Can Reiki Help with Panic Attacks?
Reiki Helps Panic Attacks
Panic attacks are a common problem for our worldwide population. According to a UK study, anxiety affects around 16% of the population at any one time. And an Australia study of youth of ages 16-24 states that one in six young Australians is currently experiencing an anxiety condition. In the USA, panic attacks affect as many as 6 million people, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. When panic attacks occur, they can be debilitating for the individual. Treatments are available to help people deal with these attacks, but many sufferers continue to experience symptoms in spite of treatment. However, some patients have found that they may improve their symptoms by participating in Reiki sessions.
How Panic Attacks Impact Quality of Life
A panic attack occurs when an individual becomes overwhelmed by a sudden and uncontrollable feeling of fear or dread. During these attacks, the individual may experience various physical symptoms including weakness, dizziness, breathing problems, trembling, chills, sweating and a pounding heart. Some people also become nauseous or develop stomach pain during a panic attack.
For most people, panic attacks are not an isolated occurrence. They can strike at any time, leaving the individual intensely worried about the timing of his or her last attack. Many people with panic attacks are also subject to “triggers”, which means that they are more likely to experience an attack in certain circumstances or locations. In fact, many people with a history of panic attacks will avoid locations in which past attacks have occurred. For some people, panic attacks become so severe that they dramatically affect the individual’s quality of life. The individual may avoid social situations, miss work or quit their job altogether. In the worst cases, people who cannot get panic attacks under control may deal with severe depression and even suicidal thoughts.
Some people who deal with panic attacks on a regular basis may be eventually diagnosed with panic disorder. After arriving at this diagnosis, physicians may prescribe a variety of different treatments designed to reduce the number of attacks the person experiences and/or the intensity of attacks. Some of the most common treatments for panic disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy, which is designed to change the individual’s typical patterns of thinking, and medication. Medications used to treat panic disorder include benzodiazepines, beta-blockers and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Unfortunately, some people may continue to experience panic attacks even after being under a physician’s treatment for a significant amount of time. In addition, some of the medications used to treat panic attacks may produce side effects in some people.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a natural treatment technique that originated in Japan. The idea behind this treatment method is that issues like panic attacks are the result of a disturbance in the individual’s energy. Throughout a Reiki session, the practitioner’s goal is to restore the client’s normal flow of spiritual energy in hopes of reducing the frequency of panic attacks and/or of limiting the severity of a panic attack when it occurs.
Most Reiki sessions take place in a practitioner’s office, although in very rare cases some practitioners may travel to a client’s home. During the session, the practitioner will typically provide a static light-pressure touch to the client gently with both hands or hold his or her hands slightly above the client in a variety of specific Reiki hand positions. The length of each session varies but one hour is typical. Most clients report greater benefits from Reiki when they participate in a series of sessions or on a regular basis such as weekly.
How Can Reiki Help with Panic Attacks?
Reiki provides several benefits that may be helpful for people with panic attacks. Some of these benefits may include:
Lower stress levels.
Studies have shown that people who participate in Reiki sessions on a regular basis report lower stress levels than people who don’t participate in Reiki. Because higher stress levels can trigger or increase the risk of a panic attack, lowering an individual’s stress levels may help prevent attacks from occurring. Panic attacks also tend to be worse when the individual’s stress level is particularly high, so a lower stress level may reduce the intensity of any attacks that do occur.
Restored feelings of control.
One of the issues that leads to panic attacks is the feeling that an individual is not in control of his or her own life. Participating in Reiki, however, is proactive. It allows the individual to regain some sense of control over his or her own destiny, which may reduce the risk of future panic attacks.
A chance to relax and calm down.
Many people report that Reiki sessions provide them with a chance to relax, focus on themselves and develop a sense of calm. This may help individuals to avoid allowing their panic or worry to spin out of control, which often leads to a full-blown panic attack.
Connection with another individual.
Panic disorders make people feel isolated and lonely. These feelings only serve to worsen the effects of the disorder and increase the severity of attacks. During a Reiki session, the practitioner and the client spend professional and supportive one-on-one time together. This connection helps to remind the individual that he or she is not alone.
Better coping skills.
During Reiki sessions, the client focuses his or her energy on relaxation and healing. As sessions continue, maintaining this focus becomes easier for the client. The client can then use this skill to calm down when a panic attack begins in the future.
Reiki is not a substitute for medical treatment. However, studies and anecdotal reports indicate that participating in Reiki sessions on a regular basis may potentially be helpful for people with panic attacks. In addition, because Reiki is non-invasive and involves no medication, it can be used in conjunction with any and all standard medical treatments for panic attacks or panic disorder.
If you are dealing with panic attacks or know someone who is and you are interested in learning more about the potential benefits of Reiki, the first step involves learning more about Reiki and then finding an experienced Reiki practitioner. On this IARP website, you can learn more and begin your search for a local practitioner today, worldwide.
**This article appeared in The Reiki Times, the official magazine of the International Association of Reiki Professionals.