- Reiki is an ancient Japanese form of healing developed in the early 1900’s by Dr.Mikao Usui. Reiki has been practiced by healers and Buddhist monks for centuries. It rebalances and replenishes the energy in your body stimulating the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Reiki can ease stress, clear the mind and help to relieve physical.
- Spiritual Healing Schull Spiritual healing involves the channeling of energy from a spiritual source to someone who needs it. The channel is usually a person, a healer, and the energy is transferred through that person's hands.
- Reiki & Bio-Balancing Therapies Sabrina is a skilled and result-oriented therapeutic energy healing practitioner who provides exceptional Comprehensive Holistic Energy Therapy Healing services for the whole family, including pets and animals.
Reiki massage is based on the belief that all of life’s energy force flows through us. If that energy source is interrupted it can alter how we are feeling and change the course of an illness. When life’s energy flow is low, we may feel sick, down or stressed.
Energy therapies is a collective term used to refer to a variety of alternative and complementary treatments based on the use, modification, or manipulation of energy fields. Most energy therapies presuppose or accept the theory that matter and energy are not exclusive opposites, but that matter is simply a denser form of energy that is more easily perceived by the senses. Some energy therapies are associated with systems of traditional Indian or Chinese medicine that are thousands of years old; others draw upon contemporary scientific theories. Energy therapies can be divided for purposes of discussion into two groups: those that utilize energy fields located in, affecting, or emanating from the human body (biofield therapies); and those that use electromagnetic fields in unconventional ways. In addition, there are energy therapies that combine biofield therapy with some aspects of bodywork— Breema, polarity therapy, and qigong are examples of this combined approach.
Energy therapies vary widely in their understanding of qualifications to be a healer. Some have credentialing or training programs; others do not. Some practitioners of energy therapy believe that all or most people have the capacity to be healers; others regard the ability to use or direct healing energies as a gift or charism that is given only to people who are 'chosen' or unusually spiritual.
Although energy therapies are often associated with either Eastern or so-called 'New Age' belief systems, most do not expect people in need of healing to give up mainstream Western religious practice or allopathic medical/psychiatric treatments.
The purpose of energy therapies can be broadly defined as the healing of mental or physical disorders by rebalancing the energy fields in the human body or by drawing upon spiritual energies or forces for such healing. Some energy therapies include internal detoxification or release of trauma-related memories as additional purposes.
In general, persons who are interested in Breema, qigong, or any form of energy therapy that involves vigorous physical exercise or bodywork should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner before starting such a program. This precaution is particularly important for persons with chronic heart or lung disease, persons recovering from surgery or acute illness, or persons with arthritis or other disorders that affect the muscles and joints.
Some forms of energy therapy may produce unexpected or startling psychological reactions. For example, a type of psychospiritual energy referred to as Kundalini in Indian yoga sometimes produces experiences of spiritual crisis that may be interpreted by mainstream psychiatrists as symptoms of schizophrenia or another psychotic disorder. Practitioners of Reiki healing have reported instances of patients feeling tingling sensations, 'spaciness,' an 'out of body' sensation, sudden warmth,Woman undergoing therapeutic touch. In this form of healing, the therapist channels healing energy into the patient in order to cure the imbalances that cause physical or mental illness.
Brief descriptions of some of the better known energy therapies follow.
Therapeutic touch, or TT, is a form of energy therapy that developed in the United States. It is a noninvasive method of healing derived from an ancient laying-on of hands technique. In TT, practitioners alter the patient's energy field through a transfer of energy from their hands to the patient. Therapeutic touch was developed in 1972 by Dora Kunz, a psychic healer, and Dolores Krieger, a professor of nursing at New York University. The principle behind TT is restoration of balance or harmony to the human energy field, or aura, that is thought to extend several inches to several feet from the body. When illness occurs, it creates a disturbance or blockage in the vital energy field. The TT practitioner uses her/his hands to discern the blockage or disturbance. Although the technique is called 'therapeutic touch,' there is generally no touching of the client's physical body, only his or her energetic body or field. TT is usually performed on fully clothed patients who are either lying down on a flat surface or sitting up in a chair.
