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An introduction to energy healing at Seattle's Ignited Soul

Right off Aurora Avenue near the Woodland Park Zoo, Mary Ann Stancel has created an oasis of tranquility on the third floor of an ActivSpace building. Within this compact haven of calm (think white and beige tones, dream catchers, flickering candles, both real and fake), we were lucky enough to enjoy a session with Ignited Soul, the business that Stancel describes as a "modern approach to energy healing."

Though what happens in each session is a sacred, individual experience, and we can only speak to our own personal takeaway, we can share that we left feeling relaxed, content and as though we were floating throughout the remainder of the afternoon. We recently spoke with Stancel about her passion to create spaces that "help people heal themselves and live in their truth."

Today, she provides energy healing through modalities like reiki, light language oracle cards, earth energy, guided meditation, breathwork, crystal, sound bowls and mindfulness.

Stancel's path took her from working in Western medicine as a nurse to her current role, and she appreciates merging both worlds. (She's still a part-time nurse.)

"Finding myself in energy healing was a natural and gradual process," she says. "Since I was little, I've always been attracted and attuned to energy; it took a few turns in my own personal journey to allow for things to unfold as it did. From personal growths, breakthroughs, breakups, life transitions, these all played a part in this." One thing she always knew: She has a deep desire to help people.

"Alternative ways to treat the mind, body and soul wasn't completely new to me coming from my Korean heritage," she adds.

Stancel began by reading self-help books, which then led to New Age 'spiritual' books. When she completed her 200-hour yoga training in 2016, something shifted; she realized was seeking more ways to not only calm her body but also her mind and spirit.

"The more I found ways to connect within and find those moments of stillness or create morning rituals," she says, "my anxiety went way down. I no longer had pain in my heart. Crystals started to make its way in my home, and clearing my spaces started to occur more."

Around 2019, a friend shared her experience of receiving a reiki attunement; Stancel quickly knew she wanted to try this, too.

"Everything started to click more for me in terms of connecting to energy," she says. "I slowly began to practice reiki on others, became a reiki master and continued to find continuing education around energy healing, subconscious work and more. And my mission of supporting others to reclaim their power, voice, heart and learning how to hear their own soul and intuition arose from my own personal experiences."

First though, Stancel had to work on releasing the fear of judgment from others before she could offer this service to others.

When the pandemic hit and rocked Stancel's world, she was healing through a breakup and spent time diving deep within.

"Like with many others, I realized I wanted more in life and what was I really doing with it," she says. "So I asked myself, 'Why am I holding back this part of me?' That is when I started to break free a little bit. I was offering oracle card readings, then meditations, then to officially opening Ignited Soul, and seeing clients. I started off by focusing on primarily offering reiki sessions. And the more I evolved as an energetic being, the more my sessions evolved, too. Now I speak of energy healing, which not only encompasses reiki, but flowing universal healing energy from a variety of ways."

For someone who has never experienced any type of energy healing before, Stancel advises arriving with no expectations.

"That allows for your ego part of you to let go and for you to truly experience what you are deeply desiring to at that time," she says. Some people come with a specific need; others don't. "Either way, it doesn't matter, as the energy will flow to heal," she says. "I would let you know that I will be channeling universal healing energy and you will be relaxed."

During the session, clients lie on a heated massage table, preferably wearing loose-fitting clothing. Stancel also suggests showing up free of drugs and alcohol, so that one's energy will be the clearest.

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Stancel then guides clients through deep, hypnotic-like meditation.

"Throughout this time, I'll be sending universal energy healing (which most people are familiar with reiki)," she explains, "but involves quite a bit of other energy healing allies and flows. You might feel pressure on your skin as I'll be placing crystals primarily on certain chakra points as the crystals are being called. I also ask if I can place my hands on you to send the healing energy as well. The whole session is non-invasive."

Stancel doesn't script anything; intuitive message will be spoken (or not) and woven into the meditation.

"I am using my voice to create a container of healing as I hold this space," she says. "This time is a co-creation, as I am the space holder channeling information and healing, and the client is also doing some healing work as well."

She also brings bowls, chimes and an ocean drum to the session, which could get called to be played on the body — usually around a chakra point or energy center. At the end, she opens the time for any necessary dialogue and perhaps to pull cards, too.

Post-session, individuals are encouraged to drink water, take it easy and eat grounding foods like nuts or anything grown in the ground. They can even hug a tree or touch the grass before getting in the car.

She adds, "You might go to the bathroom a lot more, feel tired or feel like you need to release more or more things come up, which is all a sign that your body is in the process of rebalancing as you leave on a higher vibrational state of being than when you came in. Taking it easy is helpful."

"The most rewarding part of what I do is to support and hold space for individuals and groups," Stancel says. "To witness the energetic, vibrational and frequency shifts that occur during a session is an honor. I say it is an honor because a client is opening up to me along with a session can bring up a lot, and it can be a vulnerable place. At the end of a session or group session, giving my gratitude to the spirit guides, Mother Earth, Creator, angels, the loving energies that I work with, and also the clients, too. I'm channeling so it isn't me physically doing the work here; it is everyone, the client, too, is doing the work as well and the non-physical support."

The most challenging part of this role? Wanting to spend more time with each individual, as Stancel loves what she does. She feels this work is really important because an individual's energetic health is key to their survival.

"To name a few things, our cells run energy, positive and negative electrons and certain vibrational frequencies affect our overall being," she explains. "For far too long, many have disregarded their own energetic footprint. And especially now, many individuals are facing more mental health issues or other ailments or making huge life shifts or starting to be more curious about meditation, energy and more. So providing a different avenue for people to receive healing is a wonderful thing. Energy healing is wonderful as it supports the entire self."

"I do believe that what is happening to us within our bodies is correlated to what is happening in our life," she comments. "And people end up not exploring the feelings or emotions underneath what is going on."

Holistic health has been around for ages, Stancel reminds us; it just took the pandemic for people to realize that this is an avenue to explore.

"It gave many opportunities for people to explore beyond what they would normally rely on," she says. "And with that, it opened the doors for people to expand their own understanding of self, of energy, of life."

Stancel's biggest hope is that she can support someone in healing the wounds of the past to present, to help them find the connection within their soul space, to ease the noise in their head and find peace in their hearts.

"And most importantly," she says, "for people to recognize that they matter, they are able to reclaim their heart, voice and power back, and energetically heal themselves, too."

Having been in situations in the past where she felt lost herself, Stancel now wants to support others in knowing that they matter and that they, too, are strong individuals.

Stancel's favorite way to spend a Seattle day is to be outside near water, if possible.

"As I've grown, being out in nature with Mother Earth gives me a lot, and I'm able to give a lot back to her as well," she says. "Whether it be sitting, reading, listening, singing, dancing, running, laughing or hugging a tree. So much can be experienced outside. It's simple, grounding, non-judgemental, open and brings a lot of peace and quiet moments into my life. And my dog loves it, too!"

Learn more about Mary Ann Stancel's Ignited Soul here.

Corinne Whiting is a freelance writer for Seattle Refined. Follow her work and adventures here.