Pt. 2 Reiki in Medical Settings: Promotion and Precaution

How to describe Reiki to medical professionals:  “Reiki is a Japanese stress-reducing technique that calms the nervous system and brings the body and mind into balance.  A Reiki practitioner creates a supportive environment for the person or client receiving, so that they can relax and feel nourished and at ease.  Reiki means ‘Universal Energy’, which is similar to the oxygen that is all around us.  In Asian traditions, this is also called ‘prana’, ‘chi’ or ‘ki’.  This subtle substance flows through everything, just like oxygen, along what are called meridian channels in the human body.  Acupuncturists work with these channels also.  But a Reiki practitioner, instead of using needles, uses light touch to help promote the flow of ‘ki’.  A practitioner can work on or off the body because this ‘ki’ also flows around the body in what is called the ‘electromagnetic field’.”

At this point, I ask if anyone has any questions about the above statement.  And if there are questions, I keep the answers as scientific and to-the-point as possible.  Having some knowledge of existing Reiki research and studies as well as practical applications (use in wound-healing, management of PTSD, etc.) is helpful.  The Center for Reiki Research has free studies available online.

Then, I have individuals perform a ‘chi ball’ exercise in their hands, sensing this subtle substance.  Next, I have them work with another person to see if they can perceive another person’s chi or electromagnetic field.

Discussing Reiki in a non-spiritual way involves a delicate balance of discussion and experiential exercises.

Too much dialogue and Reiki becomes almost meaningless, like talking about oxygen and what it can do for one’s body without actually going through the experience of taking a breath.

Be prepared for people hearing about Reiki for the first time to give you questioning and doubting looks.  Don’t be thrown off by it.  But realize, for many people, this is a very new concept.  Take yourself back to beginner’s mind.

Use discernment with the group you are speaking to.  Have respect for their culture and beliefs.  If one way of describing Reiki doesn’t work, try another.  For those with strong Christian beliefs, http://www.christianreiki.org provides some biblical text to help explain.

Taking all the above steps into practice, we were able to become established at Ronald McDonald House as well as nursing home facilities and our local veteran’s center.

Performing Reiki sessions in the medical environments brings up more issues that need careful consideration.

The Challenges For Patients and Practitioners

When people have to enter the medical system for their specific needs, they are often confronted with a number of challenges, including:

  • Financial challenges of  having to stop work and enter into the facility for treatment.
  • Having dealt with significant travel.  Some patients have come from many states away to receive treatment, their family may or may not be able to join them.
  • Changes in their family structure.  Sometimes patient’s families are unraveling due to the challenging circumstances of the disease and there may be divorces, desertions and internal conflicts.
  • Being outside of the “normal” ebb and flow of life.
  • They are often facing the potential of their own disability, decline or even death.

For some individuals, like veterans or children going through surgical procedures, the trauma they and their families experience is quite palpable to the sensitivities of the Reiki practitioner.

Due to their medical procedures, some patients may have physical disfigurements, scarring, tubes, balding.  They may be on medications that make them appear unfocused or on the opposite spectrum, agitated.

It is important for the practitioner to ask the patient, family member, and/or medical staff whether hands-on or hands-off Reiki would be appropriate.

I always say, never assume, so ask first and practice later.

Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to practice standard precautions in performing Reiki on patients.

Standard Precautions for performing Reiki in medical settings.

All medical settings (hospitals, hospices, clinics, etc.) are germinating spaces for microorganisms.  Patients are sick or undergoing surgery.  Staff and visitors might also be sick.  Even though cleanliness in these settings is paramount, nosocomial infections (those caught by a germ floating around in the vicinity) are known to contribute to many infections and deaths in healthcare settings.

It’s important to practice sanitary methods of hygiene in each of these environments to prevent the spread of germs to other patients as well as preventing illness for yourself.

Tomorrow we will conclude with Part 3 on techniques for remaining grounded while working in a medical setting

Photo Credit.

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