Reiki in hospice – energetic connections
Volunteering as a Reiki Practitioner at JourneyCare is an incredibly rewarding and sacred experience.
Reiki is an ancient Japanese healing technique and a form of alternative medicine in which energy is channeled from the practitioner to the patient to enhance and rebalance the system physically, mentally and spiritually to reduce stress, pain, agitation and fatigue. Reiki is facilitated using either a very light touch or no touch with hands slightly off the body, providing a therapeutic option for those who are in pain or unable to be touched.
I am honored to have played a small part in the following family’s hospice journey and to share this story:
The JourneyCare social worker calls me and asks me to travel to Clara’s home because she is in pain, and her family is distressed because she is also very agitated. When I arrive the social worker is just leaving the house and explains that everyone inside is on edge and she is hopeful I can help in some way. I hope so too but following the precepts of Reiki, I do not focus on the outcome of situations but on the sacredness of holding space and allowing.
A woman my age answers the front door and I explain that I am the energy medicine practitioner they requested and that I am there to do a Reiki session with her mother. She says she is Clara’s youngest daughter and ushers me into the living room explaining that they are having a lot of difficulty comforting their mom.
Mary’s bed is set up in the corner of the living room by the bay window. She appears to be sleeping. A man and another woman are sitting on the couch across from her. I am introduced to Clara's eldest daughter and her husband. It is obvious that they are anxious and are struggling with their mother’s condition. I ask if they know what Reiki is and only the eldest daughter is familiar with it. I quickly explain that I will just sit with their mother and use my hands to try to bring some relief and peace to her system.
I sit next to Clara and quietly introduce myself. She opens her eyes and tells me she knows I’m there to “bring the angels.” I smile and can already feel the intense connection between us, so I’m guided to put my hands on her abdomen.
She takes a deep breath and I can feel her body relax. She is quiet for about 15 minutes as I move my hands to different places on her body. She has cancer but I did not ask the social worker where it started or to where it has metastasized. My hands go where they are needed to help relieve her pain and agitation and are guided by “the angels” as Clara says.
After awhile Clara opens her eyes and starts talking in detail about a trip she remembers with her father. As a child her family often went to the mountains and she can now smell the trees, streams and fresh air. Her daughters come over as she is speaking and tell me they are in awe because she hasn’t really spoken this much in days.
With a sparkle in her eyes, Clara tells us that she knows she will soon see this mountain again and that her dad told her he would be waiting there for her. She has the most beautiful smile on her face.
Her eldest daughter asks her if she is still in a lot of pain and she says, “Nope, I’m feeling just peachy.” Everyone is visibly more relaxed now. Reiki energy has infused the room and the mood has totally changed. After working on Clara for a bit longer she falls into a restful sleep so I hug the family and say my goodbyes.
I learn later that Clara passed peacefully two days after my visit.
As Reiki practitioners we are trained to be attentive to the physiological, psychological and energetic states of the body. We use this awareness to direct the pathway of our hands over the body. This intuition guides us when to linger over a particular area of discomfort and when to move on. It is this very instinct that helps us support the dying person.
Thank you, Clara, for allowing me to be a small part of your sacred journey.
Note: Names have been changed.
Would you be an extraordinary JourneyCare volunteer?! Learn all about how you can help at https://journeycare.org/volunteer/.