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REIKI

AN ANCIENT, NATURAL METHOD OF HANDS-ON HEALING

This post explores the scientific basis and supporting research for Reiki, its demonstrated clinical benefits, the methods of treatment, and ideal referral patterns.

What is Reiki?

Reiki (Ray-Key) is a natural method of healing and balancing the life energy (also known as Chi, Prana, or Ki) present in all living things. Though it is said to have originated in ancient Tibet, it was rediscovered and popularized in the late 1800s by Dr. Mikao Usui, a Japanese physician, who named it Reiki (Japanese for Universal Life Force or Life Energy). In this natural method of healing, the practitioner becomes a channel through which healing energy flows. Light hand placements are used on or near the body in order to guide the energy to all aspects of the body-mind continuum.

The ability to channel Reiki is activated within the student by the Reiki Master through a process called ‘attunement.’ A Reiki attunement facilitates adjustments in the energy anatomy of the student (the chakras, meridian system and human energy field) necessary to channel the Reiki energy. Once attuned, the student becomes a channel through which the Reiki energy flows, able to offer hands-on healing to self or other.

How Reiki Works - Scientific Basis and Supporting Research

Research into different types of energy medicine such as Reiki, Therapeutic Touch and Polarity Therapy is beginning to provide evidence regarding how these therapies produce the results that consumers have been reporting for years. In his book, Energy Medicine; The Scientific Basis, James Oschman outlines one such study that links tissue healing with measurable vibrational frequencies emitted from the hands of energy work practitioners.

Oschman indicates that the frequencies produced by energy work practitioners were found to spontaneously fluctuate through a low frequency range of 0.3 to 30 Hz (1) and includes a table of medical research results linking these low frequency ranges to physical effects including nerve regeneration, bone growth, ligament healing, decreased skin necrosis, stimulation of capillary formation and fibroblast proliferation.(2)

From this data, it appears that Reiki and other types of energy work act to electromagnetically ‘jump-start’ the body’s own healing process. This effect of prompting and supporting the body’s innate healing power may account for the increasing numbers of both individual consumers and health care organizations choosing to include Reiki as a part of their healthcare regime.

Statistics from a recent survey on complementary and alternative medicine use in the United States which were compiled by Barnes et al (3) showed that 1.2 million adults and over 160,000 children had received energy work sessions such as Reiki. Hospitals are also including Reiki as part of integrative medical care for patients. In Connecticut, Hartford Hospital offers a program through which specially trained volunteers provide Reiki to patients throughout the main hospital, the cancer center, dialysis unit, and outpatient clinic. (4) Yale-New Haven Hospital, also offers a Reiki volunteer program wherein certified Reiki practitioners provide this gentle, hands-on energy healing technique to patients.(5)

This increase in consumer preference for energy therapies has prompted the interest of medical and scientific communities and a need for supporting research. As a result, studies are being conducted to determine how certain types of medical diagnoses benefit from Reiki. The Center for Reiki Research (CRR) is a dynamic on-line source that provides a list of evidence-based research on the effects of Reiki along with summaries of each of these studies. The CRR has catalogued several studies in which Reiki was used to address the symptoms of various pathologies including post-hysterectomy pain and anxiety, decreased memory and behavior problems related to Alzheimer’s Disease, and depression.(6)

As research begins to identify and define the physiological effects associated with Reiki, some of the well-known benefits commonly reported by consumers are being validated. These include relief of pain, fatigue, and anxiety, as well as an increased sense of relaxation and well-being.

Clinical Benefits

In my own practice, I have seen Reiki produce positive and lasting results. For those coping with any situation in which energy depletion and pain are factors, Reiki offers a way to relieve discomfort and reenergize. It is an excellent first aid tool to hasten the healing process in postoperative recovery, emergency situations, and any circumstances in which the body has undergone an invasion.

Reiki also creates optimism in stressful situations such as long term care, chronic illness and extended recovery. It can assist in palliative care and hospice settings; aiding in the relief of physical discomfort and facilitating the dying process. Reiki can also benefit friends and family by offering a method to restore energy and clarity during the difficult time when a loved one is injured or sick. And finally, Reiki benefits care givers as a method of self-care. It offers a simple, portable way of accessing restorative energy during periods of stress when many demands compete for available time.

