Reiki Brings Relaxation to Cedars-Sinai Patients
May 19, 2018 Cedars-Sinai Staff
When you think of getting treatment at Cedars-Sinai, energy healing isn't likely to come to mind. But thanks to the Spiritual Care Department, reiki is now available for patients and staff.
Reiki, which means "universal life energy," is meant to promote relaxation, peace, security, and wellbeing. Tracing its modern-day origins to Japan in the early 1900s, it is performed by trained reiki masters.
"This is not intended to heal you physically—it's meant to be relaxation therapy and help restore peace."
"Cedars-Sinai is really embracing the power of alternative and holistic treatments," says Reverend Peggy Kelley, lead Christian chaplain and the reiki master who started the program in 2015.
During a reiki session, practitioners use gentle hands-on or hand-hovering techniques on the recipient to balance energy within and around the body. Sessions are concentrated on the 7 chakras of the body. The practice is not faith-based or associated with any specific religion.
"Reiki helps to balance the body's energy system to support physical and emotional healing," says Dr. Erin Reeve, internist and reiki master. "We all can feel changes in heat or vibration in the areas of the body where energy is either overactive or stagnant."
The chaplain staff visits about 60 patients each month to provide reiki services. Sessions are tailored to a patient's needs and are not intended to be a replacement for medical treatment.
"Reiki is complimentary to a patient's care," Peggy says. "This is not intended to heal you physically—it's meant to be relaxation therapy and help restore peace."
Peggy, who has been practicing reiki for 10 years, has seen first-hand the positive impact the sessions can have for patients, especially those with pain, anxiety, or chronic conditions.
"We once visited a patient with Parkinson's, who was suffering terrible tremors," Peggy says. "For 10 minutes, he was able to be still for the first time in a long time, and he said the reiki helped ease his pain."
"Our staff is giving all day. They are healing others, so we want to help take care of them."
It's not just patients who benefit from reiki—the team also offers sessions for medical staff.
"Our staff is giving all day, and they are affected by what they deal with in their work," Peggy says. "They are healing others, so we want to help take care of them."
In addition to visiting staff on their units, Spiritual Care is working to educate medical professionals at Cedars-Sinai about the benefits of reiki. Peggy and Dr. Reeve teach weekly, guided self-reiki classes that staff and the public are invited to attend. The classes are held each Monday at 1 pm in the Plaza Level chapel.
"We are teaching this self-care practice so that people can have a respite from stress at any time," says Peggy. "This can be a tool for self-compassion."