A therapeutic touch session consists of five steps or phases. The first step is a period of meditation on the practitioner's part, to become spiritually centered and energized for the task of healing. The second step is assessment or discernment of the energy imbalances in the patient's aura. In this step, the TT practitioner holds his or her hands about 2–3 inches above the patient's body and moves them in long, sweeping strokes from the patient's head downward to the feet. The practitioner may feel a sense of warmth, heaviness, tingling, or similar cues, as they are known in TT. The cues are thought to reveal the location of the energy disturbances or imbalances. In the third step, known as the unruffling process, the practitioner removes the energy disturbances with downward sweeping movements. In the fourth step, the practitioner serves as a channel for the transfer of universal energy to the patient. The fifth step consists of smoothing the patient's energy field and restoring a symmetrical pattern of energy flow. After the treatment, the patient rests for 10–15 minutes.
Although therapeutic touch has become a popular alternative or complementary approach in some schools of nursing in the United States and Canada, acceptance by the mainstream medical community varies. Many hospitals permit nurses and staff to perform TT on patients at no extra charge. On the other hand, however, therapeutic touch became national news in April 1998 when an elementary-school student carried out research for a science project that questioned its claims. Twenty-one TT practitioners with experience ranging from one to 27 years were blindfolded and asked to identify whether the investigator's hand was closer to their right hand or their left. Placement of the investigator's hand was determined by flipping a coin. The TT practitioners were able to identify the correct hand in only 123 (44%) of 280 trials, a figure that could result from random chance alone. Debate about the merits of TT filled the editorial pages of the Journal of the American Medical Association for nearly a year after the news reports, and continues to this day.
Qigong is a form of Chinese energy therapy that is usually considered a martial art by most Westerners. It is better understood, however, as an ancient Chinese system of postures, exercises, breathing techniques and meditations. Its techniques are designed to improve and enhance the body's qi . According to traditional Chinese philosophy and medicine, qi is the fundamental life energy responsible for human health and vitality. Qi travels through the body along channels called meridians. There are twelve main meridians in humans. Each major body organ has qi associated with it, and each organ interacts with particular emotions on the mental level. Qigong techniques are designed to improve the balance and flow of energy throughout the meridians, and to increase the overall quantity and volume of a person's qi.
In the context of energy therapy, qigong is sometimes divided into internal and external qigong. Internal qigong refers to a person's practice of qigong exercises to maintain his or her own health and vitality. Some qigong master teachers are renowned for their skills in external qigong, in which the energy from one person is passed on to another for healing. Chinese hospitals use medical qigong along with herbs, acupuncture and other techniques of traditional Chinese medicine. In these hospitals, qigong healers use external qigong and also design specific internal qigong exercises for the patients' health problems.
Reiki is a holistic alternative therapy based on Eastern concepts of energy flow and the seven chakras (energy centers) in the human body. Reiki was formulated by a Japanese teacher, Mikao Usui, around 1890, based on Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhism, but incorporates meditation techniques, beliefs, and symbols that are considerably older. It is distinctive among energy therapies in its emphasis on self-healing, its spiritual principles, and its accreditation of healers through a system of initiation. Reiki practitioners participate in the healing of emotional and spiritual as well as physical pain through the transmission of universal life energy, called 'rei-ki' in Japanese. It is believed that ki flows throughout the universe, but that Reiki connects humans in a more direct way to the universal source. Reiki is used for the healing of animals as well as people. As of 2002, a research team at the University of Michigan is studying the effectiveness of Reiki in treating chronic pain in patients with diabetic neuropathy. Various other studies are also underway in the United States and Canada, some examining the efficacy of the therapy in coping with pain and anxiety.
