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Saturday, 6 June 2009

Reiki and its Affects on the Nervous System

Castor Oil
One of the most common affects people notice with Reiki is deep relaxation and a reduction in stress. If Reiki helps improve stress levels, then it must have an affect on the autonomic nervous system which can be measured proving that Reiki is an affective way of inducing a state of relaxation and reducing stress levels.

The autonomic nervous system consists of two opposing parts – the sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic nerves are responsible for actions in times of stress, for example, when you feel threatened; this part of the nervous system stimulates the adrenal glands to produce adrenalin. The body is returned to normal by the parasympathetic part of the nervous system when the threat has gone. The parasympathetic nerves are responsible for controlling your body’s everyday tasks such as digestion. This part of the nervous system helps the body relax by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure among other things.

A research study looked into the changes that occurred to the autonomic nervous system during a Reiki treatment. 45 participants were split in to three groups. The first group received no treatment and were just left to rest; the second group received a Reiki treatment from an experienced Reiki practitioner; and the third group received a placebo treatment in which a person with no knowledge of Reiki mimicked a Reiki treatment. Various aspects of autonomic nervous system function were tested prior to, during, and after the treatments. Results showed that the heart rate and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly in the participants who received Reiki compared to those who received the placebo and no treatment.

This was a small study but it does show some positive results which will hopefully lead to more research being done in Reiki.

Reference:
Nicola Mackay, Stig Hansen, Oona McFarlane. Autonomic Nervous System Changes During Reiki Treatment: A Preliminary Study. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. December 2004, 10(6): 1077-1081. doi:10.1089/acm.2004.10.1077.

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