Reiki: Its Role in Supporting Autoimmune Disease Treatments
Autoimmune diseases can affect people of any age or background. There has been a marked increase over the past 30 years of the prevalence of this category of disease.
According to a Bingham Memorial Hospital article, 50 million Americans suffer one or more autoimmune conditions. And according to National Voices in the UK, almost 7% of the UK population, or around 4 million people, have at least one autoimmune disease.
When these diseases develop, the symptoms range from mild to debilitating, often reducing the quality of life for the sufferer. Depending on the disease, a number of different treatments may exist. Regardless of the nature of the autoimmune condition, individuals suffering with these diseases may also benefit from a comforting and supportive therapy known as “Reiki.”
Understanding Autoimmune Diseases
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system malfunctions. The purpose of the immune system is to protect the body from invaders that may be harmful, such as viruses and bacteria. However, in some cases, the immune system has trouble discerning the difference between foreign materials and the body’s own tissues. When this occurs, the immune system may mistakenly attack the body’s own tissues, which leads to the development of autoimmune diseases. Examples of common autoimmune diseases include celiac disease, Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. In many cases, these diseases must be managed with ongoing medical treatments.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a non-invasive therapy of Japan origin that uses the power of spiritual energy to relax the body and help improve its overall balance. The idea behind this type of therapy is that problems within the body stem from blocked or disturbed energy pathways. During Reiki treatments, the goal is to restore these pathways to normal so that the energy can flow properly.
Reiki is typically performed by trained practitioners who use specific hand positions to encourage the flow of the client’s own energy. During the session, the practitioner may use up to 15 different hand positions, each of which will be held for up to five minutes at a time. The practitioner may hold his or her hands slightly above the client, or light touch may be used. Reiki does not require any forceful manipulation, and it will not interfere with any of the client’s other treatments. It is meant as a supportive adjunct to traditional medical treatments for autoimmune and other diseases.
Reiki and Autoimmune Diseases
Benefits of Reiki for Patients with Autoimmune Disease
Patients with autoimmune diseases may benefit from Reiki in a number of different ways. Some of these potential benefits may include:
Help with Pain
For many autoimmune diseases, pain is one of the most bothersome symptoms. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, or multiple sclerosis, for example, all deal with pain on a regular basis. Many patients who have undergone Reiki treatments report feeling less pain as a result of the sessions. Thus, people who have autoimmune diseases may benefit from fewer pain sensations if they participate in Reiki treatment regularly.
Better Sense of Physical and Emotional Balance
Many Reiki clients report feeling more balanced because of their sessions, both physically and emotionally. This sense of balance makes it easier for people to deal with their chronic illness, and it improves their overall quality of life.
Less Anxiety and/or Depression
Both anxiety and depression are common problems among people battling a lifetime autoimmune disease. Because there may or may not be a cure for these illnesses, patients often feel hopeless. In addition, because symptoms come and go, many patients also feel anxious about how their conditions will progress from one day to the next. Unfortunately, these mood disturbances only worsen the patients’ symptoms. Research studies have shown that regular Reiki sessions may help reduce feelings of anxiety and improve the mood of clients. Not only can this improve the individual’s overall condition, but it may also make him or her more compliant with other prescribed medical treatments.
Healthier Immune Function
Statistical research regarding Reiki’s effect on immune function needs to be done. However, many patients with autoimmune diseases report a reduction in symptoms after undergoing Reiki treatments. Furthermore, there is no evidence that Reiki is harmful to people with these conditions, so it is a low-risk choice for people looking for natural treatment options.
Reiki works to help stimulate a relaxation response in the body which in turn creates a more conducive environment for the body to heal.
Keep in mind that Reiki sessions are not a substitute for standard medical treatment. However, many people suffering from autoimmune diseases have reported benefits when Reiki was added to their treatment regimen.
Finding a Practitioner
If you are suffering from an autoimmune disease and you would like to explore the idea of Reiki as a supplemental treatment option, you can utilize the IARP website to search for a registered Reiki practitioner in your area.