Although Reiki involves human touch, it is not massage therapy. The patient lies on a table fully clothed except for shoes while the practitioner places her or his hands over the parts of the body and the chakras in sequence. The hands are held palms downward with the fingers and thumbs extended. If the person is in pain or cannot turn over, the practitioner may touch only the affected part(s). Silence or music appropriate for meditation is considered essential to the treatment. Reiki healers practice daily self-healing, in which they place their hands in traditional positions on their own bodies. They may use touch, or distant/non-touch.
Reiki healers are initiated into three levels of practice through attunements, which are ceremonies in which teachers transmit the hand positions and 'sacred' symbols. Reiki I healers learn the basic hand positions and can practice direct physical, emotional or mental healing on themselves and others. Reiki II healers are taught the symbols that empower them to do distance or absentee healing. In Reiki III the healer makes a commitment to become a master teacher and do spiritual healing.
Polarity therapy, which is sometimes called polarity balancing, is a biofield therapy that resembles Reiki in its emphasis on energy flow, human touch, and the energy centers (chakras) in the human body. Polarity therapy was developed by Dr. Randolph Stone (1890-1981), an American chiropractor and naturopath. It integrates bodywork with diet, yoga-based exercise, and self-awareness techniques to release energy blockages in the patient's body, mind, or feelings. Polarity theory divides the body into three horizontal and four vertical zones (right, left, front, and back), each having a positive, negative, or neutral charge. Energy currents in the zones are correlated with five energy centers in the body corresponding to the five elements (ether, air, fire, water, and earth) of Ayurvedic medicine.
Polarity therapy can be done one-on-one or with a group of practitioners working on the patient. The therapist as well as the patient removes shoes. The patient lies fully dressed except for shoes on a massage table or bed, or on the floor. The practitioner takes the patient's history, checks reflexes and touches body parts to determine energy blocks. Polarity therapy uses three levels of touch: no touch (hands held above the body, touching only the energy fields); light touch; and a deep, massaging touch. The therapist balances energy currents in the patient's body by placing his or her 'plus' hand on 'negative' body parts and vice versa. Polarity therapy involves rocking the patient's body and holding the head as well as more usual massage techniques. It takes about four polarity sessionsIn this Reiki treatment, the therapist is channelling energy into the head of the woman being treated.
Breema is a form of body movement energy therapy that combines elements of bodywork, yoga, chiropractic, and New Age philosophy. Breema began in California in 1980. Its founder is Dr. Jon Schreiber, a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic. The Breema Health and Wellness Center was opened in Oakland, California, in 1981. The principles of Breema are intended to free people from the conceptual body, defined as 'the ideas and images of our body that we carry in our mind.' The aim of Breema 'is to increase vitality, not to fight sickness, and to create an atmosphere which allows the body to move toward a natural state of balance.' A person receiving a Breema treatment works with an instructor or practitioner through a series of individualized exercises on a padded floor. The instructors and practitioners are certified by the Breema Center in Oakland.
Decrystallization is an important part of Breema therapy. According to Breema, decrystallization is a process in which the body is helped to release deeply held, or 'crystallized,' patterns of chronic discomfort, tension, or emotional pain. As the body releases its crystallizations, its 'core energetic patterns' are balanced and realigned. A decrystallization program consists of one or more Breema treatments per week for a year. It includes a set of personalized self-Breema exercises.
Electromagnetic therapies cover a variety of treatments that use a source of physical energy outside the body— most often magnets or electromagnetic field stimulation— to treat a range of musculoskeletal disorders. Some forms of magnetic therapy, such as bracelets, gloves, shoe inserts, and similar items containing small magnets meant to be worn near the affected body part, can be self-administered. This form of magnetic therapy has become quite popular among professional athletes and 'weekend warriors' to relieve soreness in joints and muscles from over exercise. At present, there are two hypothetical explanations of the effectiveness of magnetic therapy. One theory maintains that the magnets stimulate nerve endings in the skin surface to release endorphins, which are pain-relieving chemicals produced by the body in response to stress or injury. According to the second hypothesis, the magnets attract certain ions (electrically charged molecules) in the blood, which serves to increase the blood flow in that area of the body. The increased blood flow then relieves the tissue swelling and other side effects of over exercise that cause pain.
