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Thursday, June 24, 2010

In the Reiki room

By Julie Goodale

As I wrote in my last post, I volunteered last Sunday at the Manhattan JCC for Spa Day, offering around 150 women with breast or ovarian cancer a half-day of wellness activities. The first part of my Spa Day volunteering was spent offering Reiki to the participant.

Reiki is a healing practice that helps promote balance of mind, body, and spirit. It is a completely gentle, non-invasive treatment. It does not directly address any specific symptoms, but rather balances your system. There is nothing about Reiki treatment that can interfere with medical care; Reiki has been given to patients during chemotherapy treatments or surgery. Some commonly reported benefits of Reiki treatment include relaxation, reduced pain, improved sleep, reduced anxiety, and reduced side effects from medicines and cancer treatments.

The Reiki room was run by Pamela Miles, a New York-based Reiki master. Pamela has worked with numerous doctors and hospitals to integrate Reiki into more traditional medical practices. She ran a Reiki program for AIDS patients through the Gay Men's Health Crisis, has treated surgery patients at several New York hospitals, and is the author of "Reiki: A Comprehensive Guide". Pamela has also been featured on the Dr. Oz Show talking about Reiki.

I went to Pamela last year for a treatment and was so interested and excited about it that the following week I took her Reiki training class. Since then, I practice Reiki on myself every day (well, almost), and have offered treatment to friends. I've also taken part in a couple group Reiki events with Pamela.

I have a strong belief in our ability to help our bodies. There is much we can do to help our bodies heal and be healthier. I also believe in conventional medicine; we have a lot of very strong treatments and procedures that can save our lives. What I like about Reiki is it that it can work with conventional treatments. It's complementary, not alternative! If I'm facing a powerful disease, I want all the tools available to fight it. I don't want to limit myself.

I also have a streak of skepticism in me. I want proof; I want to understand why. After practicing Reiki for a year, I'm not sure I understand why yet. But I know I feel better when I do it. And I know I feel worse if I don't. The skeptic in me says: maybe it's just that you sit quietly for 20 minutes or an hour. Maybe, but if that's all it is, is that bad? Maybe the why doesn't matter so much.

Few of the women on Sunday had any previous experience with Reiki. Whether they were curious, enthusiastic or skeptical, they filed in, laid down on the tables, and put themselves in our hands. In pairs, we offered 20 minutes of Reiki. Whatever their feelings before Reiki, I didn't see a single woman who wasn't grateful for how she felt after Reiki.

Editor's note: This article appeared originally on Julie's blog, fitness for survivors.


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