Here is a recent article on a study done to see how pain levels are helped by yoga, massage, and reiki published in Massage Magazine. The results are very positive. Massage Magazine has one of the largest audiences for the world of massage and integrative therapies.
While this study is not a scientific, clinical data study, it looked at 50 patients for each modality of massage, yoga, and reiki. That is 150 responses over time rating their pain level while active cancer patients. I have and do volunteer for similar programs at cancer centers that provide reiki to patients (acupuncture and massage as well). It mirrors the results we see daily from our patients. We see a drop in pain and anxiety, and an increase in a sense of well-being in the majority of people who come to us, free of charge while receiving cancer treatments.
Touch. Such a simple thing and so vitally important to our health and well-being. We show affection through it, we offer comfort through it, and we provide healing through it. When someone becomes sick, with a serious ailment, such as cancer, touch takes on a whole new meaning. All of a sudden people seem afraid to touch you, afraid to hurt you with the embrace of a hug. Some even seem to be borderline repelled by the thought.
Now imagine being that cancer patient and coming into an environment where you are received with open arms, hugged, smiled at, and doted over. You take off your shoes, and yes, even your wig or hat, not worrying about how you look, and you lay down on a table under a blanket. Soothing music plays, and you even picked out your own personal essential oil scent to bring with you to the room. The lights dim and one of two Reiki Practitioners lull you into a state of complete rest and peace through visualizing your body sinking into the table and relaxing each muscle.
Then, what you are apprehensive of and crave at the same time happens. Two sets of hands are gently placed on your head and feet. They move in sync, moving and placing their hands on your arms, torso, and legs. You feel warmth, peace. You forget your hair loss, your port in your chest, your next chemo appointment, and just settle in and be. You are pretty sure that by the time they ask you to come back to the present moment you could just fall asleep and stay that way for hours, something that does not always come easy with the racing mind and to-do lists.
The Reiki Practitioners wish this too, but bringing their patient back to the present and seeing them happy and peaceful makes it even more worth their while. Reiki practitioners get so much out of the sessions as well, knowing they are providing this service and being able to give a sense of respite for even this 45 minutes. Often times patients are seen right before they go in for chemo or radiation treatment, so receiving these sessions is even more important to their overall well-being.
Reiki is an energy healing that originated in Japan. It incorporates the idea that we can, through a process similar to Tai Chi, help to support our body systems on all levels: body, mind, and spirit. Reiki comes from two words Rei and Ki, and although hard to translate directly, together mean “Highly or Purely Guided Energy to Increase Life Force”. Reiki Practitioners, through training and an “attunement”, are able to lay hands on (or slightly above the body), creating a strong connection to this flow of energy for themselves and others. Patients, at the very least, report feeling relaxed and at peace. This alone helps facilitate healing.
What I say to people who only rely on clinical studies for answers is this. Even if there is not much scientific proof yet to show the health benefits of reiki, acupuncture, and similar healing modalities, the significant amount of positive anecdotal evidence is clear. Both from the side of the practitioner and the patient. We see it every day.