Methods of Treatment

Reiki can be administered seated or with the recipient lying comfortably on a massage table. Sessions can last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes, depending upon whether the recipient is upright or fully reclining. Within the session itself, the practitioner places hands over specific areas of the body, directing the flow of healing energy to the chakras, associated organ and endocrine systems of the body.

Reiki – Ideal Referral Patterns

There are no set, or ideal, referral patterns – Reiki will benefit whenever administered. However, when the goal is to break a pattern – pain, fatigue, insomnia etc., – results can be facilitated by receiving Reiki over a period of one month as follows: Begin with several Reiki treatments in fairly quick succession: 3 sessions in the first week, reducing to 2 sessions during the second week, and finishing with 1 session per week for the last two weeks.

Evaluation midway, after the completion of the second week’s treatments, is suggested to determine benefits and plan continued treatment. If the recipient is interested in actively participating in their own care and recovery, then they can take Reiki Level One training, empowering them to self-treat. The cost of 3-4 full-body Reiki sessions is usually equivalent to what most teachers charge for a level one training.

Conclusion

Reiki acts synergistically with all other types of healing. It does not conflict or interfere with other methods, but acts as a support, enhancing results and facilitating benefits. It assists the body in its own highest level of wellness; speeding the healing process, and providing a source of restorative energy while one is ill, under medical treatment, or in recovery. Whether used as a method of self or patient care, Reiki is a powerful and natural system which unlocks the inner flow of vital energy within the sender and the receiver. It is a tool for use at any time, anywhere, for on-the-spot energy as well as stress and pain relief.

Professional Profile

Hallie is the founder of Soul Song, offering training in a wide spectrum of complementary care alternatives as well as a premium line of handcrafted personal care products. A well known and respected educator with extensive training in energy work and body-centered therapies, her mission highlights creating transformation on personal and professional levels through quality education in alternative approaches to prevention and wellness. She is a nationally and internationally trained Traditional Usui Reiki Master Teacher, certified in polarity therapy, a Master Instructor of Integrated Energy Therapy, Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Holistic Aromatherapy, Vice President of Outreach and Educational Outreach Chair for The Labyrinth Society, and an approved CEU provider for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. She offers individual appointments, lectures and training in Reiki, Integrated Energy Therapy, Hot Stone Massage, Reflexology, and Aromatherapy in New York, Connecticut and other areas by request. To schedule an appointment, lecture or class, you can reach Hallie at 585.967.0009 or by email.

Contact Hallie:
Hallie Sawyers, LMT APP NCTMB
585-967-0009 or email

Credits:
Other than specifically noted credits, the information in this article is derived from the curriculum of Hallie's Reiki Level One Training.

(1) Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis, by James Oschman, p. 86

(2) Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis, by James Oschman, p. 86

(3) Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children. United States, 2007. December 2008.

(4) Hartford Hospital, © 2010. Retrieved from http://www.harthosp.org/integrativemed/therapies/reikitherapy/default.aspx

(5) Yale New Haven Hospital, © 1999-2010. Advancing Care, September 2006. Retrieved from http://www.ynhh.org/adcare/adcare0906.html

(6) Center for Reiki Research (2009). Retrieved from http://www.centerforreikiresearch.org

Other notes of interest:

This article was published in the RPACNY News - the quarterly newsletter of the Regional Physician Assistant's of Central New York. You can view it in their February 2010 newsletter.   

THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE

THE PERFECT ANTIDOTE TO STRESS

This post is an overview of the art, practice and profession of massage therapy including information on benefits, clinical results, consumer statistics, research, education and training requirements, professional practice, and how to locate a licensed massage therapist.

HISTORY

According to the New York State Board of Education, the practice of massage therapy is described as “engaging in applying a scientific system of activity to the muscular structure of the human body by means of stroking, kneading, tapping and vibrating with the hands or vibrators for the purpose of improving muscle tone and circulation.” (1)

These words attempt to describe a hands-on therapy that is one of the oldest among all methods of healing. As far back as the 4th century B.C., Hippocrates, known as the "father of medicine," indicated massage when he wrote: "The physician must be acquainted with many things, and assuredly with rubbing." (2)

Though the terminology to describe and define the art, practice, and profession of massage therapy has evolved considerably from ‘rubbing,’ the original physicians of our times knew that touch was a primary method through which physiological benefits could be produced. Combining touch with specific technique, knowledge, intention and skill, massage therapy, in all of its various forms, boasts a long list of impressive benefits.

