Harnessing the Benefits of Reiki Alongside Orthodox Medical Practices

Integrating Reiki with orthodox medicine is a topic that resonates deeply with me. When necessary, I’ve always embraced traditional medicine. However, I’ve also always advocated that one should be open-minded enough to explore effective alternative therapies that can aid in one’s healing – alongside traditional Western practices. Fortunately, Reiki is one such modality that can be integrated with orthodox medicine to assist with healing. To add to my excitement, this is a subject that has gained considerable momentum in the last few years. While some may view these two approaches as fundamentally different and disconnected, there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence, opinion and some research suggesting that both Reiki and conventional medicine can complement each other in many ways. In this article, I’d like to explore how Reiki and orthodox medicine, when used in conjunction, can offer a holistic approach to healthcare that benefits patients in numerous ways.

Reiki operates on the principle that there is a universal life force energy that flows through all living beings. It is often described as a holistic ancient practice that aims to balance the body’s energy, promote relaxation, and facilitate healing. Reiki practitioners channel this energy to boost healing. The wonderful benefit of Reiki is that it is one of the very few alternative healing modalities which targets the person at a holistic level: body, mind, heart and soul. Modern medicine, on the other hand, primarily focuses on diagnosing and treating specific diseases or conditions using medications, surgeries, and advanced technologies. At first glance, they may appear to be at odds, but a deeper understanding reveals that both Reiki and mainstream medicine can truly work hand in hand.

Rather than dismiss the idea that an alternative healing modality can be beneficial in aiding a patient’s health and wellbeing, we should instead begin to explore the possibilities that Reiki compliments modern medicine. While this concept may not align with the mechanistic view of the body in western medicine, it’s essential to recognise that the power of energy healing and vibrational therapies are gaining recognition in traditional healthcare professions. For instance, patients undergoing chemotherapy or surgery may find Reiki helpful in managing stress, anxiety, and pain. Escudero & Reyes-Bossio (2022), affirm that “Reiki has been shown to reduce anxiety, pain, stress, and depression, and to improve quality of life and self-esteem in chronically ill and cancer patients.” With this in mind, it is rewarding to see that through this body of research, Reiki can contribute to improved overall well-being during medical treatments, by promoting relaxation and reducing these psychological and physical stressors.

Additionally, through personal testimonials, many individuals who have undergone medical treatments alongside Reiki sessions, report feeling more in control of their healing journey. Reiki has helped to enhance the effectiveness of medical treatments by helping the patient feel calm and relaxed. Patients often describe a sense of peace, improved sleep, reduced side effects from treatments and reduced stress levels, which then leads to improved immune system function. As stated by McManus (2017), “because Reiki is a gentle technique, it is highly suitable for even very fragile patients, so it is accepted widely in hospitals and hospices around the world. The profound relaxation produced by Reiki has been anecdotally reported to alleviate anxiety and stress, the perception of pain, and to promote a feeling of psychospiritual well-being.” Therefore, it is evident these experiences highlight the potential value of integrating Reiki into modern medical care.

Next, Reiki is often used to alleviate pain and discomfort. Through a Reiki treatment, it has been reported that patients can experience less pain and potentially reduce their reliance on pain relieving medications. While Reiki may not replace medications for severe pain, it can be a valuable addition to pain management strategies. In some cases, Reiki can help mitigate the side effects of medical treatments such as chemotherapy or surgery. Patients undergoing these treatments may experience less nausea, fatigue, and discomfort when receiving Reiki alongside their orthodox medical care. During his research, McManus (2017), found that “Reiki had some promise in the areas of pain, relaxation, and anxiety management.” However, he concludes that “there is a need for further experiments with greater numbers of subjects to allow statistically meaningful interpretation.”  

Subsequently, a significant aspect of Reiki is its ability to address emotional and mental well-being. Patients dealing with serious medical conditions often experience anxiety, depression, or emotional distress. Reiki sessions can provide emotional support, reduce anxiety, and help patients cope with the challenges of their medical conditions. This emotional support can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life and their ability to adhere to medical treatments. For example, Escudero & Reyes-Bossio (2022) looked specifically on the effect that distance Reiki had on stress and anxiety during the period of isolation due to COVID-19, among people working in the city of Lima, Peru. Their research showed that Reiki is a validated alternative therapy to reduce anxiety and stress in a cost-effective way and without any need of face-to-face contact—which is important in view of the pandemic. Furthermore, Reiki was shown to reduce anxiety among patients diagnosed with Coronavirus, with better results than progressive relaxation. Moreover, it was proven to have long-term effects up to 1 year after the experiment.

