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Reiki : Self-help vs. Paid service


Reiki is a Japanese word, meaning universal life energy. It is a form of "hands-on" treatment used to manipulate energy fields within and around the body to liberate the body's natural healing powers.

One can learn Reiki to help his/her loved ones whenever the situation calls for it. Reiki hand positions are simple and easy to learn, and can be self-administered more easily compared to other form of energy medicine.

A proper Reiki session is one where the practitioner places his or her hands on various parts of the patient's clothed body to channel and balance energy within and around the body. Some practitioners prefer to hold their hands above the body. A Reiki session usually lasts about 45 minutes.

For patients and/or their caregivers who do not believe in Reiki, it is best for them to keep away from it.

In the case of pain management, Reiki like any other form of painkiller, only provides temporary relief. Therefore, it is important for caregivers to empower themselves with Reiki healing power so that they can perform it at anytime when the patients are in pain. Patients can also help themselves by performing self-healing.

In the book, Reiki Energy Medicine, the authors who are Reiki Practitioners have successfully introduced Reiki as a form of complementary therapy into some medical institutions in the United States. Sadly, many people living in Singapore do not have knowledge about Reiki even though the National Library carries many books on it.

If you wish to know more about how Reiki works, you can easily check it out on the Internet and from books on Reiki.


Empower yourself


In May 2002, I introduced Reiki to CancerStory Support Group members.

Reiki healing can be an expensive affair - at least S$80/- for a one-hour session. Therefore, I encourage cancer patients and their caregivers to learn Reiki Level I in order to empower themselves with the ability to perform self healing. At a subsidized fee of S$150/- (as compared to the market rate of at least S$300/-), some members had learnt Reiki Level 1 from our Reiki Teacher.

After the course, I realized that not all students experienced the healing effect of Reiki. One Reiki Teacher commented that Reiki is a "belief therapy" and it will not work for some people who have doubts about it. How true is this statement?

In Year 2003, I conducted a test on a small-scale basis by extending free Reiki healing sessions to some cancer patients. These patients experienced the healing effects. Hence I feel that some students might not have been practicing self-healing as often as it should be.


Benefits of Reiki


In some case studies, some patients undergoing chemotherapy had reported reduced intensity and frequency of nausea and vomiting after Reiki sessions. It may also help cancer patients to relax, improve sleep, manage pain, lessen discomfort, increase their general sense of well-being and improve their quality of life.


"Myth" of Reiki


Some patients and Reiki practitioners shared their experience and knowledge about Reiki with me. I spotted inconsistency and resigned to the fact that some "opportunists" are adept at "transforming", "modifying" and "distorting" the original form of Reiki into a new form of "commercialized" Reiki. Therefore, patients must be discerning enough to know what is best for them.

A proper Reiki session is one where the practitioner places his or her hands on various parts of the patient's clothed body to channel and balance energy within and around the body. Some practitioners prefer to hold their hands above the body. A Reiki session usually lasts about one hour.

If you wish to know more about how Reiki works, you can easily check it out on the Internet and from books on Reiki.


Do Reiki Practitioners get cancer?


Reiki practitioners are also humans and hence they will also contract cancer as many causes are linked to it. They will continue to perform self-healing until such a time that they cannot manage it anymore. They will rely on others to perform Reiki healing on them. Hence, caregivers with Reiki healing power are a bonus to their loved ones with cancer.


How can Reiki help you?


Reiki is safe and one can learn it to help his/her loved ones whenever the situation calls for it.

I would like to share the following enquiry on Reiki :

Request from a caregiver received in mid May 2004 :

"I am the daughter of a terminal breast cancer patient. Recently, I read from your website that Reiki is beneficial to a cancer patient in terms of pain management and even healing. However, for some reason, I can't find that article in your website anymore.

I will like to seek your help in recommending a qualified and responsible Reiki practitioner, if you know any. My main aim is to help my mother to control her pain and hopefully to raise her red blood count so that she can live more comfortably.

