Reiki is hands-on healing. Quite literally.
Sometimes a Reiki master will be spiritually guided to do further work into Chakras and open the client up to the spirit world.
Vanessa Lee is a master of Reiki and also a Shamanic Arts Practitioner as well as a writer, designer, artist, retreat host, and mother. You can learn more about Vanessa and her work here:
Tell me about your professional background.
I have had so many different jobs that my literary agent asked me to edit the list “to make it more plausible,” but the fact is, I always just needed to pay the bills, and because I was a young single mother, there was often no choice but to take jobs I would rather not, and lots of them! Here is an abridged version of how I came to do the work I do today: My first love was gymnastics. I led the warm-ups at the school gym club (age 9/10) and still have the list of movements I recommended! But the advanced gym club was too far away, and we had no car, and I was frightened travelling alone.
I had a very challenging childhood. When I was 16 to 18 I washed up in a cafe in Essex, every Saturday and Sunday, to get through my A levels, and pay my rent. I then worked on a Kibbutz and a Moshav, farming tomatoes, and then travelled down the Nile through Egypt.
I returned to London and became an assistant to a Life Insurance broker in Piccadilly, they offered me a company car and a job in Paris which I turned down because a wonderful friend had applied to University on my behalf, and to my surprise, I was accepted. I then studied Drama at Kent University and Trinity College Dublin, for 4 years, specialising in theatre direction. I worked on building sites, as a waitress, as a buyer’s model, and as an assistant bookkeeper to get through University.
After graduating I became a Puppeteer in a zoo in Canterbury, and I took my baby daughter with me and she watched all the puppet shows and knew every word! I then moved back to London and co-founded Spin/Stir Women”s Physical Theatre Collective. I directed, performed and wrote plays for ten years with Joelle Taylor. These were epic stories about women’s secrets, the secrets they usually had to keep, to stay safe; they were healing plays and Shamanic in nature.
To fund the productions we taught A level theatre workshops. I also acted in commercials and TV shows, worked as a live presenter, and catwalk and photographic modelling to make ends meet, among a whole host of other things including assisting the head of finance for DKNY and waitressing for the Prime minister at Downing Street. I also spent a lot of time in Los Angeles, and although there was only really Tri yoga in London, there were many studios in LA where I could practice yoga.
Then, back in London, I covered for a friend who was a comedy agent for two weeks and ended up spending the next ten years working in television. I worked variously in the legal dept, communications dept, talent agency, and the CEO’s office of a large production company, eventually leaving to set up a new Comedy production company, where I was Manager for 3 years. Throughout this time I also recorded hundreds of voiceovers and taught yoga to beginners during my lunch hours.
I also set up yoga lessons for the staff at the large production company during lunch hour, and several other big companies followed suit.
What made you want to get into this field?
Then I had a Spiritual Experience, age 42, so strong, that I completely changed my life. It happened during a Reiki session and led directly to me becoming a Reiki Master (which just means teacher). I feel compelled to try and tell a snippet of my personal story in case it helps others. So here it is, in close up.
In January 2013 I was given a voucher for a half-hour shoulder massage by a family member, as I had become thin and shaky and they were concerned. The masseur put on some Hawaiian drumming music and covered me with a sarong. I suddenly became very cold, my hands and feet were blue, my teeth were chattering. The masseur removed the sarong and placed six blankets on me even though it was 30 degrees in the room.
She quietly said she thought I was psychic and was being told to give me Reiki. I had no idea what Reiki was, I did not entertain the idea of a spirit world or spiritual healing and I thought people who heard voices and saw visions were mad and religious (interchangeable.) I did not understand who was telling her to give me Reiki.
All I knew was that I was in two places at the same time, both in a massage room and way underground, deep in the earth. When the masseur removed the sarong I experienced a feeling of falling, through the massage bed and through the floor, right deep, deep down into the earth and everything had gone completely black. I said, “Give me Reiki then.”
My scalp was crawling, my whole body ached and my eyes were moving very fast of their own accord. A brilliant bright flash of light appeared in the right-hand corner of the room. I thought someone must have physically opened the door and entered the room, but then I had an otherworldly experience.
Time stood still. It was the most loving, exquisite exchange I had ever had, and remains so. I had to tell someone, I was overwhelmed. So I told the person I was closest to at the time. To my astonishment, far from saying I had gone mad, he said, “you’ve had a shamanic experience.” and passed me a book by Carlos Castanades.
