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Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).

Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital

29th July 2015

Reiki therapy for young patients

Tuesday 28 July 2015

The Active LightWorks Reiki team at the Alex, funded by Rockinghorse
The Active LightWorks Reiki team at the Alex, funded by Rockinghorse
We are pleased to announce that we've provided funding for specialist Reiki therapists, who are offering treatment to young patients at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital (the Alex) in Brighton.

Reiki, a form of ‘light touch’ therapy is being provided on an individual basis and is particularly beneficial to young patients on the High Dependency Unit (HDU) who can be treated at their bedsides. A highly valued treatment by parents and staff at the Alex, studies show that this type of complementary therapy can relieve symptoms of chronic and acute illness, manage stress levels and aid relaxation and sleep.

We have provided funding to therapists from Active LightWorks for an initial three years, who have already been treating patients at the Alex as volunteers since 2012. The funding will allow the Reiki therapists to double the amount of time they are able to offer treatments, from five hours per week to ten. Working closely with clinical teams, the therapists can also provide massage and Reiki treatment for parents with children and babies on HDU, which can help provide a sense of calm during what can be a very stressful time.  

Baby Blake receiving Reiki therapy at the Alex
Baby Blake receiving Reiki therapy at the Alex
Eight month old Blake Mlotshwa (pictured right) is one young patient on HDU currently receiving Reiki therapy following a serious infection he developed when he was 18 days old which led to him having two thirds of his bowel removed. Unable to absorb the food and nutrients he needed to grow, Blake’s condition remains critical and the Reiki therapists are working with the doctors and nurses to help keep him as comfortable as possible.

Ali Walters, Massage and Reiki Therapist at Active LightWorks, says: “It is wonderful to be able to give both the children and parents an opportunity to relax and unwind. So often parents tell me they are delighted that during treatment their child drops off to sleep or they see their child become more calm and comfortable. I am delighted that Rockinghorse is now funding our work so we can provide more therapists and treatments to support the critical care that is provided in HDU.”  

Dr Kamal Patel, Paediatric Consultant at the Alex, adds: “The Reiki treatment has improved sleep, fear, anxiety, distress and pain for children on our Paediatric Critical Care Unit over and above what we can achieve through modern medicine. To have such a fantastic team of people offering Reiki really helps our patients get better quicker. “  

As the official fundraising arm of the Alex, here at Rockinghorse we raise money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment whilst ensuring that children are treated in an environment better suited to their needs.

Reiki in New Hampshire

The Soothing Power of Reiki

Reiki and other complementary approaches to wellness, such as art therapy, aromatherapy and meditation, are gaining acceptance among doctors and patients alike



ILLUSTRATION BY kristina rowell

In the 21st century, we are fortunate to have technological innovations and medicines that can save lives and ease pain. But these days, an increasing number of doctors and patients are recognizing that supplementing the modern with more organic approaches can make the latest medical advances work even better.

Reiki (pronounced “ray-kee”) and other complementary approaches to wellness, such as art therapy, aromatherapy and meditation, might at first glance seem like strange bedfellows for modern medicine’s gadgets. But not only are integrative therapies now more accepted by doctors and patients, they have become sought-after treatments. Indeed, sometimes the morning list of patients who are waiting for Reiki grows so long, “we can’t get to everyone that day,” says Pauline MacKay, a therapeutic arts and activities assistant and facilitator of Reiki volunteers at Concord Hospital. “So many people want it.”

Reiki originated in Japan and is based on the idea that energy exists in everything and affects our body’s functioning. “Universal life energy is all around us,” MacKay says. “Everything has it. The ground, a light bulb, a stick — all have energy.” By placing their hands in positions that correlate to Reiki’s identified body energy centers or “chakras,” Reiki practitioners serve as conduits of sorts that channel universal energy to enhance and balance energy in the recipient’s body.

Reiki, which is offered free of charge at many hospitals, can be performed hands-off or hands-on; patients who do not want to be touched or whose condition precludes touching experience Reiki through a practitioner whose hands hover but never make contact with the patient’s body. Reiki recipients remain clothed — in fact, in hospitals, Reiki is often performed over the patient’s bed blanket — and even when Reiki does involve contact, the practitioner’s touch is extremely light. “Sometimes the patients don’t even feel our hands on them, but they do feel the heat from our hands,” says Sylvie St-Jean, a Reiki practitioner at Portsmouth Regional Hospital.

"A relaxed environment helps relax the mind, and a relaxed person heals much more quickly than a person who’s stressed out."

Although a full, traditional Reiki session might last 60 to 90 minutes, hospital sessions typically last only 20 minutes or so, and focus on areas such as the head, shoulders, feet and knees while bypassing most of the torso. But even Reiki that is limited in this fashion will be beneficial because “Reiki goes where it needs to go,” says St-Jean, meaning that the energy automatically flows to the body area most in need of it.

