by Erin Lehn Floresca
Gina Clemente, a certified reiki master and instructor who began her practice in 2002, first discovered the healing art of reiki during a transitional period in her life. “I was leaving my career in retail management and figuring out what steps to take next,” she recalls. “At the time, I had already established a very strong prayer and meditation practice. After reading an article about how reiki could enhance my meditation practice, I was curious about what reiki was.”
Clemente began seeing a Catholic nun for regular reiki treatments and was delighted to discover that she left each session feeling lighter, more peaceful and with more clarity. Reiki was making a significant impact not only in her meditation practice, but her overall life. “I was hooked,” she confirms. “I loved receiving reiki and how it made me feel, and the unique experiences that came with each session.”
About eight months after her love affair with reiki began, Clemente’s practitioner broke the news that she was moving away. “I walked out of her office and thought, ‘This is so good for people, I have to find out what she is doing. I took this as a sign that maybe it was time for me to learn the techniques, so I could perform reiki on myself and help others,” says this passionate hands-on healer. Within a week, she was signed up for a Reiki Level I class. Six month later, after completing classes through the advanced level, Clemente took a huge leap of faith and hung up her shingle for business. “I basically jumped and said, ‘God catch me!’ He always does.”
For the first few years, Clemente practiced out of her home, but as her client base grew, she moved her reiki healing practice to a central location in Saratoga Springs. Around 2008, her reiki teacher, along with many of her clients, began dropping hints that she should begin teaching, as well. “I felt I had enough experience at that point to be able to give quality instruction and I realized teaching was a natural next step for me. I was meant to teach others and help them open up to their own natural gifts,” explains this enthusiastic teacher, who notes that more people these days understand the benefits of and believe in the energy system in the body. “Even though we can’t see the energy system, we can feel it and that is part of what people are coming to understand. I love how we have all become more observant of how we are affected by the people and situations and environment around us,” she says.
According to Clemente, research has shown that 75 percent of illness is the body’s reaction to stress. “Reiki is a wonderful stress- reduction technique that promotes healing. It’s not about fixing people. It’s about shifting energy,” she explains. “As humans, we have different experiences that make us sad, anxious, worried or angry. These are all very natural, normal emotions. What is not natural is when we get stuck in those emotions and they begin to negatively affect our bodies. Reiki can assist that process by shifting the energy tied to those emotions, helping us to move through them, so we can get back to what is naturally good and be more at peace.”
Clemente affirms that reiki has benefited every part of her life and she enjoys teaching others how it can enhance their lives, as well. “Reiki is truly a way of life for me. It’s a wonderful tool that you can use on yourself, your family and friends. We all need the healing power of touch and it’s so rewarding to teach people how to take healing into their own hands so they can help heal themselves and others. It’s a true blessing; it really is.”
Since she began her practice, Clemente has conducted more than 7,000 reiki sessions and has taught hundreds of students, many of which have opened their own reiki healing practices. “For me, it’s extremely personal. I love that I’ve been able to be a part of people’s lives for the better. And not just their lives, but the lives they are touching. This work is bigger than I am; it’s bigger than we are. It’s quite humbling.”
Location: 229 Washington St., Saratoga Springs. For more information, call 518-791-6565 or visit ReikiHealingWithGina.com. Offerings include in person sessions, reiki mentorship, reiki presentations and all levels trainings year-round, including one-on-on trainings and customized classes for up to four students.