Healing Manicures: They’re a Thing, and This Is What Happens During One

y interest in New Age-y healing treatments has increased exponentially in the past few years, mostly due to more exposure (perks of the job!) and my own curiosity. My nightstand is adorned with crystals, I “smudged” (as in, used a bundle of sage to clear energy in) my new apartment this week, and have laid in a bed while a spiritual healer helped me get in touch with my inner self. This all goes to say that when I found out manicurist Tracylee Percival was offering reiki manicures to promote healing, I knew I had to get one myself.

Percival counts celebs such as Danai Gurira, Olivia Munn and Hailey Baldwin as clients, so I knew I was in good hands (literally).

In case you’ve never heard of reiki, it’s actually not an onomatopoeia for a cricket’s chirping as one might assume, but instead an ancient Japanese energy healing technique that involves the transfer of qi (or chi) through a practitioner’s palms, either through touching directly or moving the hands right above the skin. It’s been around for centuries, but is definitely having a moment in the wellness world lately as more people (like yours truly) seek out less invasive ways to heal their body and mind.

(If you’re intrigued, you can get the full run-down on what reiki is and how it works here.) As with all most alternative methods of healing, there are skeptics. But those who received reiki on a regular basis report some really amazing benefits, from the lessening of physical pain, anxiety, and even depression, to better and more restful sleep. 

“I’ve had many clients tell me they felt calmed after they received a manicure from me,” Percival explains. “Then, I met a healer who said she felt a lightning bolt go through her when we first hugged.” The healer told Percival that she thought this was an indicator that she had the gift of healing. Percival took this to heart and signed up for a reiki class at Brooklyn’s healing center Maja Rose, received the gift from a healer who had traveled all the way from India, and started offering it as an add-on for her regular manicure clients.

After all, what better way to administer healing than when you’re already up-close-and-personal in someone’s space? The story might illicit a slight eye roll to the dubious of heart, but having met with Percival a few times now, I can fully attest to her soothing presence—there’s definitely something about her demeanor that feels especially calming.