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A New Trend In Cancer Treatment: Reiki’s Acceptance As A Complementary Therapy

Cancer has long been one of the most feared diagnoses a patient can receive. While the actual prognosis varies wildly based on factors including what type of cancer it is and where it is located, there is no denying that it is a serious and frightening disease. Reiki has been used for a long time to assist in treating cancer, but it is only recently that mainstream doctors are beginning to accept it as a valid and useful complementary therapy. However, that acceptance is growing regularly every year.

Reiki first began gaining acceptance as a safe way to treat side effects of traditional cancer therapies. Patients often reported decreased nausea and a greatly increased sense of well being after Reiki treatments. Although the nebulous nature of energy healing left some doctors skeptical, it became impossible to ignore the numerous patients reporting an increased quality of life. Studies, such as one done in 1996 at the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center, began to show physical benefits of Reiki such as reduced stress. This particular study also showed a significant drop in blood pressure for many patients, as well as signs that their immune system was functioning better. Reiki has also helped ease the breathing of people suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related cancers, and may increase mesothelioma life expectancy.

Today, many respected cancer treatment centers offer Reiki treatments right in the hospital. Currently that includes such big names as Yale Cancer Center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, as well as many others. These hospitals operate with either staff or volunteer Reiki practitioners who travel to the patient’s room. Some even encourage a pre-operation Reiki session right in the prep room. Many medical professionals believe that it can lessen complications and increase life expectancy.

So why is Reiki such a popular complementary treatment method for cancer patients? Even for those who do not accept the belief that energy blockages can cause illness, it is impossible to ignore the significant emotional benefits that Reiki provides. Furthermore, other accepted complementary therapies may not be appropriate for cancer patients due to the effects of the disease or treatments. For example, massage is often contradictory for cancer patients because a common side effect of chemotherapy is extremely sensitive or delicate skin. Reiki, however, has no side effects and is safe to use with any treatment.

Although Reiki has a long history of being used to treat cancer, it is only now beginning to gain acceptance in the mainstream medical community. However, the fact that it is one of the few perfectly safe complementary therapies has begun opening minds. As Reiki programs are being implemented in hospitals around the world that acceptance will only continue to grow.

Emily Walsh

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