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Anxiety Relief with Reiki

Updated: May 5

Generalized anxiety disorder is a potentially debilitating condition that affects millions of people all across the globe. In fact, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, generalized anxiety disorder currently affects 3.1 percent of the U.S. population. Treatments for generalized anxiety disorder vary but often include medication and psychotherapy. Some people struggling with this condition have also added Reiki to their treatment plan in hopes of improving symptoms further.


People with generalized anxiety disorder deal with excessive and unrealistic worry about everyday issues, including their family, health, or financial situation. This worry is persistent and difficult to control. In many cases, people with this condition feel a sense of impending doom even when there is no reason to believe that something bad will happen. For most people, this disorder appears gradually over time. It is more common in women than in men and tends to peak after childhood. While many people are able to manage their symptoms and lead a relatively normal life, severe anxiety can sometimes make it difficult to carry out everyday responsibilities or function in social situations.


An individual is diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder after he or she has spent at least six months dealing with symptoms on a regular basis.


Some of the specific symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder may include:

• Trouble sleeping • Tense muscles • Irritability • Tiring easily • Feeling restless or on edge • Trouble concentrating



About Reiki Session


Reiki is a therapeutic technique that developed in Japan. The idea behind this technique is that, generally, problems and issues within the human body, including unnatural levels of anxiety, may be related to blockages or disturbances in the individual’s energy pathways. Reiki seeks to unblock energy and restore normal flow in order to support the body’s ability to heal itself.


During a Reiki session, a trained practitioner will place his or her hands gently on or over the client. The practitioner will repeat this process multiple times using specific hand positions. Session lengths vary based on the needs of the client.


Although responses to Reiki vary from person to person and session to session, common responses include a deep feeling of relaxation and peace. Sometimes clients feel warmth or tingling, or notice visual imagery. During a Reiki session, the body shifts from sympathetic (fight-or-flight) mode into parasympathetic (rest and digest) mode. Parasympathetic mode is often referred to as the Relaxation Response; this is the state that your body needs to cultivate to heal. The session jumpstarts your body's own self-healing response—assisting the body in releasing deep-seated tensions, aiding in detoxification, and balancing mental and emotional states.

The Reiki session also allows you to bring about a beneficial shift in your attention. When we're feeling anxious, it's usually all we can focus on. The act of moving out of narrow, stressed attention is like relaxing a fist that's been clenched for years. In fact, we hold tension, emotions, and chronic anxiety in the body's muscles, and these are released during a Reiki session. After the session, clients could notice some changes as their mind and body continue to rebalance over the next few days or even weeks. Changes might include physical shifts, such as more restful sleep or a more relaxed feeling in the body; mental/emotional shifts, such as feeling calmer in stressful situations or feeling more focused; and spiritual shifts, such as feeling more grounded or intuitive.


Discomfort later that day or the next few days is also good because it can mean the session is starting to help your body rebalance itself. Negative emotions that we've repressed and held in the body are sometimes able to come to the surface and release.

Setting aside time in your life for a session to relax and let go in this way allows you to recover from the accumulated physiological and psychological stresses of daily living. Reiki can give you the balance you need to put the anxiety in perspective, and thereby let it go. Many clients report that meditating is difficult because their minds remain active; they say that Reiki is an easier way for them to get into this meditative mindset, allowing the thoughts to slow and relax, along with the body.


Reiki is non-invasive and doesn’t pose any risk to the client. It also causes no side effects. Thus, Reiki can be used in conjunction with virtually any other treatment prescribed by a physician, including medication and other types of therapy.



Relevant Research


Multiple research studies have been conducted to explore the relationship between Reiki and anxiety disorders. Some of these studies are detailed below.

  1. Reiki reduces anxiety among women In 2006, researchers published a study that sought to determine whether Reiki could reduce anxiety among women undergoing hysterectomies. The researchers found that women in the treatment group experienced less anxiety than those in the control group. Although this study was conducted only on women undergoing surgery, the results may apply to other individuals as well.

  2. Reiki helps with anxiety and fatigue in cancer patients Another study conducted in Turkey focused on the ability of Reiki treatment to reduce anxiety, pain, and fatigue among cancer patients. The researchers found that all of these variables improved among subjects in the group treated with Reiki. Because both anxiety and fatigue are symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, it stands to reason that Reiki could potentially be helpful for people with this condition as well.

  3. Reiki reduces depression and anxiety among older adults During this study, researchers sought to determine whether treating older adults with Reiki would improve depression, anxiety, and other issues. The researchers found that individuals in the treatment group experienced less anxiety and depression than those in the control group. Participants in the study also reported feelings of relaxation following Reiki sessions.

These are just a few of the research studies that demonstrate the ability of Reiki to benefit individuals who are struggling with anxiety. More research studies exploring this idea are likely to be conducted in the future.


How Many Sessions will I Need to Notice Benefits?


Receiving sessions regularly provides deeper balancing and longer-lasting benefits. (A session once a month is recommended.) But this varies, so if you've been experiencing anxiety for a long time, consider booking three sessions as a starting point. As a rule, acute conditions tend to balance faster than chronic ones, so if anxiety is something you've had for a while, it will take a little more time to release it than if you've only had the anxiety for a couple of weeks, for example.



Can I do Reiki at Home?


In addition, one of the great things about the system of Reiki is that you can learn to use it on yourself. It's simple to learn and practice, and daily self-care is an empowering component. Hands-on-healing is our natural ability; just think about how you often feel better after someone gives you a hug. Reiki classes give you a foundation to work with to expand your innate capacity. Once you've learned some basic techniques in a Reiki I class, you'll have the ability to give yourself a mini-Reiki session every day, contributing to your own healing. You can practice Reiki self-treatment in bed as you're falling asleep or waking up (basically anywhere) and any time (24/7). This is especially helpful for people who experience anxiety; you can self-soothe anytime you need.


It's easier to understand Reiki by experiencing it than by reading about it. So if you are looking to try non-pharmacological treatment options or to complement an existing treatment plan, it's worth discovering whether it could help alleviate your anxiety—either by receiving a session or finding a Reiki class offered in your area.



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