Reiki at a Cancer Center: 5 Tips for Reiki Practitioners

If you’re a Reiki Practitioner who would like to offer Reiki to cancer patients, I’d like to share with you my experience offering Sessions at the Wellness House in Hinsdale, Illinois,Wellness House for the past three years.  The Wellness House is a welcoming center for people living with cancer.  It provides many programs to support cancer patients, survivors, and their families, through support groups, workshops, and a variety of classes in exercise, nutrition, meditation, and other wellness topics.  I offer Reiki Sessions as part of the Wellness Tune-Up Program.  It is such an uplifting experience to see a client, who entered the room full of anxiety and distress, leave with a feeling of calm and lightness.

As a Reiki Practitioner working with cancer patients, there are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Be scent free.  Do not use perfume.  Also, avoid any scented soaps or fabric softeners on the sheets used for the Reiki table.
  2. Offer a variety of seated or reclined positions.  Sometimes clients are unable to lie flat on their back during a session so they sit in a chair or on a sofa.  I remind them that Reiki goes where it is needed, so that even if I spend the whole session at their shoulders only, they are still getting the full benefit of Reiki.
  3. Bring flexibility to the session.  Often I tell my clients that they are welcome to shift positions during a session, to add or remove blankets, or even to talk through the whole session.  Ideally, it is an experience that they find most comfortable.
  4. Test hand pressure.  For some clients, their pain level is very high, so it is important to “test” the amount of hand pressure that you will apply during the Session before getting started.  However, I have never had a client refuse to be touched (i.e., ask me to work only in the energy field above the physical body).  We are a touch-starved culture and this remains the case for cancer patients as well.  How wonderful to be touched in a non-threatening and healing way!
  5. Try to minimally disturb the client.  For instance, I usually have clients remain on their back only, if they are lying down.  I rarely use the hand position behind a clients head at the Wellness House because of neck and/or shoulder pain or sensitivity experienced by cancer patients.  In addition, sometimes this hand position disturbs clients as they enter a state of deep relaxation.

Why offer Reiki at a Cancer Center? As noted in a previous post, Reiki recipients experience a decrease in stress and anxiety after a treatment.  Their mood improves and they are more relaxed and experience less pain.

Finally, as a Reiki Practitioner, if you plan on working with cancer patients, it is important to be prepared for the questions that you receive after a Session.  Often the clients want to know what you have felt and where the energy was being drawn in the strongest.  It is important to remember that as a Reiki Practitioner, we do not diagnose.  The process is an offering.  Therefore, the proper response to these questions is to find out what the recipients experienced.  Their experience will be the one that matters in the long run and Reiki is offered for their highest healing good — always.

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