how the alt therapy works to reduce both stress & anxiety

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  • Here’s everything you need to know.

    If you’re someone who’s tried alternative therapies like acupuncture or cold water therapy, then you might have heard of – or tried – reiki healing.

    Originating from Japan, reiki is a form of energy healing. The alternative medicine sees practitioners use to palm healing or hands-on healing to direct universal energy which, in turn, promises to help alleviate health conditions such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more, boosting relaxation and reducing stress.

    In short, it’s an alternative healing method. As with any alternative therapy, it’s important to note here that Reiki is not NHS approved, rather a more holistic approach to health designed to complement your medically-backed medications and so on.

    To get the full low down, we spoke to reiki master Lisa Butcher – it’s not for everyone, but here, she shares what reiki is, how it works, and what the main benefits are, too, plus why it works for her.

    Reiki healing: your guide

    What is reiki?

    According to the therapist, reiki is a complementary therapy designed to heal. The term “reiki” comes from the Japanese words “rei,” meaning universal, and “ki,” which translates to a vital life force energy that flows through all living things, she shares.

    “It involves encouraging a healthy flow of energy in the body to lower stress and promote healing,” she continues. 

    A bit like a massage or physio session, you can’t practice reiki on yourself – rather, you need to visit a qualified practitioner who will practice it on you. Wondering how long you’ll be in the treatment room for? “A treatment usually lasts between 60 to 90 minutes,” she explains.

    How does reiki work?

    So, how does it actually work? Good question. “Reiki practitioners use a technique called palm healing or hands-on healing,” shares the expert. “This involves universal energy being transferred through the palms of the practitioner to the patient in order to encourage emotional or physical healing.”

    Read the following and you’ll be prepared for your first reiki session in no time.

    1. The patient lies down, fully clothed.
    2. The practitioner will start practicing reiki healing on you – that is, moving their palms around and practicing palm healing (watch the video below to get a feel for a virtual form of it).
    3. Some patients feel a heat or warmth throughout their body when being treated or a slight tingling sensation.

    Reiki benefits: 8 to know about 

    People who have experienced a reiki treatment can expect:

    • Improved mood
    • Improved emotional well-being
    • Reduced stress
    • Increased relaxation
    • Better sleep
    • Lower blood pressure
    • Reduced anxiety
    • Reduced pain rates.

    “It’s ideal for people undergoing surgery because of the last three,” shares Butcher. “For people with cancer, for example, it’s been found to improves anxiety and pain management.”

    Is there evidence that reiki works? 

    Do note here, though, and as above, it is always suggested that Reiki is used alongside conventional medicine and treatments, as it is an alternative therapy.

    That’s not to say there’s no research on the benefits of Reiki – far from it. “Research attempts have been and continue to be made, but the research is just at the beginning,” explains Butcher.

    For example – The National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has completed five studies looking at Reiki’s ability to benefit people with diabetes, advanced AIDS, prostate cancer, fibromyalgia, and stress.

    “Other published studies have looked at the effect of Reiki on measures of stress hormones, blood pressure, heart rate, and immune response, and on subjective reports of anxiety, pain and depression. The studies to date are typically small, and not every study is well designed. However, overlapping data from some of the stronger studies support the ability of Reiki to reduce anxiety and pain, and suggest its usefulness to induce relaxation, improve fatigue and depressive symptoms, and strengthen overall wellbeing,” she shares.

    What does Butcher love Reiki personally? “I use Reiki on myself to help get back to sleep if I wake up in the middle of the night,” she explains. “I set myself up in a quiet room, grounding myself before doing any energy work. I imagine myself lying like a large oak tree with roots coming out the bottom of my feet spreading downwards and sideways, rooting myself to the ground.”

    “This helps me to feel calm, grounded and relaxed,” she continues. 

    5 reiki principles 

    The five main principles of reiki, aka the principles that Reiki are based on, are:

    • I will not worry
    • I will not be angry
    • I will do my work honestly
    • I will be grateful for my many blessings
    • I will be kind to all living things.

    These can then serve as mantras for you to carry throughout your day-to-day.

    Butcher’s advice. “Try it and see – what’s the worst that can happen?”

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