I wanted to hear from someone who went on adventures in the dream world like me, to faraway places, where animals and plants speak, where you can fly and rescue babies and children from harm’s way, speak ancient languages and dance ancient dances. Then I found Christina and Stanislav Grof and Sandra Ingerman’s books, and I will forever be in their debt. I was simply going on spontaneous Shamanic journeys, and all I needed to do was listen to some drums, and this was something that had happened to others.
I read the book Spiritual Emergency and realised what had happened to me had many names and forms, depending on your culture. And it was celebrated or suppressed depending on your culture. Intuitively and with the help of spirit guides I found my Grandmother’s family tree and several family graves in Abney Park Cemetery, which I restored.
I fully realized the importance of honouring the dead. I read Apocrypha. I thought others would think I had gone mad though, and I just didn’t understand how the chakras worked or how to ground. I met dead foster parents and a dead stepfather, this was initially terrifying as some of my stepfathers had been extremely violent. I had developed Mediumship skills.
Then several people said they could see a beam of light coming from my head. I now know this to be an over activated crown chakra, but at the time, and in my ignorance it was very frightening. I knew I was not enlightened, and I also knew I was sane. A yoga teacher said I should join her teacher training program, she insisted and she celebrated what was happening to me. The fear lessened. It was another year of ecstasy and agony. My body became slowly stronger and more able to cope with the energy flowing through it.
I became a Reiki Master over the course of two years and gave Reiki to over a hundred people for free. I read about Chakras, I read ancient texts and modern books, I chanted, I made affirmations, I avoided as much negativity as possible. I began to explore the Upper-worlds as well as the lower world. I experienced spontaneous soul retrievals and my journeys were so vivid I wanted to draw them.
I was told by my spirit guides to draw my eyes many times. I should have gone to the optician then. Alternative medicine works the best hand in hand with our existing and brilliant NHS. Finally, I met other psychic people who talked to animals and spirits, and we all sat and shared, and drew our journeys together, on a Shamanic art course. I studied Core Shamanism for 3.5 years. Eventually, I left London, my home for 25 years, and moved to the Countryside, to nature. I had had several very disturbing memories and after them, my vision had blurred. Then I was diagnosed with Glaucoma.
“You are at high risk of suddenly going blind overnight and your operation is in 6 weeks.” I found ways to cope with the fear, I gave myself Reiki and had a Shamanic eye transplant, I chanted incessantly. The operation was successful and I can see fairly well today and am completely discharged from Moorfields eye hospital, where I was told I would have to attend for the rest of my life. I had finally learnt to clear and activate my chakra system, my subtle body, the root cause of all physical disease starts in the spiritual plane.
I did have to meditate for hours a day for years and years. Yes, it was tough and nauseous and blissful. Most importantly, I learned how to ground myself. I learned this work is never over and I have to reground and re-balance every day. I help others to do so too. This was an extreme experience, and Reiki and Shamanic work are closely bound for me.
What has been your favourite aspect of this work?
When it seems like there is no answer, no solution, no cure, no hope, there is Reiki. There is Spiritual Healing. There are spirit guides. There is comfort for those most desperate. When you see a depressed person start to regain their power, or an abused person become able to say “no more”, or someone unable to play football, suddenly kicking a ball around, it is the most rewarding and humbling feeling.
Can you explain what Reiki is and what a typical session is like from start to finish?
Reiki is an energy, a life force. A love-force. A form of hands-on healing. There are Reiki guides in spirit form who I call in to do the work. I am a channel for them. Before I see a client, I journey to my spirit guides and ask if I am the right person to help and how I can help.
If I am told to give Reiki, then I do. If I am also told to do some Shamanic work e.g. (journey to retrieve a soul essence or spirit animal) then I will. I have found Reiki and Shamanism are not exclusive for me as a healer, and sometimes a combination is needed. I clear the room (under instruction from my guides, with sound, fragrance, and chanting) and protect the space.
I also do this before every yoga class I teach. When the client arrives I have already made a diagnostic journey, with their permission, and this is discussed. I have a questionnaire that each client fills in, so I have a reference for subsequent healings. I let the client know exactly what will happen in the session and then let them know they can completely relax.
Typically I give Reiki before any Shamanic work. I play very gentle music, and I find the client still points. I then place my hands starting at the head and work down the body. Back of neck, over eyes, over the jaw, breast bone, tummy, hips, knees, feet. Then I ask the client to turn over (if possible). I then place my hands for varying amounts of time, on the back of the head, shoulders, hand and elbows. Middle back, lower back, hips, backs of knees and feet.
I channel Reiki symbols/energy through the crown of my head and out of my hands into the client. Which symbols and amount of time I spend on a body part are guided. Sometimes I stay on a body part for a long time. If I am then guided to do further Shamanic work I will ask the client to become open to receiving, and travel to the spirit world, while listening to drumming (or drumming myself) and speaking the journey out loud, in healing words, so the client knows what is happening.