Other forms of electromagnetic therapy require special equipment and cannot be self-administered. These forms of treatment are most commonly used by naturopathic practitioners. One form, called transcranial magnetic stimulation, is used in the treatment of depression. Another form, called pulsed electromagnetic field stimulation, has been shown to be effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis.
Most forms of energy therapy require little preparation on the patient's part except for the wearing of loose and comfortable clothes. Patients are asked to remove jewelry before a polarity balancing treatment and to remove eyeglasses and shoes prior to Reiki treatment. Qigong should not be practiced on either a full or a completely empty stomach.
Aftercare for therapeutic touch and Reiki usually involves a few moments of quiet rest to maximize the benefits of treatment. Aftercare for polarity therapy includes increased fluid intake for one to two weeks and other dietary adjustments that may be recommended by the practitioner.
There are no known risks associated with therapeutic touch, or polarity balancing. Using Reiki, precautions should be taken clients diagnosed with schizophrenia, psychosis , dissociative disorder, manic/depressive (bipolar) or borderline personality. The risk of physical injury from the exercises involved in Breema or qigong are minimal for patients who have consulted their primary physician beforehand and are working with a qualified instructor.
Mild headache has been reported as a side effect of transcranial magnetic stimulation. No side effects have been associated with self-administered magnetic therapy.
Normal results for energy therapies include increased physical vitality, lowered blood pressure, a sense of calm or relaxation, improved sleep at night, and a strengthened immune system. Some persons report pain relief and speeded-up healing of wounds from magnetic therapy, Reiki, and qigong.
Abnormal results from energy therapies include physical injury, severe headache, dizziness, depressed mood, or increased anxiety.
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American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. 601 Valley Street, Suite 105, Seattle, WA 98109. (206) 298-0126. <www.naturopathic.org> .
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The Breema Center. 6076 Claremont Avenue. Oakland, CA 94618. (510) 428-0937. Fax (510) 428-9235. <www.breema.com> .
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National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) Clearinghouse. P.O. Box 7923, Gaithersburg, MD 20898. (888) 644-6226. TTY: (866) 464-3615. Fax: (866) 464-3616. <www.nccam.nih.gov> .
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By John Mramor
Originally published in Massage & Bodywork magazine, February/March 2004.
Miranda was a dying woman who served as a challenge and inspiration for me in the last months of her life. My experiences with her marked the true beginning of my realization of the importance of energy work in hospice-based massage. Since Miranda’s death, I have come to fully accept and integrate energy work into my practice and I now routinely use it alongside other manual modalities. Working with her was a privilege for me. The opportunity to witness the spiritual transformation within the sacred space surrounding a person dying is always an awesome gift, but to do so while companioning them over a period of five months is a miracle. It simply changed my entire perspective concerning why I do what I do.
Furthermore, to recognize the fact that I was the only male caregiver — in a sea of social workers, nurses, physicians, nurses aides, etc. — who she allowed in her presence, the only male that she did not fire or shun, humbles me.
I look back on this time as perhaps one of the most profound of my career. Of course, it made me nervous at times, afraid and bewildered. But, by simply not giving up on her in those moments when I lost my grip, great things happened.
This case study spans a period of five months in the life of a young mother who accepted touch and energy to provide her with relief from pain and insomnia during her final months of life. It is an unusual case, primarily due to the intensity of the final sessions and use of reiki to resolve multidimensional pain.
Miranda was a 42-year-old, single mother of three. Her children ranged in age from 13 to 18 years, each with a different father. During Miranda’s last six months of life, she sought adoption for her youngest child. Prior to her diagnosis, she worked as a waitress. A social worker later described her home environment and relationship with her children as highly dysfunctional.
In 1998, Miranda was treated for squamous cell anal carcinoma. She experienced a complete remission. However, in early 2002, she began to complain of severe pain in her upper right quadrant of her body. A massive hepatomegaly was found, practically replacing the left lobe of her liver.
