Winter is a delicate time for many people in Ohio and beyond. You may feel anxious and drained as you come out of the holiday season. The excitement of gathering friends, family and loved ones has passed, and your feelings around the time following New Year’s Day may be complex. Perhaps you feel disconnected and lonely when you cannot share the holidays with others.
As 2023 begins, Healing Homes & Hearts encourages you to set intentions and get serious about self-care and mental well-being. Reiki is one tool you can use to promote well-being, increase mindfulness and activate the body’s ability to heal and restore balance.
Prevalence of mental health conditions in U.S. population
The National Institute of Mental Health, part of the National Institutes of Health, reports the following statistics (pre-COVID-19 pandemic):
Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States lives with a diagnosable mental health condition in a given year.
Almost 10% of American adults ages 18 and older will experience a depressive illness — major depression, bipolar disorder or dysthymia — in a given year.
Women are nearly twice as likely as men to have major depression.
Anxiety disorders are also pervasive. Nearly 20% of people ages 18-54 experience an anxiety disorder in a given year. These include the following:
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Phobias such as social phobia and agoraphobia
Depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions are often co-concurrent with substance use disorder.
Reiki to support mental health
National and international studies and systematic reviews have identified the benefits of reiki as a complementary therapy to traditional medicine for holistic healing while noting that more large-scale studies are needed. For example, a review of 14 studies found that reiki is more effective in alleviating mental health symptoms than a placebo.
“Incorporating Reiki as a complementary treatment to mainstream psychotherapy for depression, stress, and anxiety may be appropriate,” the authors concluded.
Another study evaluating reiki for health care workers negatively impacted by the pandemic found preliminary effectiveness in decreasing stress, anxiety and pain and improving well-being. That study is ongoing. Other studies have found that reiki is effective in reducing anxiety and depression in cancer patients and improving sleep quality in hospitalized patients.
PsychCentral reported on a 2017 review that found reiki’s effects on the parasympathetic nervous system include anxiety reduction, including that related to chronic pain. It also saw improvements in depression, changes in self-esteem, improved mood and emotional regulation, and an increase in positive emotions.
What concepts in Reiki address mental health symptoms?
Five precepts (rules or principles) guide reiki practice, and you can incorporate these into your daily life to get the most out of reiki sessions. Each precept begins with “just for today,” a reminder to bring attention to the present and out of the past or future. When we spend too much time analyzing the past or fixated on our fears of an unknown future, we miss living in the present moment.
Translated from Japanese, the five principles include:
Just for today, do not worry.
How would it feel to you to trust that everything will work out in the end? This precept reminds you to try to let go of worry.
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its joy.” – Leo F. Buscaglia
Just for today, do not anger.
Reiki can help you cultivate a sense of calm and peace in your daily life and avoid getting caught up in negative emotions like anger and frustration. Mindfulness enables you to identify and observe your feelings before letting them go without resisting or grasping them.
Just for today, be grateful.
Science has long backed the idea that practicing gratitude can improve mental health. Take time each day to appreciate the good things you have in your life, focusing on the positive aspects of your experiences. Some people find daily gratitude journaling helpful.
Just for today, be humble.
When you are humble and honest with yourself and others, you can strive to do your best in everything you do. Humility enables the light within us to shine as a beacon for others. Reiki helps us let go of our egos to promote self-love, intuitive guidance and profound peace.
Just for today, be kind and compassionate to every living thing.
Reiki encourages us to slow down and tune into our innate compassion for others. To do this, you can strive to be compassionate and understanding, treating everyone and everything you meet with kindness and respect. When we act with compassion and consider the needs of others, we are reminded of our shared humanity, a universal life force, and our own challenges and pain may seem less intense.
How to incorporate reiki into your daily practice
The five reiki principles can help you maintain a sense of well-being. But what could this look like in your life?
Healing Homes & Hearts encourages you to start each day with a short meditation on these concepts or set reminders for yourself to pause and reflect throughout the day. Meditation and visualization can promote feelings of relaxation and well-being.
Think of all your daily mundane tasks, such as brushing your teeth. Practicing mindfulness is another tool that can bring you into the present moment. Meditate on these concepts or bring your attention to the task at hand. Being mindful in your interactions with others will create kindness in the world — something we can all get behind.
You can learn more at our upcoming workshop, Calm, Cool & Collected — Reiki as a Tool for Mental Health at Sunflower Yoga in Springfield. During this workshop, we will explore reiki principles and how to incorporate them into your daily routine to manage stress and maintain emotional balance. We will also discuss the scientific research supporting the use of reiki for mental health, and you will have the opportunity to experience a reiki treatment for yourself. This workshop is suitable for both beginners and those with prior knowledge of reiki. The cost is $20, and advanced registration is required.
Space is limited, so register here today.