Worry or Don’t Worry

worry about trafficSeveral years ago I was traveling on business from Los Angeles to Tucson. I had a flight to catch from LA and was getting ready to leave my company’s office in the afternoon, drive to LAX, return the rental car, and fly out. One of the managers on my team was encouraging me to leave so I could make it there on time and get ahead of the afternoon rush hour traffic. I told her I was getting ready and would leave soon. She looked at me incredulously and said, “You’re not worried, are you?” To which I replied, “Worry, don’t worry. The outcome is the same.”

I don’t think I invented that phrase and I know for sure that I don’t always embody that point of view. However, when I can be there – that place of not worrying; of allowing things to enfold – then I feel calm and free to experience things as they are without being consumed by anxious thoughts.

When I worry, that’s all that is going on. I become consumed by it. When I worry, I’m less thoughtful, more rigid, less creative, and more likely to slip into anger and even rage.

In the travel situation, leaving the office early enough might eliminate the worry but it would not necessarily help me make the flight on time. Who knows how much traffic I would encounter? Who knows if my car would breakdown? Who knows if the rental car shuttle would leave promptly? All these things, and more, are out of my control. I did leave at a reasonable time to catch my flight, but with fewer cushions for traffic delays, etc.

By pushing away the worry, I drove more safely, spoke more clearly, and addressed people more directly and kindly. Indeed, I did make my flight, returned the rental car, and didn’t set any speed records on the highways. But, most importantly for me, my state of mind, and for how I want to live my life, I didn’t worry.

I didn’t allow my mind to go through a litany of “Oh my God, I’m never going to make it on time. Why is that person driving so slowly? Oh no another red light! I’m not going to make it. Will I be able to get on another flight? Why did that meeting run so long? I’m terrible at managing my time. Everyone expects too much of me. It’s not fair. Oh my God, a traffic jam! I’m never going to make it!” And on and on my mind would go. I know this because my mind has done this many times. I’ve worried so much that it has tied my stomach in knots and paralyzed my actions.

When I release worry and move to a place of acceptance, I have freedom to experience my world as it is and enjoy what is being presented to me. In order to release worry, I use breath awareness, Reiki, meditation, and exercise to deeply experience my body and mind in a calm state. Then, when stressful situations arise, I can call up that state of calmness, release worry, and choose how I will act and think in this moment – all the while enjoying what is happening right now.

Wishing for you the calm of not worrying because worry or don’t worry, the outcome is the same.




Reiki’s Effectiveness: More Anecdotal Evidence

stone-black-and-whiteAs promised a few weeks ago, I am sharing some more stories that demonstrate the effectiveness and application of Reiki. I hope you find these stories helpful in understanding how Reiki works and its practical application as a complementary practice in your health care toolkit. (In the stories below, the clients’ names have been changed to maintain anonymity.)


Lisa, a 55-year-old woman who had recently completed radiation and chemotherapy treatment for cancer, came to my office for a Reiki session seeking more energy in her day-to-day life. When I asked her at the beginning of the session what more energy would look like for her, she said that it would be reading a book in her comfy chair in the living room after dinner and not falling asleep right away. So we set our minds on this image and I offered Reiki to her through a regular one-hour session.

The following week, Lisa returned for another Reiki session. She said she had more physical energy after receiving Reiki, was able to read in the evening without falling asleep right away, and was even able to work in the garden for more than an hour at a time.  She went on to receive a series of four sessions and relished the increase in her physical energy and how it improved the quality of her life.


Renee, a breast cancer patient, was experiencing peripheral neuropathy in her feet and hands as a side effect of her chemotherapy. The neuropathy in her feet was almost constant and it was impacting her sense of balance. She often felt as if she would fall when she was standing and stairs were particularly challenging for her. The unpredictability of the neuropathy also caused her anxiety about when she might be feeling off balance. This caused her to stay close to home and to keep close to walls when she was walking.

After her first Reiki session, she sat up from the massage table and smiled, saying, “The tingling is gone!” She was so pleased with the return to normal sensation in her hands and feet! Over the next several months, Renee received weekly one-hour Reiki sessions. She found that the frequency of the bouts of neuropathy decreased and her balance improved. In addition, she was looking forward to practicing Tai Chi again as she felt more balanced and strong.  Renee credited the Reiki with helping to complete her recovery from chemotherapy.


The anectodal evidence presented here, and elsewhere in this blog, will hopefully help you to understand how Reiki can be used to help your body heal.

