Reiki is a hands-on type of healing used as a complementary therapy.
The Japanese word Reiki means universal energy. Eastern medicine systems work with this energy, which flows through all living things and is vital to wellbeing. The energy is known as ‘Ki’ in Japan, ‘Chi’ in China and ‘prana’ in India. Reiki isn’t part of any type of religion or belief system. It is best described as a hands on healing used as a complementary therapy.
A Reiki practitioner aims to change and balance the energy fields in and around your body to help on a physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual level.
Reiki practitioners say that it can:
- help you to feel deeply relaxed
- help you cope with difficult situations
- relieve emotional stress and tension
- help to improve overall wellbeing
Some people with cancer say they feel better after using therapies such as Reiki.
Studies show that this is often because a therapist spends time with the person, and touches them.
After the rush and stress of hospitals and treatment, it can be very relaxing when someone gives you attention for an hour or more, in a calm setting. Reiki is sometimes used in palliative care, especially in hospices.
Some people say that Reiki has helped to control side effects of their cancer treatments, such as pain, anxiety and sickness.
They also say that it helps them cope better with their cancer and its treatment. But it’s important to bear in mind that while Reiki may help you to cope with your symptoms or side effects, it is not able to treat your cancer.
On your first visit, your Reiki practitioner will ask you about your general health and medical history. They will ask you why you would like to have Reiki and discuss your treatment plan with you.
You don’t have to get undressed for treatment. You usually take your shoes and coat off and have it sitting or lying down. You can have your eyes open or closed.
Your Reiki practitioner might dim the lights or play soothing music. They put their hands on, or a few inches above, your body. They will move their hands across your body, usually starting at your head and working down to your feet, but may focus on particular areas of the body.
The aim is to move and balance the energy within and around your body. And to get rid of any energy blocks to encourage physical healing and strengthen your energy.
You might feel a tingling sensation, a deep relaxation, or warmth or coolness throughout your body. Or, you might not feel anything at all. Practitioners say this doesn’t mean the treatment isn’t working.
A session usually lasts between 20 minutes and an hour. Many practitioners say you will get the best results from 3 sessions within a fairly short space of time. Then take a break before having more treatments.
You might feel thirsty after a session. It can help to drink plenty of water and avoid strong caffeine based drinks, such as coffee.
You might feel deeply relaxed, and resting at home afterwards can help you get the full benefit of the treatment.
Reiki can be sent remotely. An appropriately trained practitioner can send healing over a distance. So you can be in your own home having Reiki from a person elsewhere.
If you don’t feel comfortable with anything, it’s important to discuss this with your practitioner.
Generally speaking, Reiki is safe for most people with cancer. Most practitioners will advise you to rest and drink plenty of water after treatment. There are no reports of harmful side effects.
It is safe to have Reiki alongside your cancer treatment. But it’s important to tell your doctor about any complementary therapy, alternative therapy or diet supplement that you use. Then your doctor will always have the full picture about your care and treatment.
There is no scientific evidence to prove that Reiki can prevent, treat or cure cancer, or any other disease.
But, many healthcare professionals accept Reiki as a useful complementary therapy which may help lower stress, promote relaxation and reduce pain.