What is Reiki?
Reiki is an ancient form of hands on energy healing. Reiki is derived from the Japanese words ‘Rei’ meaning universal and ‘Ki’ meaning energy. A practitioner uses universal energy to re-balance and realign the body’s energy. Reiki is commonly used to treat and soothe physical, mental and emotional pain. Reiki has gained recent publicity thanks to Dr. Oz. He publicly advocates the use of Reiki in a variety of settings. He and his wife are both Reiki attuned and speak about it openly on his show.
Those who are familiar with Reiki can attest to the powerful healing experience it can bring about. The human body is capable of miracles and its healing potential is limitless. Reiki simply assists the body in activating the processes needed for true healing to manifest. Reiki heals holistically, allowing the body, mind and spirit to find balance and restore wellness to the whole person. After all dis-ease is the lack of ease, thus Reiki seeks to bring peace and ease back into the body so that it can eliminate the source of the problem.
Here are four compelling reasons why Reiki should be a included in the hospital setting.
1)Reiki reduces pain and suffering
Receiving Reiki feels like being embraced by something warm and soothing. It brings calming energy to the mind and body. Research indicates that Reiki affects the body’s autonomic nervous system. It lowers heart rate, respiration and blood pressure. While receiving a Reiki treatment the parasympathetic nervous system is able to function more efficiently. This is the branch of the nervous system in charge of internal activities while the body is at rest, sometimes called the “rest and digest” system. During a Reiki session the sympathetic nervous system, which is in charge of “fight or flight” behaviors, takes a back seat. In this state of deep relaxation the body is more capable of healing itself, producing neurochemicals that make you feel good and circulating the body’s fluids and energy more efficiently.
Even if a Reiki treatment does not completely heal a disease or ailment it does can still greatly reduce the impact of stress and anxiety. It is not the pain we feel that causes our suffering; it is our reaction to it. Reiki is an efficient tool for helping individuals cope with the situation that is causing their pain, thus greatly reducing their suffering and improving their overall well being. A study at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut that indicated that Reiki improved patient sleep by 86%, reduced pain by 78%, reduced nausea by 80 % and reduced anxiety during pregnancy by 94%. These statistics indicate that Reiki can be used to treat pain and discomfort as effectively, if not more, than many pharmaceuticals on the market. Reiki can also help patients recover from surgery faster than normal treatments.
2)Reiki has no negative side effects
Reiki is a safe and gentle form of healing. It is non-invasive and can easily and quickly be administered by anyone trained in Reiki therapy. It is non-addictive, unlike many chemical therapies for pain reduction, especially opioid pain medications which are the most commonly abused medicinal drugs on the market. It does not cause any unsafe side effects, nor does it create new potential problems for the recipient.
In this study researchers tested the effects of Reiki on the autonomic nervous system of patients with heart related complications. The researchers make it clear that no adverse effects were reported and that they considered Reiki safe for acute-care settings. The results of the study itself showed that Reiki not only improved the patients’ heart rate variability (which could reduce their risk of heart attack), but also their emotional well-being. The Reiki in this study was administered by Reiki-trained nurses in the cardiac unit, thus indicating that it could easily be incorporated into standard hospital care, which leads me to my next point…
3)Reiki can be easily implemented into pre-existing hospital treatment programs
There are a variety of options for implementing Reiki available to hospital administrators. A great place to start would be to offer Reiki training to nursing staff. Reiki training can be done fairly quickly and inexpensively. Nurses generally have good rapport with patients and would be able to apply Reiki when and where it is needed without adding to their workload.
Reiki is an untapped resource for healing nation wide. Reiki practitioners can be found in almost every community. Some practice publicly, others prefer to self-treat or treat only friends and family. A study done in 2007 by the National Health Interview Survey indicates that 1.2 million adults and 161,000 children received one or more sessions of energy healing therapy such as Reiki in the previous year. Hospital volunteer coordinators could try recruiting Reiki practitioners in their local communities, odds are many would answer the call.
Possibly the most beneficial placement for Reiki treatments would be in the hospice setting. Reiki is especially helpful for patients who are terminal. As mentioned before, Reiki can greatly reduce pain and suffering. It can also help a dying person find peace. The family of dying patients could also use Reiki to help them cope with their loss.
4)Reiki is beneficial to practitioners as well as patients
One of the most beautiful aspects of Reiki is that it not only promotes well being in the recipient, but in the person administering Reiki as well. In my own experience, I have noticed improvements in my mood, energy level and happiness post-Reiki with my clients. It’s as if we shared in the healing experience. This phenomenon has been reported by many other Reiki practitioners. The implications of this in the hospital setting are endless. For one, nurses and doctors both experience high levels of job related stress and anxiety and Reiki treatments could help increase their energy levels as well.
To learn more about Reiki in hospital settings I recommend the following books and articles: