For many in the Western world, Reiki is still somewhat unknown, but for some, it might be just they answer they are looking for. Advocates of alternative medicine often suggest Reiki to aid in healing or to reduce symptoms. Reiki has gained a lot of acceptance in the West, but, it’s even a relatively new technique to many holistic health practitioners.
What is Reiki?
Buddhist teacher Mikao Usui developed the practice in Japan in 1922. Reiki is an alternative therapy practice that utilizes the “qi,” the name for the “life force.” Reiki assumes the existence of this life force, and practitioners claim to use it, with the direction of their hands and thoughts, to heal disorders.
Practitioners also focus on the “Chakras” to resolve physical and emotional issues. Chakras are the hubs of energies in the body. Practitioners say Chakras sit in the spiritual body, rather than the physical body. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism all touch on the concept of the Chakras.
What is Reiki Healing?
Many practitioners say that their Reiki therapy heals by channeling the qi force to the patient through various Chakras. This clears up negative energies (emotions, traumas, conflicts) in the chakras that align with the various area of the patient’s life. Subsequently, this clearing allows the movement of qi energy that is then free to resolve reflected physical issues.
Because claims for the efficacy of this treatment are often limited to personal anecdotes and observations, Reiki has not been completely accepted by the medical community. This is the case for most forms of energy medicine.
On the other hand, like other forms of faith healing, patients find them helpful and comforting. It seems that as long as the standard medical protocol is being followed, there no reason to discontinue energy medicine or faith-based healing practices.
What is a Reiki Massage?
Many alternative medicine practitioners use the term “Reiki massage” to separate it from therapeutic, hands-on massage. Reiki isn’t a form of massage, however, some massage therapists use the techniques as part of their scope of services.
Are there Any Reiki Benefits?
Reiki is a form of energy healing. It’s not based in Christianity, but some call it “faith healing.” Reiki, like prayer, is a highly personal experience.
Reiki benefits for patients
Reiki practice has even been accepted in a number of U.S. hospitals. But it’s worth noting that many hospitals also have in-house chapels for Judeo-Christian worship and a resource list of other denominations of clergy that provide comfort and counseling to patients and their families. Like any religious or spiritual practice, each personal experience is unique to the individual.
It’s possible that Reiki’s benefits come from the placebo effect, but that doesn’t mean that the outcomes aren’t real. The human mind/body connection is still very much a mystery to modern medicine.
Reiki benefits for healthcare professionals
Interestingly enough, training in Reiki and other alternative medicine techniques increases the health providers level of care. A 2017 study showed that training in integrative therapies gave health care workers more confidence, more compassion, and helped them become more engaged with their work.
Classes in “Compassionate Touch” were shown to result in improvements for long-term care dementia patients and their caregivers.
Another study published in 2017 showed that nursing students reported less stress and better concentration after learning energy-based self-care techniques. They become more productive, had less pain, had more energy, and even fewer personal relationship conflicts after learning how to self-treat with energy Therapeutic Touch techniques.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Reiki
According to the majority of health professionals, there is really only one disadvantage to Reiki treatment. As with any other unproven treatments, it should be just one tool in an arsenal of healing techniques and treatments.
Any treatment that provides comfort to patients and helps them reduce stress can be a beneficial part of a comprehensive pain management program. Relaxed, happy patients have better outcomes, after all.
Reiki can be expensive. One session can cost up to $100, and your practitioner might recommend weekly treatments. Turn to Reiki only if you can afford it and if you are using it as part of an overall, medically supervised, treatment plan.
What Health Conditions are Suitable for Reiki Treatment
It may assist chronic pain patients
Reiki treatments may help with chronic pain conditions. Most patients find it to be a relaxing procedure, which can help back pain. Reiki can help put you more in touch with your body, which might help you control your body’s responses to physical and emotional stress, and even help you control your pain levels.
Similarly, relaxation and body mindfulness can ease migraine headaches and can teach patients how to navigate situations that might trigger migraines.
It may assist patients with health conditions exacerbated by stress
Researchers have also looked into treating psoriasis with Reiki. Dermatologist Dr. Neil Korman began a test project in 2010. His wife is a Reiki practitioner, and Korman decided to test if it could reduce the stress that triggers the skin condition. Korman told Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Brie Zeitner:
“Psoriasis is a disease where patients have a lot of stress, and stress can play a role in worsening their disease. This is a technique that seems to be able to reduce stress, is relatively simple and not too complicated to learn how to do.”
Reiki could benefit chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia patients by providing the relaxation to alleviate stress and for deeper sleep. People looking to lose weight sometimes turn to Reiki to help them overcome stress eating. Reiki can even help with post-workout recovery.
If you suffer from a condition that’s made worse by stress, and you can afford it, by all means, try Reiki. Like many alternative health methods, your mileage may vary. Patients should never expect Reiki to resolve acute or emergent health issues. However, it can be helpful in long-term chronic health conditions.
Featured Image: CC0 Creative Commons by rhythmuswege via Pixabay