Soon, Miranda began experiencing significant clinical depression with heightened anxiety. Her physician described her as emotionally fragile and withdrawn, with a substantial fear of dying. Miranda had terrible nightmares. A referral to hospice was made in June 2002, meaning she had less than six months to live. By September, it became difficult for her to remain at home, with her eldest child acting as her primary caregiver. At this time, her hospice team talked with her about moving to a residential hospice.
Miranda did move, but remained there for only approximately 60 hours, eventually discharging herself and returning home. While in residence, she found it unbearable to be around other people who were also dying. She identified a friend who would be willing to care for her, though upon her return home, she continued to accept hospice services. This arrangement did not last long, and once again it became imperative for Miranda to receive outside help. In October, she chose to return to the residential hospice.
Miranda was recognized by the staff as having changed drastically in physical appearance. Jaundice discolored her skin and ascites (accumulated fluid in the peritoneal cavity) made her appear nine months pregnant. Her nurse encouraged the use of music and massage therapies, especially for emotional support. Pain control was a significant challenge.
It soon became evident that Miranda did not trust men and had great difficulty opening up and relating to them in any way. Her affect was normally flat, and she disclosed little information to anyone, including her social worker, who indicated that she displayed little emotion during their sessions. It remained excruciatingly difficult to assess what Miranda was thinking or how she was reacting. Initially, she was quite reclusive, keeping the door to her room closed and rarely venturing out. Her primary complaints throughout her stay were of pain, nausea and insomnia.
My primary intention, as a massage therapist specializing in hospice, was to use massage, manual modalities and energy interventions as a natural and gentle complement to the traditional means of coping with the pain associated with terminal illness.
Initial Sessions, September 2002
Upon her first admittance, Miranda was informed that both music and massage therapies would be available to her. Her nurse encouraged Miranda to utilize them, especially for her anxiety and emotional instability.
After having been in residence for approximately 15 hours, Miranda requested that the caregiving staff call me in from home. Upon arrival, I learned that her primary complaint was left axillary and shoulder pain. The staff reported Miranda had been crying throughout the day. She rated her pain at an 8 out of 10, and described it as a non-referring, chronic, throbbing nuisance. Three doses of Roxanol dispensed at 30-minute intervals prior to the massage did not influence the pain. She was crying throughout the assessment and was most comfortable in a right, sidelying position. Palpation revealed no significant muscular involvement.
Miranda received slow stroke back massage blended with digital kneading and palmar compression; friction; reiki to the crown, spinal column and left shoulder (focusing on the thalamus-pituitary gland neural pathway for bio-opioid release); brushing and holding.
At the conclusion of the session, Miranda was sleeping. I placed a referral to music therapy and asked the staff to notify me with Miranda’s perspective of the session when she awoke.
The next day I received another call indicating Miranda was asking for my assistance. Upon my arrival, she said the previous day’s session decreased her pain and aided her sleep. When she awoke, the pain level was tolerable; as the day progressed, it worsened. Her pain medications were increased, but they were making her gaseous. I noticed that her affect seemed brighter, but her depression was observable.
I provided her with a session using the same techniques as the day before, but in a different pattern. She once again fell asleep during the session and remained so for several hours thereafter.
Miranda discharged herself from the hospice the next day.
Readmittance, October 2002, Attempt to Re-unify
Two days after Miranda’s return, several attempts were made to reconnect with her. Most often, these attempts were of short duration and consisted mainly of female staff intervention on the behalf of the massage therapist. Miranda preferred to be alone. Silence and refusal continued in excess of one month.
Breakthrough, December 2002
Session 1: On this day, a caregiver suggested massage to Miranda as a method to relieve her pain after she experienced a morning of agony. Surprisingly, Miranda accepted.
She complained of extreme pain in the upper right quadrant that was referring around to her back. She also continued to experience left shoulder pain. Her ascites was pronounced, and it was uncomfortable for her to lie on her left side. She displayed jaundice, cachexia (wasting away) and weakness, but was still able to ambulate and venture around the building. Miranda’s pain was multidimensional: The physical was compounding her emotional, social and spiritual suffering.
