REIKI: A Stress Buster
Spring is approaching and April is National Stress Awareness Month! Simply defined, stress is the result of our reactions to the events in our life, welcome or unwelcome. Healthfinder.gov reports that stress not only affects our minds but can affect our physical bodies on a cellular level and long term stress can lead to serious health conditions. The emotions of anxiousness, fearfulness, worry, irritableness, edginess, and/ or distractibility are some ways stress affects our mind. Our sympathetic nervous system is activated when we experience stress and in an emergency situation this is very positive. This fight or flight response has kept humankind alive through the centuries as dangers presented themselves. However, it can be problematic to have this innate encoding on guard all the time, every day, taxing our physical bodies. Web MD reports that 43% of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress and that 75%-90% of all doctor visits are stress-related. Some common physical symptoms of stress include headaches; high blood pressure; constipation or diarrhea; back ache; sleep problems; depression; fatigue and /or stomach problems.
What can be done to cope with the stresses of living? Solutions of meditation, eating well, regular exercise, enjoyable leisure time activities, building positive personal and professional relationships, developing a sense of optimism, setting realistic goals for yourself and learning not to worry about what you can’t control are all worthwhile endeavors. The benefits of incorporating these behaviors suggested from the www.hhs.gov site pay off as you start feeling better.
In addition to those ideas, I have another suggestion for you. There is another tool to keep the negative effects of stress at bay. Have you considered Reiki Therapy as part of your own wellness plan? Web MD states, “Some health professionals believe it (Reiki) may be useful in helping reduce stress and anxiety.” It goes on to say, “Reiki is used to decrease pain, ease muscle tension, speed healing and improve sleep.”
Never heard of Reiki before? Maybe you have heard of Reiki but your understanding is a bit fuzzy? Let me explain Reiki to you. Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is gentle energy used to heal harmonize and balance the body, mind and spirit, activating the body’s own self-healing. Reiki relaxes the body and mind in the same way as meditation. A Reiki session may be done in person or a session may be received remotely. If done in person, the session lasts about an hour. It may be a shorter time frame if done remotely. Reiki can be done hands on the fully clothed client or hands near the fully clothed client; however belts, watches and shoes are usually removed. The client lies on a massage table and soft music may be playing in the background. (Sometimes a massage chair may be used instead of a table.)
During a Reiki session, the Reiki practitioner starts at the head then moves their hands down along the client’s body. Reiki hand positions focus on seven major chakra locations. Chakra is a Sanskrit word meaning energy center. These energy centers are near glands and organs in the body. The Reiki recipient often feels warmth from the practitioner’s hands. The breath slows down. Peace and relaxation take over. Reiki puts your parasympathetic nervous system in control. The Veterans Administration website states: “People who receive Reiki often have positive experiences,” and “Most recipients of Reiki report a peaceful sense of relaxation and some have reported reduction in pain, anxiety, fear and anger.” I have had clients even go to sleep while receiving their session! After receiving a Reiki session, one feels restored, energized and empowered. Concerns and stresses that seemed daunting before your session, now feel manageable. When we are in balance, we can think clearly and solutions to challenges appear. You feel renewed and ready to tackle your life again. Doesn’t that sound wonderfully inviting?
If you decide to employ Reiki energy as wellness tool for yourself, there are two options. You may decide to find a Reiki practitioner and schedule appointments at regular intervals, as you do for other preventive wellness measures, such as seeing a chiropractor, getting a massage, and regular dental check-ups, to mention a few. Regular Reiki sessions will work in your favor to keep any long term effects of stress away. Your second option is to learn Reiki for yourself. In a Reiki 1 class, in addition to learning the history and the principles, you learn how to access Reiki energy and the hand positions for self-care. With Reiki energy available at your fingertips, daily Reiki is now a possibility, and is actually recommended. Reiki isn’t just for adults, either, as there are classes for children also. You will find your pets and plants like Reiki, too!
Do you have a medical diagnosis? If so, Reiki can help you, too. Reiki is considered a complementary and alternative practice and may be used to support any medical treatment/procedure/medication one is undergoing. Reiki should never be used in place of traditional medicine. Always let your medical team know everything you are doing for your self-care. Reiki works beautifully with other treatment modalities. I know from personal experience this is true. A family member of mine diagnosed with cancer endured the chemotherapy and radiation protocol, and also received Reiki from me (with his oncologist’s blessing). He found the Reiki diminished his pain and helped him relax and get beneficial rest. During the 100+ hours I volunteered doing Reiki at George Washington University Hospital in downtown Washington, D.C. In 2014, I witnessed how the gentle, warm, and light touch of Reiki brought comfort to many patients, family members and hospital staff. Although Reiki was unknown to many before this experience, once they had experienced it, they unhesitatingly requested another session, as they knew firsthand how much better they would feel. Some of the patients I shared Reiki with were so enthusiastic from the experience; they expressed interest in learning to do it for themselves.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) states Reiki has not been well studied scientifically; however, no serious side effects have been reported. Antidotal stories of how Reiki has helped, shared one person at time, have contributed to the growth of Reiki. Our personal experiences are our best guide if something is right for us. Reiki is an effective tool to manage stress. It simply helps us feel better. But don’t just take my word for it. On January 9, 2010, the television show, “The Doctors” had Pamela Miles on as a guest. Pamela Miles, from New York City, is a well-known Reiki author and Reiki expert. During the segment, Pamela gave a Reiki demonstration. A woman reporting a headache felt better as the Reiki energy was given to her head. In the closing segment that day of Oz’s Orders, Dr. Mehmet Oz said, “….Try Reiki. “
What are you waiting for? Discover the many benefits of Reiki for yourself.
Susan S. Kane. M. Ed. is a Reiki Master Teacher, Integrated Energy Therapy® Instructor, and a Clinical Hypnotherapist. She taught elementary school for 30+ years before devoting herself full time to these practices. Susan currently offers her services at Meadow Wind in Falmouth and The Center for Healing Arts and Therapy in Norway. You may contact her at 207-576-3681 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment or register for a class.