Addiction is prevalent in the world today and touches the lives of so many people. It is devastating to the mental, physical and emotional lives of all those involved. Addiction can ultimately damage the mind, body, spirit, and soul. A helpful and healing recovery program includes looking at all these areas.
In a treatment program the mental and emotional work is done often using evidenced based therapies, however there is a trend to bring more alternative therapies into the recovery and treatment process. Reiki is an alternative therapy that is starting to be used more and more in treatment centers to aid in stress reduction and recovery.
For many that do not want to go to a formal treatment program, or it is financially not an option, Reiki and other holistic therapies can be an affordable option to use alongside self-help programs. This article will explore the benefits of Reiki in addiction recovery.
What is Reiki
Reiki is an energy healing therapy that is believed to have originated in Japan. Energy is channeled through a practitioner’s hands to the patient. Reiki stands for Universal Life Force Energy and when someone receives Reiki they will likely feel the flow of energy.
Reiki is a non-invasive therapy that focuses on reducing stress and promoting relaxation and healing. It allows a person to tap into inner healing and all the elements of their being, including mind, body, spirit, and soul. It is a simple and natural technique for healing. During a session a practitioner will move their hands to different parts of the patients body to transmit Universal Life Force Energy.
Reiki has been used to help with a variety of conditions such as chronic pain and physical health ailments as well as emotional issues like anxiety and depression. Reiki supports the body and mind in healing but is not a cure and a Reiki practitioner does not diagnose any medical conditions.
Reiki has such flexibility and works so well to calm the body, support the immune system, and promote physical and emotional healing. Because of this, it has become a technique that is being used more widely in medical centers, treatment centers, and mental health and wellness centers as a complementary treatment alongside more traditional therapies.
What To Expect During A Reiki Session
During a Reiki Session a trained practitioner will use the palms of their hands to transfer life force energy to the recipient either by gentle touch or holding the hands over the body at different positions. The object is to increase the life force energy of the recipient to support them into a state of well-being and health.
During a session the practitioner may light a candle, or have other soft lighting in the room, there may be calming music being played, and it is possible that the practitioner will use some aromatherapy. Many practitioners have their own style and add that to the session.
The client will remain fully dressed and likely be laying on a massage table although a Reiki session can be preformed on a client that is seated. It can even be sent via a distance healing where the client is not in the same room with the practitioner.
Sessions can last from 15 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the agreed upon format. There may be an interview or intake session to identify what the intention or focus of the session will be. In an addiction recovery session the intention could be on physical healing, emotional healing, or even a spiritual healing.
Experiences during a Reiki session vary, but generally a client will feel calmer and more relaxed than before the session, they may receive insights, see images or colors during a session, they may feel physical sensations such as tingling or energy flowing through them.
It is likely that a practitioner will go over what a session will be like and share what they will be doing including the use of music or essential oils for example. However, if they do not, share your preferences before you start so that you are comfortable during the session.
What Are The Benefits Of Reiki For Addiction
Recovering from addiction is challenging. Many people that experience Reiki report feeling more energized and less stressed out. These are key for starting the change process. While in treatment one starts to face the damage they have done or the emotions they have been avoiding while active in their addiction. They may be new enough in their recovery that they are dealing with urges and withdrawal symptoms. Reiki can be a great tool to assist in moving through this process, while someone is identifying the necessary skills to deal with the intense emotions, and perhaps the physical discomfort coming up.
Dealing with withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, it may include symptoms such as headaches, nausea, the shakes, diarrhea, insomnia, and muscle pain. There is more research being done on alternative therapies and one study found that Reiki can assist in lowering physical pain, and is effective in lowering the heart rate, and blood pressure.
Not only do those in recovery face dealing with withdrawal symptoms and the emotional and mental problems from addiction, often the physical health has been impacted severely. Depending on the drug of choice the damage to the body can be to the liver, the cardiovascular system, increased blood pressure, and more. This can happen with behavioral addictions as well. When someone is in their addiction physical health needs are often neglected.
Since Reiki is a safe, holistic way to effectively reduce stress, anxiety, and give some relief to physical and emotional pain it can assist in helping someone feel able to take on the work of recovery. People are more open to facing the trauma and chaos of their addictive behavior if they have reached a place of peace and safety through Reiki and know that it is an available resource to move back into a place of serenity and well-being.
Other Benefits Of Reiki For Healing In Recovery
Addiction is a disease that often leads to a variety of other secondary problems. As someone moves through recovery they must deal with the shame and guilt even grief of what they have done, Reiki can help relieve some of this discomfort as well. It may assist clients to have a better understanding of what they did and move into a place of self-compassion, and forgiveness. It can potentially help with self-acceptance.
Along with the physical discomfort of withdrawal in the beginning stage of recovery there is often a lot of stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and fear, among other uncomfortable emotions. Reiki can help improve the obsessing and mind chatter that come with overthinking.
Once someone has made a decision to let go of their addiction and create a healthier lifestyle they usually feel a sense of relief. For many there is a honeymoon phase where it is easy to stop the behavior and the urges and cravings are minimal. Once this phase passes though, life starts to become real and now the addictive coping strategy is gone and replaced with stress and emotions that they may be unequipped to handle. Recovery takes courage and tools to stay the course, this is where Reiki can help. The buildup of negative emotion can create urges and cravings, taking time out for self care such as a Reiki session can be a life saving gift.
Individuals attending inpatient treatment may have a similar response, while in treatment they are safe and temptation is limited, they are not dealing with as many life stresses. Once they leave treatment though they go back to normal life where all the triggers were. The people and places left behind while in treatment are all still there, so they are bound to feel stress during this next phase of recovery. In order to continue to heal and get better, people have to learn how to move past the stress. Reiki helps individuals feel their best, release stress, and feel calmer so they can cope and regain their health in order to get better.
Successful recovery relies on an environment of acceptance and self-love. Reiki can play a role in that as a client feels no judgment or criticism from the Reiki practitioner, just peaceful, calm acceptance.
Other benefits of Reiki:
- more self awareness
- can help alleviate sleeplessness
- reduce depression symptoms
- can open a sense of creativity and clearer thinking
- a calmer state of being that helps increase ability to meditate which has added benefits
- spiritual benefit of feeling more connected to self and source.
Much will depend on the person receives Reiki and their openness to the process.
The use of Reiki and perhaps other alternative therapies is most effective alongside other treatment methods. Holistic therapies can assist with making the road of recovery a little easier to travel by giving clients a way to alleviate some of the stress, physical pain, and emotional pain that arises during the initial stages of treatment and beyond.
Although moving past addiction is the healthiest thing one can do, life as a sober person isn’t always easy. Reiki sessions can be a way to get grounded and connected with your body again and let go of the build up of stress that comes along with just living life. It can create a shift in energy that helps one feel purposeful, clear, and energized again.
Although, there are studies supporting that Reiki can help calm the body there is no scientific evidence to support that life force energy is transmitted from the practitioner to the person receiving Reiki. The success of Reiki in addiction recovery isn’t an evidenced based approach but practitioners and many healing and health institutions believe that there are several health benefits to be gained from the practice of Reiki.
Ultimately the success of overcoming addiction is dependent on the desire and the commitment of an individual to get clean. A willingness to acknowledge and let go of the past and change their unhealthy self-destructive behavior, while creating a healthier more balanced lifestyle.