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Reiki for Chronic Pain Relief: What You Should Know

by | Nov 9, 2020

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 discomfort, and even reduce one’s ability to work and accomplish the simplest of daily tasks. 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 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 1930’s. Its gentle hands-on approach does not require the use of special tools or instruments.  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. One 2007 study done by the National Health Interview Survey found that over 1.2 million adults have tried Reiki or a similar therapy at least once in the previous year. The American Hospital Association also found that over 60 hospitals offer Reiki services to patients. In addition to hospitals, Reiki is offered in Cancer Centers, Hospice, Primary Care Clinics, and Wellness centers all over the country.

How Reiki Works

As a holistic therapy, Reiki works on the whole person: mind, body, emotion, 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 is thought to promote balance and support the body’s natural healing abilities. Recipients often report an increased state of comfort, relaxation, and stress relief. 

What Happens in a Professional Reiki Session?

Ideally, a professional 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 professional Reiki sessions can vary from practitioner to practitioner, a typical Reiki session can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.

Most 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.  Many times, 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, drug-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.

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