Reiki: from stress to relaxation to a healthier life
Article by John Nye is a Reiki practitioner based in Surbiton, Surrey
Pressure and stress
Pressure is a part of human life – and often a productive one. Pressure gives us an edge that makes us perform. It can lead to innovation. Many of our earliest inventions such as tools and language may have come from the pressure to survive in a hostile environment. Having to meet deadlines can make us take shortcuts that then become more efficient ways of doing things.
But too much pressure can make it difficult for us to cope. It ceases to give us a ‘buzz’ and becomes a burden. Where pressure led to innovation, it now leads to poor decisions. This is stress.
Stress can be brought on in all sorts of ways – the death of a close relative, a divorce, a move of home, work or just the pace of modern living. Some of these are relatively short-term and once we have got through them we can operate normally again. Others are much longer lasting and there’s no let-up, possibly for years.
Manifestations of stress
Stress can manifest itself in many ways, for example: Grumbling stomach upsets or backaches · Continual tiredness and the inability to recover from the week at the weekend · Irritability · Poor sleeping patterns · Feeling ‘down’ ·
Getting things out of proportion
Most people will probably have experienced these as minor symptoms at some time or other – perhaps before an examination, flying or a dental appointment. For others, the symptoms can develop into full-blown clinical depression, resulting in the loss of jobs and the break-up of relationships.
Extent of stress
Stress is now a major problem for modern society – not just for individuals. The Health & Safety Executive estimates that around 13 million working days are lost through stress-related illnesses and that a third of new sickness reports result from work-related stress. Each stress-related illness results in, on average, about 31 days absence from work. Add to this sickness that comes from stress that is not work-related and you can see just how widespread the problem is. And many more people try to deny or hide the fact that they are under stress because they see it as merely ‘lack of moral fibre’ not a real illness. Somehow it’s acceptable to be ill with a bad back but not stress.
So why is stress becoming more common?
We now live in a 24-hour society disconnected from the natural rhythms of nature and, simply, our bodies are not designed for this. For most of us who live in cities it never truly gets dark and light pollution means we never get to see the stars. Our exercise is taken in a gym rather than the open air – even if we have a dog we can pay someone to walk it for us. The technology of mobile phones, laptops, email and the Internet means that it is never possible to get away from work completely. Either we convince ourselves that we are indispensable or are so fearful for our jobs that we go along with this.
It is only in the last hundred years or so that the majority of the world’s population has come to live in cities. Our evolution took place in an agrarian environment where each season required giving our attention to different tasks. But now, instead of the opportunity rest and renewal afforded in the darker months, we are expected to be as productive in winter as in summer, contrary to our bodily rhythms. So it’s perhaps no wonder that the Health & Safety Executive report that one in five people say their jobs are either very or extremely stressful and that over half a million people reported that they had experienced workplace stress to such a level that it had made them ill. (Remember too that these are likely to be underestimates because of our society’s attitude to mental health.)
So, what can we do about it?
This is where Reiki comes in. Reiki is a form of hands-on healing developed by a lay Buddhist monk called Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 20th century – though it may be even older than that and was merely re-discovered by Usui. Reiki is Japanese for the universal life-force energy – the energy that drives the whole of creation, whether originating from a deity or not. Unlike much in the modern world, a Reiki treatment is wonderfully simple and non-invasive. The ‘recipient’ stays fully clothed lying on a couch or sitting in a chair whilst the ‘therapist’ places their hands in a sequence of positions on or above the ‘recipient’s’ body. In dong so the ‘therapist’ is opening a channel through which the universal life-force energy passes into the ‘recipient’.
I have deliberately put the words ‘therapist’ and ‘recipient’ in inverted commas. What actually happens is that the ‘recipient’ is drawing energy into them with the ‘therapist’ acting as a channel and nothing more. So with a Reiki treatment you act as your own healer. More importantly, you are now directly in contact with all that is, with the force of nature, the universal life-force energy iself. And by so doing the disconnection we talked about earlier has been removed.
Everyone experiences a Reiki treatment differently but a common theme that emerges is one of relaxation. Over 95% of my clients report that they feel more relaxed after a treatment than before and, of those that do not, not one has ever said that they feel more stressed. So having Reiki treatments on a regular basis is an ideal therapy to combat stress. Even more good news Because of its simplicity Reiki is very easy to learn. It takes only a weekend (on what is known as a 1st Degree course) for you to be able to treat yourself, friends, family and other living things. Daily self-treatment is a wonderful way to remove stress and, once you know how, you can treat yourself any time, anywhere – on the train, at your desk, in bed first thing in the morning or last thing at night. A further course (2nd Degree) teaches you, amongst other things, how to send Reiki backwards and forwards in time for your own healing. The 1st Degree course also teaches you
5 principles for living a healthier life.
Just for today, I will live the attitude of gratitude. · Just for today, I will not worry. · Just for today, I will not anger. · Just for today, I will do my work honestly (be true to myself). · Just for today, I will show love and respect for the whole of creation.
By focusing on the here and now and on the positives in life rather than the negatives, these principles also combat stress. Let’s face it, when was the last time worrying or getting angry made you happy? Most likely, it stressed you out.
So Reiki = Less stress = A healthier you
A simple equation. But think about it. Stress prays on your mind making it more difficult to cope with the challenges of everyday life. It eats away at your immune system. It gives you sleepless nights. And remember, to some degree, this is happening to all of us, all the time (so it’s nothing to be ashamed about). Finding a means of relaxing makes you more able to cope with pressure and, in turn, strengthens your immune system, meaning you are less likely to get ill and will recover more quickly if you do.
With benefits like these, what do you have to lose by trying (and even learning) Reiki?
John Nye is a Reiki practitioner based in Surbiton, Surrey. John can be contacted on 020 8287 6550, 07710 306 460 or visit the website – http://www.reikijohn.co.uk/
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