Reiki, Opioids and Pain Relief

Last week I read two things about pain.

The first was a summary of the results of a research study on the effects of Reiki on pain for chronically ill people. The second was an article in the Eugene Weekly on the decline in opioid prescriptions in Oregon. The decline came after new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control in 2016 that recognize no evidence of “long-term benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain.”

What opioid therapy has delivered is a national epidemic of addiction to pain killers with minimal pain relief. According to the article, both the FDA and the CDC are forming special committees to evaluate and address the crisis.

In light of this, the results of the Reiki study are particularly interesting. One hundred twenty men and women ages 21 to 62 years who had been experiencing pain and stress for one or more years were given 10 biweekly sessions of Reiki, false Reiki, progressive muscle relaxation or a placebo (no treatment). Outcome measures were taken pre-test, post-test and at a 3-month follow up.

Reiki significantly reduced pain, depression and anxiety in those who received it. The follow-up showed that Reiki had a lasting effect (up to three months).

And side effects? Well, yes. Participants showed personality changes after Reiki. Specifically “a reduction in trait anxiety, enhancement of self-esteem and a shift toward a greater sense of internal locus of control.” Participants also reported a stronger faith in God.

Pain relief that’s effective and non-addictive. It does almost seem like a miracle. Those of us who practice Reiki on a regular basis can tell you that it’s common.

When I lived in DC, I did Reiki on a retired gentleman who was using a wheelchair. He was involved in a car accident when a van he was riding in made a sudden stop. His wheelchair was wrenched to the side and he was partially thrown from the chair, causing a painful back injury. I saw him in the days after the accident at the long-term care facility where he lived. He sat in his chair with his eyes closed while I placed my hands on his shoulders and back in the area surrounding the injury. After receiving 10 or 15 minutes of Reiki, he sighed with relief and began to move his upper body instead of holding it against the pain. His pain had diminished drastically and he asked to receive Reiki three or four times more during his healing process.

Reiki is already used in over 100 hospitals in the U.S. and other healthcare settings, such as the Willamette Valley Cancer Institute here in Eugene. As Reiki gains more and more acceptance in the mainstream healthcare world, I expect–and hope–that it will be part of pain management plans for many more people.

For more information on Reiki research, visit the Center for Reiki Research. It’s free to sign up and read the summaries, more than 80 to date.




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If we turned up the volume on our resources now, what could we accomplish?

Less than a week after the election, six energy workers gathered with me in south Eugene for Energy Playground. It was comforting to be together and inspiring to see each person’s radiance shining through at our closing circle. I left confident that we can–and will–continue to bring light and love into the world.

I asked each person to share one thing that had inspired them or given them hope in the past week, one reminder of their vision for the world they want to live in. One by one, they spoke of personal healing, empowerment, mutual respect between men and women.

We need to hear this from each other now. We need to “turn up the volume on our resources” (a phrase I love that was offered to me by my therapist this year).

On Being recently featured an interview with the late Vincent Harding, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement and a theologian. He talked about how people in the 60s sang themselves to freedom. One of the favorite songs was “This Little Light of Mine.”

It meant that instead of reacting to the dogs and the fire hoses and the beatings from a place of fear, anger or violence, the young people in the movement were choosing to respond from a place of their strongest light.

This is our calling now too and it is doable

I was inspired last week by one of the women in my PWNO networking group who has been motivated since the election to create a coloring book for girls ages 5-10 entitled “My Body My Power My Voice” and to offer it at cost on Amazon. She is using her capacity as an early childhood educator in support of her vision.

What can you do now in support of your vision? I invite you into curiosity about your capacity to contribute.

What would be pleasurable, fun, rewarding, satisfying, nurturing for you as a contribution? Can you bless, pray, reach out, connect, support, heal, learn, turn a corner, let go of something that’s no longer needed, create, birth, build, envision, redirect energy into your dream?

I invite you to let your curiosity about this be an antidote to fear and hopelessness.

It makes me wonder…If we took all the energy that has been generated since the election and put it into the service of our positive visions, what could we be doing?

What might we accomplish if we collectively “Start Close In” on big, daunting problems—like social issues that have been raised for many by the presidential election?

As Parker Palmer, Quaker elder and founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal, writes, he has decided to go cold turkey on ranting and raving about the election and reinvest that energy in “face-to-face forms of solidarity with people…”. He calls it a more life-giving way forward.

We are so blessed to have Divine energy to support us in moving forward. We are also blessed to have one another. I echo Palmer in saying there’s much to be grateful for (and gratitude is a supremely good way of turning up our resources).

We need to gather with our Reiki/energy healing people–or our healing community, whatever that looks like–at this time to send blessings to our nation, to heal, to fellowship in gratitude, to feed our highest visions and to fortify ourselves for inspired action.

Many Reiki blessings to us all.

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Dealing with the U.S. Election – Reiki Style

The election has really stirred things up for a lot of people. Big change is happening, whether we feel ready or not. It’s a moment where we can choose–react or respond. Do we REACT from our triggers or RESPOND from our truth? What is our truth anyway? And how do we do that?

