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Meet Elise Brenner of Brenner Reiki Healing in Newton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elise Brenner.

Elise often notes that she is the last person one may have expected to be deeply involved with Reiki teachings and practice. As a skeptic and a scientifically-oriented individual, it could be said that the system of Reiki came to Brenner, instead of Brenner going after it.

Once the introduction was made, however, Elise embraced Reiki as a sustainable and accessible meditation and healing practice to care for self and others on a daily basis. Over the next few years, Brenner completed the 3 levels of Reiki training, and became a Reiki volunteer at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and later in hospice and veterans settings, providing healing, care, and comfort to those who were ill, suffering, or dying.

In addition to practicing Reiki in these contexts, Elise continued self-Reiki practice, and witnessed and experienced first-hand beneficial outcomes to Reiki practice. On the physical level, Brenner herself experienced complete relief from a chronic vestibular disorder; and on the mental-emotional level, Elise found she was able to cultivate the qualities of ease, mindfulness, and resiliency in the face of the uncertainties of life.

These direct experiences compelled Brenner to begin offering Reiki sessions and teaching Reiki practice in a professional capacity, and Brenner Reiki Healing was born. Over the years, Elise has become a strong advocate for Reiki outreach, education, and empowerment, providing comprehensive training in all levels of Reiki; in-depth mentoring for Reiki practitioners; and outreach to community groups and organizations. Brenner operates a monthly Community Reiki Clinic for members of the community to experience low-cost Reiki sessions, and continues to be of service to the community with Reiki at veterans’ wellness retreats, senior centers, and support groups.

Wishing to further advance Reiki practice, Brenner became the founder and executive director of the non-profit Reiki educational and outreach organization, Celebration of Reiki, Inc., organizing annual conferences, symposia, and programs for professional development of Reiki practitioners.

Elise considers herself a Reiki community builder, passionate about facilitating wellness and mindfulness with the gentle, transformative practice of Reiki. Elise Brenner is also a part-time Anthropology instructor at Bridgewater State University and Simmons College.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Where would any of us be without some struggle, self-doubt, critique, development, and improvement! Brenner’s earliest struggles centered around doubts that Reiki practice could possibly be effective; how can this possibly “work”? But the evidence was accumulating for both herself and those with whom she worked in hospitals and hospice. At the same time, the science behind how Reiki could possibly “work” was emerging. Elise delved into that research, and continues to do so today, less to seek external scientific validation for what is a direct experience, but rather to be able to do credible outreach with Reiki to community groups that could benefit from Reiki.

A funny story about doubts: After Brenner completed Level 1 Reiki training, she began practicing self-Reiki every day. A few weeks passed, and then a month, and then two months, and Elise noticed that she was not experiencing any vestibular dysfunction episodes (which had been kind of ruining the quality of her life off and on for 20 years). In her mind were two competing voices, like the angel and the devil voices in a bubble over the head of a character in the old cartoons. One voice (the “Reiki voice” in Elise, you might call it) said, “Maybe it is the Reiki practice that is helping settle down the vestibular disorder.” The second voice (the “scientific voice in Elise) said, “How can it be the Reiki? How is that even possible?” But now, over a decade later, Brenner has not experienced any further problems with her vestibular system. That direct experience is always the best indicator of Reiki’s benefits and efficacy.

As an anthropologist, an academic, and a Reiki practitioner & teacher, learning how to establish, grow, and nurture a small business was the next challenge. Brenner is originally trained as an archaeologist, and so is quite comfortable with stone tool technology–she can make them and use them. However, Elise is not as comfortable with current business technologies, and struggled with stepping out of her comfort zone into her stretch zone in order to do what it takes to create her business. With a lot of help and support from SCORE, CWE, skilled friends, loads of Customer Support phone calls, and the supportive practice of Reiki, Brenner launched her Reiki practice, Brenner Reiki Healing.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Brenner Reiki Healing – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My business, Brenner Reiki Healing, runs on the values and qualities I wish to cultivate within myself and share with others, especially connection and caring. Brenner Reiki Healing uses the personal touch (pun intended) all the way through her business and practice. Those wishing to schedule a session or take a Reiki training class are not provided with scheduling software; rather, a call or an email (or both!) allow the client/student to share what has moved them to schedule their session or training and allows me a chance to inform and educate the client/student about what Reiki is and what Reiki isn’t.

There is not standardization, licensing, or regulation of Reiki practice or training at this time in Massachusetts. My training is focused on the Japanese system of Reiki before New Age elements were added in. I honor the roots of the system, teachings, and practice of Reiki, which are in Buddhism and Shintoism; although the specific system of Reiki itself is from early 1920’s Japan, developed by Mikao Usui, a lay Buddhist priest.

Teaching and practicing from the Japanese roots of Reiki mean that I emphasize the meditation and contemplative practices of Reiki as much as the hands-on healing practice of Reiki, some of which were lost in modern, Western Reiki. For example. A person coming for a Reiki session with me may be taught hara breathing at the outset of their healing session, and then encouraged to practice this meditative breathing daily and even multiple times a day in between sessions. The session itself becomes a holistic and empowering practice, as there is no sense of a ‘healer in the spotlight;’ but rather a sense of encouraging the recipient’s system–body, mind, emotions, spirit–to remember its solid, settled qualities in the face of life’s ongoing uncertainties. It is in that healing space that the recipient’s nervous system shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode, bringing in emotional regulation, optimal functioning of all the systems of the body, reduced inflammation, enhanced immunity, and a lowering of the perception of pain.

I feel Brenner Reiki Healing is also set apart by the accessible and credible language used to describe the system, teachings, and practice of Reiki, so that Reiki can be embraced fully by the mainstream. In my outreach presentations, Reiki is always described in everyday, down-to-earth words so that Reiki practice becomes a possibility for people from all backgrounds, health conditions, and ages who are suffering with problems and challenges, both big and small.

Brenner Reiki Healing is set apart by offering a monthly Community Reiki Clinic, during which members of the community have the opportunity to experience a 30-minute Reiki session at a low cost. The monthly Community Reiki Clinic has been operating for many years, allowing Reiki to be experienced by people who may not otherwise be able to access Reiki treatments.

Brenner Reiki Healing serves not just individuals seeking Reiki treatments or training, but also the community of Reiki practitioners. I provide a monthly Reiki Share for Reiki practitioners, during which we sit in meditation and then provide table treatments with one another. There is also social time, networking time, and some snacks. It is always a warm and caring group of practitioners. In addition to providing a space for Reiki practitioners to give and receive Reiki sessions, Brenner Reiki Healing provides continuing education workshops throughout the year for Reiki practitioners. These are focused on ways to deepen the practice of Reiki.

I think I could write more, but I will stop there for this prompt.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Brenner Reiki Healing is considering adding a second Community Reiki Clinic each month since the Clinic usually has a waiting list.

Brenner Reiki Healing is considering offering Reiki meditation workshops for the public. The participants would not have to be trained in Reiki to learn these meditations for themselves.

Brenner Reiki Healing is already pretty busy with its offerings and happenings, so that is about it for big changes at this time. Elise still is teaching part-time at two colleges, so that makes a difference in terms of what is possible at this time.


  • 60-minute Reiki Session $65
  • Reiki Level 1 Training $150
  • Community Reiki Clinic $15

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