I have very realistic expectation of my mother's condition. I therefore will not hold any grudge against you should anything adverse ("touch wood") happens."

As usual, I will always recommend patients and caregivers to seek help from the "mainstream" healthcare providers and workers before resorting to complementary or alternative methods.

Reply from the caregiver :

"My mum is currently receiving hospice care. However, she always throw-up and will lose her appetite whenever she is taking painkillers. That's why I am trying to look for an alternative way to make her feel better."

From the above reply, I knew that the mainstream palliative care has its side effects and hence I suggested that they seek help from a Reiki practitioner who is willing to perform Reiki healing at a small token fee.

Confirmation received from the caregiver :

"I would be interested to get help from your friend. However, I need to know how much she charges coz if it is too expensive, I may not be able to afford it."

From my friend, I came to know that the patient was responding well to Reiki healing and had requested for follow-up sessions. Subsequently, the following feedback was received from the caregiver.

"Thank you so much for recommending Serene to us. After the first treatment, my mum's appetite improved slightly and her discomfort at her gastric area is also reduced."

In fact, we were quite impressed that my mum actually felt better just after the first session.

Update : The patient passed away peacefully on 14 August 2004.


Why do you have to pay a fee?


Interestingly, one Reiki Practitioner told me that for Reiki to work, the patients must show their appreciation to the Reiki healers by making a payment. Does this mean that free Reiki healing will not work? I am skeptical about it. I am also a Reiki practitioner and had given free reiki healing sessions to some cancer patients. These patients experienced the healing effects of Reiki.

Whereas, another Reiki Practitioner taught his students to show appreciation to their patients by saying "thank you" for giving them the opportunity to practice Reiki healing. Is this teaching a more "humane" one? I feel that it is a matter of opinion. One patient commented - "Surely, the Reiki practitioners must thank their "clients" for their "business", if they are charging a premium price for their service."

In our present materialistic society, the watchword - "No Free Lunch" is everywhere. I would like very much to go against the "flowing stream" as I feel that it is a blessing to be able to give and help the less fortunate.

However, after learning my valuable lesson from unpleasant past experiences, a token fee will serve as a "payment" for a "bona fide and proper" service rendered by a Reiki Practitioner. This will help those patients who are staunch believers in their religions to overcome their "man-made" barrier where they become concerned about receiving free service or voluntary help from a kind soul of a different religion.


Word of Advice


For patients and/or their caregivers who do not believe in Reiki, it is best for them to keep away from it.

In the case of pain management, Reiki like any other form of painkiller, only provides temporary relief. Therefore, it is important for caregivers to empower themselves with Reiki healing power so that they can perform it at anytime when the patients are in pain.


Pain management


My mentor witnessed the following incident:

A patient was in great pain when his family member called for the hospice doctor. While waiting for the doctor, a volunteer who happened to be there, did Reiki healing on the patient. The patient felt relieved and comfortable. When the doctor appeared, he was very angry to be "mobilized" when he saw that the patient was not in any pain. He reprimanded the family member for the "false" alarm. The family member explained the case and finally, the doctor was convinced and prescribed painkillers for the patient.

From this incident, patients and caregivers must understand that both Reiki and painkillers must go hand in hand. Reiki will help to alleviate the side effects of painkillers.


Caregiver's Sharing (Feedback received from Ms Chong on 27 June 2004)


The below feedback and note of appreciation was received through CancerStory.com's founder from Ms Chong Y K on 27 June 2004.


I am Ms Chong. Not sure whether you remember me but a couple of months ago, you recommended Serene to perform Reiki healing on my mum who has stage IV breast cancer.

I think overall Reiki has helped my mum to cope with her illness better. Ever since she started on Reiki treatment, she can sleep better and her bowels are fairly regular. She has also stopped relying on painkillers as she does not experience acute pain. The lack of pain is one thing that left the hospice staff puzzled.

