Reiki - Can Reiki Help Depression?
There are many natural therapies or holistic approaches to treating depression, one of which is Reiki. Many Eastern health practitioners believe Reiki is helpful for treating depression. If you suffer from depression, you might be interested in learning more about this complementary therapy.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a form of alternative therapy, like acupuncture, although your insurance company probably won't pay for it. Despite this, many people gladly pay out-of-pocket for a Reiki session. And, thanks to the popularity of this treatment method, many organizations are pushing to get insurance companies to recognize the healing benefits of Reiki for patients with depression and related disorders.
Reiki is a Japanese technique, sometimes likened to the laying on of hands. Its name comes from the Japanese words rei, meaning spirit, and ki, life force energy. (The name is also sometimes translated as "universal life force.") Reiki in Japan is a generic word which can be used to describe a number of different healing and spirirual techniques. The specific technique commonly referred to as Reiki in the United States would be called the Usui System of Natural Healing or Usui Reiki Ryoho.
Similar to massage, Reiki often works to relax the patient and help them overcome blockages or obstacles to healing. A healer will use Reiki, often called "energetic medicine" to help you overcome stressful feelings and energetic imbalances in the body.
Researchers are now beginning to recognize the energy fields that surround human beings and all living organisms. For centuries Eastern philosophers worked with energy, manipulating it, to help improve health conditions, including emotional and physical ones.
According to the International Center for Reiki Training, millions of people try Reiki to help overcome physical and emotional health problems, including depression.
The History of Reiki
Dr. Mikao Usui, the founder of Reiki, was born in Japan in 1885. An avid learner, Usui dedicated himself to his studies, which included medicine, psychology, and religion. It is said that the concept of Reiki came to Usui while meditating on Mt. Kurama.
Reiki is based on a set of ideals, as written by Usui:
The secret art of inviting happiness
The miraculous medicine of all diseases
Just for today, do not anger
Do not worry and be filled with gratitude
Devote yourself to your work. Be kind to people.
Every morning and evening, join your hands in prayer.
Pray these words to your heart
and chant these words with your mouth
Usui Reiki Treatment for the improvement of body and mind
The founder, Usui Mikao
How does it Work?
Reiki practitioners believe an energy field surrounds your body. Diseases, including depression, can interrupt this energetic field, according to believers. This can lead to feelings of anxiety, pain, sadness and hopelessness.
A Reiki provider will use his or her hands to identify places in the body where energy is blocked or not flowing properly. They then work to remove blockages and improve the patient's "life force" or chi as it is commonly called among health practitioners. Reiki providers also claim they can help remove negative emotional patterns or blockages, often present in depressed patients.
Is it true? Studies now focus on the benefits of many alternative healing modalities, including Reiki. Some studies indicate Reiki may be beneficial for patients with health conditions including depression. For now however, there is not uniform support for the practice of Reiki, especially within the United States.
Still, those that do try Reiki report they often feel more relaxed and energetic after a few or even a single Reiki session. Because stress and fatigue contribute to depression, Reiki treatments may be helpful for relieving some of the symptoms of depression.
For individuals that believe energy blocks cause disease, one might assume Reiki may play a role in improving or putting depression into remission.
While not scientifically proven, Reiki practitioners believe that the treatment can:
- Relieve stress and tension while creating deep relaxation
- Lower blood pressure
- Relieve pain and accelerate the body's self-healing abilities
- Improve sleep and immune function
- Relieve emotional distress, especially during grieving
- Help the body to cleanse itself of toxins
- Increase energy levels
How Much Does Reiki Cost?
Reiki charges vary from practice to practice. A single session may cost anywhere from $50 to $100. Some of the cost may relate to the length of the session, or whether the patient is new or coming in for a follow up treatment.
Some hospitals believe in Reiki, and have started offering Reiki and massage for patients interested in complementary therapy. Just remember, if you plan to seek care from a specialist, make sure they have proper credentials, and check in with your primary doctor.
Most patients find Reiki useful as an adjunct therapy, meaning they can use it in combination with more traditional approaches to healing depression, anxiety and related mental health disorders. While not a cure, Reiki can for many, result in better health and less stress.
The only way to know if Reiki works for you is to try it. If you can, find someone you trust that can refer you to a qualified provider.