created bubble when I meditate. So what I do is I, when I’m breathing out that out is a kind of protective bubble and a sort of imagine myself back in like this honeycomb of a womb. And the only reason why I do it is because it allows me to focus on my entire body when I’m meditating versus focusing on all the noises around me that protective bubble like I truly I don’t hear anything, when I’m in my meditation. And a lot of what she talked about is similar to what you’ve said to around getting your hands in the dirt. I see her a lot on Instagram, meditating with their feet on the ground, planted in dirt or sand or grass. And it’s very helpful to kind of be connected to the earth in that way, too. It’s fascinating, and I think it’s something that mind, body, soul here, right? Like we can, we know the body, where you know the mind. And it’s the soul is something that Eastern medicine and Western medicine clash on but we find our ways and I think the more we know, the more we can expose that to our friends who listen to the podcast.
Sarah: There are so many different cultures and different traditions. You know, she’s coming from a Japanese tradition of Reiki but there’s also Tai Chi and Qi Gong and Buddhism, all of these, they’re saying the same thing. There is this spiritual side of us that we need to embrace, and that’s part of bio hacking, too. Thank you for bringing on one of your fabulous friends. I totally loved her. And I know that I am going to be connecting with her soon. So thank you!
Russ: Well, great, thank you. Enjoy the rest of your day. And when you go outside, maybe open your bubble up a little bit.