BENEFITS

The cumulative effect of receiving a massage seems to go beyond the simplicity and miracle of just being touched. There are physical, mental and emotional benefits keyed into action through the millions of sensory receptors in the skin. The relaxation response prompts the body to reset its inner equilibrium and return to greater health and well being. And this all translates into a significant number of tangible results. The physical benefits of receiving therapeutic massage are rich and varied:

  • a deep sense of relaxation and reduced stress
  • healthier, better nourished skin
  • relief of muscle tension stiffness, spasm and pain
  • better circulation of both blood and lymph
  • faster recovery from muscle strains and sprains
  • reduced blood pressure
  • greater joint flexibility and range of motion
  • improved immune function
  • increased ease and efficiency of overall movement
  • increased disease prevention
  • reduced formation of scar tissue
  • a relaxed state of alertness
  • improved posture
  • a calmer mind
  • deeper and easier breathing
  • increased capacity for clearer thinking
  • relief of tension-related headaches and eye strain
  • greater ability to monitor stress signals

And finally, the emotional rewards of massage include a feeling of well-being, ease of emotional expression, fulfillment of the need for caring and nurturing touch. Enhanced self-image, reduced levels of anxiety, and increased awareness of body-mind connection, produce a feeling of being unified and in harmony with self and the world. Who doesn’t need all this to simply navigate each day in our tension-filled, on-the-go culture?

CLINICAL RESULTS

If this description has not convinced you of the value of therapeutic massage, then perhaps a clinical tour will: Though every bodily system is affected by this therapy, the circulatory system is one the main beneficiaries. Vasodilation is one of the primary effects, improving the general circulation of all bodily tissues. As the blood supply expands, there is an increase in the interchange of substances across the cell wall, heightening tissue metabolism.

Fresh oxygen and nutrients flush the muscle cells of debris, such as lactic acid. Connective tissue is stretched, improving its circulation and breaking down or preventing the formation of adhesions. Muscle tone is also improved, helping to prevent or delay atrophy resulting from forced inactivity.

When the benefits of massage reach the digestive arena, peristalsis is encouraged. The overload that results from re-absorption of toxins due to constipation is prevented. Acting as a ‘mechanical cleanser,’ massage also mobilizes lymph and hastens its elimination from the body.

Inflammation is on the list of beneficiaries too: massage disperses edema, alleviates pain and facilitates movement, especially as a part of post-injury care. The urinary system benefits as the kidneys are stimulated by enhanced circulation, increasing the renal excretion of fluids, nitrogen, inorganic phosphorus, and salt in normal individuals. And let’s not forget the heart itself: massage supports the return of venous blood, easing the strain on this vital organ. This compensates, in part, for lack of exercise incurred as a result of injury, illness or age. Finally, massage just makes you feel relaxed – a positive result of the sedative effect it has on the nervous system.

STATISTICS - WHO RECEIVES MASSAGE

Perhaps due to this wide array of benefits, the general public has increasingly turned to massage therapy as a method of preventative, acute and chronic care. A survey by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health, indicates “approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over and approximately 12 percent of children use some form of CAM.” (3) Massage was among the CAM therapies with significant increases in use between 2002 and 2007, rising from 5 to 8.3 percent among adults. (4)

Now that we’ve explored the history, benefits, clinical results, and consumer statistics related to therapeutic massage, the second part of this article will go on to look at research corroborating the effects of massage, education and training requirements for licensed massage therapists, what takes place in a session, and how to locate a licensed massage therapist.

MEASURABLE RESULTS - Massage Research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

In October 2010, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine featured an article entitled “A Preliminary Study of the Effects of a Single Session of Swedish Massage on Hypothalamic–Pituitary–Adrenal and Immune Function in Normal Individuals.”(5) The research study was conducted at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and the purpose of the study was to determine effects of a single massage session on neuroendocrine and immune function.

53 healthy adults, ranging in age from 18–45, were split into two groups. One group received Swedish massage, while the other received what was described as light touch. Blood samples were taken immediately before and up to an hour after receiving the therapies. The results were impressive, indicating that Swedish massage produced increases in the number of lymphocytes - white blood cells that are part of the immune system. Lymphocytes include natural killer cells which defend against tumors and virally infected cells, as well as T cells and B cells which act to eliminate specific pathogens or pathogen-infected cells. Swedish massage was also shown to decrease the levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and arginine vasopressin, a hormone that can lead to increases in cortisol. The volunteers who had the light touch massage experienced greater increases in oxytocin, a hormone associated with contentment, than the Swedish massage group, and bigger decreases in adrenal corticotropin hormone, which stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol.