Whether or not you buy into the energy-based theory behind Reiki, there’s no denying that the practice brings comfort to many people. It helps them relax, and that can be a true gift to patients who are terrified of the cancer diagnosis they have received, or are so anxious about their upcoming heart surgery that they haven’t slept for days. And that’s really what hospital-based Reiki is all about, says Ana Drexler, RN, director of Integrative Care at Portsmouth Regional Hospital. “The Reiki we provide in the hospital is primarily for relaxation and stress reduction,” which has been proven to lessen pain and improve healing by boosting the immune system while also lowering blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones, says Drexler.

To that end, most Reiki practitioners in hospitals — often a mix of volunteers and staff members — try to create an atmosphere conducive to relaxation by dimming lights in the patient’s room and playing soft music. “A relaxed environment helps relax the mind, and a relaxed person heals much more quickly than a person who’s stressed out,” MacKay says.

Reiki can be used on anyone, regardless of the person’s age or medical condition, and it carries no risk. At Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Reiki was first offered to pre-operative patients, “but it’s now all over the hospital,” Drexler says, from behavioral health to maternity, oncology, the emergency room and the ICU. “Our practitioners will work with anybody,” she says, even positioning themselves alongside equipment in the mammography department so that they can administer Reiki to women who are undergoing a biopsy. Reiki can be performed on patients who aren’t even awake, and can also benefit visitors of patients, who, knowingly or not, affect the patient’s emotional state, Drexler says.

Although more patients today are open to the idea of Reiki than in the past, skeptics are well-represented among the patient population. In some cases, the stress of constant anxiety or pain leads them to set aside their doubts, however, and give Reiki a try, MacKay says. “It happens all the time. They do it because their nurse or doctor suggested it. We come in and explain it and they’ll say [unenthusiastically], ‘Yeah, alright. I’ll try it.’ They’re almost resigned. Then after the session, I’ve had people say, ‘Thank you so much. This has been so helpful. I had such doubts and I don’t know why it works, but it works.’” More often than not, MacKay says, they want it again the next day.

In fact, a bit of a Reiki revolution seems to be taking place. “People used to be sort of scared of it. They didn’t know what it was,” Drexler says. “But complementary care and energy healing is becoming really mainstream, and I think now people are expecting some of these services when they go to the hospital.”

Patients’ increasing openness to Reiki appears to be part of a huge surge of interest in all things natural and complementary, from healing crystals to mindfulness and yoga. “Our Reiki practitioners often go to local health fairs and they’re never not busy,” Drexler says. “There’s always a line for the Reiki.”


Bringing Comfort to Newborns

As Reiki and other complementary therapies gain acceptance at hospitals throughout the country, their use is expanding across a greater variety of situations. Sadly, one of those applications now includes babies born to mothers who used drugs while pregnant — an increasing occurrence. Soon after birth, the babies go into withdrawal and are “inconsolable,” says Alice Kinsler, manager of therapeutic arts and activities at Concord Hospital. “They have a poor appetite, won’t sleep and are constantly crying. They’re just really struggling,” Kinsler says.

In an effort to lessen the newborns’ discomfort, some hospitals apply Reiki to the babies. Reiki offers an alternative to administering morphine as way to ease withdrawal symptoms and can have dramatic effects, says Kinsler, even calming days-old babies who have been crying nonstop and enabling them to fall asleep at last.

“If you’re tense and worried and your muscles are tight, everything bad, including pain, is amplified,” Kinsler says. By bringing a sense of tranquility, she says, Reiki triggers a release of feel-good hormones, reduces heart rate and blood pressure, lessens perceived pain and aids the healing process.

Cumbrian Project

November 2014

Monday, 24 November 2014   Healing hands for cancer patients

Patients at the newly-revamped oncology unit at Furness General Hospital are now benefiting from Reiki healing as part of their treatment.

Karyn Segers has been helping patients through their cancer journey with treatments that can help with pain management, anxiety and stress so their physical and emotional wellbeing is improved.

Her role is one of Reiki Practitioner, funded through the Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust. South African-born Karyn, started work at the Trust in May. “Reiki is a holistic treatment,” she says. “It is a form of hands-on healing, that has been known to bring a deep sense of relaxation to the patients. Reiki works emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually and will go where it is needed.”

Karyn Segers

“Some patients are very worried and tense before chemotherapy or procedures such as needles. They might be worried about needles or anxious about the effects of chemo or shocked that they are going through this. Reiki can help the patient to relax before having a chemotherapy treatment and has benefits in helping the patient to cope with what they are going through.”

Her youngest patient is 47 and the eldest in his 80s. Karyn says initially there were more men than women coming for the treatment but now it has evened out. “It is a real privilege to be able to provide this service to cancer patients. I find that they are willing to try Reiki and once they have tried it find it has almost immediate benefits.

One patient has said severe back pain eased after his treatment and another said he is always “charged up” for his next chemo after Reiki.

Jayne Bickerstaff, one of the staff nurses in oncology, says it has been popular with the patients. “From what they are going through psychologically they are happy for a bit of relaxation. It’s some much-needed ‘me time’ and that really benefits them.”

The oncology unit offers aromatherapy with Lynda Dixon, lymphedema with staff nurse Denise Hardy and Dawn Jones fits patients with wigs on a Friday. The Reiki treatment is open to cancer patients and those with life-threatening illness and their carers or family members who are referred by healthcare professionals.


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