Do you help treat terminal or chronic illness?
Authors of a review published in October 2017 in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine speculate that Reiki may trigger the vagus nerve to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls mood, digestion, heart rate, and even the perception of pain.
The authors of that review analyzed two studies that looked at Reiki as an adjunct treatment to help with acute or chronic conditions and concluded that there was “strong evidence for Reiki being more effective than placebo, suggesting that Reiki attunement leads to a quantifiable increase in healing ability.”
In Martay’s experience, there are times when Reiki can be effective, not necessarily in the ways the patient was seeking, but rather where the patient’s body felt that it was needed. “We had a woman come in with severe arthritis in her knees. The patient was in physical rehabilitation and came to Reiki sessions, but her knees didn’t improve. However, she had suffered from constipation for many years and that disappeared. The patient attributed that improvement, at least in part, to Reiki,” says Martay. In Reiki, the body may take the energy to another part of itself other than where you intended it to go, he adds.
How should I prepare for my first treatment?
1. Relax and reflect.
Give yourself at least 30 minutes prior to the session to sit and reflect. Check in with how your body is feeling and take note of any emotions, thoughts, or physical sensations you are experiencing.
Take some time to breathe and tend to whatever your body's needs might be on that given day. You may also want to reflect on any intentions you want to set for your session, and anything you want to share with your practitioner before you begin.
2. Eat and hydrate.
You’ll want to be sure you've eaten and hydrated a few hours before the session—mostly so you will be comfortable and not distracted by hunger or thirst.
Avoid eating a heavy meal beforehand, however, as you don’t want all of your body’s energy to be directed toward digesting while you’re receiving your treatment.
3. Get comfortable.
Most practitioners will have you laying down for the majority of your session, since comfort is key if you want to be open to taking on and integrating the Reiki energy.
Be sure you are wearing loose and breathable clothes. I usually tell my clients to either wear or bring socks since shoes are removed during the session and the feet can get cold.
You’ll also want to use the restroom before the session. If the position you are in for your session is uncomfortable in any way, communicate this to your practitioner, as they will also want to be sure you are as relaxed as possible.
What to do after my first session?
Many of the benefits of Reiki can occur soon after the session ends. As such, it’s important to find somewhere quiet and relaxing to integrate what may arise. I recommend that my clients take at least 15-20 minutes after the session to meditate, lie down, go for a walk in nature, or even take a nap.
Try not to book or schedule anything immediately after your session.
2. Hydrate (again!)
It’s important to hydrate after doing any type of energy work. Be sure to drink 1-2 glasses of water after your session. I find adding electrolytes to your water is also a good idea, as it helps to replenish the body.
It’s often helpful to spend some time after the session reflecting—whether that means journaling, drawing, or somehow capturing any insights you had during the experience.
You may also decide to meditate afterward or listen to calming and/or inspirational music. Whatever you choose to do, find an activity that helps you connect to what you've experienced so you can draw on it in future.