Reiki for Multiple Sclerosis: How Can it Help?
Multiple sclerosis is a serious disorder that affects people all around the world. Although several traditional treatments are available for this disorder, patients are always looking for new methods of support. Reiki is a non-invasive therapy that can be used to help patients with a wide variety of conditions, including multiple sclerosis.
About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord that often leads to permanent disability for sufferers. If you have this illness, your immune system will attack the insulation that protects the nerve fibers in your central nervous system. This makes it impossible for the nerves to communicate with one another properly, leading to a variety of symptoms. This disease is typically progressive, but treatments are available to help people with multiple sclerosis to maintain their quality of life.
Some of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis include:
- Tingling and pain in different parts of the body
- Electric-shock sensations with specific movements
- Visual disturbances
- Numbness and weakness
- Problems with bladder or bowel control
The symptoms of multiple sclerosis vary among patients. While some patients have a relapsing and remitting form of the disease, others will get progressively worse over time.
Multiple Sclerosis Treatment
The right treatment can help patients with multiple sclerosis to live a better life. The goal of treatment for multiple sclerosis is to slow the progression of the disease, as well as to help patients deal with symptoms. For example, many doctors prescribe steroids and/or plasma exchange to patients who are dealing with an active attack.
Even with traditional treatments, patients who have multiple sclerosis may continue to experience symptoms. As a result, many patients who have multiple sclerosis also look for additional supportive treatments, such as Reiki, to help them deal with their symptoms and to enhance their traditional care.
What Is Reiki?
Reiki is an integrative therapy that comes from Japan. This therapy harnesses the power of spiritual energy and uses it to improve the patient’s overall balance, as well as to promote healing in the body. Reiki is built on the idea that problems occurring in the body are related to disturbances or blockages in energy pathways. The goal of Reiki treatment is to help resolve problems with these pathways to restore a normal flow of energy.
During a Reiki session, a trained Reiki Practitioner will encourage the flow of the client’s own energy by holding his or her hands in specific positions over the client’s body. Alternatively, the practitioner may apply gentle pressure touch to the client lightly during the session. In each session, the practitioner may use up to 10-15 different hand positions. Each hand position is typically held from three to five minutes.
Benefits of Reiki for Multiple Sclerosis
Reiki offers several potential benefits for patients with multiple sclerosis. Some of these benefits may include:
Enhanced immune function
Multiple sclerosis is characterized by problems with the immune system. Reiki sessions may help improve immune function, which is beneficial to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.
Help with pain
For many people who have multiple sclerosis, pain is a symptom that causes problems on a daily basis. Patients who undergo Reiki sessions on a regular basis often report a reduction in sensations of pain. In fact, a literature review published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that Reiki shows promise as a treatment for patients with pain.
Anxiety is a problem that affects people in all walks of life. However, for people dealing with multiple sclerosis, anxiety is even more common. Reiki may help reduce anxiety for some patients, which can help to improve the quality of life for people who have multiple sclerosis. In fact, the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s literature review found that multiple studies have shown that Reiki can improve physical relaxation more than a placebo.
Fewer symptoms of depression
Because of the uncomfortable symptoms of multiple sclerosis and the progression of the illness, people with this condition are prone to depression. Fortunately, regular treatments with Reiki may help improve mood among people with multiple sclerosis. A study published in Research in Gerontological Nursing supports this idea.
No risks or side effects
Medications and other therapies used to treat multiple sclerosis often come with side effects and/or a risk of complications. However, Reiki does not come with any of these disadvantages. This supportive therapy is completely non-invasive and does not cause pain or any other side effects.
More About Research
Several studies have been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of Reiki for different purposes. In one such study, which was published in Research in Gerontological Nursing, researchers found that Reiki produced significant improvements for subjects in the areas of anxiety, depression and pain. Another study, which was published in Cancer Prevention and Control, 20 subjects experiencing pain at 55 different sites underwent Reiki treatments. Two instruments were used to measure pain before and after treatments. A significant reduction in pain sensations after Reiki treatments was indicated by both testing instruments.
Getting Started with Reiki
Reiki can be a beneficial addition to the treatment program for any patient dealing with multiple sclerosis. To learn more about Reiki or to schedule your first session, begin by looking for a trained practitioner in your area here at the IARP website.
All articles on this site are intended for informational purposes only. Reiki should only be used as a supportive technique and as one part of a wellness or healing program to complement traditional and conventional care. Reiki should never take the place of conventional medical care or therapy, one should seek a licensed health or licensed mental health professional for their primary care and Reiki should only be used to enhance conventional care and one’s healing or wellness plan.
This article appeared in The Reiki Times, Vol. 23, Issue Q1, the magazine of IARP: International Association of Reiki Professionals. © 2019. International Association of Reiki Professionals LLC. All Rights Reserved.