I then travel back to the client and connect them with any gifts or soul essence by blowing them with intent into the heart and crown chakra. After the session, the client will drink water and then will sit by a tree outside for up to half an hour.
Trees are so helpful in this way. We will then have a discussion about anything the client may want to ask, and aftercare guidance will be given. I prefer to work very slowly and never see more than one client in a day. Sometimes the healing has been so profound that I am in a state of humbled awe and will need to spend some time grounding. I charge on a sliding scale so that there is an affordable energy exchange. It is of the utmost importance to me, that my clients are never frightened.
How can Reiki be supportive in overall healing and well-being?
The beautiful thing about Reiki is the healing energy will go exactly where it is needed. To every level of the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. These are the four planes (similar to the five Koshas in yoga.) Sometimes we don’t know what needs healing, we may want a painful wrist to be healed, and instead find a soul essence from our childhood that needs returning, which may have been the root cause of the physical pain, or may just need doing first!
Clients sometimes experience feeling the warmth on their bodies, long after the healing. Children and pets can absorb Reiki energy very quickly, and do not have the patience to stay as still as adults, so hand positions can last a much shorter length of time. Children and animals will come and push their way into my hands if they need Reiki, and then move away when they have had enough! The experience often happens without a word being said. It is always very endearing. In this way, Reiki can support the whole family.
What is Reiki like from the patient’s point of view?
I have described what happened during my first Reiki session, which was life-changing. It helped and led me to forgive and understand, in a way I could not have done, simply from information from the earth plane.
Here are some testimonials describing what my clients experienced:
Thank you so much for yesterday, I seriously feel my energy has shifted dramatically, quite incredible. I can’t believe the effect. I think what you are doing is more than Reiki! Mrs amazing Reiki, magician extraordinaire! The best Reiki I have ever had, I experienced shooting white light ascend my spine and saw Kundalini symbols. Ness is able to create burning healing white heat with her hands. NEXT DAY – My god I am having seriously intense amazing stuff happen!!! Symbols, channelling…but different to my old channelling it’s a lot more powerful in energy and also life direction clarity! Breathing through it at times as its intense but very high powerful energy shift. It surprised me!! Wow! You really do have some serious shamanic amazingness going on. I repeat It’s a lot more than reiki! – Sara Damergi
A really amazing session, I fell easily into relaxation and different states of sleep. I felt a very positive release of a lot of tension I had been carrying. JM Ness is brilliant. Very interesting altered state experiences. Electric shock healing on my lower back was profound. It revitalised me. Amazing grounding experience, I felt so safe. I needed to sleep initially and was able to sleep easily. Can’t wait for the next one. Gemma Soul Dream like wonder. Thank you. – CA
The most powerful Reiki I have ever had. I felt a tingling well-spring of warm energy that lasted hours after my treatment. – ND
Deep white heat unlocked the tension in my body, rushes of energy from feet to head, heart-opening. – IL
When you held my head I felt my body soar high into the sky. I felt grounded and free at the same time, seeing clearly my home in nature and the joy of waking up in nature every day. – NR
This was like nothing I have ever experienced. I have nothing to compare it to. I felt pure and connected and unaware of separation. I lost sense of time and saw colours I had never seen before. I feel centred and full. Lighter and yet more substantial. – GF
This was like nothing I have ever experienced. It was a physical-spiritual experience. I’ve gone through a door I didn’t know was there. I am the key! I feel absolved of anger and guilt. I felt hot lava in my knees. My shoulder, finger and knee pain has gone. I experienced astral projection visiting foreign cities, saw geometric symbols and DNA, and plant structures as if under a microscope, growing to their peak and reducing back to their essence. I experienced energy as bubbles. – JH
Amazing profound healing, I felt many shifts of energy, warmth, opening, deep relaxation, safety and groundedness. – JA
Feels like a massage without having a massage. Relaxing and tingly all the time. You can do that again. – KL
After suffering for 9 years with cluster headaches, taking Tramadol and oxygen daily, I am now pain-free. I had never had Reiki before and my life is now greatly improved. I can’t thank you enough. – AB
I had not played football for years due to the pain in my knees. After a Reiki session, I slept for over twelve hours and have no more pain. I now play football again and have had to reconsider my preconceptions about spiritual healing techniques as I was a sceptic! – JB
The pain in my left elbow stopped halfway through the treatment. I was very relaxed and felt as if I had had a deep sleep. – JR
I feel able to breathe more deeply and my eyes are bright and tingly. – AR
I feel filled up with sunshine. – ZB
I felt as if my body fell through the massage bed and it was so calm and blissful. I am diabetic and had just had a seizure. Reiki helped so much. – PD
This Reiki comes from the intention of love and healing, Ness works with magic, the one mother earth and its people’s needs. – AL
I feel a lot lighter, my stress seems to have flown off, my back is not tense, my throat is open. You’re an angel. I felt extremely comfortable, I began to cry releasing what I had been holding onto for a long time. That felt great! I saw gold and Ness helped explain my visions. I feel fortunate to have been here and so grateful. – AC
After one treatment I now have no pain in my elbow and find Reiki provides me with infinite comfort as does Vanessa. After my second treatment, I now have no pain in my hip. – JR
What would you say to someone skeptical about Reiki and its effectiveness? How do you approach that?
