Newsletter Signup | Subscribe to Magazine

Reiki: Re-energize and rejuvenate

Awaken your body’s ability to heal naturally with this technique for stress reduction & relaxation.

Story by Eddy Hoyle

Reiki is one of the oldest healing methods known to mankind. It originated centuries ago in Tibet, and in its purest definition, it means universal life energy. It is a form of stress reduction and energy work that positively affects our physical, mental and emotional healing.

Ifetayo White is a Reiki Master Teacher at the Lowcountry School of Reiki in Beaufort and has studied Reiki since 1995. “The body must be relaxed in order to heal and that is the primary benefit of Reiki. The purpose of Reiki is the reduction of stress and physical pain,” she said. “I worked with a lot of children in pediatric mental health for 10 years and Reiki reduced the stress of their traumatic experiences.” She also specialized in using Reiki during births to help mothers ease the discomfort and pain of their contractions by relaxing the pelvis and thighs and reducing their stress.

White said she shared Reiki daily with her mother as she was dying of cancer. “I was at her bedside for three months and both her anxiety and her pain were very high. Reiki helped greatly to reduce both for her,” she said.

She encourages everyone to try Reiki. “It can’t harm you and there is nothing to lose,” White said. “It is an opportunity to experience total relaxation.” Even pets enjoy the benefits of Reiki.

Theda Parks of Sun City began her journey to become a Reiki Master in 1992. “It’s interesting how people respond to Reiki. Some may fall asleep, some report lessening of physical discomfort, some report feeling peaceful after experiencing emotional turmoil… all report feeling better after a session,” she said.

“People do not have to undress for Reiki and it can be done anywhere. For those who have been traumatized physically (such as sexual abuse), it is not necessary to have skin contact. Permission is always asked about touching the person prior to a session,” she explained.

Parks added, “Reiki is a gentle, non-invasive method of energy work that allows a person to feel safe on many levels. In some cases, the practitioner may have been the only person to have that kind of one-on-one contact with them for a very long time. Reiki also helps with chronic conditions.”

She explained that many clients report that they sleep well and that the good feelings stay with them for several days. “Any relief from stress is always a good thing. The quiet, the peace, the caring individuals who do the Reiki can help on many levels. Stress is reduced. Inflammation is reduced. These are things that help the physical/emotional body,” Parks said.

Parks emphasized that Reiki practitioners are not doctors, and do not diagnose. In the case of physical issues or even in cases where emotional issues may be on a tipping scale, seeing the proper medical personnel is always advised and encouraged.

“What was once considered woo-woo, has found acceptance is some respectable hospital settings,” she said. “There are people who are all pro-Western medicine, and there are people who are all pro-alternative medicine. The point is what is in the best interest of the individual. Perhaps the answer is a partnership of both.”


Reiki goes mainstream in the medical community

A study at Hartford Hospital in Hartford, Conn., showed that Reiki improved patient sleep by 86 percent, reduced pain by 78 percent, reduced nausea by 80 percent, and reduced anxiety during pregnancy by 94 percent.

One high profile advocate of Reiki is Dr. Mehmet Oz, professor and vice chair of surgery at Columbia University in New York City. He has used Reiki and Therapeutic Touch in cardiovascular surgeries for over a decade. As a TV personality and credible physician, he frequently talks about energy medicine to educate the public and healthcare professionals.

At hospitals and clinics across America, Reiki is gaining acceptance as a meaningful and cost-effective way to improve patient care. It reduces stress, decreases the amount of pain medication required, improves sleep and appetite, and accelerates the healing process. It also may reduce many of the unwanted side effects of radiation and drugs, including chemotherapy.

According to the American Hospital Association in 2007, 15 percent or over 800 American hospitals offered Reiki as part of hospital services. The Center for Reiki Research list of hospitals includes Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital in Boston, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Center for Integrative Medicine, Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Columbia University Medical Center Integrative Therapies Program for Children with Cancer in New York, and Duke Integrative Medicine in Durham, NC.

Try Reiki locally

The Zen Den in Port Royal offers a free Reiki clinic the first Saturday of every month from 12 to 3 p.m. 843-929-9449
Lowcountry School of Reiki, 843-271-1923
Omni Hilton Head Oceanfront Resort Spa, 843-271-1923
Live, Light, Healing in Bluffton, 843-505-0804