Reiki is universal life force energy that is said to heal mind, body and spirit.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
CHAMPION -- Nancy Bottiglieri's family and friends could have easily abandoned their faith.
Instead they banded together, collected their prayers and channeled enough energy and love to help rouse the woman from her near-death state.
Even perfect strangers allied on her behalf.
That was a little more than a year ago when the 54-year-old Bottiglieri lay comatose, hooked up to life support, with little chance of survival.
And while doctors couldn't tell her what it was that pulled her through, Bottiglieri says she has no doubts.
Bottiglieri, of West Farmington, spoke recently of her recovery from her Native American art gallery, Trail of Dreams, at the corner of Edward Street and state Route 45. She co-owns the store with her husband, Bob.
Comeback: A brain aneurysm nearly took her life in June 2000, but Bottiglieri says she mostly credits reiki for her unexpected comeback.
"Medical doctors couldn't explain why my heart started up," she said. "People all over the world were sending me healing energy."
She snapped out of the coma after eight days.
What it is: Reiki, pronounced "ray-kee," comes from the Japanese words, "rei" and "ki," which combined refer to universal life force energy.
Bottiglieri said "rei" refers to spirit or soul, while "ki" means energy.
The idea is that therapeutic energy passes through the hands of a practitioner, into the subject that needs healing, be it a person, plant, pet, situation or inanimate object. It can be sent long distance, and practitioners can perform reiki on themselves.
People she didn't know, from around the world, joined an Internet network for a group reiki session, after a few friends sent out the message that Bottiglieri was ill. Loved ones sent her healing energies as well.
Her nephew, Ryan Bottiglieri, formerly of Howland, lives in Los Angeles and couldn't get home right away when she fell ill.
Trained by his aunt in reiki, Ryan, 24, said he knew what he had to do.
He focused, tapped into the flow of healing energy, and "Within a split second I knew she would be fine."
Grateful: Today, Bottiglieri said she's grateful for the friends and family who used reiki, or as she calls it, "Christ's presence within each of us," to help her recover.
Reiki works hand in hand with traditional medical practices, but doesn't take the place of doctors, Bottiglieri said, explaining that medical staff at University Hospitals in Cleveland also played a big role in her recovery.
After surgery, she was unable to walk or move the right side of her body. Today, Bottiglieri has a bit of fibromyalgia, but is otherwise in fine health.
In fact, her cardiologist in Chardon called Sept. 4 to let her know her heart has completely recovered.
She developed heart problems after the aneurysm and said friends and family prayed and performed reiki so it would be restored to health.
"My doctor told me I wouldn't have to go back to see him until I'm 100," she said.
Reiki is said to heal on all levels -- physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
Though human touch can be a powerful healer, Bottiglieri said, it's not essential to reiki.
Anyone can learn to attune to the energy and channel it, Bottiglieri said, explaining the energy can do no harm and is not to be mistaken for a New Age fad or religion.
Nephew: When her nephew graduated from Kent State University in May 1999, Bottiglieri said she gave him the gift of reiki because the two share a special bond.
"I use it everyday and it's amazing," Ryan said. "I'm more in tune with my body."
Reiki is said to promote well being and a sense of calm. There are different levels to the practice, the highest of which is reiki master.
A master: Bottiglieri, who grew up in Oklahoma and is part Cherokee Indian, is vice president of Red Hawk American Indian Cultural Society of Coitsville. She is also a reiki master and minister of holistic healing, ordained by the Church of Radiant Light.
Reiki coincides with the body's seven chakras, or energy centers, Bottiglieri said, and each chakra corresponds to a specific part of the body, a color and a sound vibration.
A treatment can trigger emotional release, stirring memories long buried, she said, and some people respond by crying or laughing.
Repressed emotions are stored in areas of the body, turning from jealousy, hate and anger to what Bottiglieri calls "dis-ease."
"You have to learn to forgive and forget," she explained.
Student: Carolyn Tustin, 35, of Howland, is a licensed massotherapist and studied reiki under Bottiglieri.
She called her instructor "a walking miracle," saying the woman's story is extraordinary and shows that alternative healing methods such as reiki deserve recognition.
"It's an incredible type of healing art," she said. "It's very calming. There's a peacefulness about it."
Another former student, Kat Penrose-DeClark, of Southington, said she incorporates reiki into her massotherapy business.
She also uses reiki to help herself, and most recently, to heal after dental surgery. She said there was very little bleeding or swelling.
Penrose-DeClark performed distance reiki when Bottiglieri was ill and says she's grateful it aided in her recovery.
"We are just so blessed to have her around," she added.
Contact Bottiglieri at firstname.lastname@example.org.