In the past few weeks I have been working with several clients who have come to Reiki to help alleviate stress and anxiety. Reiki itself – the energy – helps people feel more calm, content and serene, and therefore better able to cope with difficult situations. It also brings us mindfully to the present, rather than thoughts of the past or the future. Reiki helps connect us back to our ‘core selves’ that are balanced and centred, and able to weather the storms that life can bring.
- trouble sleeping
- feeling restless or on edge
- fearful of the future
- trouble concentrating
- muscle tension
What is happening in the body with anxiety?
When we perceive danger, our fight-or-flight response is activated by the hypothalamus part of the brain. This stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to create a whole host of reactions in the body, and over 30 different hormones are released in the body to help deal with the threat. This sudden flood of hormones creates reactions that might be familiar if you experience anxiety, including:
- Increase in heart rate
- Trouble focusing on small tasks (brain is directed towards the perceived threat only)
- Non-essential systems like digestion and immune system slow down to allow more energy for emergency functions (might feel nauseous)
- Pupils dilate to take in as much light as possible
- Faster breathing sends more oxygen goes to lungs
The brain uses the amydala part of the brain to assess the fight, flight, freeze response and acts quickly if it needs to respond to the danger. Sometimes the brain gets so used to being on ‘high alert’ and reacting quickly. This means that it doesn’t always use the frontal cortex part of the brain, which is the part which is slower, assesses the situation using previous memories and provides a more balanced response. If we can use the frontal cortex part of the brain we can get back into the parasympathetic system which relaxes the body.
Reiki is a powerful healing modality that supports the parasympathetic nervous system. It tells the body to relax, recuperate, and return to a balanced state. I think of Reiki as giving the keys to the parasympathetic system – it can put a spanner in the works of our natural anxiety reactions and help us to break the cycle.
Benefits of Reiki
Studies have shown that Reiki offers several potential benefits for people with anxiety, which include:
- Lower stress levels – Stress levels are typically higher in people who have anxiety. Both Research studies and anecdotal reports indicate that Reiki may assist to alleviate some of this stress.
- Improved Sleep – Anxiety sufferers often have trouble falling asleep or don’t feel sufficiently rested after sleep. Reiki sessions may alleviate some of these issues and improve the quality of sleep.
- Relaxation – Difficulty relaxing when no significant stressors are present is a common symptom of people who have anxiety. Participants of Reiki report feeling both relaxed during the session and afterwards.
- Improved mood – for some people anxiety and depression go hand-in-hand. Research indicates that people who participate in Reiki sessions on a regular basis feel less depressed than they did prior to Reiki therapy.
How often should I have Reiki for anxiety?
A common question that has been coming up lately, is how many Reiki sessions will I need? My advice would be to book a treatment and see if it helps with your anxiety symptoms. I would recommend regular sessions at first (weekly or fortnightly if affordable) so that you can tune in to the Reiki energy more fully. Then ideally topping up monthly to keep the benefits going. You can add Reiki to your self-care toolkit, and can come back to it throughout your life.
Rest assured that if you are new to Reiki and feeling anxious about coming for a treatment, I always do my best to offer you a warm welcome to help put you at ease. Here is what other people have said about their treatments at Revibe Reiki – Read Reviews
Because Reiki is non-invasive it doesn’t pose any risks to the client, so it is suitable for all ages. It can also be used in conjunction with virtually any other treatment prescribed by a doctor, including medication, counselling and other types of complementary therapy.
As always, remember that Reiki is no replacement for medical care when needed.
(Research Source: International Association of Reiki, GetSelfHelp.org )
(Photo credit: Boram Kim)