An update Reiki:
Hubby and I have now finished Level 1 where, according to the teacher, we are only channeling 10% of what we will be able to channel by the end of the second level.
My jury is still out on whether Reiki something special unto itself or just a codified ritual of helpful techniques. Does it help people feel better? I believe it does but I don’t believe it’s because of any mystical transference of energy (as I think many practitioners would have us believe.)
It’s a long-established fact that human touch is healing. A long time ago, I read that if a person is going into shock, aside from getting them out of immediate danger (i.e. stemming blood loss), the best thing you can do is to touch them, to ground them. This information has come in handy more than once.
The placebo effect is another proven phenomenon. If you believe you are being healed, either by yourself or by another, very often the body will heal itself. Even just visualizing being healed or getting better has a strong positive effect. I know this to be true from my own experience. I have healed myself countless times.
A few years ago, I had a pain in my mid-back for several weeks. It made it impossible for me to sit at my desk and work for more than fifteen minutes at a time. It was quite debilitating. I had a couple of appointments with my chiropractor, which did not help, until he figured out it was referred pain from a pinched nerve in my neck. I made an appointment with a “real” doctor, and had an MRI, but the truth is, as soon he told me the cause and the location of the problem, I was able to heal myself. I visualized the nerve as a strand of dental floss and the nerve sheath as a bubble-tea straw – plenty of room for the nerve, no compression at all. Overnight, this month-long pain was gone. (But I had to know the SOURCE of the problem in order to visualize the cure.)
I’ve had other similar experiences – enough of them to believe with every fiber of my being that self-healing is possible, but it’s essential to believe that it’s possible. This belief is reinforced with each success.
So, there’s that aspect of Reiki as well. If the practitioner and the client truly believe that it’s helping, it will help.
Another established medical truth is that stress can exacerbate existing physical symptoms and even cause new problems out of the blue. When we are tense, we clench our muscles. When we constantly clench the same muscles in the same way, this often leads to other problems even in other parts of the body. When we are stressed, our bodies produce cortisol and adrenaline, the so-called “fight or flight” hormones. These hormones have a negative effect on our immune system. (This is a very simplified explanation.) Ergo, DE-stressing can alleviate or mitigate symptoms. That’s why yoga and meditation are so effective at boosting the immune system, among other things.
Stress can also cause an increase in stomach acid which ultimately has a negative effect on the gut biome, which regulates all kinds of things, including mood (so scientists now believe.)
So when another person, who is calm, attentive, and confident focuses loving attention on us, it brings down our stress levels and reduces cortisol and adrenaline in our system, and has other positive effects on our bodies.
These days, many hospitals have added Reiki departments because patients are asking for it, and it seems to work. But I believe it works for all the reasons I stated above. Imagine a person about to have a major surgery or recuperating from a serious illness. They are likely scared, worried, stressed. Their heart rate is elevated. Their cortisol and adrenaline levels are up. They are not breathing as deeply as they could, and thus are not fully oxygenating their cells. Doctors and nurses and orderlies rush all around them, rarely taking a lot of time with them. But then a person (maybe a volunteer) comes to the bedside and offers fifteen, twenty minutes of healing touch founded in a deep desire to help the patient feel better. You can easily imagine how calming that would be.
I am not one for praying but I imagine if someone (say a member of the clergy, or a member of one’s house of worship) came to a hospital bedside and with the same intentions, and prayed with the patient, it would work just as well.
The teacher says that studies have proven that Reiki (and in fact intentions) can change the molecular structure of our cells. I have seen similar studies with water and formation of ice crystals but I am not sure they were done under the strictest scientific standards.
Don’t get me wrong… I WANT to believe, but I need to see evidence.
We shall see if either I or my husband find anything more substantial than this as we continue to learn, and if so, I will report back to you. We begin Level II in two weeks. (I am enjoying the class. The teacher is terrific and I really like the other students.)
But even if it’s no more than this, learning to “channel” calm, healing energy into oneself or another person is a good skill to have.