Reiki Healing and Chronic Conditions

- by Oriethyia

The term Reiki comes to us from the Japanese, and means, roughly, "universal life force energy." The practice of Reiki is a non-invasive, non-manipulative, laying-on-of-hands in which the practitioner opens themselves to this healing energy and transmits it to the client. It accelerates the body's natural ability to heal itself, helping to bring the body, mind, and spirit back into balance and greater health.

Because Reiki is so good in acute conditions, there are ER nurses and physicians, EMTs, Fire Fighters, and other emergency health and safety workers who now routinely include Reiki in their work. But as wonderful as it is in acute conditions, one of the real marvels of this wonderful healing art is its use in chronic conditions.

Hawayo Takata, the Hawaiian-born woman who brought Reiki to the West from Japan, had many amazing experiences with chronic conditions. Not surprising, since Takata Sensei worked with Reiki for over 40 years before her death in 1980. One of her students routinely thanked Takata for teaching her Reiki; the student's daughter had asthma, and she was immediately able to help her through asthma attacks and later reduce the level of asthma the child suffered. Takata often became the "court of last resort" - people came to her when their loved ones had received all possible medical care but still suffered.

Takata's experience is shared by practitioners today. An article in the May 25th issue of the Times Union recounted the story of one woman who, in hospice, semi-comatose and unresponsive for weeks, suddenly wakened and sat up in bed shortly after receiving a Reiki and healing touch treatment from a long-time friend. After two days, she was able to go home and enjoy an extended period with her family before she died.

In another case, immediately following her own Reiki Level One class, Penelope (now a Reiki Master), began treating her dear friend, a musician, who was felled by a massive stroke. After two weeks, the friend's husband was told to start looking for a long-term care facility for her; she was not expected to recover enough to be able to return home. "Wait a bit," Penelope told him, and continued to do daily Reiki treatments in the hospital. A week later, the friend awoke from her coma able to speak and with significant feeling on her affected side. After months of continued treatment, she was back home and went back to work. She never fully regained the flexibility in one hand that would let her perform professionally again, so she changed careers and became a music teacher.

Another dramatic story comes from Linda. After many years of all the appropriate medical treatments, a client whose spine had always been seriously misshapen decided to also try Reiki. She didn't expect it to affect her spine, but hoped it would help with other aspects of the underlying illness. Linda worked on her client for months. One day in the course of a treatment, both Reiki practitioner and client were startled to suddenly hear a series of sharp "popping" noises accompanied by the beginning of some straightening of the client's spine.

Sometimes, of course, an illness it too entrenched to be reversed. But even in those cases, Reiki is often a balm. By the time my Godmother, Milly, received her leukemia diagnosis, it was well into the mid-stage of the disease. I traveled to her as often as I could, giving Reiki at each visit. By the time she was hospitalized, the most I hoped for was that her dying would be as gentle and painless as possible. In the month before her death, I taught Reiki to several family members who then were able to treat her daily. We were no more able to significantly affect the illness than the hard-working doctors and nurses who cared for her, but the Reiki clearly brought her tremendous comfort and greatly eased her passing.

Reiki feeds the body, mind, and spirit with the essence of healing energy. There are too many factors in a given person's life and illness to be able to predict the effect of continued Reiki treatments. While some people have what seems like a miraculous recovery, others find that the peace and stress-reduction that accompanies a Reiki treatment helps them to cope with an illness too far entrenched to be cured. But in helping us find peace within the distress of illness or trauma, even when curing is impossible, healing can be profoundly present.