Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust’s (WWL) Oncology Unit at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary has become the first NHS hospital in South Lancashire to start a Reiki complementary therapy service for the benefit of cancer patients, family members and staff.
Offered alongside conventional medical treatment, Reiki complementary therapies are provided by a team of 12 volunteer therapists who give cancer patients a chance to take control, feel better, and reduce uncomfortable symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and nausea.
“Offering Reiki therapy is a fantastic addition to the services we provide here at Royal Albert Edward Infirmary and improves the patient experience,” says WWL Oncology Unit Manager, Leo Anson. “Reiki has a real benefit for patients who are living with cancer and I would like to thank the volunteers for giving their free time and skills to our patients and staff.”
Reiki is the Japanese healing art and can help with physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being, as well as being a very useful way to relax. Research has demonstrated how Reiki can help combat depression, anxiety and stress.
“Patients say they feel better after Reiki because it helps them cope with their cancer and its treatment. After the stress of hospitals and treatment, it can be very comforting when a therapist gives you attention in a relaxed setting,” says WWL Lead Cancer Nurse, Janet Irvine.
Further research shows in 2008, a review looked at 24 studies using therapeutic touch to treat pain. 3 trials used Reiki. Overall, the review found that people who had the touch therapies had less pain than people who did not have the therapies. Trials carried out by more experienced touch practitioners seemed to give better results in pain reduction. Reiki also seemed to give greater benefit than other types of touch therapy. The researchers suggested that more research should be done into whether experienced practitioners or certain types of touch therapy can give better pain reduction. 2 of 5 studies looking at painkiller use supported the claim that touch therapies lowered painkiller use. You can read about this touch therapy review on the Cochrane Library website.
Is Reiki Safe?
There are no reports of harmful side effects.
Reiki is considered to be safe. There is nothing invasive about reiki therapy. Be sure to always talk to your doctor prior to having any alternative or complementary treatment.
Most practitioners will advise you to rest and drink plenty of water after treatment.
Average cost of Reiki: $30 – 100 per session depending on session length.
In the Photo: Volunteer reiki therapists and WWL cancer care staff with patient Angela Hunter