By Rev. Ben Tucker, Rev. Sharon-Elizabeth James and Debra Betterly, PhD –
Integrated medicine recognizes that humans are so much more than just a biological mechanism. Ancient cultures around the world and many societies today, believe there is more to health and wellness than what our physical senses can see, touch, taste, feel and hear.
Ancient shamans and healers understood healing required the involvement of the mind, body and spirit. This concept is gaining support through recent evidence-based health and wellness research. The Cosmic Center of Spiritual Light and Florida Cancer Specialists recognize the value of integrated medicine and promote its use. One of the therapies being offered at their facilities is Reiki. It is a natural approach to reduce pain and stress, boost the immune system, and improve healing.
The Practice of Reiki
When you are experiencing pain, it is common to put your hands where it hurts. Reiki (pronounced ray key) is an ancient healing technique that builds on this natural instinct to relieve pain and promote the body’s innate healing abilities. The word Reiki is derived from two Japanese words: rei, or universal, and ki, or life force energy.
During a Reiki treatment, the practitioner places his or her hands lightly on or just above the person receiving the treatment to facilitate the person’s own healing response. Reiki activates the life force energy in each of us to boost the body’s immune system and natural healing ability.
Integrating Reiki with Cancer Treatment
Today many cancer patients are incorporating Reiki into their chemotherapy and radiation treatment protocols. According to the National Institute of Health’s National Cancer Institute, people with cancer turn to integrated health and wellness programs to:
• promote overall health and well-being;
• reduce stress and anxiety before, during and after treatments;
• mitigate the side effects of cancer treatments (e.g., nausea, pain and fatigue); and
• participate more fully in their own care.
Clinical studies are underway to learn more about how Reiki may help mitigate diseases and chronic conditions while improving overall health. There are many anecdotal reports about Reiki’s power to increase feelings of well-being and facilitate healing. Patients who receive Reiki sessions after chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments have reported an increased sense of well-being, with less pain, nausea and vomiting.
In addition, Reiki is often taught to caregivers of cancer patients so they can be directly involved in the patient’s care. In many hospitals and cancer clinics throughout the U.S., Reiki practitioners and nurses use Reiki to calm and comfort their patients undergoing diagnostic procedures or treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
Typical Reiki Treatment
The person receiving Reiki lies down or sits fully clothed while the practitioner places his or her hands lightly on or just above the person’s body to facilitate the healing response. The treatment usually starts with hands on the head and then moves down the body to the feet – covering 10 to 12 positions along the body. Each hand position is held in place for approximately two to five minutes. Reiki treatments do not involve manipulating bones or tissues. Each treatment lasts between 30 and 60 minutes.
The purpose of Reiki is to promote relaxation and healing, and improve overall health. The Reiki practitioner serves as a conduit for the universal life force energy, balancing energy within and around the person being treated. This energy flows through the practitioner’s hands into the one receiving the treatment. The individual being treated will relax into a deep state of rest. At the end of the treatment session, both individuals are relaxed and energized.
According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, which included the use of complementary health practices by Americans, more than 1.2 million adults used an energy healing therapy, such as Reiki, in the previous year.
Reiki and Conventional Medicine
Reiki complements and enhances the health care provided in hospitals and medical clinics. In fact, Reiki is incorporated into cancer, pain management and stress/relaxation treatments offered at more than 60 leading hospitals and clinics throughout the U. S. including:
• Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute
• Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
• Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center
• Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
• Columbia University Medical Center
No matter the course of treatment a person selects, it is important to receive adequate nutrition through a proper diet; to exercise at a level appropriate for your age and current health situation; and practice gentle forms of breathing to stimulate the life force energy within the body (e.g., yoga, meditation, Reiki, Tai Chi, Qigong). Always consult with your doctor about the benefits of integrated therapies.
Cancer patients can receive Reiki sessions at the Cosmic Center of Spiritual Light on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10 am and 2 pm. In addition, Florida Cancer Specialists and Research Institute is in the early stages of offering an Integrated Oncology and Wellness program at several of their locations. Reiki is among the energy therapies being offered. Rev. Ben Tucker is providing the Reiki sessions for these organizations.
Rev. Sharon-Elizabeth James
Cosmic Center of Spiritual Light
Rev. Ben Tucker
Debra Betterly, PhD
Florida Cancer Specialists
Integrative Oncology Coordinator