NEW YORK — Amid the coronavirus pandemic, folks have become more aware of their emotional and spiritual well-being, and some are closing their medicine cabinets and turning to a holistic form of healing.
Google searches for "meditation" spiked 300% from March to April as COVID-19 spread throughout the tri-state area.
Katerina Garrett joined the wellness craze after becoming overwhelmed with “the new normal.”
"I was getting more anxious — anxiety was through the roof. I began having shortness of breath once the pandemic started,” she said.
So, Garrett turned to reiki.
Reiki usually involves a practitioner who uses their hands over another person to transfer their energy and help heal. But with social distancing rules in place, many are seeking this treatment remotely.
In this case, the practitioner is able to transfer their energy from afar — no physical contact needed.
Reiki master Marilyn Ocasio Forward described the practice as, "something that completely changed my life. It’s all about energy. It's a Japanese technique that promotes healing and reduces stress and anxiety."
Front-line workers are also seeking this type of remote healing.
Reiki master Caroline Sayers said she’s seen a lot of new clients during the pandemic, with most of them being essential workers.
“Understandably, they are feeling a lot of additional stress,” she said.
For mindfulness exercises without a reiki master, practitioners recommend using aromatherapy, meditation and focusing on positive thoughts to regulate stress.
"It's about going into the heart, taking deep breaths, going into feelings of compassion, kindness and appreciation,” Forward said.
Here are some guided meditation apps that experts recommend: