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Patients' and practitioners' experiences, perceptions and beliefs pertaining to the use of Reiki in dealing with chronic illness



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Objectives This qualitative study explored the experiences of patients suffering from cancer and other chronic conditions and those of their practitioners during a Reiki treatment. Specific research objectives were to: 1) better understand how participants describe healing, 2) document consecutive therapeutic encounters (i.e. Reiki sessions) as experienced by patients and practitioners over time and, 3) identify meaningful benefits and other relevant outcomes from both perspectives. Materials and Methods p*A convenience sample of four patient-practitioner pairs consented to participate in the study. Data was collected over 12 months via interviews with both the patients and Reiki practitioners. Hour long interviews were conducted before and after their participation in the study. Ten minute telephone interviews were done no longer then 48 hours after each Reiki session to capture participants’ experiences with that particular session. All interviews were audio taped and transcribed. A phenomenological approach was used for the data analysis. Findings This qualitative study attempted to longitudinally explore the experiences and practices of Reiki from both the patients’ and the practitioners’ perspectives. Illness specific symptom relief as well as mental and emotional effects such as decreased anxiety and a better ability to handle stressful situation were experienced by the patients. Spiritual awakening and connection was attributed to the Reiki sessions and the relationship established with their practitioner. Energy directed releases during the Reiki sessions were quite common. Some practitioners experienced different sensory experiences that they attributed to the Reiki energy. The experiences ranged from feeling the energy, temperature changes to seeing different objects during the Reiki treatment. Many of the experiences described by the participants support what has been written in the literature. However, certain concepts such as the evolving concept of healing as well as the altered perception of illness are newer concepts which are beginning to surface. Conclusion Patients’ and practitioners’ experiences helped to gain insight in to the therapeutic relationship and their evolving definitions of healing. Several outcomes were noted on the physical, mental and emotional levels of all participants. This information will help lay the groundwork for future research on Complementary therapies including Reiki. Acknowledgement The Department of Community Health and Epidemiology Devolved Scholarship Fund University of Saskatchewan and Hope Cancer Help Centre, Saskatoon Saskatchewan supplied funding.



Experience, Perceptions, Patient and Practitioner, Beliefs, Reiki, Chronic Illness, CAM, Cancer, Healing



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Community Health and Epidemiology


Community Health and Epidemiology



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