The Art of Healing Hands: An Interview with Marla Mervis, Usui Reiki Master

What matters is that you find peace and share it with others. Acceptance. Acceptance. Acceptance. Accepting yourself as perfection. Accepting others. Accepting that life is in divine order— Marla Mervis, Usui Reiki Master

When I first became a Thai Yoga Therapist, I had to complete 120 hours of healing sessions. Many of my clients commented that my hands emanated a lot of heat. At first, I took it as a good sign that my touch and energy resonated with them. Then I began to notice energy increasing in my body. So could my clients.  A yoga colleague told me about Reiki (pronounced “Ray-Key”) and when I researched, I found a concept called “source energy” that accounted for the heat. Apparently, some people are naturally attuned to source energy. Well, it was a fleeting thought, soon lost in my whirling, bustling urban life.

Months later, I attended an event at Bhakti Yoga Shala in Santa Monica where the universe connected me with Marla Mervis, a traditional Usui Reiki Master. My interest in Reiki sparked brightly.  I attended one of her monthly Reiki Circles at the Rose Temple in Venice and was warmly welcomed by a group of seekers, interested Reiki and its benefits. The evening provided me a with a direct experience of Reiki.  A male practitioner placed his hands on various points on my body called Chakras. These energy centers or vortexes connect our physical and energy bodies. I closed my eyes as his hand hovered over each vortex. There was the heat my clients had described. When he came to my third eye (Ajna Chakra) the seat of intuitive perception, I started to cry.

Suddenly a flood of insights entered my mind in a dream-like procession. I had obsessive thoughts and overwhelming fear of taking a huge leap in my life—into the world of self-employment as a Yoga Instructor/Thai Yoga Therapist. Suddenly I knew I needed to make this personal shift for greater happiness and fulfillment, but it would take time. A new certainty formed in my mind; opportunities would arrive. Be patient. Learn the energy. I had been practicing Reiki without knowing it consciously. Now I understood its power.  I felt incredible gratitude.  I wanted to introduce as many people as possible to Reiki  and Marla’s work, so I interviewed her.

An Interview with Marla Mervis, Usui Reiki Master


ST: Reiki is a healing modality that originated in Japan around the 1800s, but there seem to be different types of Reiki available today.  Could you describe the variety of Reiki offered in the United States and what modern Reiki practices are look like today?

MM: Reiki is a hands-on-healing modality that balances, realigns, reduces stress, brings focus and enhances creativity. Reiki activates your own healing powers by reducing stress. This includes physical, emotional, and spiritual stress. Any dis-ease in the body, Reiki can help release it.  The Reiki Practitioner directs the Reiki through their hands to where it is needed. It is very comforting and relaxing. Many feel recharged or at peace. It is also recommended for those in good health to further boost their potential and to maintain a balanced energetic flow. In addition to being a healing modality, Reiki is also a spiritual practice.  It allows us to remain in connection with our spiritual life and experiences. Reiki allows us to connect with our power by enhancing intuition and discovering our inner vision and inner peace. By opening to Reiki energy, we can change our perceptions and thoughts, offering positivity. Therefore, we are living in an empowered state.

ST:    What type of Reiki do you practice and how does it differ from others?

MM:  The Reiki System I practice is called the Usui System of Natural Healing or Usui Shiki Ryoho. It has evolved through the years. However, it is a system that has transferred through the lineage: Mikao Usui, Chujiro Hayashi and Hawayo Takata also referred to as The Grand Masters. Although there are many different types of Reiki, the essence is the same. Reiki brings light and love to the mind, body, and spirit. This allows the release of disease and  stress, so that one can become their highest potential.

ST: What or who prompted you to become a Reiki practitioner and Master Teacher?

MM: I have always been invested in assisting others to feel better by using my hands.  Since birth, I have been on a journey for spiritual and personal growth. So when I found Reiki which is a Healing Modality, and a spiritual discipline, I fell in love. Reiki has allowed me to continue my soul searching and help others along the way. I love teaching Reiki as it allows me to empower others. You can give Reiki to yourself, which makes it truly powerful. It’s a symbiotic exchange because when you are giving Reiki to others, you are also receiving a session.

ST:  What has been your greatest joy in assisting people through your Reiki?

MM:  One of my first experiences as a Reiki practitioner was at an Aids Clinic in New York City. A group of us, visited many rooms to offer Reiki Treatments. Within a relatively small amount of time, I was able to witness the immediate transformation. The patients breathed deeper, smiled, and their bodies gently unfurled from their tight coils. It was such a blessing to share the Reiki healing and it proved to me how powerful Reiki can truly be. I have witnessed people find love for themselves and in turn be able to provide love to others more intimately through the subtle, yet powerful healing of Reiki, Somewhere along their life’s paths, they felt so unloved and unlovable. Reiki gave them an alternative and allowed love and light to flow freely inside and through them. I deeply love my Reiki Circles and Reiki Shares. Just being able to feel the vibration in the room created by all the participants is divine. There is a distinct shift when people first arrive, and at the end of the evening. Stress is gone, and in its place, there is peace.  It is a warm reminder of the ever present healing love from the universe.

ST:   If you could impart three important life lessons to others on their spiritual path, what would they be and why?

MM:Love yourself. DO IT!!!!!!!!!No matter how you feel, let love become present in your life. It is so important to remember that we are love and when we focus on love, it exponentially grows and heals us from the inside out. Remember that although you are on this physical plane, you are so much more! You carry the spirit of God in you. So, it really doesn’t matter if the laundry is done or if the dishes are cleaned promptly. What matters is that you find peace and share it with others. Acceptance. Acceptance. Acceptance. Accepting yourself as perfection. Accepting others. Accepting that life is in divine order.

ST:   From your vast experience, both personally and professionally, how do you see Reiki being used as a healing form in conventional Western medicine?

MM:  Reiki is complementary to any healing modality. Reiki is recommended highly before and after surgery since it has the ability to increase the healing process.  Reiki is becoming more acceptable and used in hospitals across the country. Living Light Reiki in New York City offers regular Reiki Circles at a hospital to Breast Cancer patients, in addition to Aids Clinics, where I had the powerful first hand experience of sharing Reiki with patients who reported feeling better. Also, I have witnessed Reiki being offered at both Hospice Care and Chiropractors offices. Many nurses are Reiki Practitioners, which definitely effects Western Medicine.

ST:  For those who doubt the science behind Reiki’s healing powers, what message would you offer them?

MM: You don’t have to believe to receive. You just need to be willing. The energy is very intelligent and when receiving a session, it will find a way to heal you on whatever level you are open to receiving it. The rule is simple: the more open to receiving, the deeper the experience can be. I understand why people have doubts. However, by the laws of science, we know that we are all energy and there is a vastness of energy available to us. So my advice is to allow the Reiki to permeate and rejuvenate us. Give it a go!!!!

To learn more about Reiki and Marla’s Reiki Circles, Shares and workshops, please visit her website

May you find the love and light that surrounds us always!  The source is abundant and awaits you to tap its reservoir.


Sony Trieu is a Yoga teacher and Thai Yoga Therapist, who specializes in Vinyasa, Yin and Restorative style classes and the application of ancient healing techniques. Sony is passionately committed to exploring and sharing healing modalities through her work and writing.




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  1. says

    Great article, sounds like Marla had a wonderful journey to her Reiki. I hope to have that experience one day x


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