What are the benefits of Reiki: Two Examples

What are the benefits of Reiki: two examples

In today’s blog post, I would like to illustrate some of the many wonderful effects of Reiki using three examples from my own practice that have touched me very deeply. Even though I have been working with energy for so many years, it has never stopped to amaze me what this work can do.

Reiki and inflammation

When Sandra first came to me, she was very worried. Four weeks earlier, she had woken up one morning unable to feel the right side of her body and unable to stand let alone walk. At the Dublin hospital her husband had brought her to straight away, they did a series of examinations, including a lumbar puncture to examine her spinal fluid, and several scans of her brain, the result of all of which are still outstanding. However, the consultants had been able to determine an inflammation of the brain even during that first appointment. She had been put on steroids and sent home with the advice to rest. Sandra came to me that day because she didn’t just want to wait for test and scan results and rest at home, but she wanted to do something holistic to help her body. Sandra and I started working together. She would come to my premises in Monkstown and receive a combination of Reiki healing and Craniosacral Therapy for 90 minutes once a week. She felt an improvement after the first session: she was able to feel the right side of her body a tiny bit and was able to stand up after the session to meet her husband outside who had come to collect her. With every session we did together she felt a little better. After her fourth session, Sandra is almost back to her normal self. She is still taking it easy, but she can feel more and more of her energy and strength returning, almost all the symptoms are gone, standing and walking are no longer an issue. She still doesn’t have the result of the lumbar puncture examination, but she says that, no matter what they show, she wants to continue coming to me to prevent a relapse. In Sandra’s situation, Reiki and Craniosacral therapy have worked together beautifully to restore balance in the body and mind. In order for the balance to be restored, we as therapists and clients don’t always have to know what exactly caused the imbalance and how we go about restoring it. We are there as the vessel to help the body and mind heal themselves. I am very positive that Sandra will have a full recovery in a couple of weeks.

Reiki during cancer treatments

I work with patients no matter where they are on their cancer journey; patients at the beginning of treatment, patients who are in the middle of their treatment, patients who have finished their treatment and are in remission and are looking to sustain a quality of life, knowing they are now managing their cancer over fighting it, and patients who are nearing the end of their life. I would like to share Linda’s story today.

Linda,  40 years old, proud mother of two teenage boys and happily married, came to me when she had finished her third of eight chemotherapy infusions to treat her very aggressively growing secondary liver cancer and was experiencing extreme fatigue and, what was even worse, severe nausea as side-effects. ‘I won’t be completing my eight sessions, if this is how I am going to feel all the time,’ she told me when we first met. She was looking for something holistic to help her through this time, and she had read on my website how side-effects from chemotherapy can decrease through regular Reiki sessions. We started working together. I would see her at my premises for 60 minutes once a week for a Reiki session. Linda loved the Reiki. Not only did the Reiki sessions make her feel really relaxed and calm and took the stress of living with this debilitating illness and the heavy medication and the uncertainty with regard to the future away, but she was also able to have a better quality of life because she experienced hardly any nausea and felt strong enough on most days to go for a walk around the block or to meet a friend for coffee at a nearby coffee shop. She was able to complete the course of chemotherapy infusions without complications. During the break from chemotherapy that followed, she continued her daily walking, seeing friends, and she was even able to go to the west coast for a couple of days with her husband and her two teenage boys. Unfortunately, it soon became evident that the cancer that had been controlled by the chemotherapy was growing again. Again, I supported her through the chemotherapy that followed with weekly Reiki sessions; and, again, she experienced very few side-effects of the chemotherapy treatment.

Reiki at end of life

Let’s stay with Linda’s story for this one.