Here’s a bit of wisdom from William Rand, President of the International Center for Reiki Training. In short,

  • Use Reiki to help us heal unresolved emotional distress in us that has been stirred up
  • Send Reiki blessings to the current situation and everyone in the U.S.
  • Practice forgiveness–not as in condoning, but releasing condemnation
  • Gather with Reiki people in our area to support one another and our country with Reiki

William reminds us that we have the power to help our country heal now when it’s much needed.  I’m on board.

Reiki invites us into a different way to live. It supports us in taking action from a place of clarity, healthy compassion for ourselves and others, and the highest healing and highest good of all. It allows us to trust that we can do that even when it’s not obvious to us how what’s happening could possibly serve a higher purpose.

Reiki helps us be response-able. When we’re response-able, we can see choices about our actions. We can be more creative and resourceful. We move toward what we’re “for,” rather than revolving around and energizing what we’re “against”.

It sounds like sanity to me.


Many Reiki blessings to us all.



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Reiki for burns

After a long blog hiatus, I’m reposting this from 2011. I’ve had more chances to use Reiki as first aid for minor burns since then with myself and others and it has been reliable.

The key seems to be to use Reiki soon after the burn happens. It may also help to do it a few times over the course of an hour or two.  In some cases with a burn, a blister forms immediately, but the heat and injured feeling of the burn are relieved and then the blister goes away over time naturally.

When I work with burns, I use the three Usui Reiki symbols from Reiki 2 & a master symbol. My master symbol is now Holy Fire, but I used the Usui master symbol in the past. I wouldn’t hesitate to try it even if I was a Reiki I practitioner and wasn’t using symbols yet.

Please note that I am not suggesting that if you or someone you know gets a serious burn, you should do Reiki instead of first aid. Always use first aid or medical treatment when it’s called for. I almost always run cold water over minor burns before I start doing Reiki. For serious burns, I would try Reiki on the way to the emergency room.

Based on  my anecdotal evidence–which is unlikely to be substantiated by medical research anytime soon, since I can’t imagine someone sticking people’s hands in flames just to see if Reiki works–Reiki has the potential to reduce the severity of injury from a burn, with no side effects other than the temporary burn-y feeling I describe below, when the Reiki is applied soon after the burn, . So it makes sense to consider using Reiki along with other treatments.


Here’s a cool thing (so to speak) I’ve found about Reiki–It seems to quell the heat of minor burns. I’ve had a few occasions to try it out on myself and a neighbor in the last few months. The most dramatic was on on Thanksgiving weekend as  I was making gravy using homemade chicken stock, which was nice and full of fat. As I was pouring the just-boiled stock into a cup, some if it splashed on my hand.

Yikes! Hot grease, exposed skin–not a good feeling. I got my hand under cold water right away, but even after a few minutes of that, it still had that rubbed raw feeling of a burn and was red and sensitive to touch and heat. So I tried Reiki…

The immediate sensation was soothing, but then my hand started to feel hot. I mean B-U-R-N. I almost stopped the Reiki, but decided to see what would happen if I kept going.

I was having the sensation that heat was rising from my hand and dispersing into the air. That continued for a short while and then I felt the pulsing that signals the end of an energy cycle for me.

When I checked, my burned hand was still red, but the sting was gone. There was a tiny bit of sensitivity, but it disappeared within 15 or 20 minutes. By the next day, I’d forgotten that I burned my hand. No blister, no redness, no tenderness, nothing. Only healthy skin.

I’ve used it once since then on a more minor burn and had a very similar experience, with a strong burning sensation that seems to draw heat up and out of the burn spot. My neighbor also reported that heat when I tried it on her. I didn’t finish the cycle that time because I wasn’t sure what was happening when she said it was really burning. However, she didn’t develop a blister.

Now that I’ve been my own guinea pig, I would tell her upfront what to expect and encourage her to stick out the temporary discomfort.

Have you had an experience of Reiki as first aid for burns or other minor injuries? I would love to hear stories about that.

Take care of yourself this week–

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The Element To Which We Belong

Yesterday I co-led an intention-setting retreat with my friend and yoga teacher Hannah Leatherbury.  We had lovely participants and an inspiring day of opening to allowing and receiving our heart’s visions for 2012 in the serene setting of Soul Source (

It was amazing to see and feel the change in people over the course of the day…Faces that had been tired, uncertain, and holding the stresses of daily life at the beginning of the day were soft and beaming at the end.

One person talked about how she has pushed her natural tendencies as a healer to the side for many years because of other people’s uncomfortable reactions to her gifts, but is being called in a way she can’t refuse to do healing work with people now.  Her joy and excitement about moving forward on this path were palpable.

Her story reminded me of a poem by Rilke that describes the beauty and grace of the swan when it moves from land, where it is awkward, to the water, where it belongs.

This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done,
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.

And to die, which is the letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan, when he nervously lets himself down
into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each moment more fully grown,
more like a king, further and further on.

-Translated by Robert Bly

Here’s a beautiful essay by David Whyte about the poem and his experience as the swan.

May we all have an opportunity this week to experience the ease and joy of moving toward the element to which we belong.


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