THE ALTERNATIVE HEALTH THERAPY
Linda C. Paule
New York University
Thesis: The method of Reiki practice as a healing technique creates balance in our modern lives. It can help alleviate many of the problems our transforming society is creating that also stimulate feelings of love, peace, joy, harmony and all the other qualities needed in the new millennium.
I. Reiki: Ancient Miracle for Modern Times
II. Discovering the Roots of Reiki
III. The Creative Process of Health
a. How Reiki Heals?
c. Reiki Hand Positions
d. The Seven Major Chakras
e. Photo Illustrations
IV. Personal Interview
a. The Face of the New Medicine
b. Scientific Validation
THE ALTERNATIVE HEALTH THERAPY
Reiki is an ancient miracle for modern times. The knowledge that an unseen energy flows through all living things and directly affects the quality of health has been a part of the wisdom of many cultures. Through experiments, medical doctors are considering the role it plays in the functioning of the immune system and in the healing process. Because of this, it is has become more widely accepted.
Over the years, there has been a shift in the belief system of many health professionals and the general public, allowing for a greater acceptance of alternative medicine. A growing number of doctors, nurses, and other licensed health care professionals have taken Reiki training and routinely include Reiki along with their standard medical procedures, because they are taking notice as their patients are asking questions about alternative forms of healing. There have been a variety of studies on the influence of laying-on hand therapies on various medical illnesses. Experiments have been conducted in hospitals and clinics to introduce Reiki on cancer patients, especially in bone marrow transplant patients. The results were convincing and the physiological effects in the recipients were beneficial. There is a good research to suggest that Reiki healing technique is not due to the placebo effect.
Reiki is a technique for stress reduction that also promotes healing, and allows everyone to tap into an unlimited supply of “life energy.” Reiki was thought to have originated in Tibet thousands of years ago, and was discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese Buddhist early in the 20th century. The word Reiki is composed of two Japanese words Rei and Ki. These words are used in a spiritual healing context. “Ki” is the basic life force energy of the physical or vital energy found on all living things. It is flowing in everything that is alive, including plants, animals, and humans. “Rei” denotes cosmic, universal energy, or the Higher Intelligence. It is a subtle wisdom that permeates everything, both animate and inanimate. The term conveys the concept of the energy of the Whole, aligning of the part (Ki) with the Whole (Rei) in an ever-expanding principle of the dynamic interaction. It is a non-physical healing energy made up of life force energy that is guided by the Higher Intelligence, or spiritually guided life force energy.
Reiki is a simple natural and safe method of spiritual healing and self-improvement that everyone can use. It has been effective in helping every known illness and malady and always creates a beneficial effect. However, Reiki is not a substitute for regular medical or psychological care, but works in conjunction with them to relieve side effects and promote healing. In fact, some hospitals and doctor’s offices are beginning to integrate it into patient care.
Reiki is not learned in the way many other techniques are learned, through perhaps years of study, practice, and guidance. Instead, it is transferred from the Reiki Master to the student during what is called an attunement. The attunement opens the crown, heart, and palm chakras as well as creates a very special link between the student and the Reiki source. The attunement itself is an incredible powerful and sacred process.
In the life force energy of Reiki, the person who is attuned as a Reiki healer has had her body’s energy channels open and cleared of obstruction by the Reiki attunements. A Reiki attunement connects the receiver in an increased way to its limitless source. Upon receiving the first attunement in Reiki I, the receiver becomes a channel for this universal healing energy.
Reiki is administered by laying on hands. A standard treatment includes hand position around the head, shoulder, stomach, legs and feet. The client does not disrobe and usually lays on a massage or Reiki table. The hands can be placed in contact with the person or the treatment can be given with the hands a few inches away from the body. A treatment usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour and a half and feels like a wonderful glowing radiance that flows through you and surrounds you. Treatment can be given to others as well as to oneself. Reiki treats the whole person including the body, emotion, mind and spirit and creates many beneficial effects including relaxation and feeling of peace, security, and well-being.
