Reiki, and the Aged and Infirm

(Originally published March 15, 2014)

My mother passed away this past November, at the age of 76.  She had been disabled for over 16 years. She dealt with constant pain for all those years, but I honestly never recall her complaining about it. Even with that, though, I wish I had known about Reiki way back when she was first injured. I feel like I could have offered her so much more, if I had, and could have made her life more bearable.

givinghandsBut earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking to a small group of residents at the Morning Pointe Assisted Living facility in Calhoun, Georgia. I have been a visitor at a few assisted living facilities and rest homes in my life, and I have to say, Morning Pointe in Calhoun is one of the finest, cleanest, and most pleasant places I have ever visited. I went by there a couple of weeks ago to speak with their Life Enrichment Director, Sharyn Petryczanko, and see if there might be any interest in having me to come by and volunteer some of my time with any of the residents there, to give Reiki.

Her idea was a better one: to come by and give a short talk on what Reiki is, and what it can do to help the residents, and then come by at another time to offer Reiki.  I agreed that this was wise, and the title of the event was “Relaxation and Health with Tony.”  The event was planned (perhaps unwisely) for right after lunch, but we still had 8 or 9 residents who showed up to listen and ask questions.  All the attendees were very sweet and attentive, but I have to give kudos to Ruth, who is a little over 102 years old!  She was totally present in the moment, and contributed nicely to the discussion.  I am not sure how eager I would be to hear someone come in and natter at me right after lunch, if I were over 102 years old.

I’m terrible with names, especially the first time after meeting someone, but I do remember that Alma and Jessie were also in attendance. (Sorry, ladies!  My memory for names is awful.) A couple of the ladies came in after introductions had been made, so I never got their names anyway.

It was intriguing to get the viewpoint of these folks on the idea of energy healing and how it could be of help to them. Most of the residents there are Christian, I believe, so they related the idea of Reiki energy to the energy of the Creator, and this connection helped them to understand Reiki.

Another serendipitous part of the presentation was when one of the caregivers there stopped by for a while.  When we got to the point of discussion, and Q & A, she spoke up to tell the group about her experience with Reiki.  About 8 years before, she had been dealing with breast cancer, and while she was at Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, TN, she received Reiki there. She told us how it helped her with her pain, anxiety, and self-image, and how it had made her healing process faster and easier.  It was so great to see such a thing happen, and to be totally unplanned!

I was at Morning Pointe for about an hour, and this was pretty much the limit for the residents to sit, plus they had other activities to do, so I didn’t get the chance to offer Reiki to anyone there. But they were very open, and took all the brochures I had with me, to share with their friends who didn’t make it to the presentation. One lady said that her sister had a lot of hip pain, and had been unable to receive any help from pain clinics and other conventional treatments, so she was going to share the information I gave her, and the brochure, with her sister and encourage her to contact me.

Even though I didn’t get to “treat” anyone with Reiki today, I feel like I have planted good seeds there. Next week, I’ll contact the Life Enrichment Director (herself a Naturopath) and arrange for times to go by and offer actual Reiki therapy.  These ladies, bless their hearts, said they weren’t in pain, but they would tell their friends who they think might need Reiki!

I am always a little leery of saying too much about what Reiki can do, for people who are very old. As wonderful as Reiki is, I don’t know that it can reverse the effects of aging, and sometimes we are simply dealing with the normal, natural and ultimate failure of the machinery of the human body. Our bodies are not designed to last forever.

But I DO believe that Reiki can benefit the aged and infirm. Often people who have reached a certain age will have problems with things like digestion, blood pressure, sleeping, and general relaxation. Often they may feel like they have been abandoned, or that they have become a burden on their families. Besides help with physical ailments, Reiki can help with emotional issues. One thing I discussed with the group today, and that they agreed with, is that being tense or anxious is bad for the human body, and can hinder healing. While it is important to stay active when we get up in years, it is also important to be able to relax when we need to do so.

Our bodies can heal. Our bodies can cope with a lot more than we give them credit for, if we give them the chance, and one way to do that is to RELAX.  Relaxation doesn’t mean sitting on the couch and watching TV for twelve hours a day. Relaxation is a mindset. I remember when I was in the Navy, I ran three or four times each week, and even though that was very exertive, I felt both relaxed and energized after finishing a run. On the flip side, there have been a few too many times when I have gotten up in the morning after seven or eight hours of sleep, and felt tense and unrested.

Having trouble with tension or anxiety? Ulcers acting up? Not sleeping well? Feeling uptight? Your body isn’t going to heal well or quickly with that sort of thing going on.  Maybe you need to give the relaxing power of Reiki a try! You may be surprised at the results.

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