Healing the community through practice


Christopher Tellez is a female-to-male transgender individual who is in the business of healing, opening his own Reiki practice.

Reiki is an “ancient Buddhist technique, which activates the natural healing processes, detoxifying the body of both physical and emotional blockages while bringing about deep relaxation and calmness,” Tellez told 429Magazine in an interview. 

After struggling with the death of his mother, Tellez turned to his close friend and “spiritual mentor,” Brian Brunius, who is a Reiki practitioner in New York. Tellez, in addition to grieving, was also struggling with a high-stress job and some health issues. It was a tumultuous time in his life when he received his first Reiki therapy. 

“My first Reiki session was life changing. I did not realize how stressed I was until after the session where I experienced a level of deep calmness and peace,” Tellez said. 

Tellez had been living in New York and been in the social work business for over a decade, with no intention of straying from his career path. However, after his move back to the Bay Area, Tellez, found that his Reiki practice wasn’t just a passing trend. 

Under the guidance of his mentor, Tellez, opened his own Reiki practice, SF REIKI CENTER. Tellez explained that people come in to practice Reiki for various reasons, to reduce stress, to rest, to heal, to revive and rejuvenate health, to experience their emotions, and to “connect with something higher than themselves.”

“…You must experience it for yourself to truly understand how ill health, emotional turmoil and mental concerns will change as a result of receiving Reiki regularly,” Tellez said. 

In addition to owning his own Reiki practice, Tellez is the founder of the Bay Area Health Collective, which is a group of small businesses focused on healing. Practices include Reiki, massage, sounds healing, acupuncture, life coaching, fitness, nutrition, flower essence therapy, and western clinical herbalism. 

“Our mission is to build, sustain, and promote health and wellness within the LGBTQI and Ally communities by providing affordable holistic health services,” said Tellez. 

The collective has started as a pop-up clinic, available for services every 2nd Wednesday of each month at the SF LGBT Community Center. 

“The pop-up clinic is a microcosm of a macro goal” which is to provide a “…healing center for the LGBTQI community” explained Tellez. 

As for being a transgender male, Tellez said, “Being transgender influences how I experience life and how I interact in the world. I grew up being bullied around my gender…I did not understand that I was transgender until adulthood so most of my life I experienced life in a women’s body, with all the social and cultural norms placed on women even though I felt male…and this influences how I interact in the world.”

In regards to opening his business, Tellez says he didn’t have any major roadblocks as a result of his gender identity. 

There are available resources for LGBT entrepreneurs like Tellez. For example, the SF LGBT Community Center, which helped him to succeed. 

“The SF LGBT Center has been amazing. We are so happy with our partnership with them. The Center has provided us with space and promotion since the very start,” Tellez said. “[The Center] has amazing small business services.”

Services include business counseling, which offers an opportunity to test out a business idea and to meet with a specialist to help map out a plan of action. The Center also provides a program called “Small Business Lending Circles” which is tool used for new entrepreneurs to gain access to concrete financial stability. These are just a few, among many, resources the SF LGBT Community Center has to offer. 

“I lived in NYC and now San Francisco. Both cities have amazing resources for our LGBTQI community and I have utilized them throughout my physical transition as well as for my business,” said Tellez. 

“Mostly, we all feel very fortunate to be part of this community and to operate our own small businesses, and we all want to give back to our community.”


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