Inner Peace Reiki reminds us that there is power in energy

Flash back to nearly six years ago: I’m sitting across from a cardiologist just three days after losing my father. I am a shattered version of myself, stripped of my otherwise tidy outward appearance. No mascara, chapped lips, shadows loom stubbornly under my eyes. 

This cardiologist is unaware that I think my heart might actually be broken. I half suspect him to see it the way I imagine it—a messy tangle of muscle, vein, and artery, bruised and broken. It is a cruel truth to find out that it doesn’t look like that at all. Despite everything, it beats on without delay.

One moment remains clear in memory—his hold on my wrist. He held it the way one might if he were admiring a bracelet. He was searching for my pulse, proof that I was indeed alive after having survived such expansive loss, but it was more than that. That touch, the way he held my wrist, felt like a relief in some way. I couldn’t explain it then, but I can now. 

The first time I met Neil Chaput de Saintonge, owner of Inner Peace Reiki, I sat with him in his warm office. He had no shoes on so I quickly removed mine, too, and we talked like we’d known each other for a lifetime. Unbeknownst to Neil, I was having a hard year. I was tired, mentally and physically, and I felt eerily cold, as if my internal flame had gone dim. I was in need of true, deep healing applied to a part of me that couldn’t seem to be reached in a clinical way.

Reiki—rei, meaning universal life or God and ki, meaning energy—is the “gentle, non-invasive healing art based on ancient practices of the laying-on of hands. It helps restore the body’s own strength and natural capacity for renewal,” as stated in Neil’s business brochure. 

I recognized the truth of this description throughout that first session as Neil played the role of tour guide. Resting his palms over my seven chakras was like taking a calming, exploratory journey of my own body through the healing hands of a stranger. I was grounded, balanced, and at ease in the most inexplicable way. I left his Reiki room feeling better rooted than I had before I walked in.

After the session, Neil asked me about the experience and, overwhelmed with emotion, I muttered something about feeling balanced and believing in my own capabilities again. I was strengthened by the exchange of energy. Neil laughed and told me stories, first about his odd introduction to Reiki.

“I was already doing it and I didn’t know it,” said Neil, who is also a licensed massage therapist. He spent a majority of his career receiving training in many healing disciplines, including craniosacral, neuromuscular massage, sports massage, Russian massage, and seated massage. 

He remembers his hand trembling while he was giving a massage to a woman who later thanked him for his extraordinary work during that session. Neither one of them knew what exactly caused the tremble in Neil’s hand but the result was something notable and healing. It was not long afterward that Neil received a call requesting that he perform more Reiki sessions and, as anyone could probably imagine, Neil researched Reiki and got right to work. 

A few years shy of two decades ago, Neil completed his training under William Rand and has since taught over 200 Reiki classes to more than 1,000 students. Inner Peace Reiki is a product of his love and commitment to sharing this energy work with the Missoula community and beyond, encouraging people to consider Reiki as a healing practice. 

There are so many times in life, perhaps years for some of us, where our bodies and minds are not aligned. Our worlds are fast-paced and we have learned to come up for air accordingly to survive, not thrive. Reiki is a practice that allows the body and mind to unite and regain its strength, therefore allowing us to better face the challenges before us with pure, peaceful energy. 

Our ability to thrive begins with our recognition of what lies within our very selves—structure, pleasure, self-worth, love, willpower, intuition, inspiration. Our seven chakras (spinning wheels of life force), when awakened by the practice of Reiki, remind us of the tools only we possess. 

A few months ago, after completing my first Inner Peace Reiki class, I participated in my first exchange where I was no longer the sole recipient of Reiki healing. Giving a reiki session felt like a familiar practice, similar to the landing of love when we pat a friend’s back or hug someone we’ve missed. For those fleeting moments, we are present in healing. 

Before I end my first session in practice of what I’ve learned through Inner Peace Reiki, I pick up the wrist of my recipient and hold it the gentle way the cardiologist once did for me, several years ago. I don’t feel for a pulse but I linger to let them know that they’re alive, despite everything.



Find Healing in Reiki

Inner Peace Reiki

210 N. Higgins Ave. Suite 210