During a typical Reiki session, the practitioner follows some general hand positions in an attempt to cover all seven main chakras and all major organs. Reiki healing begins at the head and moves down. The six major energy centers which are traditionally considered the most important are: The Crown, The Brow or the Third Eye, The Throat, The Heart, The Solar plexus, The belly or Sacral and The Root. They are located along the long axis of the body in conjunction with the spinal cord that corresponds to the major nerve plexuses of the physical body in that area of the body. The chakras are located on the etheric double twin of the physical body, one layer away from the physical body level. They are energy transformers, bringing Ki from the Earth and Heavens into the human body. They are the bridge between physical and non-physical Be-ing. The chakras on the humans are placed in a vertical line down the center of the body, front and back. Each hand position is held anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes or longer. During this time the practitioner simply allows the energy to channel out her hands and into the client. There is no physical manipulation during a traditional Reiki session.
The three Reiki head positions cover the Crown and The Third Eye centers. The Crown is located at the top of the head slightly to the back to the highest part of the skull. Physically it is associated with the pineal gland. The Crown is the place of perception of spirit guides and the skill of channeling. The Brow or Third Eye is located above and between the physical eyes, and associated with the pituitary gland. This is the chakra of psychic perception, and understanding of the Oneness of the Universe. It is also the women’s power center and represents the creation of personal realities. In physical healing, the Crown and the Brow are the brain, eyes, and central nervous system.
The Throat chakra is located at the base of the neck and is associated with the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Its function is communication both physical and psychic. Emotions are expressed at this level, and creativity is located here. Healing issues includes sore throats, stage fright, thyroid problems, and throat cancer. Below is the Heart, behind the breastbone and the sternum, and associated physically with the heart organ or thymus gland. Emotions come from the heart, as does universal love and love for others. Heartaches and heartbreak (and physical heart conditions) are typical of modern society; most of us need heart and emotional healing.
Below the heart and between the lower rows of ribs is the Solar Plexus. This is men’s power center, and the place where energy moving through the body is assimilated. Its physical correspondence is the pancreas glands, or liver as well as power issues and balances of power. Solar Plexus diseases include digestive problems, alcoholism, and food issues. The Belly or Sacral center is the spleen in men (purification) and uterus for women, which also has a purifying function. It is located a few inches below the navel. First impressions and old emotional pictures are stored in this center, and it is also the center of sexual choosing. Healing at this chakra includes recovery from the past abuse, and sexuality or fertility issues.
The Root chakra, usually associated with the adrenal gland, is located at the genitals. It is known in the East as the Gateway of Life and Death, it is the place of birth and rebirth. This is the survival center, the ability to draw abundance from the planet. Root center healing involves basic issues of having enough food, shelter, and clothing, of wanting to live or die, of grounding and of living on the Earthplane. The following illustrations show the different locations of the seven major chakras and hand positions in Reiki healing.
Hospitals and clinics across America are undergoing major changes. Reiki is beginning to gain acceptance as a meaningful and cost-effective way to improve patient care. They are experiencing needs to reduce costs and at the same time improve patient care. Reiki requires no technology at all and many of its practitioners offer their services for free. Reiki sessions cause patients heal faster with less pain and accelerate recovery from surgery, improves mental attitude and reduces the negative effects of medications and other medical procedures. It is therefore a very good way to improve care while cutting medical costs.
Scientific research in the area of laying-on hands has been conducted for many years. There are now quite a few experiments that validate the usefulness of Reiki healing techniques. It has been shown to accelerate wound healing, raise hemoglobin levels, alleviate stress and anxiety, and reduce the symptoms of certain illnesses like chronic fatigue syndrome, sleep disorders, and tension headaches. Some of the interesting results are coming from more than just the placebo effect. Others indicate that the energy is non-physical in nature and that the benefits do not diminish regardless of the distance between sender and receiver.
