By Sharon Yeskel
Did your kids ever play with Hasbro’s Playskool Weebles? You know those little egg-shaped figures with the wide base and narrow tops that tip back and forth when given a gentle push? The advertising slogan was, “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” The weighted bottom balances the toy and eventually brings it to a stop. Most of us are stressed. We are bouncing around through life, only we don’t have a built-in mechanism that stops us from toppling over. We are bombarded by technology, obsessed with social media overwhelmed by work and our to-do lists. And those stressors affect our health. Insomnia, headaches, hives, IBS, high blood pressure, anxiety and chronic pain are just some of the conditions that can be caused by or exacerbated by stress.
So what can we do for ourselves to achieve a sense of balance and reduce stress? There are many practices that can help. Some are passive practices, like massage and acupuncture, where you go to someone for a treatment. Others require participation, like meditation practices, guided imagery, breath work, yoga and Tai Chi. One practice that is both passive and participatory is Reiki. You can receive a Reiki treatment from a practitioner or learn to practice on yourself.
Reiki (pronounced RAY-KEY) is a Japanese energy healing technique that can be administered by light touch (or hands above the body) to a fully clothed recipient. There are no medical contraindications or any religious belief attached to the practice. Reiki is safe and supports any medical treatment. There is strong anecdotal evidence that Reiki treatments help people feel calmer, more relaxed and have less pain. It is also a spiritual practice. Practicing self-Reiki, as well as the contemplation techniques taught in the class, teaches students to calm themselves and let go of anger and worry, bringing balance to mind, body and spirit. When we take the time to care for ourselves, we are more available to care for others.
For the past seven years, I have been providing Reiki treatments to patients and team members at the Raritan Bay Medical Center Old Bridge and Perth Amboy divisions. Even 15 minutes of Reiki can be beneficial. Recipients enjoy the warmth of Reiki touch and find treatments soothing and comforting. Benefits can be experienced in one session, but Reiki treatments have a cumulative effect, so additional benefits are noticed over time. One patient at the hospital, who later came every other week for treatments as an outpatient, reported that after four visits, she was sleeping better, was better able to cope with daily stressors and was using less pain medication.
Anyone can learn to practice Reiki for personal care, to help friends and family and even pets. I provide Reiki training classes throughout the year. The next two-day class is on March 18-19 at the Raritan Area YMCA in Perth Amboy.
Sharon Yeskel is an Integrative Health Services provider at Raritan Bay Medical Center, a member of the Hackensack Meridian Health family. Since 2004, the program’s qualified and credentialed practitioners have provided integrative therapies to enhance patients’ health and well-being, both at the hospital and on an outpatient basis, with complementary medicine supporting the mind-body-spirit connection. Scheduled classes and private sessions are provided for a fee. For more information, visit www.rbmc.org/integrative-health or call 732-324-5257 for an appointment.