The Power of Touch


Either you will believe what I’m about to tell you, or you won’t. When I first was invited to try the new energy healing treatments at The Spa at the Four Seasons Baltimore, I figured it would be a chance to chill out in a beautiful space—and, hopefully, experience a few funny moments—like, say, discovering that my spirit animal is a cougar or a wombat.

To say that I was unprepared, spiritually or emotionally, for this journey is an understatement.

On day one I meet Hitomi, a seemingly ageless Japanese woman and the granddaughter of a Buddhist monk, for a Reconnective Healing session designed to relax me with “a bandwidth of powerful healing frequencies.” I lie on the table, clothed under a blanket while Hitomi holds her hands a few inches above my face, traveling down to hover over my abdomen and legs, and sometimes raising her hands up high, as if she were pulling fresh saltwater taffy out of my body.

True confession: For the first half of the session, I’m basically having a panic attack. My heart is beating out of my chest—probably because I’m not used to silence in my life. (I even sleep with a fan for the white noise.) Worse: I can’t stop thinking of “bad” things, like profanity and porn. This may sound crazy, but when put in situations where I’m supposed to be pure, my brain rebels and goes to the dark side.

“Oh my God!” I worry to myself. “What if this poor woman is psychic and can read my mind?” I start silently repeating the phrase “love and light”—laughing inside, because I think I stole it from Teresa on the “Real Housewives of New Jersey.”

Eventually, I calm down and focus on the warmth from Hitomi’s hands. At one point, it almost feels like she’s covering me in an electric force field a la “Star Wars.” But I still feel exhausted—heavy and dark, like a stone.

Then, in an instant, everything changes. My ears pop, and I see a flash of white light inside my eyelids. I feel a whooshing sensation like a gentle vacuum on either side of my head, and my heartbeat returns to normal. I swear, it almost feels like an exorcism.

“You fought me for a long time,” says Hitomi, explaining that, at first, some people are too on guard to let her work her magic as an energy “catalyst,” but eventually she always gets in. I leave feeling light, happy, energized and productive for the rest of the day.

Two nights later, my Reiki session with Terry gets more personal.

“You know those healers on TV who lay their hands on people and push them down to the ground?” she asks. I nod my head. “This will be kind of like that, but without all the drama.”
Terry claps and rubs her hands, then starts gently holding and massaging different parts of my body.

About 10 minutes into the session, she stops and says, “I’m sorry, but I have to ask you a question. I’m getting a sense of some past trauma—as if something was torn from you, like in a divorce or a car accident, and I don’t feel comfortable moving forward unless we address it.”

I’m floored, a little sad and strangely relieved. I’ve been carrying around the weight of my dad’s tragic death for nearly 20 years—something Terry says she feels on two energetic levels. The first is like an outer shell that’s entirely open, like a wound, which means that I feel everything around me, both good and bad. But my inner core craves safety.

“Just know that I’m holding a space of protection for you,” says Terry, as she helps to soothe me and talk through some strategies for moving forward after the session. That includes checking out a tapping modality called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) on YouTube for daily stress relief and finding a place where I feel completely safe—even if that’s just sitting in my car with the doors locked listening to music. (She suggests “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson, and we both laugh.)

“I sense that you’re a smart cookie who tends to analyze rather than process the big stuff that happens in your life,” Terry adds, summarizing me in a nutshell. “But I think you’re going to have to feel your way out of this one.”

I commit to do the heavy emotional lifting—and Terry promises to be there to support me (and my energy) during the transition from fractured soul to whole.

“So what do you think my spirit animal would have been anyway?” I ask, smiling through a few tears. “Maybe a porcupine or a turtle—something with a hard outer shell?”

“I think a bird is better,” Terry replies, touching my arm warmly. “It’s time to set yourself free.” Reconnective Healing, $140. Reiki, $65-$100.

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