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The time has come to demystify the word reiki (ray-key). “Rei” means light and “ki” or “chi” means energy. Many of you who follow my blog, know how important this complementary therapy/energy treatment is to me and just how it has changed my life for the better.
Just this weekend, friends who have known me for over 15 years, were amazed to see me bring a halt to my dyskinesia just by using the practice of reiki. One dear friend, who was in agonizing back pain, came to my wife and I for a treatment in hope of some relief, to which she got. Reiki doesn’t do everything you need and it isn’t a cure—it is one more tool in your toolbox. We are all unique and the code that works for me may not register for you, but isn’t it worth investigating? Everyone can use one more tool!
Reiki is a practice with ancient roots. The reiki method/protocol I use was developed in Japan over a hundred years ago. The reiki that I practice comes out of a lineage call Jin Kei Do which combines a practice of Qi gong, meditation, and the use of touch to transfer universal energy.
Reiki can be effective for: balancing one’s personal energy, reducing fatigue, lowering anxiety, helping to get a better night of sleep, reducing pain, and a assisting a variety of other challenges. The practice is performed by nurses and some doctors in over 100 hospitals in the United States. Slowly, this treatment is gaining the credit that it deserves.
How is a reiki session performed? A reiki treatment or session is very simple. The client, unlike a massage, remains fully clothed and either sits in a chair or lies on a massage table on their back while the practitioner lightly touches or even works inches off of the body. The client does remove their belt, shoes, and eyeglasses and gets on the table or chair and is asked to relax and to just breathe. The practitioner very gently and lightly touches the head, chest, stomach region, legs, back, and feet. The client may feel heat, cold, tingling, or nothing at all. Often, like my first time with reiki, I fell asleep on the table, for over an hour and woke up feeling much better and more refreshed than when the session began–that is what started it for me almost 20 years ago. That is why I decided to learn reiki for myself. I was skeptical, until I actually experienced it. Once the session is over, the client is gently awoken, given a drink of water, and sent home. Benefits may last weeks until the next treatment. Sessions can last as long as 1.5 hours or as short as 15 minutes and usually are about the price of a massage.
The beauty of a level 1 reiki class is that it is all about self care, so you can learn to perform reiki on yourself, whenever you choose. If you decide you want a better understanding of this energy treatment there is level 2,3, and mastership, which in my lineage is a 1 year training program. I suggest going to your practitioner/teacher to receive the benefits of their treatments and to experience it before, you commit to learning it yourself. The reason I decided to become a reiki master is that I saw the benefit of reiki help my Parkinson’s so I wanted to teach reiki to others with Parkinson’s. In order to be able to teach reiki, one must become a reiki master (in our lineage).
Combined, my wife and I have worked on at least 100 people with Parkinson’s disease and their carepartners. We have seen benefit from these treatments, even when they sometimes can’t see the results themselves. The first thing we notice is a clarity in their eyes, sometimes an improvement in clarity of mind, better mobility and flexibility, or just a release of tension and anxiety. I also have seen smiles and a softening of the face muscles.
In 2013, at the World Parkinson Congress (WPC) in Montreal 2013, I had the privilege to work on 9 people with PD, and 8 of 9 expressed a benefit from the treatment. I even saw an improvement in the person who didn’t see a difference. They were more relaxed and appeared more refreshed after the treatment. Some people don’t verbalize their experiences with reiki as fully or clearly due to this new sensation.
My wife, Angela, a reiki master, as well as many other experienced reiki masters, massage therapists, yoga teachers, and I plan to work at WPC 2016 in Portland, Oregon at the Wellness Way area of the conference. Wellness Way is an area where you can experience therapies or just take a quiet respite and enjoy a moment or more for yourself.
I encourage you to explore reiki and other such therapies to see if they might assist you along your journey as you look for relief from stress, anxiety, or fatigue. I encourage you to find a referral for a reiki practitioner near you to offer you a free sample or trial period to see if you like it. Please make sure that they are experienced, sensitive and aware about your condition.
I hope you can join me today for this exciting event!
Join Karl and Angela Robb this Sunday at 5pm EST/2pm PST as they host Sunday Connections http://www.sundays.parkinsonsrecovery.com/ with guest Megumi Abiko, Reiki Master Teacher of Reiki Jin Kei Do.
