I have suffered from anxiety for most of my life. I’m far from alone. According to a study by Kaiser Family Foundation, one-third of adults surveyed (and half of those 18-24) admitted to anxiety and depression.
For the past decade or so, I have chosen a non-traditional path to deal with it. I attend Buddhist meditation classes weekly, meditate daily, work with energy healers, go to Qigong classes, do Yoga, attend Reiki healing circles, and a whole lot of other integrative and holistic healing practices. All of that has been immensely helpful to help quiet my mind, take the sting out of my anxiety, and simply make my life feel easier and more productive.
That’s what brought me to Universal Healing Arts (UHA) on Crestview Avenue in Cortlandt Manor. I attend the Shamanic Healing Hearth every month, participate in special events like full moon ceremonies, and had a private Reiki session with the founder of the center — Shima Chayvet. Reiki is an ancient energy practice, started in Japan, that can reduce stress and anxiety, and promote healing — all with gentle touch. It’s just what I needed, and I’ll be going back.
Chayvet is a master Reiki healer and teacher. Universal Healing Arts has a wide range of services, from reflexology and qigong to group healings and a shop offering books, crystals, pendulums, and artwork.
“Healing. That is what happens here,” says Shima. “The staff heals on a physical, mental and spiritual level. Our hope is to create a healing community, a spiritual space where people can come and reconnect with themselves. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would help so many with my gifts, as well as assisting others in finding theirs.”
My private Reiki session with Shima was extremely powerful. Every time I enter UHA, or spend time with Shima, I feel a soothing energy. It’s impossible to explain — you have to feel it.
She says, “UHA is a space with contagious positive energy. The space alone can uplift a mood, and once the healing begins, a notable transformation can and will take place.”
She’s right. We started in her office and discussed some lingering injuries I have from my tennis playing days, and also spoke about my intentions. But the real magic happened when we went into the healing room, with beautiful projections of stars on the ceiling.
I laid down on the table, and after a while Shima started asking me to think about deeply personal things, like the people who have hurt me, or broken my heart. She chanted things that I didn’t understand, but I knew I didn’t have to comprehend them, because I felt the energy and power behind those chants. I felt weightless, just enjoying the ride. Total relaxation. Totally taken out of my body. Totally amazing. I arrived in daylight. I left in total darkness. Time was immaterial. I think I was there for two hours. I don’t even know. It doesn’t even matter.
The morning after, I drove to work with a calm and peaceful mind, and a body feeling totally relaxed. I had a shift. An energetic shift. Things feel a bit easier now. Again, it’s hard to explain, and it’s not about understanding it. It’s about getting out of your head and feeling it. Not thinking about it, feeling it. That’s where the healing happens.
The UHA’s motto is “Enlighten your mind, heal your body, Nourish your soul.” Shima helped me do all of those things, and more.