As I lay on the bed in the cosy room above a busy vegan cafe in Berkhamsted, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
But the warm welcome from homeopath Angie Litvinoff into her treatment room above Dar Papillon on the High Street immediately put me at ease, and I felt as ready to experience my first session of reiki.
The form of palm-healing alternative medicine is used to bring the body into balance, and I was encouraged to concentrate on breathing.
I soon drifted into a state of blissful consciousness where all I could hear was my own breathing. I’ve never experienced this feeling before and it’s a little odd at first, but once I let myself relax I could feel Angie’s hands rest gently on my head, before moving down my body and settling on my stomach.
I try and forget about the million and one other things I’ve got to do that day and focus on the moment. Before I know it Angie is gently leading me back into the land of the living, and it takes me a while to adjust.
After the treatment, Angie – who is also a Shamanic healer and has been practising reiki for 15 years – said: “I sensed that your solar plexus (that’s my stomach area, to you and me) was your weakest part, and I felt I should spend more time there than anywhere else.”
I was curious as to how she knows when she’s discovered an area of the body that needs more attention.
She said: “I can feel temperature changes in the body, and the pulse. It’s like tennis balls of energy, moving back and forth. If the pulse is more erratic, I know that I need to spend more time there.
“I’m fascinated by it, but it is very individual.
“A lot of it is intuitive, and I get to know people very quickly when they’re on the couch.”
The mum-of-one works from both Dar Papillon and The Clinic on Akeman Street, Tring, and performs reiki on clients for a host of different reasons, including work and relationship issues as well as body image and diet.
Angie – who lives in the Tring Triangle with her husband and son, aged seven –said the main reason people go to her for reiki is because they’re stressed.
She said: “They’re more comfortable with the treatment in the way that it’s similar to massage. They’re more accepting.”
Angie has recently launched her own holistic school – The School of Spirit Medicine – from which she shares her extensive knowledge of meditation, reiki and acupuncture alongside other branches of alternative medicine. People can study and learn in the form of short courses or workshops.
Angie, 39, said: “I needed something of my own, so the school is very exciting.
For more information on courses and treatments, visit www.angielitvinoff.com, or the school’s website at www.spiritmedicine.co.uk.