An interview with Michelle, a Reiki Master and a private duty nurse at Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, includes Reiki with her regular nursing procedures. She combines conventional medicine like chemotherapy, radiation therapy and psychotherapy with her own blend of unconventional therapies like spiritual connection, energy balancing, visualization, affirmation and yoga. She has been asked to do Reiki training on cancer patients including patients with bone marrow transplants (BMT). She conducted an experiment on hemoglobin values on BMT patients who are being treated with bone marrow suppressive agents. The agent is a chemical (like Cytoxan), used to suppress their immune systems so that new and healthy bone marrow could be transplanted.
Most of her BMT patients suffer from leukemia. Their bone marrow produces a large number of abnormal white blood cells that impairs resistance to infection. A bone marrow transplant replaces the leukemic bone marrow with cancer-free marrow.
In her study, 10 patients made up the experimental group, while 4 patients made up the control group. Both groups had their blood samples taken at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. The experimental group received Reiki training sessions. The control group was not involved in the Reiki training.
The blood samples were measured for hemoglobin and hematocrit. Hematocrit is the ratio of red blood cells to total blood volume. Hemoglobin is the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen. The patients in the experimental group who received Reiki training experienced significant change of 28%, which is a significant increase in hemoglobin values. The patients in the control group who did not receive Reiki training experienced no significant change. This experiment was able to induce actual biological improvements in the patients’ treatment. There could be no other explanations besides Reiki, but it was an intriguing finding.
Another experiment was conducted on twenty BMT patients. This time the design of this experiment tends to rule out the placebo effect. Each patient was given a psychological test consisting of twenty questions to determine their levels of anxiety. Twelve of them made the experimental group and eight made the control group. The experimental group was treated with Reiki. The control group was also treated, but by sham healers who imitated the same positions as those who had the Reiki training. Anxiety levels dropped 17% after only five minutes of treatment by trained Reiki practitioners, but those who were only imitating the treatment created no effect.
Besides Reiki, other non-drug therapy like hypnosis has also been used successfully in conjunction with pain medications in BMT patients. Their feelings of helplessness and fear has a powerful disease control over their bodies, which leads to anxiety and depression, and it makes it more difficult for them to tolerate pain. Hypnosis was used with distraction and/or imagery to help patients change the way they experience pain, sensation of heat, cold, touch, time, and a sense of connection to one’s body. Hypnosis has helped patients envision the painful area of their body as a separate, unconnected part and shortened their perceptions of how long the painful experience lasted.
More experiments are being done and scientific theories are being developed to describe Reiki and other healing types of healing technique. As we continue into the millennium, increasing interest along with more sensitive equipment will allow science to more completely understand, validate, and accept the reality of Reiki. As this happens, we will see increasing use of Reiki and other laying-on hands healing coming into common use by individuals for themselves and family along with its use in hospitals and doctors offices. With deeper understanding about the nature of health and unity of all life, this re-discovered age-old wisdom will provide, reduce suffering, and make Earth a more worthwhile place to live.
Once the scientific validation of spiritual healing is widely disseminated, Reiki will become more respected and the demand for Reiki training will raise dramatically. This validation and acceptance will open doors to more scientific research. Reiki displays many qualities that science cannot explain. Because of this, research is bound to lead to new theories about the nature and reality. This will revolutionize how mainstream society thinks, which in turn create new attitudes, values and belief in every area of human activity.
Reiki is truly one of the most wonderful things present on the planet at this time. It comes to us a gift. It is important, as conditions in this planet are critical. Reiki is a spiritual healing technique that is unique. The essence of Reiki healing energy is love, peace, harmony, cooperation, and trust; therefore it contains the very qualities that are needed to solve the problems of the Earth.
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Michelle Clarke, RN, Reiki Master
Personal Interview on Reiki
Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center, NY, NY
Dates: July 14, 2000 and July 22, 2000