Medical Community Embraces Reiki

Celebrated heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz is the co-founder of the Complementary Care Centre at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. He is also the host of his own show, aptly named The Dr. Oz Show.

In one of his shows, Dr. Oz focused on alternative medicine. He featured a Reiki therapist and provided the audience with a short demonstration of healing through Reiki. At the end of the show, he gave his audience three recommendations, the first of which was, “Try Reiki.”

Since the late 1990s, Dr. Oz had been a staunch proponent of Reiki and the only doctor who publicly explored Reiki. Much has changed since. Today, more and more doctors are recommending Reiki.

More Doctors Recommend Reiki

In an article entitled “Reiki: Hype or Help” which appeared in “Discovery Health,” Therese Droste writes about Neurosurgeon Clinton Miller, a former skeptic turned believer. After experiencing a Reiki session, Miller said, “I went from high personal excitation to feeling like I was floating in the ether.” Like Dr. Oz, Miller now prescribes Reiki for his patients.

Then there is cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, who is also the head of the New England Heart Center in Manchester. Sinatra recommends Reiki to patients when he thinks that an energy blockage is preventing a patient from healing.

Says Droste in her article: “Many healthcare professionals and others are beginning to incorporate Reiki in their treatment of illnesses ranging from asthma to cancer to depression. Reiki sessions are being used for pain management, to accelerate recovery from surgery and reduce medication side effects.”

Such acceptance from the medical profession is supported by personal experience, feedback from patients and more importantly, by various research studies.

Pre and Post Surgery Reiki

In April 1999, the Journal of Nursing Care Quality published an article by Patricia and Kristan Alandydy on the effects of Reiki on surgical patients. Eight hundred and seventy patients confined at the Columbia/HCA Portsmouth Regional Hospital in Portsmouth, New Hampshire were asked to participate. All the participants were given 15 minutes pre- and post-surgery Reiki treatments. As a result of the Reiki treatments, there was less use of pain medications, shorter length of hospital confinement and increased patient satisfaction.

The effects of Reiki on Alzheimer’s disease have also been explored. An empirical study was conducted, which aimed at exploring the efficacy of Reiki in improving memory and behavior deficiencies in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease. This quasi-experimental study showed that “Reiki treatments show promise for improving certain behavior and memory problems in patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s disease.”

A paper presented by Mary Ann La Torre, Wardell DW, Engebretson J., at Universtity of Texas Houston Health Science Center in Houston, Texas explored the biological effects of Reiki. The aim of the study was “to test a framework of relaxation or stress reduction as a mechanism of touch therapy (TT).” The study was conducted in 1996 and 23 healthy subjects were asked to participate. It was intended to be a close examination of select physiological and biochemical effects after 30 minutes of Reiki, which was considered a form of touch therapy.

The biological markers that were related to stress-reduction response included: state of anxiety, salivary IgA and cortisol levels, blood pressure, galvanic skin response (GSR), muscle tension and skin temperature. Biological marker levels were measured before and after the 30-minute Reiki sessions. Test results showed that anxiety was significantly reduced. Skin temperature increased and electromygraph decreased during the treatment, although the before and after changes were not significant. It was concluded that the “findings suggest both biochemical and physiological changes in the direction of relaxation.”

Reiki as Biofield Therapy

According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health (which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), Reiki falls under the category of Energy Medicine. It is considered part of a number of healing modalities categorized as “Biofield Therapies which are intended to affect energy fields that purportedly surround and penetrate the human body.”

Reiki is now proving to be very useful in hospices, nursing homes and hospitals. The number of hospitals offering Reiki is increasing. It is now offered in several other hospitals such as Mercy Hospital in Portland, Maine, Wilcox Memorial Hospital in Hawaii, Center for Integrative Medicine at George Washington University Hospital, Tucson Medical Center in Arizona, California Pacific Medical Center, Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire, Marin General Hospital in California, University of Michigan Hospital, Foote Hospital in Michigan.

Indeed, Reiki has come a long way since the time it was first introduced in Japan by Mikao Usui -a Japanese spiritual seeker who called it a “natural method of healing.”

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