Nothing. I was one. Most people I am friends with are sceptical, and they accept me and I accept them. Initially, I thought that everyone could journey into the spirit world, but that is not the case and some people live extraordinarily caring lives and don’t connect with spirit consciously at all. It is not necessary for everyone, and it does not make one more special or better than another.
We are all different, walking different paths. In fact, I wouldn’t wish what happened to me to happen to anyone! It’s just that I was absolutely desperate for help, and I would like others to get help before they are desperate in any way. We often turn to spiritual healing when we can think of nothing else. So, many of my clients have “incurable” problems and are incapacitated in some way. Or are stuck in an abusive situation which they cannot seem to leave, and there is nowhere for them to turn.
Besides Reiki do you have any universal health and well-being tips that you’d like to share?
The Reiki principles are a wonderful guide: “Just for today do not anger, just for today do not worry. Just for today we shall count our blessings and honour our ancestors and our food. Just for today, we shall make an honest living. Be kind to everything that has life.”
Also: A Vegan diet, and try to have 10-15 fruit and vegetable portions a day. Drink lots of water. Move your body in a flowing rhythmic way, while regulating your breath, by practising yoga asanas.
Get on the dance floor! Listen to music, play an instrument, sing. Have lots of fun. Replace tea for fresh natural herb tea, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, lemon balm. Just pour on hot water. Mix and help in your local community.
Grow and eat your own food. Visit nature, live in nature. Get in the sea. Walk in the woods. Meditate in a way that you like, this could be still or movement-based, quiet or full of the sound of drums. Everyone finds their own way, no one is wrong or right. Ask for help whenever you need it. Tell the people you love that you love them, regularly.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to someone who is struggling, what would it be?
You are categorically not alone. If you cannot feel, see or hear your guides, your ancestors, know that they are there and they are helping you. Affirm, I am open to receiving help from guides of the highest vibration, which is love.
What resources would you recommend? (books, podcasts, websites that you’ve found helpful)
Any yoga class with Aditya Yoga School and Alessandra Pecorella.
Louise Hay “You Can Heal Your Life”
Christina Grof and Stanislav Grov “The Stormy Search for Self, Spiritual Emergency”
Harish Johari “Energy Centres Of Transformation”
Sandra Ingerman “Medicine For The Earth, Shamanic Journeying (for beginners), Welcome Home, Soul Retrieval”
Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman “Awakening to the Spirit World”
Ted Andrews “Animal Speak”
Nikki Mackay “Between the lines”
Natalia O’Sullivan and Nicola Graydon “The Ancestral Continuum”
Susan Curtis and Romy Fraser “Natural Healing For Women”
Diane Stein “Essential Reiki”
Katalin Koda “Essential Path of Reiki”
Runic John “Up and Down the Tree”
Michael Harner “The Way Of The Shaman”
J Allen BooneKinship With All Life”
Caitlin Matthews “The Psychic Protection Handbook”
Debbie Ford “The Dark Side Of The Light Chasers”
Barbara Tedlock “The Woman In The Shaman’s Body”
Theolyn Cortens “Working With Archangels”
Reiki and Shaman work can be extremely beneficial when it comes to tapping into your own energy and uncovering any deep-rooted emotional roadblocks that may be ultimately causing a physical ailment.
Vanessa has a lot of experience in this area as well as some amazing attributes that makes her so interesting to speak with.
To learn more about Vanessa and the work that she does, check out her websites below:
To learn more about holistic healing, including expert perspectives and personal stories from those who have experienced such treatments, follow us on Instagram and Facebook to be a part of our community. We share personal stories and expert advice on all different modalities of holistic healing and overall health and well-being.
If you have a story you’d like to share or an area of expertise in holistic health, email us at email@example.com for a chance to be featured on our blog and social media!