Can Reiki Help Manage Your Chronic Pain?

Chronic pain not only limits a person’s ability to work and enjoy leisure time, it’s also linked with anxiety, depression, and other health problems. Experts estimate that as many as one in five people live with chronic pain, which is defined as pain on most days lasting six months or longer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More and more people are choosing complementary health approaches such as acupuncture, massage, and Reiki to help manage pain. Complementary medicine usually refers to treatments that fall outside traditional Western medical care and are used alongside more conventional medical treatments.

The practice of Reiki — a form of energy healing — is now being utilized in major healthcare systems around the United States, including the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and UW Medicine in Seattle.

What Is Reiki?

Reiki is an energy transfer technique that comes from Japan, says Kenneth Martay, MD, an anesthesiologist at UW Medicine in Seattle. Dr. Martay practices Reiki at the Bioenergy Treatment Service at University of Washington Medical Center. “Usually it’s performed by a 'laying on of hands,' though it doesn’t have to be done that way; it can be performed remotely as well,” he says.

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