According to continuously upgraded statistics, over one-half of all Americans visit complementary and alternative medical practitioners yearly, accounting for fiscal expenditures in excess of thirty-three billion dollars.

These statistics are rapidly escalating due to:

~High costs associated with conventional medicine

~Adverse side-effects or resistance to prescription drugs

~Many diseases (fibromyalgia, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraines etc.) are precipitated or facilitated by mental and/or emotional stresses

~Many ailments (AIDS, cancer, arthritis, etc.) have not been helped or cured by conventional medical intervention

~Conventional medicine is sophisticated in dealing with trauma and some specific diseases, but devotes far less attention to aspects of "wellness", such as the prevention of "dis-ease", or to underlying emotions - how a person feels about their illness.

Complementary methods, such as Reiki, are cost effective, help minimize recovery time, require little technology to implement, and blend easily with all other therapies. Reiki can be introduced to the patient by the nursing staff on all levels, CRNP, RN, LPN or NA. There are no adverse side effects from treatment, and treatment can be implemented at any time or during any stage of illness.

"Dis-ease" is an important messenger, indicating the body's homeostasis needs to be restored. Reiki fuels the homeostatic mechanisms and assists in the restoration of physical, mental and emotional balance. Reiki works to enhance and accelerate the normal healing processes of the body and mind. By inducing the relaxation response, Reiki encourages integrated functioning of the body's healing systems. This deep relaxation acts via the autonomic nervous system to lower blood pressure and heart rate, and to relieve tension and anxiety. It also augments the ability of the immune system and stimulates the brain's production of endorphins, decreasing the perception of pain and creating a state of well-being.

Reiki enables the recipient to take charge of this process, as the one receiving the treatment facilitates the power to heal. The body's innate "wisdom" chooses how much and where to direct the Reiki energy.

A study at Sonoma State University, focusing on nurses trained in Reiki 1, concluded that Reiki seemed a natural adjunct to nursing, and could be incorporated into every area of nursing care. Reiki flows whenever patients are touched by their caregiver.

Reiki can also reduce the incidence of "burn-out" and job-related stress. Nurses, caretakers by nature, tend to place service to others above taking care of their own needs. "Self-Reiki" is an effective method for centering, calming, balancing, regaining clarity and focus, as well as increasing productivity.

Reiki in Hospitals

Since Reiki requires no specific setting or preparations, it can be used in all hospital environments, and can be incorporated unobtrusively into patient treatment. It helps relieve stress, agitation and pain, as well as aiding sleep. It promotes release of grief, anger or anxiety, and provides comfort in palliative care. No adjustment to clothing is necessary, and Reiki even flows through casts. It is not dependent upon the consciousness of the patient. Nurses report the following shifts with Reiki:

~Patients "pink-up"

~Hands and feet warm up

~Patients sleep calmly, and for extended periods

~Less time is needed to calm patients

~Patients have a more positive attitude, and are more cooperative

~Patients report decreased pain

Reiki assists in mobilizing healing resources for recuperation. Reiki can also reduce the dosage and frequency of pharmacologic intervention. Moments of Reiki "caring-touch", even during routine procedures, increases patient satisfaction, and helps diminish feelings of institutional impersonality. Reiki satisfies the nurse's innate desire to comfort and nurture.

"Reiki sessions cause patients to heal faster with less pain" says Marilyn Vega, RN, at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York. "Reiki accelerates recovery from surgery, improves mental attitude, and reduces the negative effects of medication and other medical procedures."

Vega, a Reiki Master, includes Reiki with her regular nursing procedures. Patients have asked her to do Reiki on them in the operating and recovery rooms. She has also been asked to do Reiki sessions on cancer patients at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital.

Julie Motz, a Reiki trained healer has worked with Mehmet Oz, MD, a noted cardiothoracic surgeon at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York. Motz uses Reiki to balance the patient's energy during operations, including open heart surgeries and heart transplants. She reports decreased post-op depression, pain, leg weakness, and reduced rejection rates.

Beginning in 1995, initially exclusively within the Cancer Care Unit, the Tuscan Medical Center began offering Reiki to patients in their rooms. This offering has now expanded to include many other areas of the hospital.

Patricia Alandydy, an RN and Reiki Master, offers Reiki within the Surgical Services Department at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. Ongoing program evaluations have shown patients who received Reiki treatments needed less pain medication, and left the hospital sooner.

The California Pacific Medical Center Health and Healing clinic provides care for acute and chronic illness using complementary care including Reiki. Mike Cantwell, MD states:"I have found Reiki to be useful in the treatment of acute illnesses such as musculoskeletal injury/pain, headache, acute infections, and asthma. Reiki is also useful for patients with chronic illnesses, especially those associated with chronic pain."

Mary Lee Radka is a Reiki Master and RN who has the job classification of Nurse-Healer and teaches Reiki to nurses and hospital staff at the University of Michigan Hospital. She also uses Reiki with most of her patients. She has found Reiki to produce the best results in reducing pain and stress, improving circulation and eliminating nerve blockages.

Reiki in Hospice

A dying person's final weeks of life can be fraught with boredom, frustration, loneliness, depression or fear. Reiki provides comfort and well-being, along with deep relaxation and reduction of pain without sacrificing consciousness. Severe pain, fears and anxiety can be managed with less medication, leaving the client more alert to deal with the emotional issues of closure with loved ones. By supporting the hospice patient through their transition with peace and harmony, Reiki is compatible with hospice goals. Reiki is gentle, unobtrusive and under client control. Reiki communicates depth of caring and connection without the need to use words. Reiki also assists the hospice worker to nurture oneself and helps to deal with emotions that surface while dealing with dying clients.

Medicinal Uses that Show Promise

Chronic Pain: Arthritis patients who get regular Reiki treatments often report decreased pain and improved mobility. Researchers are testing Reiki's ability to reduce pain and improve emotional well-being in Fibromyalgia patients.

Cancer: Reiki treatments may reduce side effects, like the fatigue and nausea caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Once treatments are over, Reiki can help restore balance to the body and improve the immune system. One study published in The Journal of Pain and Symptom Management reported improved pain control and a better quality of life.

HIV/AIDS: In a study of people with HIV/AIDS who received Reiki 1 training, a 20 minute Reiki self-treatment was found to reduce pain and anxiety. Reiki may also help by enhancing immune function and reducing fatigue and insomnia, common side effects of antiviral drugs.

Diabetes: Pamela Miles, a New York based Reiki Master who helped launch Reiki programs at several area hospitals, has seen many people with diabetes reduce their need for insulin after starting Reiki treatment, especially those who practice self-treatment on a daily basis. Researchers at the University of Michigan are studying Reiki's effectiveness in reducing pain and improving cardiovascular risk factors in people with diabetic neuropathy.

Mental Health: In a study of Reiki and Depression, people who received a 1 to 1.5 hour treatment each week for 6 weeks reported reductions in depressive symptoms, hopelessness and stress. Reiki treatments also offer a gentle way for people traumatized by rape, crime or war to "reconnect with their sense of wholeness", says Pamela Miles.

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