Is Reiki within the Doula's Scope of Practice?
This is an excellent question. What if an energetic perspective is a missing component in most conventional doula trainings? I have put in my time as a birth doula instructor for a conventional doula training organization. The curriculum was great and I contributed much to it. Birth doulas provide information, emotional support and physical support to families prenatally, during birth and postpartum. That is, we nurture body, mind and spirit. To what degree are we nurturing spirit? Are we given the knowledge, tools and skills to really meet our clients spiritual needs to the capacity that they need? As an intuitive birthworker, I often felt like I was having to hold back a significant portion of my doula experience and knowledge because it didn't fit in the standard doula training model. This was part of the reason why I stepped away from teaching the doula program, so I could be free to share all of what I know and experience outside of the confines of the conventional doula box.
Every client has individual needs. Some clients want as much information as we can provide them. Evidence based resources, books, documentary's and thorough prenatal visits. Other clients feel more comfortable with less information and more reassurance. Some of my clients need very little spiritual support and prefer to stick to a practical and logical perspective. Other clients feel great comfort learning about perinatal psychology, consciousness in the womb, protection, grounding, fear releasing techniques. Just like with information, emotional or physical support, when it comes to spiritual support, I like to support my clients where they are at. I enjoy getting to know what my clients believe in and how significant faith and spirit are in their life. It isn't my job to tell my clients what to believe, but to learn about what they connect with and to only offer them what is likely to be helpful and inspiring to them. I believe in a fully holistic approach to support.
One does not need to be attuned to Reiki to offer spiritual support. Different doulas are already offering spiritual support to varying degrees. Reiki training, especially training specifically for conception, pregnancy, birth and postpartum can fill in the gaps for many doulas who are themselves looking for a greater understanding of the spiritual/energetic aspects of professional birth support.
When a doula places her hands on a clients sacrum or holds her hands, there is an exchange of energy happening between them. Heart energy flows through the hands. The birthing person can feel the love, confidence and support flowing from her doula. Energy exchange is inevitable. Reiki is spiritually guided energy. This increases the flow of healthy, positive energy to mother and baby. Reiki can do no harm. So what's the harm?
Not everyone connects with Reiki, and that's okay. I don't do Reiki on every doula client. I can choose when Reiki flows. Not every doula is going to be a spiritual doula. There are always going to be a variety of doulas, doulas for every family. It has to be among the most non-invasive, gentle and safe tools a doula can add to her doula toolbox.
What about Reiki sessions? Some doulas will make a living only attending births. Others will teach prenatal education classes in addition, to make ends meet. Many doulas have multiple complimentary streams of income. Because I am a Certified Reflexologist, Certified Doula and Reiki Master, I can offer my community healing sessions in addition to my birth work. I have a treatment room where people come for reflexology and Reiki sessions. I have had commercial space, offered mobile sessions and worked from home at different times in my career. Currently, I have a treatment room at home. Some of my doula clients also come for reflexology or Reiki sessions. Some of my reflexology and Reiki clients become doula clients. Other reflexology and Reiki clients will never need or use my doula services. Having multiple streams of income offers me financial security and it means I don't have to be on call 12 months of the year. It means I can meet some of my doula clients needs myself instead of always referring them to others in my community. I think it's important to offer clarity between doulas, reflexologists and Reiki practitioners and that's easily done in my contract.
The feminine is still, intuitive, sensual, emotional, feeling. The masculine is about action, logic, evidence, regulation. To have both is to be in balance. The midwives/doulas of the past were our intuitive healers. Much of that has been lost in recent decades. There is absolutely a place in birthwork for evidence, logic and regulation. But, we are still bringing back the divine feminine to our work and for good reason. It is profoundly powerful and necessary, especially in women's work.