It is a pity that my mum decided not to continue with the treatment. She had insisted on "saving" money as she felt that she was already incurring hefty medical bills. I can only respect her wishes. However, I am greatly touched by the kindness of Serene who has made Reiki affordable to me. In the course of treatment, she has also offered me valuable advice on how to take care of my mum. It is people like you and Serene who have made me believe that kind people still exist.

Please do let me know if you or Serene need any help in furthering your cause, be it monetary or not. I may not be able to help much in my current situation but I'll try my best to do whatever I can.


Patients' Sharing


I had nose cancer in 1995 and underwent radiotherapy immediately. Recurrence came unexpectedly 7 years later in 2002. I went for a neck dissection but the prognosis thereafter was still ominous. Follow up treatment options included another bout of radiotherapy plus adjuvant chemotherapy as there was a high risk of further recurrence. But this was soon abandoned in favour of close monitoring in view of the risks of unacceptable side effects from repeated radiotherapy.

In the midst of this turmoil, I attended a workshop on Reiki. Despite initial reservations, I went for a couple of trial sessions as I had nothing to lose. Subsequently, my wife became a practitioner for my benefit.

While I cannot attest to the role of Reiki in my struggle for survival, I can vouch for its calming and soothing effect. Each time, my wife starts the Reiki session, both my mind and body relaxes almost spontaneously. Invariably, I will fall asleep within minutes. Basically, it was quite therapeutic. Reiki in tandem with meditation certainly gave me peace of mind and solace in those turbulent times!

          Alvin Choo (28 May 05)



I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer Stage 3B in May 2001. After a major operation, I had to undergo 6 treatments of chemotherapy which proved to be a very painful experience. Chemotherapy is not a cure, and the chances of a recurrence is very high. So I started to do research which led to the changing of my lifestyle. I read a lot of books including A Woman's guide to Healing from Breast cancer by Nan Lu and The Food Doctor by Ian Marber. Following their advice, I changed my diet, drank more water, went for 20 sessions of acupuncture, took up ZhiNeng Qigong and later added in foot reflexology, self-massage, deep breathing, and exercising on a treadmill.

In my research I came across Reiki. Later a friend who received Reiki attunement tried to give me a little healing as we were walking in the wet market. I was alarmed when I felt her warm hand. I thought she was having a fever! She assured me this is normal.

Sometime last year I was offered a free Reiki session by Soh Hong. I felt that I have nothing to lose.

When I was told the session would take about half-an-hour, I decided to make a quick toilet stop. When the session began, I felt the warmness of the practitioner's hand. When she reached my abdomen, I felt a strong urge to urinate! I thought that was weird, as I just went. After the session I was told to drink more water, and that I might feel a little tired the next day.

True enough, I felt tired the next day, and towards the end of the day I began to feel other effects. The joints in my body began to hurt, especially those in my fingers, neck and knees and I felt generally off. During chemotherapy I sprained my ankle, and it has been hurting on and off since then. After the session, my ankle started to hurt again.

Soh Hong came back to give me another session a week later. This time the moment her hands reached my forehead, beads of perspiration formed. The next day my aches and pain disappeared, but I still have other issues - I can't really remember, but I think my digestive system was affected. In fact, I seemed to be suffering from all the same kind of side-effects I had during my chemotherapy, except that they were all much milder. I felt that toxins had been released into my blood stream, causing all this. Perhaps this is what they mean by a "healing crisis". After a few days I started to improve, but my ankle continued to bother me. One day a few months later I realized my ankle had fully recovered.

          Joanna Chan (27 May 2005)


Disclaimer


Each cancer patient's experience is unique and what works for one patient may not work for another. Before you decide to try out any form of complementary treatment, you must first exercise your own judgment carefully and try not to trust someone else's recommendation blindly. You alone are fully responsible for your decisions and course of action.






Updated on 29 April 2006



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