Kids and Reiki

Early in my Reiki studies, I inquired of one of my teachers about how this modality could help my moody (then) tween. This esteemed Reiki Master, for whom I hold tremendous regard, expressed hesitance toward attuning children to Reiki. Her belief was Reiki attunements, opening one energetically, exposes kids to unnecessary vulnerability. I didn’t press the issue then, but remain curious as I contemplate developing a Reiki program for kids in my area.

Surely a child would similarly benefit from self-Reiki the way adults do. I’ve thought about this in relation to my own healing journey, like when Reiki energy has helped to calm my anxiety in a tough work situation. The self-realization and sense of balance many of us love about Reiki can’t be good only for adults.

My own kids have benefited from many a Reiki treatment. They have their preferences on what music we will play, the pillow arrangement, and the length of treatments they request. And our post-session discussions about their Reiki experiences have been beautiful and affirmative. They haven’t been attuned to treat themselves; but I’m very interested in teaching them and other kids this wonderful modality.

I’ve heard stories in various circles about the benefits of Reiki for kids, like a young girl with a very ill mother who comforted herself by placing her own hands on her belly. Or the teenager who was able to become more aware of her disruptive behavior at school and home while she was dealing with peer issues. As a non-invasive and safe modality, it’s no surprise that many kids learn and love to use Reiki in their daily lives.

Reading books and studying programs designed to educate kids about the basics of our subtle energy bodies has me jazzed about the prospects. It is often said that kids learn to speak foreign languages and to play musical instruments more efficiently than adults. And the openness of kids makes them acutely more apt to embrace the healing energy of Reiki. And let’s face it; the benefits often associated with Reiki could make the world for many teens (and their parents) a much calmer and more peaceful place.

 

Photo courtesy of  Daniel St. Pierre on FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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The Good Medicine of Balance and Harmony

The observance of Columbus Day this year falls on the heels of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests, a stark reminder that remnants of the imperialism carried out by European settlers hundreds of years ago remains alive and well. The fallout from the initial arrival of Europeans to the Western Hemisphere created a power imbalance of epic proportions, ironically devastating nations of indigenous people whose core beliefs centered on the very concepts of balance and harmony.

id-10016250This post is being written on Columbus Day and is offered to honor the wisdom of American Indian cultures and the focus of their belief system that centers on balance and harmony. These time-honored social mores stem from a strong connection between spirituality and health and hold many lessons that critically need applied by the citizens of our world.

Walk of Beauty

American Indian traditions hold balance and harmony up as a critical piece of wellness for humans as beings whose relationship with nature is interconnection and interdependence. The concept extends to balance with self (mind, body, spirit, emotions), as well as balance with the Creator, with others, and with every other aspect of the one’s environment. In the Navajo tradition, balance and harmony means to be in balance with the universe.  This is called the Walk of Beauty and is considered to be good medicine.

These Native American spiritual beliefs connect wellness with the need to maintain balance and harmony with all that is. The following relevant insights from a piece called Native American Religions: Balance and Harmony offers valuable wisdom on areas where we should seek balance:

    • Individual Harmony and Balance enables one to exist in a state of peace with the body, thoughts, and emotions. Native American traditions value the importance of each component that makes a whole person, believing an imbalance in one area manifests in physical or mental illness.
    • Social Harmony and Balance in American Indian cultures is viewed as crucial to people living and working together in community. Traditional systems of Indian law and tribal government are built on the idea of preserving and restoring harmony, and are less about authority figures exercising domain over others.
    • Natural Harmony and Balance applies to people and their relationship with the natural world. Whether demonstrating respect and honor by asking permission and giving thanks when hunting or using fire to nourish and purify lands for plant life, balance harmony with the natural world is important.

Progressing Beyond Progress

The “progress” that has produced our modern mainstream culture in the U.S. has left most of us so far removed from sensing our interconnection and interdependence with the universe. Too many people don’t even contemplate the exploitation and disruption of the universe our way of life requires.  But many of us think about it a lot, and it seems like our numbers are growing.

The support of non-Native American activists during the recent clash over the Dakota Access Pipeline signals that many more are thinking about the value of our ideas about “progress”. While it’s quite common for us to seek personal balance, a broader shift toward seeking balance and harmony in our societal way of living is palpable.  For those of us looking to make the Walk of Beauty, maybe the wisdom above provides a good map toward the path.