Since she was in such turmoil, I decided upon a modality that I had minimally utilized in our first few sessions together — reiki. The comforting nature of passive touch coupled with the awesome energy involved could be of great benefit. I explained to Miranda what I would be doing and with her approval, proceeded.
While performing a bio-opioid release on her parietal region, access to her thalamus-pituitary gland pathway required intense focus, more than I was able to perform. Eventually, my left hand broke through the barrier, but only briefly. I could visualize the region, but not on a cellular level. While at her shoulder, the opposite was true: A magnetic draw toward her heart was experienced. The first, in what was to become a striking series of visualizations later in our work together, occurred here. A thick wall, encasing her heart, was seen. I did not believe that the energy made a significant impact on this wall as it was quite old and strong. The other positions felt unsuccessful as well. Miranda offered no comment as to the outcome of the session.
Session 2: When she passed me in the hallway 11 days later, Miranda turned around and asked me to visit her that day. I decided to see her immediately.
I began attacking Miranda’s pain on several levels and provided her with a session that integrated many modalities in a rhythmic interchange that was seamless and full of continuity. I was conscious not to overwhelm her system and developed a strategy to emphasize only crucial points. While she remained in a right fetal position, I performed reflexology to her liver, reiki directly to the liver region and to pain control centers, therapeutic touch, brushing, acupressure along her shoulder and cervical region, slow stroke back massage and light, highly repetitive Swedish to the left aspect of her back and shoulder.
Miranda allowed herself to fall asleep intermittently during the session.
Session 3: Three days later, Miranda asked for me to visit her once again, requesting massage for pain relief.
An energy assessment revealed the following: Cluttered static acting as a barrier surrounding her head; a void over her heart with cold darkness; and a liver region loaded with heaviness.
This session resembled the last in structure, but included a greater degree of Swedish massage. I was able to access her heart and began filling it with energy, but her brain remained difficult to penetrate, accepting very little.
For the first time, she said “thanks” when I left her room.
Opening of Heart and Mind, December 2002–January 2003
Session 1: While I was studying clinical charts in the office, Miranda approached the doorway and secured my attention. She requested a session. I was stunned, as were my colleagues, by her behavior — this was not the Miranda that came to us in late October. Several of the staff mentioned to me that they had witnessed her coming out of her room more, eating at the common dining table and entering the smoking porch to talk with fellow residents. Her appetite had increased and they noticed a decrease in her reliance upon pain meds.
I continued to use a blending of modalities in order to confront her pain on various levels. However, the reiki portion began taking precedence. This marked the first session during which intense visualizations occurred, guiding me in my work.
During the initial placement of my hands upon her head in order to secure the bio-opioid release centers, I began to experience a deep, meditative-like level of consciousness. I could see Miranda, twirling in a turbulent sea of air. She had a fearful expression on her face and was very confused. She was unable to stop her body from being tossed about in the wind. Later, while my hands were over her heart, I visualized something completely different. Miranda was clothed in light and appeared as an angel. Light was beginning to fill the space she was standing in, and she smiled at me. An angel approached her, took her hand and began walking with her toward a pinpoint of light in the distance.
My immediate impression while experiencing these two images led me to believe that Miranda was experiencing a rift between her heart and mind and was in need of healing so that the two could be as one. I provided her with the initial treatment to connect her heart energy with her mind, using a connective hand position to shift energy from the heart center to the crown.
Miranda was sleeping peacefully at the conclusion of our session.
Session 2: Miranda requested this session. I was advised that her insomnia continued to be problematic and that her ascites was increasing.
The session was a variation of the usual treatment. I initiated a lotioned cervical massage that, up to this time, I had not felt comfortable applying due to the intimacy of contact that it connotes. Miranda accepted it.
