An "awakening" nearly three years ago freed Kim Wuirch of a troubled childhood rife with trauma.
"I was finally able to let go of unforgiveness. I was able to be happy and to be comfortable in my own skin," said Wuirch, 39, a municipal IT account analyst in near Calgary, Alberta who has been on a spiritual journey since.
She has become an empath and reiki master, and will bring her healing practices to the Marcy Casino from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday during the sixth annual Holistic Health Expo of Western New York. She will perform reiki on visitors for $40 and sell copies of her new book, "Waking up an Empath."
Massage therapists, essential oil specialists, life coaches, doulas and natural pet care experts also will be part of the mix.
Q. What is an empath and how does somebody become one?
You're born an empath. You've probably heard of a "highly sensitive person," an HSP. They're basically an HSP on steroids, highly sensitive people times 100. ... We read peoples' emotions. We feel them. Experience them. We may feel people's physical symptoms as well.
Q. You say in a recent blog post that Hollywood has the nature of psychics all wrong and that psychics “cannot predict a guaranteed future.” What can they do?
They can pick up on things. What a lot of psychics and empaths do is read energy. … Some people can see the future but that gets complicated in the fact that there are thousands of possible paths and I'm only going to pick up on the path you've chosen at this minute. So I never give any potential future advice because it's not consistent. It may come true, it may not. … You have free will. Your choices are unlimited.
Q. You write that you see angels. What do they tend to look like?
Mostly just blends of color. They don't really have a form. I know the depiction of them has always been very human, with wings, but they're not human and they don't have wings. But to draw a blob isn't very interesting to most people, so I understand artist renderings.
Q. How do you conduct Usui and Karuna reiki?
When somebody sits down and wants me to do healing work on them, I come close to them with my hands, without touching them, and channel energy into them. I can scan their body and feel where there's disruption in the body and then focus the energy to break up or to clear those disruptions, heal those disruptions.
Q. Do you consider reiki more a spiritual or physical healing?
It's spiritual healing but spiritual healing can heal you on a physical level.
Q. What kinds of things can reiki address?
Depending on how strong the healer is, the best they can do when they first start is a fair bit of healing on emotional, mental, spiritual stuff.
Q. Can you give me some examples?
Maybe somebody lost a parent at a young age, or a sibling, and it still affects them. That pain is very difficult to cope with. It doesn't necessarily go away for everybody. If they are ready for that to be healed, that is something a reiki healer can help them work on. Physical is probably the hardest. ... When you've increased your ability and are able to focus your energy really well, it is possible to heal people of (some) physical ailments.
Q. I wonder if it's a placebo effect that comes in.
I asked that in the beginning, too. After a while, I came to the conclusion that even if it is the placebo effect, they're better anyway, so it doesn't matter how they got there – as long as there were results.
Q. Has this spirituality driven you to a particular religion after being an atheist all these years?
I'm clearly not an atheist anymore. It's hard to believe in angels and be an atheist. But I have not gone beyond that to any particular religion.
Q. Is God at the center of this?
Everybody has a different name for it, but I would say yes. People who are nervous about religion call it "Source." People who are religious call it "God." There's so many different terms, but certainly that's who the archangels work for, however you apply it.
Q. What would you like to say to people who think empathic channeling and reiki is bunk – including some who will email me after they read this story and tell me there is no place for this for a reporter focused on health, fitness, nutrition and family life?
If they do, that's fine. It's not meant for them. It's not for everybody and that's OK. But those who it is for should take advantage of everything available to them.
Twitter: @BNrefresh, @ScottBScanlon