For thousands of years, different civilizations have recognized the life force energy in the human body and called it by different names. Yogis call it prana, the Japanese call it ki, and the Chinese call it chi or qi. In the United States, it goes by various names in different practices, but the energy is all the same. When the force is low, people are more likely to develop stress-related illnesses. When the frequency is high, they are more likely to experience happiness and good health. In 2014, over 600 hospitals, including Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic, had adopted Reiki as a form of complementary therapy.
How Energy Healing Works
Trained practitioners place their hands on or above the body to channel universal energy. Although practitioners use specific hand positions, the energy travels throughout the body. Sessions usually last around an hour, and clients often feel a sense of warmth and peacefulness during the treatment. Some healers offer long-distance healing while others prefer direct contact. Although most studies have shown it to be an effective complementary therapy, researchers say it's “intangible nature” makes it hard to measure. The good news is that it is affordable and noninvasive, and anecdotal stories offer strong support for its benefits.
How Energy Healing Helps Cancer Patients
A 2014 study looked at a group of volunteer practitioners who provided supportive care to 213 patients and found promising results. When surveyed, 82.2 percent of the participants reported that the treatments were helpful and said they would recommend the practice to others. Other data showed it improved patients' quality of life in several ways, including a 50 percent decrease in the following self-reported symptoms:
Overall, the study showed that it helped cancer patients relax and enhanced their spiritual well-being. Besides helping patients, energy healing may also provide relaxation and stress relief to caregivers and families while they are coping with the illness of a loved one.
Finding a Practitioner
Many hospitals have volunteers who work with patients, and open-minded medical providers can often provide references to reliable providers of complementary and alternative medicine. Another option for patients and caregivers is to become a practitioner. Classes are affordable and available in most cities, and the technique can be easily learned and administered to oneself or to others.
Whether dealing with a rare diagnosis like mesothelioma, an illness caused by asbestos exposure, or a more common one like breast cancer, patients recover more easily and experience fewer side effects when they feel relaxed and spiritually connected to something greater than themselves. Reiki is one of many types of complementary therapies that promote good health and a positive state-of-mind.
By Lindsey Gauthier: An accomplished writer in cancer research and studies.
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