As an Artistic Healer I have my hands and my heart in many different healing modalities, and I relish the opportunity to help people heal on many levels. I think most people, or most people who find their way to me anyway, understand that there is more going on with our wellness than can be quantified in lab tests and with radiological imaging. You can measure blood pressure, brain waves, and heart rate, but there isn’t a test yet that can give you a true visual of what the biofield (the body’s energy system) looks like. The relief felt after a great therapy session (of any kind) can’t really be translated into a lab value – it can only be experienced. We talk quite a lot about stress and its negative effects on health – stress hormones, chronic inflammation, depressed immune system, sleep disorders, digestive issues – but there is no test strip that will turn red to let you know that is the definitive cause. Stress itself doesn’t show up under a microscope.
“Yup. Here’s your problem right here.”
Reiki is one of the currently un-mapped healing counterparts to the amorphous negative effect of stress. Eastern medicine has been treating the energetic flow through the body for thousands of years. Acupuncturists have mapped the meridians – vessels that carry energy through the body- and passed that knowledge down. Pranic and Vedic traditions have likewise looked to the chakras for health for a similarly long time. None of this is visibly quantifiable by our current technology, yet there are currently millions of people who credit one or more of these forms of healing with their physical well being. Research on Reiki and other Energy Medicine modalities is in its infancy. Concepts like the biofield, and energy healing Modalities, are what the National Institutes of Health call “putative” sciences – meaning they have yet to be effectively evaluated or measured. I could give you all sorts of anecdotal evidence for Reiki’s capabilities for everything from shrinking tumors, to jumping a dead car battery.
But I would just be making claims.
And I respect you, and science more than that. The science just isn’t in yet, but I am hopeful for what it may show. Here’s what we do know about Reiki and some of the benefits that people have experienced:
- It causes no harm. There are zero side effects to Reiki.
- As it uses a light touch, or no touch at all, Reiki is a fantastic choice for people who are experiencing very painful conditions, or for individuals whose health would contraindicate other types of bodywork.
- Preliminary data suggests Reiki can improve heart rate, blood pressure, and immunity. Early studies have indicated that it may reduce pain, anxiety, and depression.
- Reiki is deeply relaxing, and as such is a great tool for stress management, and as a complimentary therapy to other mainstream medical intervention.
- Reiki is offered in over 800 hospitals in the US as a regular part of patient services. You may find it being used as part of pre-operative relaxation or post-operative pain care, in programs to benefit cognition in the elderly with relation to Alzheimers or dementia, In Oncology programs for pain and stress management for those undergoing cancer treatment, or for other chronic illnesses.
While we may still be waiting for science to develop tools for effectively evaluating Reiki and other energy healing modalities, we have solid evidence that healing emotional pain and stress leads to healing physical pain and illness. Addressing the energy of the body is, in my opinion, as crucial as addressing its physical needs. We need healing on all levels – mental, physical, and spiritual – to be truly balanced and operating at our peak. I think that we are on the threshold where science is going to be showing us some pretty mindblowing things about the nature of the energy that surrounds us and flows through us. Albert Einstein has a quote about energy and matter that I really like:
“Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.”
So, to answer the question I began with… Try Reiki for the same reason you tried yoga or meditation. Because there is more going on with you than cells, and hormones, and calories in and calories out: There is that spiritual energetic piece of you that needs tending. Try Reiki because you may not realize the weight you are carrying, but you sure will recognize its absence. Try Reiki because you have had enough of feeling like a shaken bottle of soda pop. Try Reiki because you can’t remember what its like to have a quiet mind, or a wide open feeling in your chest. Try Reiki because you are an explorer, and there may just be more to this wild Universe than you previously had suspected.