Furthermore, the benefits of Reiki with orthodox medicine takes a patient-centred approach to healthcare. It recognises that patients are unique individuals with physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. This approach allows for more personalised treatment plans that consider the whole person, not just their illness. Ultimately, the decision to incorporate Reiki into one’s healthcare journey should be a personal one. Patients should work closely with their healthcare providers to ensure a well-rounded approach to healing that aligns with their beliefs and preferences. In an era where patient-centred care is increasingly emphasised, it’s essential to consider all available options, including complementary therapies like Reiki, when making healthcare decisions.

What is welcoming, is hospitals around the world have started recognising the potential benefits of combining Reiki with orthodox medical treatments. Below are a few examples showcasing how Reiki is being used within hospital settings across the globe, including Australia.

Reiki in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS)

The UK’s NHS has recognised the value of Reiki as a complementary therapy. Hospitals such as the University College London Hospitals NHS, London offer Reiki sessions to patients as a part of their holistic care plan. This approach has been particularly beneficial for cancer patients in managing stress and side effects of treatments. In addition, hospitals such as Southampton University Hospitals NHS, Southampton, Aintree University Hospitals NHS, Liverpool and Newham University Hospital NHS, London offer Reiki to complement the treatments of endometriosis, palliative care cancer patients, elderly medicine services and not surprisingly, to hospital staff as a way of alleviating stress caused by heavy work loads.

Reiki in Australian Hospitals

In Australia, Reiki has found its place in various healthcare institutions. A few hospitals in major states have introduced Reiki as part of their integrative care programs. The following Australian hospitals currently offer Reiki as part of a patient’s holistic health plan:

  • Through Cancer Council WA, Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch, Western Australia offer free complementary Reiki sessions to cancer patients and their families.
  • Ballarat Regional Integrated Cancer Care (BRICC Wellness Centre) at Grampians Health Ballarat
  • Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, Western Australia
  • St. John of God Subiaco Hospital Bunbury Clinic, Western Australia
  • Albany Hospital, Albany, Western Australia
  • J. W. While Palliative Care Unit, Tasmania
  • The Mater Hospital Wellbeing Support Services, North Sydney
  • Inclusive Health and Wellness Hub, South Brisbane, Brisbane – provides general practice (GP) services and wellness programs for people experiencing disadvantage in Brisbane.  

Reiki in Paediatric Wards

Hospitals across the globe such as the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton, United Kingdom, offer Reiki for children, in order to help relieve symptoms of chronic and acute illness. Reiki’s gentle and non-invasive nature makes it a suitable choice for young patients. It’s known to provide comfort and emotional support during their hospital stays.

Reiki in US Hospitals

Hospitals in the United States have also embraced Reiki. It is increasingly finding its way into institutional settings, from hospitals to hospices. Reiki is now one of the top three complementary in-patient therapies in U.S. hospitals, according to an AHA survey. Reiki is being integrated into mainstream health care to aid in pain management within oncology units, to assist with improving heart rate variability within cardiology departments and to assist with chronic illness and pregnancy. Some hospitals in the US which offer Reiki as part of their holistic health care practices, include:

  • The Cleveland Clinic, Ohio
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
  • Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine, Baltimore
  • The Children’s Hospital, Boston
  • Mayo Clinic, Minnesota

­­­­­­­­­­­­Clearly, this partnership between Reiki and orthodox medicine demonstrates the evolving nature of healthcare, where different modalities come together to provide comprehensive support for patients, addressing not only their physical symptoms but also their emotional and spiritual well-being. This holistic approach can lead to more positive patient outcomes and an overall improved healthcare experience.

Finally, the connection between Reiki and modern medicine is a complex and evolving topic. While the integration of Reiki into conventional medical care remains a subject of debate, there is a growing recognition of the potential benefits it can offer patients. As Escudero and Reyes-Bossio (2022) point out, “although there has been much controversy as to whether Reiki is more effective than a placebo, it has been shown in several studies that it is indeed effective.” Ultimately, the key lies in informed decision-making and open dialogue between patients, practitioners, and healthcare providers to create a holistic approach to healing that resonates with the individual’s needs and beliefs.

“There’s a popular saying among doctors: There’s no such thing as alternative medicine; if it works, it’s just called medicine.”
― Ed Yong, I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

References

Gálvez Escudero, D., & Reyes-Bossio, M. (2022). Stress and Anxiety Reduction Effects of a Reiki Program During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Employees in Lima, Peru. Holistic Nursing Practice36(5), E48–E56. https://doi.org/10.1097/hnp.0000000000000545

McManus, D. E. (2017). Reiki Is Better Than Placebo and Has Broad Potential as a Complementary Health Therapy. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine22(4), 1051–1057. https://doi.org/10.1177/2156587217728644

Many blessings,

Olga

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