I’d love to hear your stories about receiving or offering Reiki.  Please share them in the comments below.

How effective is Reiki?

Reiki sessionPeople come to Reiki sessions for a variety of reasons. Some people come with a strong belief in the practice and no doubt in their minds. However, others arrive wondering why they’re there and how effective Reiki will be for their particular ailment. For those who are doubting the practice, I say to them that people find Reiki very relaxing. When the body is relaxed it heals faster. When the mind is relaxed, it thinks more clearly and creatively. When the spirit is relaxed, it makes stronger connections to others.

If you’re looking for quantifiable evidence about the efficacy of Reiki, I don’t have that information. However, I do have years of experience in practicing this hands-on healing modality on myself and others. From my experience as both a recipient and a practitioner, I know Reiki works. To demonstrate this, I’ll share some anecdotal evidence through the stories below. (All names have been changed to maintain anonymity.)


Carole, a breast cancer patient, arrived for a Reiki session with a cold. She had never had Reiki before and was quite distressed because she thought the severity of her cold was great enough that her mastectomy may have to be rescheduled. She indicated that her family thought she was crazy to try Reiki and she was quite doubtful too. I told her that it was fine to be doubtful and that the state of relaxation that would be brought about by the Reiki is very healing. She settled into the session and left the office feeling relaxed.  A few weeks later Carole contacted me for another session. When she arrived at my office she reported that the surgery had gone well and according to schedule. She said, “You cured my cold!”* and went on to report that her medical team was in awe with the minimal amount of pain medication that she needed post-surgery. She also went home one day earlier than had been scheduled and had found out that no additional chemotherapy was needed at this time. Carole credited all these positive outcomes to Reiki.


Norma, a working mom, had heard about Reiki from a friend. She was seeking relief for a variety of symptoms including anxiety and fibromyalgia that caused acute pain in her hands and jaw. She regularly saw her doctor who helped to manage her symptoms and she was seeking to avoid surgery for a side effect from the fibromyalgia. In addition to conventional medicine, Norma also went for massage therapy and acupuncture. She saw Reiki as complementary with all the other things she was using to manage her health.  When I asked her what she wanted most from the session, she indicated that she wanted to be calm and peaceful. She was distressed by the amount of anxiety she experienced at work and how impatient she was with her husband and daughter. After the session, Norma reported feeling very relaxed. Two weeks later she came back for another session and said that the relaxation from the Reiki lasted for a full week. Over the next few months, Norma came for a one-hour Reiki session every other week. She said that the Reiki kept her steady and calm and her doctor’s most recent recommendation was that surgery was not required at this time.


Over the next few weeks, I’ll share more anecdotes from my Reiki practice. I hope that you find them helpful in understanding the effectiveness and application of Reiki.



* Please note: I don’t cure colds, but the Reiki provided a pathway for Carole’s body to heal her cold.

Reiki for . . .

I started writing this post as “Reiki for Hospice Staff and Volunteers” and then realized that I write a lot about “Reiki for <this group of people>Reiki and <that condition>,” so I thought it would be useful to get clear on what Reiki is “for” and what it is “not for.”

Reiki is for:

  • women, men, children
  • people who are sick or healthy
  • the stressed out
  • cancer patients, survivors, and families
  • nurses, doctors, therapists, bodyworkers, lawyers, athletes, musicians
  • moms, dads, coaches, teachers
  • hospice staff and volunteers
  • people with fibromyalgia, allergies, migraines, insomnia, anxiety, depression, or PTSD
  • blessing your food
  • increasing gratitude in your life
  • helping others and yourself
  • finding your keys and fixing things*
  • mindfulness
  • skillful speech
  • comprehension, confidence, clarity, and cohesion
  • working with difficult emotions
  • finding your true calling
  • connecting with the universe

The list could go on and on. When we say: Reiki is complementary with any treatment or medication and can be used to treat all types of conditions, this is what we mean. It is universal life-force energy and its application is universal. There are no counter-indications.

Reiki is not for:

  • mind reading
  • use as a replacement for proper medical treatment when that is called for
  • harming others or yourself

Reiki is for increasing love, light, and healing in your life.  It is not for things that decrease love and light.

So the next time someone asks you what Reiki is for, you can say: Reiki is for whatever you need to achieve your highest healing good. Reiki is always for that!



*Take a Reiki 2 Class to find out more about using the Reiki symbols in everyday life!

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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Fear: Is there really a place inside of me that is always safe?

