Does Reiki Work? Discover NYC’s Alternative Way To De-Stress

"Anxiety, anger, heartbreak," says reiki master Gianantonio Corna. "These are the top reasons New Yorkers come to me." 

As New York’s leading reiki master at his Reiki Vitae studio, Gianantonio taps into what he calls "the universal wifi" – that vital energy around us – transferring this energy to his 100+ clients with the slight touch of his hands. The technique: reiki,  a 90-year-old Japanese practice known to cure such physical ailments as headaches, back pain, and digestive problems with its supposed ability to detoxify the body and mind. 

"Imagine your desktop screen, full of all these folders you don’t look at anymore," Gianantonio says. "Through reiki, the energy scans your body and mind: clearing it, cleansing it, and releasing it from its usual patterns."

Known for his 5-star reviews and ebullient spirit, Gianantonio – who began his practice 13 years ago in his hometown of Italy – has watched reiki transform his NY clients in three sessions, and even as immediate as their first. Since seeing him, many of his clients have stopped taking Advil and other painkillers, and Gianantonio himself hasn’t taken any medication in over 10 years.

The practice is simple: through meditation, the reiki master channels energy through him, transferring it via the light placement of his hands on various stress points of the client’s body, and the client experiencing the results.

And results are what we’re after: actual physical healing, and that sense of peace and lightning of spirit that usually accompanies a far-too-expensive vacation away or a spa massage at its best

So when I walked into the Vitae studio to meet with Gianantonio, I entered with high expectations – and high skepticism too. Where does this energy come from? Can it even be transferred? How can my ailments be lessened by simply energy and not high doses of medication?

Within minutes, I found myself on the massage bed, being asked to "bring my attention to to the tip of the nose," all while sinking into the music of waves and seagulls overhead. 

And then slowly, after placing his hands lightly on the tip of my head, I felt a warm prickling sensation, like currents, across my body. Like someone had attached a charger to my back (very Matrix) and simply plugged me in.

The feeling stopped and started – mostly depending on my concentration: if I was focusing on my body, or my lunch order of either spicy tuna or miso soup. After the 60-minute session, I sat up and looked at Giantanonio in a nearly-cataonic state: completely blissed out in my world of seashells and sailboats and electric.

And that’s when the best part came: post-session, the reiki master sits down with you and tells you what he felt – what kind of energy he sensed upon your body (mine was "wind"), and the fairly-specific circumstances that could have caused the ailments, and how you can set out to cure them. 

I walked out with a customized list of foods to avoid or devour, and the simple instructions to spend time with good friends more  and stay active outside. Simple, right? It sounds even simpler and jollier in Gianantonio’s Italian accent.

And believe it or not – I really did feel a difference. After a good week of living this way, I actually went back and did another session, and since then the turnaround in my attitude and ailments keeps getting better – to the point where I’ve nearly forgotten what hurt at all.

Sure, sure, it could have been the effects of all the consecutive happy hours and taco dinners with my work buddies – or simply pure, clean energy at work. You decide.

Check out Reiki Vitae, & follow Bonnie on Twitter here

New York Opening: Antica Pesa Williamsburg

In many ways, Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood is not unlike Williamsburg, a former working-class neighborhood eventually overrun with hipsters. So it’s only appopriate that Antica Pesa, the restaurant that’s been open in Trastevere since 1922, opens up in America, Brooklyn, NY, right in Williamsburg. The name: Antica Pesa Williamsburg. Very fitting.

And just like the original, the new restaurant is a cozy, rustic space (designed by Brooklyn’s BArC), complete with a working fireplace, and serving elegant and simple Roman classics (Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe, Tortellini Di Manzo, Baccala Alla Romana). The Trastevere Antica Pesa counts celebs like Colin Farrell and Matt Damon amongst its fans–so expect a Fellini-esque buzz on Berry Street.