Here is Megumi’s bio: Having gone through a spinal injury and being told my prognosis was being paraplegic was a HUGE wakeup call! I was fortunate to have a friend who introduced me to essential oils that stopped the swelling in my spine so that I regained full mobility! With that experience, it fired my interest to learn more about Holistic health. Each day I realize how powerful Essential Oils and Reiki is in my life! Through my practice, I’ve seen firsthand how the combination of the modalities can benefit all aspects of your life: Mental (behavior modification, stress management, emotional release, depression), Physical (backaches, allergies, and other diseases) and spiritual. I feel lucky to have been taught great gifts to add to my tool box that will help me, help others, become empowered one person at a time.
You can submit questions online ahead of the event by using this link: http://InstantTeleseminar.com/?eventid=51628782 . Click the “Ask a Question” link and complete the information in the box that appears below the button.
Here’s the Link for listening online for Sunday Connections. Listeners online can listen to the live event and can submit questions.
Or if you would like to call in, in which you can ask the hosts and guest questions live and listen to the event.
Primary dial in number: (425) 440-5100
Secondary dial in number: (323) 476-3997
Guest pin code: 200414#
Over a decade ago, I had the good fortune of meeting my current Reiki teacher. When he introduced me to Reiki, I thought it to be pure quackery, but I had nothing to lose in keeping an open-mind. After experiencing Reiki, I was not only hooked but I was changed for the better. That was twelve years ago , and today I am in a one year mastership training course with my same teacher with the hope of sharing my ability with others dealing with Parkinson’s disease. I have witnessed a transformation not only in myself but also with those whom I have worked on and seen as the healing energy calms, relaxes, and improves the conditions of those willing to try it.
Seeing may be believing but true experience seals the deal. When I walked into my first Reiki session, I was walking poorly and my balance was off but an hour after my first session, I felt rejuvenated and my walking was dramatically better. Do I have empirical scientific evidence that Reiki made this miraculous alteration in my condition and can I prove that it was the Reiki that has helped me to actually improve over the past 10 years and not see my symptoms decline? The only evidence that I have is the end results and those results are impressive in my humble opinion. Show me a drug or procedure that is free and non-invasive that has that kind of success. I have little doubt if it were not for my learning how to do Reiki for myself, I would be in a far more serious condition than I am in today.
My wife and I recently announced a local class to teach level 1 Reiki to people with Parkinson’s as well as their care-partner. The response was overwhelming. In less than a week our class overfilled with the need for placing people on a waiting list. Undoubtedly, this will not be our last class.
I believe physicians and neurologists especially, should be recommending Reiki to their patients as additional therapy. There is no reason not to prescribe something that increases energy, quiets the minds, calms the heart, relaxes the muscles, and reduces dyskinesias. Yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and chi gong should also be investigated as a cocktail of therapies may be of benefit. As for me, Reiki has proven itself to me and science has yet to identify the untapped benefits that it reaps. If you can find anything better for someone facing Parkinson’s disease, I don’t know what it could be.
This is my opinion. I am not a medical doctor and this is not medical advice. This is what works for me.
There is little doubt that human touch is of benefit to our well-being. When I speak of touch I mean it in the most caring and compassionate of ways and not just in a sensory manner. Touch is therapeutic and I have great confidence that it is the highway to relief and possible healing.
If you’ve never heard of Reiki, then I hope that this posting will intrigue you enough to learn more about what it is and what it does. In the end, I hope I can encourage you to experience the power of Reiki. I think it best to get an understanding of what Reiki is from my dear friend and Reiki Master, Gilbert Gallego, who over 11 years ago showed me how Reiki could improve all aspects of my life. I have seen Reiki greatly reduce my symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, lower my stress, give me peace and calming, and provided me with a greater understanding of who I am and what I am capable of achieving. First, learn what Reiki is and where it came from and then I will tell you some amazing but true stories of what I have seen Reiki do:
This text comes from http://www.reikijinkeido.org and Gilbert Gallego, a Reiki Master in Fairfax, VA.
Reiki is a Japanese word. The Kanji Rei means spirit, and Ki means energy or life force. In essence, Reiki can be interpreted as spiritual or universal life force energy. Reiki is also known as the Usui System of Natural Healing, a very simple technique to aid in the process of healing and many believe that it leads to a path of self-transformation. Reiki was initially brought to the United States by Mrs. Hawayo Takata, a Japanese American who studied it in Japan in the 1930’s. Reiki has since become the fast-moving energy modality in the West during the past 30 years.