During the energy portion of the session, I was again able to visualize her status mentally and found that she had progressed. She was sitting in a chair solemnly, and light was beginning to shine down upon her. Miranda enabled me to further the process of healing and I found the treatment successful.
While in session, Miranda fell into a deep sleep. So as not to disturb her, I remained by her side once I was finished, offering prayer and therapeutic presence.
Session 3: This remarkable session occurred 10 days later. Upon my arrival to work, Miranda caught me as I entered the house and requested a session.
I began by brushing through her energy field, mainly in order to prepare it for alteration and infusion. Thereafter, I provided her with full body stroking, with much repetition, in order to calm her on a more profound physical level and to prepare her for touch. Once complete, I slowly transformed that into slow stroke back massage. At this point, I considered her ready for reiki.
Placing one hand directly over her crown and the other upon the side of her head and face, I felt an immediate connection. I was amazed to meet Miranda in a field, dancing joyfully, the atmosphere surrounding her filled with a white glowing light. She spoke to me, telling me she was happy deep within and ready for what may lie ahead. With this information, I thought that the best I could do was offer her energy to support her in the journey. Soon thereafter, I witnessed sparkles of golden snowflakes showering down upon her. She lifted her arms in response to these and danced among them. I then disengaged and assessed her heart.
I was amazed to find nothing there. It was peaceful. I continued the session by giving Miranda Swedish massage, very lightly, upon her left shoulder where she had complained of pain in the past. It was gentle, slow and compassionate. Then, I proceeded to her feet where I initiated a long session of lotioned anti-anxiety massage to induce sleep. I also incorporated reflexology. At the point that I felt the session was virtually complete, I again engaged her in reiki, but at the feet. My visualization here confirmed previous findings — the area where her heart center should have been was gone and her mind was joyful. I centered the energy physically to initiate release of bio-opioids, shield the liver and decrease pain stimulus transmission through the spinal cord.
At the end of the session, Miranda was sleeping soundly, deeply. I blanketed her and left the room.
Session 4: Upon arrival, the caregiver informed me that Miranda had been experiencing severe pain since approximately 7 p.m. the day before. Many medications had been given with limited results. Miranda sought out massage.
She informed me that her pain was centered in her abdomen, radiating around to her low back. I assisted in positioning her on her right side and began the treatment, which included digital pressure, palmar kneading, reflexology, manual lymph drainage (this mainly for its pain-reducing qualities) and reiki.
During the reiki sequence, I was stunned by another interesting visualization. Miranda was walking hand in hand with an angel toward a distant light. I felt something was wrong, however. Miranda did not seem as happy as she had been the day before. A black ring surrounded the light and the angel glowed with light in an odd manner; it did not seem to be coming from within him, but around him. With further concentration, and intense focus, I saw that the light was coming from the ground. The angel had a black face hiding under light and its body was dark under the garments. I quickly prayed that the bond between Miranda and this false angel be broken and shielded her with reiki energy. I asked for light to surround me, as well. With much help, the angel returned to the ground and the hole was sealed, with Miranda left alone, frightened. I again shielded her with light and instructed her to find the white light, to trust only her guardian angel. I did not have the strength to do any more, so I ended the session. Miranda was in a deep sleep when I finished, so I left her quietly.
Later that day, I was advised that Miranda had fallen, striking her head against a chair. She suffered a laceration that did not require stitches.
Final Sessions, January 2003
Session 1: Two days after her injury, Miranda was very weak. She required assistance in all activities and began to accept aide to do so for the very first time. Our relationship progressed to the level where she desired to see me whenever I was available.
This session was significant for the provision of a lotioned back, shoulder, neck and foot massage — a big step in trust and openness for Miranda. Reiki was provided to her heart and mind. I had great difficulty connecting with her mind, but with the calling of her name, she appeared in two ways: Sitting in a chair and floating above a field. She was resistive to accepting energy, fearful of trusting and hesitant. Her heart was distant and required intense concentration. Once connected, I saw only light in an open space. I focused on providing strength, healing and balance to these areas.
