Maggie Seaman, LMSW
RYT-200, Reiki Master
Reiki for Diabetes
Diabetes is a common but serious illness that affects millions of people throughout the world. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, approximately 422 million people on the planet were suffering from diabetes in 2014, and the number is increasing every year. A number of treatments exist for diabetes, but the condition continues to cause problems for people everywhere, often worsening over time. Fortunately, recent research has shown that Reiki may be beneficial to individuals struggling this condition.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that occurs when the pancreas stops producing adequate amounts of insulin or when the body becomes unable to use the insulin produced effectively. This forces the amount of sugar in the blood to increase, which causes damage to the body’s organ systems.
Left unchecked, diabetes can lead to many serious complications and adverse effects.
Specifically, people who suffer from diabetes may experience:
A higher risk of heart attack and stroke.
Damage to the eyes, which may lead to blindness.
An increased risk of infection.
To control diabetes, medical professionals recommend a variety of strategies. Most people with diabetes are encouraged to check their blood sugar on a regular basis and keep record of fluctuations. People with diabetes may also take oral medications, injectable medications and/or insulin. In addition, diabetes patients may benefit from changes to their diet, as well as regular exercise.
How Can Reiki Help?
Reiki is a Japanese origin therapy based on the concept of energy flow. A practitioner performing Reiki uses touch and specific hand positions to encourage the flow of the client’s energy, dissolving energy blockages and facilitating the body’s natural healing response. The belief behind this treatment is that discomfort and illness are the result of blocked or disturbed energy pathways within the body. The goal of Reiki is to restore normal flow to these pathways, thus assisting in improving the client’s physical condition.
During a Reiki session, a practitioner places both of his or her hands in specific positions and touches the client lightly. Alternatively, the practitioner may also hold his or her hands a few inches above the client. The practitioner may change the position of his or her hands up to 15 times during the session, holding each position for up to five minutes.
For an individual with diabetes, Reiki treatments may help in the following ways:
Reduction of stress: High stress levels often lead to blood sugar imbalances. Reiki may help to lower stress levels, which could help to lower the client’s blood sugar as well. Reiki creates a relaxed state thus improving the quality of sleep.
Improved sleep: Poor sleep habits may exacerbate the symptoms of diabetes. Reiki combats this problem by creating a relaxed state thus improving the quality of sleep.
Alleviation of depression: Reiki may improve the mood of the client and relieve the symptoms of depression. With a better outlook on life, the client is more likely to make healthy decisions and adhere to the doctor’s instructions regarding the management of his or her symptoms. In addition, elevation of the mood may aid the body as it tries to maintain normal blood sugar levels on its own.
Reduced pain sensations: People with diabetes that has progressed often experience pain related to neuropathy. Reiki treatments may help to reduce pain sensitivity, providing clients with relief from these uncomfortable symptoms.
Reiki is non-invasive and causes virtually no side effects, making it a safe choice for any individual with diabetes.
Relevant Research Regarding Reiki for Diabetes
Effectiveness of Reiki for Diabetic Neuropathy
A study published in Diabetes Care in 2007 demonstrated that Reiki could be an effective treatment for the pain related to diabetic neuropathy. Patients in this study were divided into three groups: one that received no treatment, one that received a treatment that mimicked Reiki and one that received true Reiki. Pain levels for patients in the group receiving true Reiki treatments improved considerably, while pain levels among patients in the other groups improved only slightly or not at all. These results indicate that Reiki may be beneficial to patients who have pain related to diabetes.
Effectiveness of Reiki for Anxiety
An analysis published in Pain Management Nursing evaluated multiple studies designed to determine if Reiki could be an effective treatment for anxiety. This review found that the majority of studies performed showed a statistically-significant improvement of anxiety symptoms among individuals who received Reiki treatments.
Based on these results, it stands to reason that Reiki may reduce anxiety among individuals who engage in treatment, including those with diabetes. This reduction in anxiety prevents stress-related increases in blood sugar. It may also indirectly affect diabetes by improving the mood of diabetic patients, which in turn causes them to be more proactive in the management of their disease.
Research on the effectiveness of Reiki in the treatment of diabetes is ongoing, but professionals in the field are optimistic. In fact, an article published by the American Diabetes Association expressed that the potential for the use of Reiki and other energy- based healing techniques for diabetes is great. These therapies have very few side effects, and the benefits have been supported by research.