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Just Hours Away: Asellina’s All-You-Can-Eat Gelato Bar

When an Italian restaurant announces that they’re offering a one-night-only all-you-can-eat gelato bar in the midst of scorching summer, it’s a little bit like hearing a fresh-water lake is “just up ahead” after walking through the desert for five nights with only a Crunch Bar and a packet of miso soup. But then, when we hear that Asellina’s unlimited-gelato-and-toppings bar is TONIGHT (yes, in SEVERAL HOURS), well, the feeling is just – wow, did our birthday/Thanksgiving/ the season 5, part 2 premiere of Breaking Bad just arrive on the same day? Here’s the when/where/ and flavors lowdown you’ll need for tonight.

WHERE: In the Taverna, Asellina’s back bar.

WHAT: Lots of gelato, toppings, espresso, and affogato.

WHEN: Tonight, August 8th, 6pm-8pm.

HOW MUCH MOOLAH: $10 per person for unlimited gelato and toppings.

PROSPECTIVE FLAVORS: Stracciatella, chocolate, hazelnut, passion fruit, blood orange, & more.

PROSPECTIVE TOPPINGS: Crumbled biscotti, nuts and fresh fruit, drenched in espresso and cappuccino.

ADVICE: Call Asellina and book a reservation. Go. Eat too much. It’s worth it.

London Opening: Banca

Mayfair buzz continues apace with Banca, the glamorous new eatery from Zuma’s Peter and Arjun Waney and Il Baretto’s Giuliano Lotto.

No culinary cleverness here, just rapturously rich classic Northern Italian cuisine in an appropriately fashiony, Italian-esque setting: sleek black and white marble flooring, gorgeous nouveau-deco chandeliers, luxurious leather booths, and original details from its former life as a swank bank building (thus the name). For those not seeking the full indulgence, there’s an aperitivi menu at the bar. A private downstairs dining area is on the way. 

Los Angeles Opening: Osteria Drago

The Sunset Strip is the last place you’d expect to find a beachy Italian spot with bleached white walls and an intimate front porch, but maybe that was chef and owner Celestino Drago’s intention for opening Osteria Drago, August 1st. If you weren’t paying attention this past winter, Drago Santa Monica closed just after celebrating its 20th anniversary, leaving the area with just one or two fine-dining spots left on the coast. We’re looking at you, Michael’s.

With Osteria Drago, the chef has gone casual with small plates, offering a limited menu of regional and traditional Italian cuisine with a contemporary twist. We’re talking sea urchin panna cotta, squid ink spaghetti, and spinach lasagna with prosciutto and reggiano. The place is perfect for private parties, or for fooling yourself you’re on the Italian coastline.

New York Opening: Segafredo Zanetti Espresso Cafe

The runaway success of Eataly has only confirmed that NYC Italo-mania knows no possible bounds. Fittingly then, the legendary espresso bar Segafredo Zanetti has now finally made its way across the Atlantic to NYC, courtesy of Bari and Amrinder Kang.

Adopting the brand’s flashy, mod interiors (this time by Antonio di Oronzo, known for his design of the Greenhouse nightclub), the sexy all-day and late-night cafe will proffer speciality espresso creations and cocktails, as well as casual modern Italian cuisine. Best of all, unlike back in the home country, you won’t get dirty looks if you order a cappuccino after lunch.

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Three Italian Newcomers Hit The Big Apple

The pizzeria. The trattoria. The ristorante. In New York, there’s no shortage of Italian cuisine, which forces these restaurants to do something different to stand out from the pack. Newcomers Pranzo, Fratelli La Bufala, and Rafele are out to one-up the competition with authentic Italian recipes and original cooking methods.

Eataly’s lunch-only Pranzo is freshly open in chef Lidia Bastianich’s la scuola di Eataly classroom. The changing prix-fixe menu offers a gamut of regional Italian cuisines. An open kitchen lets you watch Lidia herself make at least one of the dishes, Food Network-style.
The international Fratelli La Bufala chain is an authentic Italian institution that has finally come to NYC. They specialize in personal-sized pizzas featuring Mozzarella di Bufala Campana cheese. The Irpina pie gets earthy with additions of ham, mushrooms, and bufala cream.
Named after chef/owner Raffaele Ronca, the West Village’s Rafele serves Neapolitan fare with an emphasis on local ingredients. The imported wood-burning brick oven and rotisserie pump out specialties, like porchetta and stuffed quail. The wood is tweaked with various liquors – another way of layering in flavor beyond New York’s Italian every day.