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'My heart was racing, the pain was awful and I had pins and needles in my lower jaw and down both arms. I sat down on the sofa hoping the pain would stop, but it didn't. I knew something was very wrong'. Debbie Siddons was taken to the hospital. Doctors didn't take long to tell her she'd suffered a heart attack. She stayed in a hospital for a week and was then sent home. The experience had shaken her to the core. 'I was frightened to do anything. I was nervous about going up the stairs, and I was too scared to pick up my 18-month-old daughter in case I had another heart attack,' she remembers.
Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease, includes heart and blood vessel diseases such as heart attack, ischemic stroke, haemorrhagic stroke caused by uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart failure, arrhythmia, and heart valve problems.
Doctors believe that your cardiovascular disease is caused mainly because of damage to your heart and blood vessels by atherosclerosis, which is a term for plaque buildup in your arteries. The plaque stiffens the artery walls and inhibits blood flow to your organs and tissues.
And what causes atherosclerosis? It is your lifestyle choices. Unhealthy diet, lack of regular exercise, smoking, drug abuse, and very importantly stress are the main factors that contribute to the plaque buildup and thus your heart disease.
Why researchers think Reiki is effective as complementary therapy for heart disease
Your heart disease can be treated with medication and /or surgery. But how would you handle the fear of disease recurrence, similar to the one Debbie faced? How to deal with the pain associated with the disease or the disease treatment? How to handle the anxiety and depression that becomes part of the disease?
According to Harvard Medical School, biofield therapies such as Reiki and healing touch can relax heart patients since these treatments have shown positive results in patients hospitalized for heart problems. For example, a study found that people who underwent Reiki sessions before cardiac catheterization felt more confident, relaxed and cooperative.
Another study from American College of Cardiology found that patients who received Reiki therapy within 72 hours after suffering a heart attack were more happy, relaxed, and calm, and this energy therapy significantly reduced negative states such as stress, anger, sadness, frustration, worry, fright, and anxiety.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese healing technique based on the principle that our body has a subtle energy system called life force energy which needs to flow freely in and around one's body to maintain health. The one important factor that weakens the flow of life energy is stress. Reiki heals by releasing stress and tension and creating a deep sense of relaxation that promotes health.
The technique involves balancing the flow of energy by releasing blockages. This is done by transmitting the spiritually guided life force energy through the hands into the human energy system. Intention is the key here. You bring in Reiki energy by stating your intention to channel a healing either through you (Reiki for self) or through the person you are treating.
Reiki hand positions for heart disease
1. Cup the hands gently over your ears. Hold the position for a couple of minutes. Pull away slightly and then repeat the process.
Function: Reduces high blood pressure; improves balance and mental clarity.
2. Cup your hands gently on each side of the neck, over the throat. Hold the position for a couple of minutes. Release.
Function: Helpful in correcting metabolic disorders and heart palpitations.
3. Gently place your hands (palms facing each other) on the area where your thymus gland is, in the upper chest area. This is the upper heart area. The thymus gland situated there is the gland which is most affected by stress, so much so, its function reduces by 50 percent under stress.
Function: Reduces stress; relaxes the body.
4. If you are treating a patient, gently place your left hand on the upper chest area and form a 'T' with your right hand over the heart area. The position is good for the heart and the thymus gland, and also the respiratory system.
Function: Reduces stress; produces deep relaxation and calmness.
Although these are the specific hand positions for treating heart disease, for effective Reiki healing you need to do all of the hand positions, that is, cover all the chakras, and not just the ones mentioned here.
For example, after the heart area, move your hands down to the solar plexus region, then to the stomach, and then to the hips and the pubic bone.
Do the Reiki for one hour every day. Remember to keep it simple.
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Health.harvard.edu, (2014). Healing Touch Therapy : Alternative therapies relax heart patients - Harvard Health Publications. [online] Available at: http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/healing_touch_therapy [Accessed 9 Sep. 2014].
Rabito, M. and Kaye, A. (2013). Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease: An Evidence-Based Review. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, [online] 2013, pp.1-8. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/672097 [Accessed 9 Sep. 2014].
Friedman, R., et al (2014). [online] Content.onlinejacc.org. Available at: http://content.onlinejacc.org/article.aspx?articleid=1143148&issueno=12 [Accessed 9 Sep. 2014].
Toddjayleonard.com, (2014). Reiki Hand Positions for Treating Client (part 1). [online] Available at: http://www.toddjayleonard.com/Todd_Jay_Leonard/Reiki_Hand_Positions_for_Treating_Client_(part_1).html [Accessed 9 Sep. 2014]
Debbie's story - http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Coronary-heart-disease/Pages/Debbies-story.aspx