I Tried a Reiki Blowout and It Changed My Hair (and Maybe Life)
We’re always trying to save time but also be mindful of the present moment (or at least avoid F-bombing drivers on the freeway). So when I heard about an odd-sounding reiki blowout treatment—in which a Santa Monica hairstylist and healer performs hands-off energy balancing using crystal combs, essential oils and, um, a tuning fork—I thought at least I’ll look presentable when it’s over.
I turned up at stylist Andi Scarbrough’s new HQ—a tidy white bungalow she calls CrownWorks—and was immediately surprised at the cute styling that wasn’t at all witchy, goth or (heaven help us) hippie tie-dye. After she greeted me and sat me in a chair facing a mirror, she asked how I usually like to wear my hair and what concerns I have. I held up a lank, fried-looking strand:“Well, it needs conditioning, obvi. It’s pretty dried out.”
Next, she asked what my spiritual practice was, and what brought me to see her. Basically, what was my current psychological and psychic state?
“Um, well, I’ve been experiencing a lot of loss and grief,” I said, going into a family member’s recent death after an extended illness. Her eyes widened and she nodded softly, murmuring her sympathies. “It’s fitting you should say that, because dry hair corresponds to the heart chakra. I was mixing some essential oils earlier that support just that.”
Then she had me pull some cards from a divination deck—a stack of cards you use somewhat like a tarot but with additional symbols. When I pulled the cards Slave, Vampire and Alchemist in that order, we agreed: My family illness had kept me in captivity, so to speak; I feel my present energy being drained by certain people and situations; and, happy day, in my future I’ll be able to turn these tough times into a golden opportunity, like the alchemist magically turns lead into gold.
The Crystal Combs
Scarbrough then had me choose a stone from a small circle. I shut my eyes and tried to feel which one was pulling me before settling on one. I opened my eyes and recognized intense green malachite, which she explained was a stone of abundance (yay, a money stone, I thought, maybe greedily) and healing, and it corresponds to the throat and heart chakras. (This was sort of getting spooky, with all the stuff for my broken heart.)
Next, she directed me to a shiny lineup of multicolored combs laid out on her massage table and asked me to choose two. Again, I closed my eyes and felt my left palm tugging me toward a clear crystal comb and my right toward a dark gray-green comb flecked with silver bits called galaxite. Scarbrough had me place a few drops of a fresh sage-scented oil in my hands and inhale, and she asked me to close my eyes as she gently used the combs—whose active properties are energy amplification and stress relief—to rake across my scalp, moving slowly down through my shoulder-length hair. As I closed my eyes, I saw colors, first a blue smear, then a violet circle, followed by yellow and orange halos around my field of vision. Even though the images were way more “time to call a mental health professional” than “chill massage vibe,” I went with it, and after 15 minutes, I felt like I’d had some sort of intense nap.
The Reiki and Blow-Dry
For another 45 minutes or so, I reclined on a massage table while Scarbrough did reiki—basically, a hands-off massage where she motions her hands a few inches above sections of your body. In her treatment, she had me lie down with an eye shade; I heard her tap tuning forks before she held them to my chest area and knees, briefly, to clear energy blockages. Writing this now, I realize it sounds completely woo-woo, but as I lay there, I felt more hopeful and, yes, clearheaded, than I had in weeks. (And I only thought once or twice that I could be stabbed in a Satanic sacrifice right now and no one would know.)
After a shampoo and condition, Scarbrough sat me back in the chair—yikes, had it been an hour already?—and gave me a gorgeous blowout with a round brush. Afterward, what a revelation: I felt like I’d had a full-body massage, but I wasn’t walking out of a spa with wet hair and oily skin. I looked good. Scarbrough and I thanked each other, and I floated to my car…before I realized I was still clutching my malachite. And, best takeaway ever, the sort of glowy feeling I had (and hope for a heart-sized Band-Aid) lasted longer than the week I enjoyed my blown-out waves.