Reiki For Chronic Pain

Reiki For Chronic Pain

Introduction: Reiki for chronic pain

Many of the patients who seek out my service are chronic pain sufferers and, when they come to my practice, have been living with their pain for a long time, have been on pain medication for years, and are still suffering and feeling pretty hopeless because even the strongest of medications they take does not seem to help. Because chronic pain is so prevalent in our society today, and because so many people are looking to alternative therapy and particularly Reiki when they don’t get a satisfying result from using modern medicine, I wanted to write about it today.

For those that live with chronic pain, it can be a perpetual dark cloud that constantly hangs over you. If you’re lucky, you may have some surprisingly good days, but just when you get comfortable, the pain rears its ugly head at the most inconvenient and unexpected times.  After months and even years of its constant presence, the negative effects of pain can chip away at one’s mind, body, and spirit.  It can result in physical, mental, and emotional illness, and even reduce one’s ability to work and partake in normal day-to-day activities. When even going for a coffee with a good friend or reading a book in the garden become too much to bear, life very quickly loses its quality. It’s not surprising that so many chronic pain sufferers also suffer with depression. When efforts to manage the pain become less effective or even ineffective, more people find themselves looking to other alternatives. One alternative that is often sought after is Reiki therapy.

What are the causes of chronic pain?

The causes of chronic pain are very varied. In my practice, I have worked with people whose chronic pain is a symptom of an underlying health condition. I have also worked with people whose chronic pain was psychosomatic and expressing some deep psychological need: to be seen, to be heard, to be understood, to be loved… Whether the chronic pain has a physical, emotional, cognitive or spiritual cause, it is very debilitating. I have found that Reiki can help to eliviate  the suffering and help people to live an almost “normal” life again where the pain is no longer a debilitating factor.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a Japanese healing art known for promoting rest, relaxation, and the body’s natural ability to heal. It was first brought to the West around the late 1980’s. Its gentle hands-on approach does not require the use of special tools or instruments.  It is a non-invasive, non-intrusive holistic therapy. The practitioner simply places their hands on the body (or slightly off the body) with heart-centered intention.  Because it is a natural and gentle method, Reiki does not carry some of the safety risks of interacting or interfering with other forms of treatment. This is one of the many reasons Reiki is often sought after as an ideal supplement or enhancement to traditional methods of managing pain and other health issues.

How Reiki Works

As a holistic therapy, Reiki works on the whole being: body, emotions, mind and spirit. It is a biofield therapy based on the concept of a “universal” life force energy that exists in and around all living things. When Reiki practitioners place hands on the recipient, they act as a conduit for this energy, channeling it to where the recipient needs it most. This promotes balance and support the body’s natural healing abilities. Recipients report an increased state of comfort, relaxation, and stress relief. And often that in itself is what makes the pain lessen because often times the pain comes from chronically held tension in body and mind.

What Happens in a Reiki Session?

Ideally, a Reiki session takes place in a space that is quiet, private and has minimal distraction. Your Reiki practitioner will want to understand what brings you to seek Reiki as well as your desire for the session.  They may ask you important questions related to your overall health and wellness. This will assist in setting the intention for the session and ensuring your specific needs are accommodated. While Reiki sessions can vary from practitioner to practitioner, a typical Reiki session can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Clients can expect to lie fully clothed on a treatment table with every effort made to ensure comfort, especially for those with chronic pain conditions. For those that cannot lie down for long periods, Reiki can also be done sitting upright in a chair. Once the client is comfortable, the practitioner uses various hand positions either directly on the body or a few inches above.  Some practitioners choose to play soft music during the treatment, or diffuse essential oils while others may perform Reiki without any additional enhancements.  To make the most of your session you will want to dress as comfortably as possible and alert your practitioner to any concerns, questions or preferences. Your practitioner will likely be quiet throughout most of the session.  However, you should feel free to talk or ask questions during the session if desired. Very often a client becomes so comfortable that they fall asleep during the treatment.  This is also perfectly acceptable and may be a great way for the body to begin the healing process.

Should I Try Reiki for My Pain?

Everyone experiences pain differently. As such, different treatment methods work for different people.  When you are looking for a natural, medication-free supplement to your current pain management plan, Reiki may be a great option to consider. It can be used with most traditional methods of treating pain without the risk of interaction or interference.  Most clients report feelings of improved wellbeing, stress reduction, and deep relaxation following a Reiki treatment, which creates an ideal state for healing in the body. In addition, side-effects from medication you are on to manage your pain may be reduced as Reiki is working on your kidneys and liver which leads to a detox; especially when you are on medication for a long time, this is very important. So, yes, I would definitely encourage you to try Reiki to help with your chronic pain.

Helen’s story

I worked with Helen some years ago. Helen came to me feeling desperate. She had been suffering from chronic headaches since her teenage years. When it became so bad that she had to give up most of her day-to-day activities, she had gone to the doctor who had put her on pain medication. The medication had helped a little but had also made her feel tired all the time. Over the years, she and her doctor had been trying different types of medication. When she came to me, she was on 20 mg of Sevredol every day with a breakthrough medication of 500 mg Paracetamol if she needed it. The pain was still as debilitating as ever. Helen said to me, “I want to stop taking the medication because it doesn’t help. But I am afraid that I will be worse then and I couldn’t live with any more discomfort.” We did five Reiki sessions relatively close together, one session every week. I sensed the tension all over her body. I also sensed her exhaustion from having tried to keep going for such a long time. Our work together went very deep. During most of the sessions Helen would fall asleep half way through and then wake up afterwards and tell me that she was so amazed she had been able to fall asleep because her pain had been so bad when she had come in. During our sixth session, as we were half way through the session, Helen started to cry. She cried and cried, and I could actually physically feel her grief, a deep, heavy burden she had been carrying. After the session I asked her about the reason for her tears. She explained that she had suddenly thought of her parents who had died in a car crash when she was only 13 years old. She said she had suddenly become aware of how much she still missed them. And then she said, her tone really surprised, “My pain is gone.” I smiled to myself. She rang me four days later to tell me that her pain hadn’t come back. This was four years ago. Helen is still coming to me for regular sessions once a month, but hasn’t experienced any chronic pain since then.

If you have chronic pain, try Reiki. Maybe the solution is that you need to let go of something that you have held in your body for a long time, like Helen had done with her grief.


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