This post just doesn’t seem to want to come out. (I’ve been writing it for four months.) I am wrapped up in fearfulness writing about fear.  I’m filled with anxiety that I’ll fail.  I worry about how things will turn out and if I’ve said, and done, the right things in the past.  Will I do and say the right things in the future? I’m concerned I’m a worrier and I’ve given birth to one too.  Oy Vey!

Where do I feel it in my body? In my shoulders, in my gut, in my legs, in my feet, in my middle back, in my forehead, in my jaw . . . Where do I not feel it?  So I’m experiencing it.  Really, couldn’t I experience it a bit less, please?

Then I see a billboard that says, “Do something each day that scares you.”  No problem.  There are plenty of things that scare me.  I face them every day:  crossing the street, participating in meetings, walking down the stairs, etc.  I don’t need to go skydiving to find one.

Maybe I’m more fortunate than my more calm and confident counterparts.  Maybe I’m experiencing life more fully than others.  I definitely feel — a lot.  I feel fear and it sometimes grips me.  Most of the time it’s just annoying and potentially embarrassing.  There are plenty of times in life when my fear has embarrassed me, e.g., stuttering in a presentation, shaking in a wedding procession, or being speechless at the wrong moment.  There are even times when my fear keeps me from moving forward.  From asking for the opportunity that will move me closer to a dream.  However, there are times when I face my fear.  When I say, “Yes, I’m fearful, but I’m going to do this anyway.”  Is it a great experience?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Being courageous at moments that require it is vital. I often use Reiki to assist me by drawing on universal life force energy for myself and stating in my mind the desired, positive outcome.  As I’ve reflected and researched on this topic, I’ve noticed that some Reiki Masters even claim they have used Reiki to remove fear from their lives.  Perhaps that is the case for them, but I’m skeptical. I’ve been noticing in the past few weeks a statement in books and blogs that I’m reading where people state that there is a place inside of us that is always safe.  I believe in the soul, I believe in Reiki, how can I not believe that there is a place inside of me that is always safe?

Recently, I’ve been using the Reiki Resolution Technique to work with my fear.  I have held it in my heart and allowed Reiki to do what it will.  At first I feel as if I can’t breathe — not in my lungs, but in my heart.  Then, I feel calm.  I’ve asked my wise self, “Is there really a part of me that is always safe?”  As Christine Reed writes, “. . . nothing can really harm us.”  If I believe this, it will change my life.

I would love to expel fear from my life.  Live fearlessly.  Will fear always be a companion in my life?  Is that bad?  Maybe not, if it doesn’t stop me from achieving my goals and living life fully, that is, if I can push through it and if it doesn’t make others uncomfortable.  Can I love my fearful self as much as I love my brave self?  Can I connect with the part of me that is always safe?

Please share in the comments your journey with fear and Reiki.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Wishing you all courage, when you need it most!

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Reiki Clients Report Decreased Stress, Pain, Anxiety; Elevated Mood and More Relaxed

Yes!  Reiki works!

The Wellness House in Hinsdale Illinois has been surveying program participants about how they feel before and after healing sessions.  (Healing sessions include Reiki, Massage, Healing Touch and CranioSacral therapy.)  The overall demographic of the participants was: 85%+ Female and 91%+ Cancer Patients in active treatment.  The participants reported the following results after their healing session:

  • Stress: decreased by 60%
  • Pain: decreased by 55%
  • Anxiety: decreased by 72%
  • Mood: improved by 45%
  • Relaxation: increased by 60%

For 40% of the participants this was their first healing session at the Wellness House.

What is your experience after a Reiki session?  Is your mood elevated?  Are you more relaxed and less anxious?  If you’re a Reiki practitioner is the experience different for you after self-Reiki than when Reiki is offered to you by others?  Please share your Reiki experiences in the comments!

Wishing you abundant love and light!

Janice Lodato, MA, RMT

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Reiki Resolution Technique

The past five days have been filled with anxiety, anger and pain.  Sometimes for me this has been almost disorientating and disabling.  I almost don’t know what to do next as I feel held by these strong emotions.

However, I have reminded myself of the wise and helpful technique presented by my teachers, Libby Barnett and Maggie Babb.  They call this technique the Reiki Resolution Technique.

The technique works as follows:  If you are a Reiki practitioner, level 2, then first do the mental/emotional symbol plus the empowerment symbol.  Place your hands on your heart and hold the emotion in your hands and heart.  Don’t shy away from it.  Don’t dismiss it.  Hold the anxiety, for example, in your hands and notice what happens.  (Hold it for about 5-10 minutes, with your eyes closed, your body relaxed and your breathing deep and steady.)  As I have done this the past few days, I’ve observed a melting away of the emotion as it replaced by a wave of peace.