This evidence offers a deeper physiological look at how massage supports the healthy functioning of our immune systems as well as corroborating anecdotal findings of millions of consumers: massage is an antidote to stress and just makes you feel good.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING - Requirements for Massage Therapy

If you are thinking of joining the growing ranks of massage enthusiasts by referring a client or booking an appointment for yourself, you might be interested in the level of training necessary to become a massage therapist. The profession itself has come a long way beyond the ‘rubbing’ of which Hippocrates spoke. The practice of massage therapy currently requires licensure or certification in most states. According to a massage regulation guide maintained by The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals (6), only 7 states do not have any regulatory requirements for massage therapy: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Vermont and Wyoming. The rest require state licensure, state (or state-wide independent) certification, or have passed regulation which is in the process of being implemented.

In the 45 states that require regulation, each designates a mandatory number of educational hours and either a licensing or certification exam necessary to qualify for the official state designation. The number of required educational hours range from 500 to 1000, with New York, Nebraska, and Puerto Rico leading the charge as the only states currently requiring the maximum of 1000 hours of study.

To meet the requirement for licensure in New York, these hours of study must be provided by a school or institute of massage therapy with a program registered by the State Education Department. The 1000 hours of study provided in this setting must cover coursework in: anatomy, physiology, neurology, myology or kinesiology, pathology, the theory, technique and practice of western massage/bodywork therapy, the chemical ingredients of products that are used and their effects, the theory, technique and practice of oriental massage/bodywork therapy, infection control procedures, hygiene, first aid and CPR.(7)

As a part of the 1000 hours, a minimum of 150 hours of supervised, hands-on practice is required which offers valuable experience in a professional setting. This clearly defined curriculum solidly prepares the student for the licensing as well as real-life application of their chosen profession.

RECEIVING THERAPEUTIC MASSAGE – What to expect

Though the level of training commands respect and consumer consumption of massage is on the rise, there are still people who have never experienced it. So it seems fitting to briefly describe what takes place in a session for those who are unfamiliar with this healing method. First-time clients are asked to fill out an intake form which reviews personal medical history, current medications and reasons for scheduling an appointment. Most massage sessions are about 60 minutes in length, though 90 minute sessions are not uncommon, and 30 or 45 minutes of specific work can be productive for a very focused area of the body, such as a problem knee or shoulder.

The session often begins with the recipient lying face down between sheets on a massage table. The therapist uses lotion or oil to massage tension out of the muscles, undraping only areas being worked. While lying prone, the areas addressed are the plantar aspects of each foot, posterior legs, arms, back, neck and shoulders. Then the recipient turns supine and the therapist moves on to work with the scalp, facial muscles, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet again. The result is a feeling of total and complete inner peace and relaxation. In fact, falling asleep or entering a deep meditative state of mind is a common response to receiving massage.

HOW TO LOCATE A LICENSED MASSAGE THERAPIST

At this point, you might be saying ‘Sign me up!’ If you are wondering how to find a licensed massage therapist, there are many professional associations which list massage therapists by state. Some are listed below. Whatever you do, don't delay in treating yourself to this wonderful experience!

Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals:
massagetherapy.com

The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork:
http://www.ncbtmb.org/consumers_find_practitioner.php

By Region Community Directory:
byregion.net 

Professional Profile

Hallie is the founder of Soul Song, offering training in a wide spectrum of complementary care alternatives as well as a premium line of handcrafted personal care products. A well known and respected educator with extensive training in energy work and body-centered therapies, her mission highlights creating transformation on personal and professional levels through quality education in alternative approaches to prevention and wellness. She is a nationally and internationally trained Traditional Usui Reiki Master Teacher, certified in polarity therapy, a Master Instructor of Integrated Energy Therapy, Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Holistic Aromatherapy, Vice President of Outreach and Educational Outreach Chair for The Labyrinth Society, and an approved CEU provider for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. She offers individual appointments, lectures and training in Reiki, Integrated Energy Therapy, Hot Stone Massage, Reflexology, and Aromatherapy in New York, Connecticut and other areas by request. To schedule an appointment, lecture or class, you can reach Hallie at 585.967.0009 or by email.

