Promoting Reiki in a Rural Area

by Valerie J. Mann

I have lived most of my life on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, a peninsula located between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The area has much natural beauty and is quite rural. I feel very much a part of this place and its culture; I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

For most of my working life, I have owned and operated a successful grant consulting business with a number of towns, counties, and law enforcement agencies as clients. I have also been a local elected official and am therefore well known in the community. Several years ago, I committed myself to the practice of Reiki as a Master Teacher.

Where To Start?
Therapies such as Reiki have not gained widespread acceptance here. Although the number of practitioners is slowly increasing, Reiki is not visible to the general public or to most medical professionals. I do not know of any Reiki practitioner in the area who is able to sustain a full-time practice. Reiki is used in a couple of our hospitals, but on an extremely limited basis. This despite the fact that the Eastern Shore exhibits incidences of cancer, obesity, hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease that are significantly higher than the national average.

Introducing the practice of Reiki to my community has become my mission and my passion. Early on, I struggled with the idea of how I would be received. I must admit that one of the considerations was whether my grant business would suffer if I became public with my role as a Reiki Master. Another concern was whether I had the professional competence in Reiki to promote it successfully. I wondered whether I was ready to accept the rejection I might receive in some quarters.

I truly and honestly felt that there was no other path in life for me and that I had no other choice but to proceed. The older I get, the more I am true to my beliefs and ideals. This got me over the hurdles of doubt about my reception and of not feeling ready. It took about a year for me to realize that my visibility in the community was actually a big asset in promoting Reiki.

Standard Public Relations Tools Work Well
I set up a speaking schedule for myself in the local area. I will continue this into the foreseeable future, as I have found individuals who are literally starving for this information. I plan to conduct one or two information sessions per month.

I send out press releases four weeks before the presentation, and again 10 days prior to the event. The local media has some willingness to publicize these meetings. I have seen my notice placed at the end of a very long list online, indicating that fewer people would probably see it. I have also seen my notice placed at the beginning of a long list of events, but noticeably shortened and leaving out what I consider to be critical details. Even so, I would advise anyone promoting a Reiki event to contact local newspapers and television stations. I have been gratified at the number of people who have responded positively. I would never have met these people if I had not thrown aside my fears and started sending press releases.

This is an excerpt from the complete article that appears in the Spring 2008 issue of the Reiki News Magazine.