If you’re not a Reiki practitioner, you can try this technique as well.  It is helpful to not turn away from our emotions but apply loving and heartfelt attention toward them.  The practice of self-compassion is very important.  The more compassion we create in ourselves, the more we generate this out into the world.

Try this technique and let me know how it works for you.

I will take a blogging break until after the new year.  I wish for each of you a Blessed Solstice, a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year filled with love, light and peace.

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“Oh, I could hide ‘neath the wings
Of the bluebird as she sings.
The six o’clock alarm would never ring.
But six rings and I rise,
Wipe the sleep out of my eyes.
. . .
Oh, what can it mean.
To a daydream believer . . .” by John Stewart, performed by the Monkees

Last night, as I was scrubbing the stuck on linguini off the colander, it occurred to me:  It has been years, and I mean YEARS (maybe in the 10 year range), since I last engaged in daydreaming.  I don’t mean a momentary drift off into “lala” land as one gazes at the clouds.  No, I mean, a full daydream of the joyful and involved type, where I dream about a future scenario for myself.  I would act it out in my mind and find the words, responses and situations that would bring me the most joy.

Definitely, in the past few years I have engaged in thought processes that in some ways mimic daydreaming, but they all fall short on one vital component.  They are negative, anxiety-filled musings of the mind.  They are the kind that make me say to myself, “Stop!  Think of something positive.”  I quickly identify the thought as “anxiety” and attempt to fill my mind with comforting thoughts and my heart with Reiki.

However, daydreaming, at least for me, is different.  It is positive, fun and sometimes inspirational.  It can be an anchor to my truest desires and aspirations.  If I can find the time to daydream again, it may be the key to answering the question that I just can’t seem to answer lately, “What do I want for my future professionally?”  I have many general ideas that incorporate my skills and experiences and I know what I enjoy at work and what I don’t.  The clarity of it is missing.  The vision, the mental visual acuity, is missing.  Perhaps I will find it again in daydreaming.

Do you daydream?  Do you find it helpful and empowering?

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Reiki: Anxiety and Cancer Treatment

Reiki handsThis past Saturday, I offered Reiki during three one-on-one sessions at the Wellness House in Hinsdale.  The Wellness tune-up room is a spa-type room with dimmed lights, healing music (my current favorite is Steven Halpern’s Music for Healing), and a Reiki (aka massage) table.  I have been practicing here for over a year and each time is an energizing and humbling experience.  In a very general way, you can describe what I do as offering Reiki to cancer patients.  However, each experience is so unique, each person and his/her experiences are unique, and yet each person’s experience is so similar (even in its uniqueness).

Some people come to Reiki in the midst of treatment.  They are thin, nauseated, and engaged in the “battle”.  And yet others come to Reiki after treatment, full of energy and lingering side effects, busy with their work and home lives, and creating their new normalcy.

They all come to Reiki with stress, fear, anxiety and all of the side effects of their emotional lives.  They expect a lot of Reiki.  (Don’t we all?  And why shouldn’t we?  It IS universal life force energy.)  They expect: stress-relief, better sleep, freedom to live their lives.  That freedom might just include the energy to be active all day and sleep well at night from an appropriately tired body.  Or it might be the energy to do the things one loves throughout the day, even reading in the evening, curled up in a favorite chair and staying awake long enough to read more than one page.

Even when the session is ended and they report feeling so relaxed, they often ask in an anxious voice, “What did you feel?  What did you notice?  Was it good?”  And I wonder to myself, “What is my role here as a Reiki practitioner?  Do I diagnose?”  No.  Reiki practitioners do not diagnose.  Can I offer an encouraging and kind word or two?  Indeed, and I do, because invariably that is my experience – it is positive and I feel encouraged.    The Reiki is there for them.  They draw it in and get the healing they need.  Is it a cure-all?  No, unfortunately.  Is it complementary with other modalities and treatments?  Absolutely.  Do they sign up for more and bemoan the fact that they can’t get in more frequently.  Yes.

Reiki provides emotional and spiritual support during cancer treatment.  It helps to mitigate anxiety and fear and their side effects.  With Reiki one can achieve better sleep, increased physical energy and the support of the universe.

Please share your Reiki experiences in the comment section.

Wishing you peace and wellness.

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