Contact Hallie:
Hallie Sawyers, LMT APP NCTMB
585-967-0009 or email

Credits:
Other than specifically noted credits, the information in this article is derived from the Hallie's individual and teaching practice of therapeutic massage since 1994.

(1) New York State, Office of the Professions, Massage Therapy Licensing Requirements, Definition of Practice of Massage Therapy, Section 7801, http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mt/mtlic.htm

(2) What Is Massage Therapy, Massage Today Magazine, http://www.massagetoday.com/aboutmt/

(3) 2007 Statistics on CAM Use in the United States, National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine, http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/2007/index.htm

(4) 2007 Statistics on CAM Use in the United States, National Health Interview Survey, National Center for Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Downloadable Graphics on CAM Use in the United States, http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/2007/graphics.htm

(5) Mark Hyman Rapaport, Pamela Schettler, Catherine Bresee. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. October 2010, 16(10): 1079-1088. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0634. (6) Massagetherapy.com, a public education site powered by The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals, Careers, State Boards and Requirements, http://www.massagetherapy.com/careers/stateboards.php

(7) New York State, Office of the Professions, Massage Therapy Licensing Requirements, Education Requirement, Section 7801, http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mt/mtlic.htm

Other notes of interest:

Part one of this article was published in the RPACNY News - the quarterly newsletter of the Regional Physician Assistant's of Central New York. You can view it in their November 2010 newsletter. 

GROUNDING & TAKING ROOT

HEALING WITH VETIVER ESSENTIAL OIL

This post is an overview of Vetiver essential Oil, its origin and healing properties.

ORIGINS

Mmmmm … The sweet smell of dirt! Spring approaches, the ground softens and plants deepen their hold in the earth, anchoring the growth to come. As the plant kingdom sends down roots, it is a perfect time to celebrate the essence of mother earth and the rich depth of her grounding energy by taking a look at an essential oil derived from roots.

Vetiver is a perennial plant indigenous to the Himalayan mountains, southern India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. The essential oil is steam distilled from the dried, chopped roots of this grass-like plant and has an intensely aromatic scent which is earthy, warm, resinous and slightly smoky.

The Vetiver plant belongs to the Gramineae, or grass family, which provides more edible species than all other plant families put together. In the intense heat of the Indian climate the wiry, fibrous roots of the vetiver plant are woven into screens called tatties for doors and windows. These shades are dampened each day to provide an aromatic and moisturizing screen from the penetrating sun. The fragrance of the vetiver root is also known to repel insects and is used in making handheld fans prized by women from India to Java.

AROMA & BLENDING

In aromatherapy classes it is common for students to report that this essential oil smells 'just like dirt.' Though this never fails to get a laugh, it closely describes the earthy quality of vetiver’s aroma. And though some find this scent unappealing, others become deeply appreciative of the grounding quality that its scent seems to have on the body, mind and spirit. Susanne Fischer-Rizzi describes this earthy quality of vetiver essential oil in the Complete Aromatherapy Handbook: “the scent of mother earth, mysteriously hidden in a deep, dark recess, drawing on the fullness of her life-giving force.” (1)

This grounding quality makes vetiver essential oil a fixative in many fine perfumes such as Channel No. 5 and White Shoulders. In these blends, the base note which vetiver provides contrasts and brings out the sweet essence of other ingredients. Though scent is intensely personal – what delights one person’s sense of smell can be unpleasant to another – there are some aroma guidelines which can be used to experiment when blending with vetiver. For a contrasting effect, the lighter top notes such as orange, lemon, grapefruit and lime essential oils work well with vetiver as do some of the more flowery middle notes such as rose, lavender and jasmine. For a rich, complex aroma try blending vetiver with other base notes such as patchouli, sandalwood or cedarwood.

BENEFITS

The Indian name ‘vetiver’ means “oil of tranquility.” The translation offers a clue to the primary benefit associated with this essential oil. On an emotional level, vetiver is used to cool and calm the heated energy of irritability, anger and hysteria. It supports the yin, or restorative energy of the body and acts on the central nervous system, relaxing the mind and relieving mental burn-out. Vetiver also assists in centering the body’s energy, making this essential oil a great choice to relieve the jangled or ‘spaced out’ feeling that often accompanies nervous exhaustion. It acts to restore a sense of being rooted and fully embodied in situations where the energy of fear or anxiety has shaken our emotional equilibrium. Vetiver also assists those who routinely neglect physical needs by reconnecting the mind and spirit to the body, restoring balance within this continuum.