 

 

Image courtesy of EA at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Heal Thyself with Reiki

There are countless reasons one might want to learn Reiki. Not the least of which involves helping to bring healing, balance and harmony to those who need it. Though many of us hesitate to place ourselves at the top of the list of those in need, the benefits of using Reiki for self-care can’t be overstated.

self reiki, zen, meditation, self care, energy healing, mindfulness

Before I even finished my first Reiki class, I intuitively knew that I was on a path toward profound transformation. Little did I know that Reiki would permeate all the details of my life, making positive adjustments every day. The following are five reasons self-care using Reiki has improved my life.

1. Mindful awareness.  Living in the present moment with a sense of openness, curiosity and willingness to be with what is constitutes mindful awareness.  In the days following my Reiki I attunement, everything around me seemed more pronounced. The sky was a brighter hue of blue and the eye-contact with others (including my dog) seemed to imbue genuine, deep soul connections.

Every moment stood on its own as a separate and meaningful experience.  Reciting the Reiki precepts every morning as recommended by the founder of Reiki certainly encourages this way of being too.  Quite simply, life literally exists as it happens when I live less inside my head and more awake to experience life in the moment.

2. Self-awareness.  Being self-aware means having a clear perception of your personality- including your strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.  I had always viewed myself as self-aware, especially in contrast to a few notable people from my professional life.  In reality, many of my thoughts and behavior patterns had created real barriers to developing and maintaining healthy attitudes toward others,  myself, my relationships and work.  I even realized that I was trying to live versions of myself that had been created in the minds of other people; instead of loving, accepting and being my authentic self.

Incorporating Reiki into my daily life has helped to cultivate increased awareness of and appreciation for my personality, my emotions and my behaviors- the things that make me myself. Because I am aware of who I truly am, I don’t have to accept someone else’s rendition of me.  I have embraced this as a permanent part of my Reiki journey, as it has helped me find greater freedom to be the real me and to make the meaningful changes I want to make in my life.

3. Inner peace and stress management. I have to say that most of my life has been lived in the state opposite of inner peace; my mom began worrying my stress levels would cause a stroke when I was a teenager.  My conditioned tendency had been to live in a perpetual state of mind-racing, tense shoulders, clenched jaws and re-running past incidents in my head like my sister’s daily viewing of Sixteen Candles when we were kids. Left to my own devices, I could probably spend almost all of my time dwelling on what someone else did or said, or worse yet, painstakingly reliving something I said and wondering how it was perceived.

One of the first things I learned with my Reiki self-treatments was the calming effects, both cumulatively from daily treatments and from spur-of-the-moment treatment during a stressful experience.  The sense of empowerment I get by choosing to live in a way that creates inner peace is immeasurable- I use Reiki to help me remain aware of life and free of the negative mind clutter and emotional turbulence that used to keep me in a state of constant anxious negativity.

4. Healing and balance.  One of my favorite things about Reiki is that its benefits extend to the whole person, offering healing at the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels.  I’ve certainly witnessed some of this in providing Reiki to others.  But I’ve also watched my own healing unfold as a result of keeping up my self-treatment regimen. For years, I have suffered from chronic fever blisters- usually when my stress levels were high, during times of significant hormonal shifts, or when I suffered cold or flu.  Since I started using Reiki, I have only had a couple very minor and short-lived outbreaks.

That is not to say that I do not get sick; Reiki doesn’t guard us from all illness and we still need to visit our doctor or nurse practitioner for care needs.  But, I’ve been sick less because of my self-treatment regimen and also because of the balance and boundaries Reiki has helped me to establish in my life.  Whether sore muscles, headaches, or high stress levels, Reiki is a part of my every day. And, of course, I also like to supplement this with the occasional treatment by another practitioner.

5. Better healer. I always had visions of being a hands-on healer growing up, especially when we talked about Jesus’ laying on of hands in church.  As time passed, I became less fixated on those images in my mind until I learned about Reiki.  Still it wasn’t until after I became attuned to Reiki that I fully realized Reiki isn’t about me as a healer, or about any practitioner as a healer.  One of the first lessons learned in a Reiki class is that of the practitioner as channel, that we are not individually the source of Reiki healing.  Self-Reiki treatments gave me the space to be alone with and experience profound waves of healing from a source so loving and gentle, its origin could not be human.

Indeed, my self-treatments are where I really honed my feel for energy blocks and movement. And this regimen also allowed me to experiment with adding different techniques into my treatments, like breathing and meditation exercises, different hand positions, or even incorporating crystals into my Reiki sessions.  The variation of experiences and the confidence I built through consistent and dedicated practice, I believe, has helped me to grow as a Reiki practitioner more than any other practice.

