How Reiki Can Help Those With Cancer

Reiki is an energy healing technique from Japan that is used as a complementary therapy to cancer treatment that has become increasingly popular in the West. It does not replace Western medicine for cancer treatment, and no evidence supports this. There are a few studies that have been done that shed light on the benefits of complementary Reiki treatment for cancer patients.

Key takeaways:
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    Reiki is a complementary therapy for cancer patients which can provide emotional relief and relaxation.
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    Reiki has no known negative side effects.
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    There is more research that needs to be done on Reiki to better understand it by the scientific community, however, some studies have been done.

How Reiki works

The way Reiki works is by the practitioner placing their hands on or above the areas of concern (in the case of cancer patients, could be very specific to the affected organs or basic hand positions around the head to alleviate stress and anxiety) to channel universal life force energy. It is a calming practice and the receiver needs to just lay there and relax, which is suitable for the oncology setting where patients may be on bed rest.

They may feel tingling or heat sensations from the hands on different parts of the body, which may feel strange at first, but soon it becomes a relaxing experience. Sometimes they may feel nothing at all, but the Reiki can still be working anyway - sometimes, the benefits are felt at the end of the session or later on.

Regardless of the experience, a cancer patient should consult their doctor before starting any complementary therapy, including Reiki.

There are three types of Reiki practitioners, so it's important to ensure working with the right one when treating a cancer patient. The levels of Reiki include:

  • Level 1: Able to work on self-healing (cannot treat others).
  • Level 2: Able to work on others.
  • Level 3: Master level.

When looking for a Reiki practitioner for cancer treatment, it is important to go with a Level 2 or 3 (Reiki Master). It is also recommended to find one who has years of experience, good reviews or testimonials on a website, and has perhaps worked with cancer patients before. That way, the most is received out of the treatment. The patient may be able to ask the hospital for recommendations since it has become a widely accepted practice or perhaps use a Google search to find one nearby.

What to ask when looking for a Reiki practitioner

  • How long have they been practicing?
  • What training did they receive?
  • Have they worked with cancer patients before?
  • How much does it cost?
  • Can they explain any scientific benefits?
  • How many sessions to expect for results.
  • How soon can results be seen.

It is also recommended to have more than one session, perhaps even weekly or monthly sessions, to keep stress low and pain at bay.

There is limited research on how Reiki can help cancer patients. Most of the research pertains to cancer patients' emotional states and pain relief. Again, it is important to keep in mind that Reiki does not treat cancer. One of the benefits of receiving Reiki is that it does not require any equipment so it's easy to incorporate into a chemotherapy session or at the bedside.

The general benefits of Reiki include

  • Overall feelings of peace and relaxation.
  • Acceptance of oneself.
  • Emotional relief.
  • Stress reduction.
  • Improved well-being.

Just from these alone, it is clear that anyone going through a difficult life-changing moment, in particular, cancer, could benefit from Reiki.

How it works

The Reiki practitioner should be aware of the cancer patient's medical history and what they are treating- what type of cancer and any emotional distress. A session can last 30 minutes to one hour with the patient fully clothed. Reiki aims to clear any energy blocks so the energy can flow freely.

The typical cost of a Reiki session can range between $30-$150 per hour, depending on the experience of the practitioner. There are no known negative side effects from Reiki treatment. It is beneficial to stay hydrated after a session.

Studies about Reiki for cancer patients

In this study, 110 breast cancer patients were studied on how they coped with their condition through Reiki treatment. The study found improved acceptance of their condition, which was seen in a positive light.

Additionally, 24 cancer patients were studied on how Reiki could help ease their pain. The study found those with Reiki treatment reported a decrease in painful symptoms.

Again, another study of cancer patients against a control group showed that Reiki treatments reduced pain, anxiety, and fatigue.

There is still more that needs to be studied about Reiki energy healing because its exact mechanisms are not yet understood by science except that it seems to calm the nervous system, which allows for a more healthy state of being.

Other scientific studies

Additional studies on the effects of Reiki on cancer patients have been performed from an observational standpoint. One study showed that 22 out of 118 cancer patients who received four Reiki treatments reported less anxiety and pain. Another study on 213 patients reported a 50% decreased emotional stress after only one Reiki treatment.

In the end, it is up to the cancer patient to decide if a complementary study will benefit their treatment, emotional state, and physical well-being. There are still more studies that need to be done on Reiki for cancer and, in general, to better understand it by the scientific community. However, thus far, Reiki can be reported as a beneficial complementary therapy with no side effects, which provides relaxation to the cancer patient that receives it.

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