HOW-TOs - PUTTING VETIVER TO USE

Using this oil can be as simple as opening a bottle and breathing in its aroma while the tension dissolves away. Blended into a carrier medium such as lotion, massage oil, or bath salt, vetiver’s rich therapeutic properties become readily accessible. These include a cooling affect on inflammatory disorders such rheumatoid arthritis and eczema. It also helps to fight infection by stimulating the immune system to increase white blood cell production and assists in the management of stress without the drawback of becoming sick. Vetiver boosts the hormone secretions of estrogen and progesterone, making it an ideal choice for relief of premenstrual tension and menopausal responses that result from insufficient levels of these hormones. This versatile essential oil is also nourishing and moisturizing for the skin. It assists in preventing tissue degeneration and can be used to treat stretch marks during pregnancy as well as to improve the tone of aging skin.

Vetiver is non-toxic and non-irritating and can be used safely by simply smelling directly from the bottle or combining with a neutral carrier medium. This essential oil actually improves with age when stored in a cool, dark place. And the investment you make in buying it will provide lasting benefits. So in celebration of spring, nourish your own roots and try vetiver essential oil. Nothing will bring you closer to the spirit of the season.

 Professional Profile

Hallie is the founder of Soul Song, offering training in a wide spectrum of complementary care alternatives as well as a premium line of handcrafted personal care products. A well known and respected educator with extensive training in energy work and body-centered therapies, her mission highlights creating transformation on personal and professional levels through quality education in alternative approaches to prevention and wellness. She is a nationally and internationally trained Traditional Usui Reiki Master Teacher, certified in polarity therapy, a Master Instructor of Integrated Energy Therapy, Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Holistic Aromatherapy, Vice President of Outreach and Educational Outreach Chair for The Labyrinth Society, and an approved CEU provider for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. She offers individual appointments, lectures and training in Reiki, Integrated Energy Therapy, Hot Stone Massage, Reflexology, and Aromatherapy in New York, Connecticut and other areas by request. To schedule an appointment, lecture or class, you can reach Hallie at 585.967.0009 or by email.

Contact Hallie:
Hallie Sawyers, LMT APP NCTMB
585-967-0009 or email

 Credits:
Other than specifically noted credits, the information in this article is derived from the essential oil curriculum of Hallie's class: Making Scents of Aromatherapy; Essential Oil Basics for Home and Health Care.

(1)Complete Aromatherapy Handbook: Essential Oils for Radiant Health by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi. June 1991. p67 

EXCELLENCE IN REIKI TRAINING

CONTINUING EDUCATION STANDARDS

This post is an overview of continuing education credit approval for Reiki training.

Reiki Training - A Transformational Professional Path

When I first encountered Reiki I never imagined the wide-ranging and transformational path I had embarked upon. I was originally drawn to this natural method of hands-on healing in 1998 as a complement to my therapeutic massage practice. Part way through my first class in Reiki it was clear to me that the healing power of this ancient therapeutic art was going to change my life.

I traveled quite a distance to train with a Reiki Master Teacher I admired and arrived at my first day of class tired and achy with a pounding headache. My teacher spent a while placing her hands on my head and over the front and back of my neck and torso before the start of class. I still recall the comforting warmth pouring out of her hands and the aches and pain slowly evaporating out of my body. This was the first of many Reiki miracles I was to experience and the beginning of my fascination with this amazing healing discipline.

After receiving Level One Reiki training in the late 1990s, I immediately incorporated Reiki into my massage practice and the results were impressive. Clients reported feeling more deeply relaxed and pain-free. I began to wonder why Reiki was not more prevalent as an adjunct to traditional medical care. Pain relief and relaxation, two of the primary healing benefits associated with Reiki, seemed to be a perfect fit for hospitals, hospice and healthcare in general. So why weren’t nurses, doctors and all primary and secondary care givers informed about Reiki as a viable part of patient and self-care?