Reiki has been a transformational force in my life in so many ways, far more ways than I have stated here. I’m so grateful to my Reiki teachers for leading me to this path, where I can walk feeling centered and whole. The growth and healing I have enjoyed by bringing Reiki into all aspects of my life has been amazing.

 

 

Photo courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Five CAM Approaches that Offer Hope for Those With Chronic Pain

Disclaimer:  The content in this post should not be construed as medical advice.  Care needs are unique to each individual.  Persons dealing with chronic pain should seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

The ongoing Opioid crisis is spurring broad-based change in the way pain is treated in conventional medicine.

Our society is embroiled in a public health crisis of epic proportions. The number of opioid prescriptions has quadrupled since 1999; though there is no accompanying overall change in the amount of pain reported by Americans.  Visible government attempts at addressing prescribing practices are evident in efforts, like a recent letter sent by the Surgeon General  and new CDC prescribing guidelines issued in March.  While efforts like these (and more) are needed to combat the opioid crisis, the needs of people who rely on pain management for everyday function must not be forgotten.

Changing trends in prescribing practices must account for the impact of chronic pain on millions of people.

Affecting about 100 million adults, chronic pain is described as pain which lasts longer than six months in duration. According to a report from the Institute of Medicine, chronic pain imposes a severe economic toll, costing $560 billion to $635 per year. Not to mention the cumulative societal costs, which span far beyond these dollar amounts. But the reality for individuals of living in pain has an even more personal impact, often having debilitating effects on one’s physical, social, emotional areas of life.  Whatever the ultimate formula used, modified approaches to pain management must be formulated in a comprehensive, compassionate manner that addresses the needs of people to cope with daily suffering.

Alternative approaches to pain management offer hope to those suffering from chronic pain.

Ignoring a patient’s pain is not an option. Physical therapy and other conventional approaches are widely accepted ways of dealing with chronic pain.  But patient-centered healthcare that addresses the needs of the whole person can also be enhanced through the use of various CAM approaches. While not an exhaustive list, here are five CAM approaches that offer hope to those

    1. Accupuncture has been shown to be an effective treatment for chronic pain, at times by more than 50%.
    2. Spinal manipulation has been shown to have a positive effect on low back pain and has also been shown to be as effective as other treatments in improving function.
    3. Meditation : Mindfulness meditation had a positive impact on people suffering from non-specified chronic pain, as well as improvements in depression, anxiety and mental well-being.
    4. Exercise regimens of various sorts have been shown to affect chronic fatigue, tension, migraine and other types of chronic pain. Tai chi shown to affect pain levels in patients suffering from fibromyalgia.
    5. Diet is a variable used by many to address chronic pain, like elimination diets that are often recommended for conditions resulting in chronic pain, like back and neck pain. etc.

The need for prescription medications, including opioids, remains a necessity for some with pain so acute that other modalities and treatments will not restore acceptable levels of functioning. But educated providers and empowered patients offer a recipe for success in addressing chronic pain for others.  Whether in tandem with prescription pain relief or not, incorporating CAM practitioners in care planning for pain management can restore the promise of quality of life for people suffering from chronic pain.

 

References

Opiods. Retrieved from http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/opioids/index.html#_edn4 .  Last accessed Aug. 29, 2015.

Deborah Dowell, MD1; Tamara M. Haegerich, PhD; Roger Chou, MD1 , (March 15, 2016) CDC Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain — United States, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/rr/rr6501e1.htm

Pain: Hope Through Research. Retrieved from: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chronic_pain/detail_chronic_pain.htm. Last accessed Aug 29, 2015.

Vickers, DPhil, Andrew, et al. (Oct. 22, 2012) Accupuncture for Chronic Pain. Retrieved from http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1357513

Spinal Manipulation for Low Back Pain. Retrieved from https://nccih.nih.gov/health/pain/spinemanipulation.htm. Last accessed Aug 29, 2015.

La Cour, P. (April 16, 2015) Effects of mindfulness meditation on chronic pain: a randomized controlled trial,  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25376753

Wang, C., et al. (Aug. 19, 2010) A randomized trial of tai chi for fibromyalgia. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25376753

Should You Switch to an Elimination Diet to Fight Chronic Pain? (April 14, 2016) Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2016/04/switch-elimination-diet-fight-chronic-pain/

 

 

 

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