What is Reiki and Reiki Therapy?
Reiki is the Japanese name for “Universal Life Force Energy,” which is the life-giving energy present in everyone. The best way to understand reiki is to view it as our “experienced sense of being alive.” Reiki therapy is a gentle touch therapy that involves the placing of the therapist’s or patient’s hands on various locations on the patient’s body to promote relaxation and a sense of calm.
Reiki has its roots in ancient Chinese and Japanese medicine. Since the early 1990s, reiki therapy has been used with greater regularity in healthcare settings. Over 900 U.S. hospitals and healthcare systems use reiki as a complementary therapy. Reiki is not harmful to patients in any way, and it is safe to use reiki in conjunction with chemotherapy, radiation, and medications used in the medical treatment of cancer.
Reiki is used in healthcare as a complement to—never as a substitute for—patients’ regular medical treatment and medications. Reiki supports the body’s natural healing abilities. This is an important point to remember.
Why has Reiki self-treatment been recommended for me?
This document is being provided to you as a follow-up to a recent reiki treatment you received at Taussig Cancer Institute. Reiki is a complementary therapy available to Taussig’s patients. Treatments provided by trained reiki Master Therapists and patient- administered self-treatments have been found to be beneficial in supporting cancer patients’ healing journeys by:
- Promoting relaxation
- Reducing stress and anxiety
- Increasing energy levels and reducing fatigue
- Promoting an increased sense of positive well-being
Reiki therapy is provided to patients in Taussig’s treatment and exam rooms by Certified Reiki Master Therapists. There is no charge to patients for treatments performed at Taussig. Reiki therapists believe self-treatments can help patients to continue receiving the benefits of reiki on a daily basis. This document details information about Reiki self- treatments, which you can perform on yourself at home, at your own discretion. These can be adapted to meet your own needs.
How do I prepare for a Reiki self-treatment session?
The following suggestions can help you prepare for your reiki self-treatment. Read this information carefully.
- Before beginning, remind yourself that reiki is the universal life force energy that already exists within everyone. Reiki energy strengthens the body’s natural healing abilities.
- Patients are encouraged to perform their reiki self-treatment whether they feel well or not. View your reiki self-treatments as special times you can set aside during the day to be peaceful and calm.
- Set aside a regular time each day to perform your reiki self-treatments. It is suggested that you start with a 20-minute self-treatment first thing in the morning and then another 20-minute self-treatment at the end of the day. These treatments can be performed for longer stretches of time if you would like (30 to 60 minutes). The time of day can also be adjusted to best fit your schedule.
- Find a safe and comfortable space in your home to perform your self-treatments. Try to use this same space regularly. You can perform these self-treatments sitting in a chair or lying on your back on a sofa, bed, or the floor.
- Unless you need someone present in the room for your care and safety, consider performing your self-treatments alone in the room.
- Create a quiet environment without distracting noise. Many patients find it helpful to play some relaxing instrumental music during their self-treatments. Later in this document, a few examples of reiki session music is provided.
- When you are ready to start your reiki self-treatment, go to your designated space, turn on your relaxing background music, and remove your shoes. If you are reclining, place a pillow under your head and place a rolled-up second pillow under your knees. For comfort, place a blanket over your body to stay warm. Close your eyes. Relax your body and mind. Notice and make mental note of any special places in your body or mind that need special attention in your session. Remind yourself that your reiki self-treatment is being performed for the highest and greatest good. Breathe in easy and relaxing breaths during your self-treatment. Often it helps to focus your attention on your breath and body as you perform the various hand positions.
How do I perform a reiki self-treatment?
Try to follow the hand position instructions in the order in which they are described below. However, feel free to make any adjustments you believe will be beneficial to you. For a 20-minute self-treatment, it is suggested that you perform each hand position for 2 minutes, but don’t worry about the exact amount of time. You may feel the need to do some of the hand positions for a longer time than others. With practice, you will memorize the hand positions. Please don’t worry about doing the hand positions in a perfect way. Simply relax and do the best you can. That will be good enough. Finally, feel free to place your hands other places on your body that you feel need relaxation and healing.
Hand Position 1: Begin your reiki self-treatment by gently placing your hands together in a prayer position in the middle of your chest, just below your chin. See figure 1. Keep your hands in this position for a moment or two while focusing your attention on your in- breaths and out-breaths. Once again, breathe slowly and deeply to promote relaxation of your body and mind.
Figure 1: Starting Reiki Session Hand Position (1-2 Minutes)
Hand Position 2: Gently place both hands on top of the head. See figure 2. Breathe in deep and relaxed breaths. Focus your attention on your hands on the top of your head. Allow this hand position to relax the muscles and skin on your head.
Figure 2: Hand Position 2 (2 Minutes)
Hand Position 3: Gently place both hands over your eyes. See figure 3. Again, breathe in deep and relaxed breaths. Focus your attention on your hands over your eyes. For your breathing comfort, try not to place your hands over your nose. Allow this hand position to relax the muscles and skin in your forehead, face, and eyes.
Figure 3: Hand Position 3: (2 Minutes)
Hand Position 4: Gently place your right hand over your throat and the left hand over your heart. See figure 4. Continue to breathe in deep and relaxed breaths. Focus your attention on your throat and heart. For your comfort, try not to place your hand with too much pressure over your throat. Allow this hand position to relax the muscles in your neck, throat, and upper chest area.
Figure 4: Hand Position 4 (2 Minutes)
Hand Position 5: Gently place your hands just below the breast line. The middle fingers should be touching each other. See figure 5. Continue to breathe in slow and deep breaths. Focus your attention on the area under your breasts. Allow this hand position to relax the muscles in the center of your chest and rib areas.
Figure 5: Hand Position 5 (2 Minutes)
Hand Position 6: Move your hands one hand-width down from your breast line, gently placing them over the upper stomach and in the solar plexus area. See figure 6. Continue to breathe in slow and deep breaths. Focus your attention on this area of the body. Allow this hand position to relax the muscles in this area.
Figure 6: Hand Position 6 (2 Minutes)
Hand Position 7: Gently place your hands over the stomach and navel area. See figure 7. Continue to breathe in slow and deep breaths. Focus your attention on this area of the body. Allow this hand position to relax the muscles in this area.
Figure 7: Hand Position 7 (2 Minutes)
Hand Position 8: Gently place both hands on the shoulder muscles. See figure 8. Continue to breathe in slow and deep breaths. Focus your attention on this area of the body, and allow this hand position to relax the muscles in this area.
Figure 8: Hand Position 8 (2 Minutes)
Hand Position 9: Gently place your hands above the waist line, on the kidney area. See figure 9. Continue to breathe in slow and deep breaths. Focus your attention on this area of the body, and allow this hand position to relax the muscles in this area.
Figure 9: Hand Position 9 (2 Minutes)
Hand Position 10: Gently place your hands on either the tops of your feet or the soles of your feet. See figure 10. To make this position easier, cross your left leg over your right knee to reach your left foot. Cross your right leg over your left knee to reach your right foot. Don’t strain yourself. Just do the best you can.
Figure 10: Hand Position 10 (2 Minutes)
What music should I play during my self-treatment?
You may want to play some relaxing instrumental music as you perform your self- treatments. Here are links to two free reiki music videos on YouTube.
- Reiki music sample #1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyyRylrcfF0
- Reiki music sample #2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmlmJAmgUic&t=1664s
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