Session 2: Miranda’s hospice nurse stated that Miranda would likely develop terminal restlessness. I found her pain controlled much better than in weeks past. She informed me that sleeping was easier and that her pain level was lower.
I provided her with our usual session, although modified to her tissue loss. The reiki session was difficult. At the level of her heart, there was a blinding light that was incredibly intense and almost impossible for me to look into. I made out Miranda’s form within this light, heading deeper into it and away from me. She stopped her movement to listen to me. I asked her not to go until she had connected this heart energy with her mind — to use this light as a way to resolve her problems in this life. It was quite difficult to counsel her, as she was being drawn away from me by a force that was overwhelming. I finally had to release from it because it was too difficult to stay within it — too much energy and heat. At the level of her head, I found her swirling in turbulence. She would not connect with me. I had to become very firm and insistent and finally she stopped and listened to me. I felt unsuccessful and weary. I concluded the session by diverting heart energy to her mind.
Session 3: Two days prior to this session, Miranda informed the staff that she was afraid to die. Even though she was close to death, Miranda continued to care for herself. The staff witnessed increased congestion and apnea. Restlessness became increasingly evident. Miranda experienced difficulty finding a comfortable position. It was time to discontinue all modalities except those based in energy and passive touch. I worked only at the level of her mind, to give her most troublesome area a final try.
With much perseverance, I was able to visualize Miranda. She was in a column of intense, concentrated light heading upward. She was being drawn through it, much as a piece of metal toward a magnet. Within this column there were wonderful colors — primarily rose and white with sparkles of yellow and orange. The atmosphere within this column was quite thick, almost like a gel, and very warm. After a few moments, I realized I was actually inside of this as well, not observing her from without. At this time, I felt pulled up along with her and began to hear bells and faint singing — it was beautiful, but without a tune really, and it was faint as if far in the distance. At this point, I attempted to speak to Miranda, but immediately received the sensation it was unnecessary to do so and also that I did not belong there, so I allowed myself to disengage. I witnessed Miranda floating away within it, higher and higher. I was so glad that she finally allowed her heart energy to resolve her mental struggle.
Session 4: Three days later, Miranda was actively dying. At the request of the staff, I approached Miranda to offer comfort through touch.
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Initially, Miranda displayed only slight signs of terminal restlessness. After a reiki session to her feet, she was extremely calm with no visible attempts at movement of any kind.
I engaged her in a format that I usually reserve for the final days of life: The Hand/Heart Connection (HHC). After conducting an assessment, and finding a significantly weak human energy field with no energy at all palpated from the heart to the feet, I knew from experience that her time was near. I did not try to do visualization, for I did not wish to interfere with her natural process (it is thought that the spirit leaves through the head and to interfere with it at this time would be unnecessarily binding). So, with this in mind, I offered her support through the HHC, focusing on energy for peace, love and healing. It was at this time that I bid her farewell, thanked her for allowing me into her life and let her know that she was loved.
Miranda died later that day.
Since these experiences with Miranda, I have found reiki to be an extremely effective modality for use within the hospice population. Combined with standard massage therapy modalities and manual therapies, it is an excellent choice for those suffering with anxiety and other issues surrounding death and dying. I have found few contraindications to its use and encourage its application especially with people who are difficult to engage otherwise. The visualizations experienced in this study were deeper than I had experienced previously and are not typical of all reiki interventions that I conduct. With excellent nursing, caregiving, social work and music therapy interventions, Miranda also used massage and reiki as an appropriate tool to assist her in overcoming her fears, anger and loneliness.
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John Mramor, MA, LMT, CMLDT, CR, NCTMB, is the massage therapist for the hospice division of the Visiting Nurse Association in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the staff massage therapist for Malachi House, a non-profit residential facility for people who are indigent or without an available caregiver and with six months or less to live. He co-authored, along with his wife, Karla, the grant proposal that won Malachi House a three-year start-up grant from The Cleveland Foundation, with which he created the therapy program. Mramor is certified in both manual lymph drainage and reflexology, and is a member of various hospice organizations.