Over the next two years I progressed through the upper levels of Reiki training to eventually become a Reiki Master Teacher myself. The questions about Reiki and its value to allopathic care were never far from my mind. After I had been teaching Reiki courses for a few months, I came across an article on the internet about Yale School of Medicine. Their department of Integrative Medicine offered a Reiki Level One credit course. (1) So, I knew that I was not alone in thinking Reiki had applications in the traditional medical sphere.

Reiki - Continuing Education Approval

I called Yale and found the professor offering this course. I asked how she came to incorporate Reiki as an elective course in the Yale continuing education curriculum. She told me of an arduous evaluation involving research and validation of the benefits of Reiki in a hospital setting. That process had taken a year from the start to finish.

Our conversation turned out to be an indicator of the path I would have to walk to gain certification as a continuing education provider. In 2000, I decided to approach my professional certification body - the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB). I was challenged to learn that I needed to have a two year record of teaching any class submitted for credit approval. The application was 10 pages and included seven criteria to which my course content had to adhere. It asked for copies of completed student evaluations over a two year period, along with class materials and a mission statement for teaching this discipline to licensed massage therapists.

I was initially daunted by the amount of documentation required and the time period that needed to elapse before I could submit the application. Yet I understood the value of having a proven track record of time-tested excellence in method and materials. So I used the guidelines provided to create a detailed, illustrated training manual, class curriculum and student evaluations for all of my Reiki classes.

As of June 2002 I had finally taught the two years necessary to submit my Reiki classes to NCBTMB for approval as a continuing education credit provider. In assembling all the materials I had created over two years of teaching, I recalled how the process had honed my teaching methods and materials. I had become acutely aware of the responsibility of offering excellence in Reiki education.

In August of 2002 I received notification that my application had been approved and I was now a continuing education credit provider for the NCBTMB. Yet, the process did not end there. Any changes to curriculum needed to adhere to ever-improving guidelines for excellence in continuing education. As a CE provider, I was required to submit my courses for re-evaluation every two years. I also went on to develop and submit other courses for approval and now have 10 classes for which massage therapists can receive credit.

Since that original application 9 years have passed. I have taught this ancient hands-on healing method to hundreds of people from all walks of life. In that time, awareness, acceptance and incorporation of Reiki has also grown within traditional medical establishments. Yale New Haven Hospital has incorporated Reiki as a patient service option. It is on of the complementary services menu at their Smilow Cancer Hospital. (2) It is also offered as a patient support service through the YNNH volunteer department. (3)

My Reiki courses have drawn more massage therapists and gained the respect of healthcare professionals who understand the value of education approved by a certifying body. And the journey I embarked upon with my first experience of Reiki in 1998 continues. Sometimes I do not feel as though I am solely in charge of its forward motion. I believe the world needs the healing discipline of Reiki, and the pathway for knowledge of it is becoming wider and more available. I am honored to be one of the many people who teach this vital healing art and I am committed to opening new avenues for the miracle of Reiki to reach all who seek its healing power.

Professional Profile

Hallie is the founder of Soul Song, offering training in a wide spectrum of complementary care alternatives as well as a premium line of handcrafted personal care products. A well known and respected educator with extensive training in energy work and body-centered therapies, her mission highlights creating transformation on personal and professional levels through quality education in alternative approaches to prevention and wellness. She is a nationally and internationally trained Traditional Usui Reiki Master Teacher, certified in polarity therapy, a Master Instructor of Integrated Energy Therapy, Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage and Holistic Aromatherapy, Vice President of Outreach and Educational Outreach Chair for The Labyrinth Society, and an approved CEU provider for the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. She offers individual appointments, lectures and training in Reiki, Integrated Energy Therapy, Hot Stone Massage, Reflexology, and Aromatherapy in New York, Connecticut and other areas by request. To schedule an appointment, lecture or class, you can reach Hallie at 585.967.0009 or by email.

Contact Hallie:
Hallie Sawyers, LMT APP NCTMB
585-967-0009 or email 

Credits:
Unless footnoted, the information in this article is derived from Hallie's personal experience in achieving continuing education credit approval for her Reiki training.

(1) http://medicine.yale.edu/integrativemedicine/education/index.aspx

(2) http://www.ynhh.org/smilow-cancer-hospital/patient-information/complementary_services.aspx?1

(3) http://www.ynhh.org/community-health/hospital-volunteers-and-auxiliary.aspx?about

Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals
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