Reiki was developed in the early 1900’s by a Japanese Shingon Buddhist named Mikao Usui. Master Usui was a well-known scholar and respected healer in Kyoto who undertook an extensive study of healing phenomena as taught through history’s greatest spiritual leaders. Through his travels, research, and meditation, he was led to an ancient healing method based on a combination of Buddhist practices performed only by monks and kept as secret knowledge. It is believed that Dr. Usui learned part of this method and received special empowerments and a meditation through which he expanded his understanding of the energy of healing. He spent the rest of his life practicing and teaching this knowledge. One of his students, a medical practitioner named Dr. Chujiro Hayashi, gave this method a proper structure, which lay people, could practice. Today, this method is now known as “Reiki”. From www.reikijinkeido.org
Eleven years ago, I knew nothing about Reiki. By total coincidence, if you believe in them, I met Gilbert, my teacher. I had heard of a therapy called Trager (which is very different than Reiki) and found that he was the nearest practitioner in my area. I went for Trager but found Reiki. My wife, Angela, who suffers from migraines came along with me to the appointment. Gilbert explained Reiki to us and we both had doubts and were wondering why we were even in his office? We were true skeptics. I was reluctant to get on the massage table (fully clothed by the way) and Angela agreed to watch but that would be the full extent of her participation–that didn’t happen!
A little over an hour later, after coming in stiff in the legs and a bit tired, I felt refreshed and rejuvenated. I felt wonderful and it showed! My face beamed and seeing this, Angela, with no hesitancy, decided to go next. She too experienced the power of Reiki.
This was the first step on our eleven year Reiki journey. Eleven years later, my wife and I now begin our one year training as Reiki Masters. I have seen Reiki do some wonderful and unexplainable results for me, my wife, my animals, and friends.
Here is just a brief list of what I have experienced with Reiki:
- I have seen Reiki stop or dramatically reduce dyskinesia (uncontrolled movement).
- I have seen Reiki diminish or even subside headaches and pain.
- I saw Reiki lower my mother’s blood pressure before her first chemo treatment.
- I have seen Reiki reduce stress and help improve sleep.
- I saw Reiki drastically reduce a Cancer patient’s pain from an 8 to a 3 on a 10 point scale (10 being the highest). That patient was my mother.
These are just a few of my experiences with Reiki. If you would like to learn more, please contact me for more information.
Rigidity in thought and body may go hand in hand. Rigidity can be many people’s main complaint when they are first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Keeping active, moving, exercise, and stretching are just a few of the tools to keep in mind when your body starts to stiffen up.
As we age, it gets easier and easier to become so convinced that there is only one way to do something. When we get to this mentality that there is only one correct answer, we may be shorting ourselves of new pathways and seeking new alternatives. The sooner that we accept the way we used to do a certain task may have changed, the sooner we can create a plan to identify and try a new method. Flexibility in body, mind, and attitude are necessary when considering what it is you want to tweak with your illness. Sometimes, it may take a slight increase in medication to improve your on-time and reduce symptoms of the disease. Sometimes, thinking outside the usual structure of traditional medicine can be fruitful.
Had I not incorporated reiki, massage, meditation, qigong, yoga, exercise, and reflexology, all in to my life, I honestly don’t know where I’d be. I can tell you this, at first, I was not a believer. It took a leap of faith and necessity to get there. Had I not gone outside my comfort zone, I would never have benefited from these various therapies
For those who question the true benefits of complementary therapies, I ask this: Don’t you think that these therapies might have some merit if they’ve been around for hundreds to thousands of years? Is skepticism holding you back from trying something new? Is it time? Is it money? What holds you back from exploring new options of helping yourself?
Adding a new practice, therapy, or routine to your health regimen takes some investigation, research, and commitment. Keeping positive and remaining hopeful are beneficial in whatever you choose to try.
Depending upon your choice of therapy, it may be important to confirm with your physician, neurologist, or specialist, just to be safe. I am not a doctor! I am a Parkinson’s patient of over 30 years that can declare benefit and relief from these therapies.
Healing Becomes a Prime Time Show
The world is shifting faster and even more progressively to complementary medicine, than I would ever have imagined. While late-night television channel surfing, I found a program that appears to be both informative and comforting. This new show is on a channel that I rarely watch. Home to numerous reality and family related dramas, TLC is not a station that usually offers programming that thrills me. I will admit that this show really interests me.
I came across a new show called, The Healer. Let me say that as a Parkinson’s patient and a reiki master, I use the term “healer” very rarely and very carefully. I had to see what TLC was doing with someone who had the ego and gift of restoring one to health. To use the word “healer” takes on a serious responsibility.
Charlie, an Australian entrepreneur, has been using his “gift” for several years and seems to deliver results with varying success. Charlie admits that results may depend upon the malady and the severity of it. I respect that he takes his gift so seriously. He freely admits that some illnesses may not respond well to his energy work, while some may react better. I also like that he shares his gift at no charge.