Despite the fact that she was experiencing almost no side-effects from her aggressive cancer treatment, the growing cancer and the therapy weakened her system very much. One day, two days before our next session would have taken place, her husband called me to say that she was in hospital because she had contracted pneumonia. She had asked to see me and so I went to see her. She was drifting in and out of consciousness as I was sitting by her bedside. In one awake moment, she asked me to give her some Reiki. ‘I don’t want the Reiki to make me strong again,’ she declared in a very calm voice, ‘but I want it to help me to surrender.’ And I could understand her. She had fought long and hard, she had experienced positive news and hope that were soon replaced by bad news and sadness and disappointment, and she had enough of that endless cycle. She was also aware of what she was putting her husband and the teenagers through and how hard it was for them to live between hope and fear all the time. I felt very moved by Linda’s courage to surrender. I did a 60 minute Reiki session with her in the hospital bed. This should be our final Reiki session because, during the early hours of the next morning, she died very peacefully. She had been surrounded by her husband and the two boys, as the husband told me on the phone the next day. It was a privilege to accompany Linda and her family on this journey. Not only was she able to have an acceptable quality of life during her aggressive chemotherapy treatment with the aid of Reiki, but she also found comfort in the Reiki sessions when she was approaching the end, and her husband told me that she had once said to him that the Reiki was helping her to see life as the endless cycle of birth, aging, sickness, death and rebirth and that it was okay for her to surrender to this natural cycle of life. Her husband is still coming to me today for Reiki sessions and has enrolled in the Living with Loss program to support him in dealing with his loss.

Over the years, I have worked with many patients in end-of-life care and at the very end of their life and have seen the many benefits Reiki can have in these situations such as:

  • The gift of connection: Reiki creates a sacred space around the practitioner and patient, a safe and comforting space, a space in which a deep and meaningful connection and exchange without words becomes possible.
  • Reiki healing to calm and soothe: One of the many benefits of Reiki is that it is very calming and soothing. At the end of life, not all patients in my experience react like Linda with surrender. Many experience fear and agitation, sometimes they are hallucinating as part of their dying process or because of the medications they need for pain control, sometimes the pain is not controlled as well as it should be, and the comforting, calm, relaxing, reassuring touch with Reiki can ease the person back into a state of calm and inner peace, make them breathe deeply and calmly, decrease pain, and even help them to drift into sleep or unconsciousness – a deep letting go becomes possible.
  • Responding to moments: The Reiki practice helps us to stay focused in the moment. “Just for today” is how the five Reiki principles begin; and whenever I work with somebody at the end of life, I remember that “just for today” also means “just for now”, “just for this moment”. By thinking this repeatedly while sitting with the dying person, and perhaps even telling them about it too, they let go of fear about what might be happening next or the expectation that things might get worse and relax into the here and now. Dying is easier when we are in the here and now, not thinking, not trying to understand, not trying to change or to fix, but simply being.
  • Reiki and pain: When patients are in pain, sometimes even pain medication can’t control it to the point where it is no longer an issue. Reiki often helps here. It moves the body from fight-flight into rest (relaxation) response; and often it is exactly that move from fight-flight to rest and digest that decreases the pain to a level where it is tolerable or even makes it go away completely.
  • Reiki and palliative care: I weave the thread that connects Reiki and the dying process into a fabric of understanding that embraces Reiki as part of palliative care. As Reiki practitioners we are trained to be attentive to the physiological and energetic state of the body and the state of the mind, using this awareness to direct the path of the hands over the body. This is the intuition that tells us when to linger over a particular spot and when to move on. It is this very instinct that helps us support the dying person. The aim of palliative care is to control discomfort and symptoms to ensure the patient’s best quality of life. Reiki is supportive here because it helps the patient feel calm, relaxed, soothed, and safe and in many cases it decreases all feelings of discomfort and even pain.
  • Reiki and meaningful conversations: I have often experienced the longing from both patients and relatives to share meaningful conversations at the end of life: to say one more time “I love you”, to say thank you for having shared whatever was shared during a life together long or short, sometimes the dying person wants to convey an encouraging message of hope to their loved ones… Reiki helps to ensure that these conversations can be had.

I have learned profound lessons when working with patients at the end of life. I remain humbled by their courage, inspired by their grace, and compelled to explore the beautiful intersections between Reiki, those who are dying, and the loving souls who care for them.

I hope that the above examples have given you an idea of some of the profound ways in which Reiki can benefit.

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