Maintaining Practicing

How Reiki Healed Me –In More Ways Than One

Life is a journey that’s filled with twists and turns, and sometimes those twists take you in an unexpected direction. Those curves in the road can be life-changing, and in my case, ultimately led me to become a hospital volunteer and Reiki practitioner, and to discover the benefits of sharing positive energy.

How I got to that point is a journey in itself. Twenty years ago, after finding that words were dropping out while I was speaking, a cancerous mass was discovered on one of my vocal cords. I had surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital and the mass, as well as the vocal cord it was sitting on, was removed. The procedure was successful, and I didn’t have to go through any chemo or radiation. I received excellent care, and I remain cancer-free to this day.

I wanted to give back after my experience, and do something to return some good karma, but the timing wasn’t right. Life, as it often does, intervened. A few years after my surgery, I was acting as a caregiver for my wife, Gloria, who was dealing bravely with thalassemia, a blood disorder that can cause a number of serious health issues, including heart problems. When she passed away, I knew I needed to do something to celebrate her memory and honor the care we had both received as patients at Yale. At the time, I was working in the publishing industry, and commuting to New York City, so there weren’t really a lot of extra hours at the end of the day. However, thanks to the suggestion of a friend, I began looking into doing some volunteer work, to see where I could make the most impact. Yale New Haven Hospital seemed like a natural fit.

The stars finally aligned when I left my job in New York City and returned to working in my home state of Connecticut. I met with a volunteer coordinator named Fernanda at Yale. Ironically, she had also worked in New York in the publishing world, so we bonded immediately. When I shared my story with her, she intuitively knew that the volunteer assignments I accepted should be people-oriented. Thus began my tenure as a volunteer at the hospital, where I’ve worked in several wonderful roles throughout the years.

Fernanda has become a great mentor. About five years ago, she asked if I’d be interested in learning Reiki, in order to participate in a program called Oasis For Healing, which shares Reiki energy with patients. I attended the training and became part of the Reiki team. It was truly a life-altering moment. I’ve embraced sharing Reiki energy with others, and have been thrilled to see firsthand the positive effect it has on those who need it.

Reiki is a Japanese-based, hands-on healing technique that enhances a person’s physical and spiritual well-being. The Reiki practitioner is a conduit for healing energy from the Universe, which flows through them into the recipient. I’ve been sharing Reiki with patients for several years now and it’s a truly powerful experience. For the person sharing this positive energy, it brings a sense of fulfillment and joy as you see the incredibly beneficial results of using this non-invasive form of healing. When sharing Reiki, I’ve seen patients relax, de-stress, become much less tense, and even fall asleep during sessions.

Reiki energy can help bring a sense of peace, calm, balance, and renew a person’s spirit. There are a number of ways you can share Reiki with those in need, including guided meditations, light touch massage, or using breathing techniques, music, and chanting to help calm and center yourself. It’s really your own belief in the power of this healing energy that allows it to help you.

Being able to learn about and share Reiki has been a powerful, fulfilling experience for me. In fact, my positive interactions with patients and their families throughout the years brought me such fulfillment that I also became an employee at Yale New Haven, and currently work at the hospital as a Patient Experience Ambassador, in addition to continuing my volunteer work. I hope that the karma I’m sending out to the world through my work shows how grateful I’ve been for the care and support that I’ve received during my own experiences as a patient and caregiver. Reiki has become an integral part of my life and has really helped with my own spiritual renewal and personal well-being.

For more information on Reiki, I suggest checking out the site of my Reiki teacher, Tracey Sullivan, at Reiki Integration:

-John Visconti

Photo: Unsplash

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John Visconti is a lifelong music and movie aficionado with wide-ranging tastes, including The Beatles, Otis Redding, and Bruce Springsteen, right on through to modern-day practitioners of power pop and retro soul. You can get into a spirited discussion with him about various film noir classics, or the relative merits of the entries in Toho’s Godzilla series. After long stints in both publishing and IT, he’s currently working in the healthcare world in a non-clinical role. You can check out his blog, John V's Eclectic Avenue at

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