Doctors on the show are amazed, without explanation, yet appear to be willing to make the mind-shift that energy work may have merit. They are witnesses of the inexplicable. The doctors don’t deny that after Charlie’s treatment, something substantial has just occurred for their patient. Skepticism is understandable from the medical community, but when they see results from complimentary therapies, they should be willing to acknowledge them. One of the biggest dilemmas facing energy workers and the medical community is that if they both worked together, the patient may very well see surprising new results and at minimal cost.
I have seen slightly over one episode so far. I am an energy worker. I find the delving and unveiling of energy work on prime time television as a huge leap in the right direction! Shows like this demystify and shed light on the benefits of touch. This television program helps to show that hands on work has much to offer. In the United States, patients are less likely to pursue energy workers. In my opinion, the reason that many doctor(s) discount or don’t understand the potential benefit of working with energy practitioners is that little to no research has been funded.
Not until seven years into my diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, at the age of 32 was I introduced to Reiki. From day one, I went from skeptic to believer, immediately. After experiencing what I had so easily discounted, it turned out to be something life-changing. Reiki hasn’t healed me to where I am void of symptoms. I do know, not scientifically, that Reiki has made my life considerably better, increased my quality of life, and slowed my Parkinson’s progression over these last 20 years!
For me, the holiday resonates with special memories of the whole family watching parades, football, and eating my late mother’s exceptional cooking. Those memories are treasures that line the walls of my Thanksgiving box for the rest of eternity. Those days are long past, but I am still fortunate to make special new memories with dear friends who mean so much to me. Times change, life moves quickly forward, and I am forced to accept change.
I think a keystone of this holiday is about one thing only, gratitude. In the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, pre-Christmas preparation, and Black Friday sales, the meaning of Thanksgiving gets blurred.
This year, I have lost more dear friends, neighbors, and close Parkinson’s disease colleagues than I can count on my fingers. Loss of loved ones, both friends and family are so bittersweet as I rejoice in having been part of their lives, yet mourn that those days have ended.
As the year quickly ends, I am ever so grateful for my wife and best friend, Angela, my wacky and hilarious chocolate lab, Lily, my relatives all across the United States, my dear Reiki and Parkinson’s families, and you the reader/subscriber who takes time out of your busy day to read my latest blog post. I am grateful!
Dyskinesia is the uncontrollable jerky movement of hands, feet, or head. Often misunderstood, dyskinesia is a side effect of the Parkinson’s disease medication. Sometimes, this side effect is embarrassing, annoying, and at times even dangerous. Besides drawing attention to you from complete body writhing, dyskinesia can be exhausting. When I experienced 1 to 2 hour episodes of dyskinesia, I would feel like I ran a marathon without ever leaving home. Small spaces, sharp edges, and anything glass or breakable was a potential hazard. Trying to hold a drink with dyskinesia is a struggle, as your hand wants to splatter everything in sight but your mind screams, “Don’t do it!”
Tremor and dyskinesia are different. Unlike tremor, dyskinesia is bigger than a rapid twitch or tremble. At times, my entire body wiggled and flailed. It still happens, but only on an infrequent basis. Dyskinesia interferes with delicate and precise movements as well as simple everyday tasks, like making a sandwich, pouring a drink, or slicing bread. Someone with dyskinesia may struggle to brush their teeth, comb their hair, or just perform normal acts of daily living. Constant care and awareness is heightened to avoid food from flying everywhere.
People who don’t know me that well, who may see a brief shake, may laughingly call it a “dance”. Calling dyskinesia a dance may be meant to lighten the severity and discomfort of the event for all involved. Dancing is by choice—dyskinesia is not. I tolerate this comment but admittedly wish that those calling dyskinesia a dance could refrain from reducing a drug interaction that affects so many, to a recreational act. Dyskinesia in public is a teachable moment! Explaining to the uninitiated that this isn’t part of the illness of Parkinson’s has been a constant challenge.
Understanding dyskinesia from the non-scientific perspective isn’t that complicated, but trying to negotiate it, reduce it, and calm it, is the hard part. Never knowing when or where it might crop up can keep you on edge. It adds more stress—not what you need! Over time, I have gotten better about finding some control with the help of meditation, yoga, breathing, and reiki.
I realize that the distinction between tremor and dyskinesia probably in the scheme of things isn’t all that crucial, but what is important is the way either symptom is accepted by the public. Educating the public and demystifying the nuances of Parkinson’s can bridge the gap and clarify just what the public should understand about symptoms and side effects related to Parkinson’s disease.