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February 2, 2017

#EDAW2017: Can Reiki Help with Eating Disorders?

Healing word bubble

Can Reiki Help with Eating Disorders?

The question of whether Reiki can help with eating disorders is one I have been recently asking myself. In fact, I have been thinking about Reiki’s place in ED treatment since launching my virtual recovery support program. Reiki is not usually part of everyday conversation.  Furthermore, it’s not on the top of the list of treatment options where health care is concerned. Mainstream skepticism is strong when it comes to energy healing practices. Why? Because the healing possibilities of Reiki (or other energy healing options) are difficult to quantify. And the skeptics are likely to describe Reiki as “woo-woo” and needing proof of effectiveness before considering its place in treatment.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a gentle energy healing practice with the intention of bringing balance to your mind-body. I like to use this quote to describe Reiki’s purpose:

“Energy flows where attention goes.”  

As your practitioner, I am a conduit of energy for you, the client. I don’t have magical powers and I can’t foresee or promise a certain outcome. Instead, we both try to suspend judgment and trust in the idea of life happening for us (as opposed to life happening to us).

Energy healing sessions are held either remotely (aka: distance healing) or in-person.

  • An in-person session involves the client lying on a massage table, fully clothed. Then, the practitioner places hands directly on or hovering over different points of the body
  • A distance healing session does not require the receiver (client) to be present. Usually a picture, object or specific details (i.e.: name, age, issue/concern) about the individual are provided. And the practitioner focuses on the client details while sending them Reiki energy

So, is there a place for Reiki in ED Treatment?

The journey of healing and recovery is unique. And what is helpful for some, might not be as helpful for others. Let’s take a look first at what clients of mine have said about their Reiki sessions:

  • Improved inner body awareness
  • A sense of being grounded
  • More feelings of being calm, at peace
  • Less feelings of overwhelm/depression/anxiety

Now let’s look at some of the typical experiences of those struggling with EDs:

  • Disconnection from the body? Yes
  • A sense of being out of control? Yes
  • Being at war with the body? Yes
  • Feelings of overwhelm/fear/anger/anxiety/sadness/hatred? Yes

There does seem to be some parallels between the benefits of Reiki and what a person with an eating disorder needs to support recovery. While Reiki alone won’t completely heal the mind-body divide that an eating disorder magnifies, I believe it can be a nice compliment to traditional ED treatment. At the very least, it certainly couldn’t hurt to try.

Offering Free Reiki!

Finally, in honour of Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I’m offering free distance healing from Feb 1st – Feb 8th, 2017. Also, if you are local to the GTA or Durham Region, an in-person session may be scheduled on a Pay What Feels Best basis. Contact us to book your appointment.