Free Gift of Lavender Essential Oil!

Try Reiki Therapy for stress reduction and chronic health conditions, or Oncology Reiki Therapy for cancer recovery and pain management. Add specific treatments such as Reikiatsu Therapy (meridian acupoints), and Reiki Zone Therapy (reflex zones) for management of neuropathy, lymphedema, fibromyalgia, neuralgia, sciatica, back pain, chronic pain, immune boosting, insomnia, and more at no additional cost! Brooke Chang Reiki Therapy is located in Rancho Mirage, CA. https://local.google.com/place?id=9422704673153367694

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Please see Available Services  at Brooke Chang Reiki Therapy.  Please contact Certified Reiki Master Brooke Chang about this special offer or for a consultation or appointment at (951) 821-0825brookechangreiki@outlook.com, or Contact Form

Reiki Healing and Mental Health: What the Research Shows

Article by Deborah Bier, PhD

Healing touch therapies, the best known being Reiki (pronounced RAY-key), are ancient practices in increasingly wide use today.

According to the International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP), “Reiki is [a] subtle and effective form of energy healing using spiritually guided life force energy… [p]racticed in every country of the world.” While often considered to be spiritual in nature, Reiki is not “[a]ffiliated with any particular religion or religious practice.”

Reiki is increasingly offered in hospital, hospice, and private practice settings, applied to a variety of illnesses and conditions. Those who receive such treatments report relief of symptoms from numerous health challenges, including mental health issues. Research shows that reiki primarily helps in the reduction of stress, anxiety and depression, as well as relief of chronic pain — the last of which can bring on anxiety and depression, or make episodes worse.

Many Studies, Varying Quality

There are now sufficient peer-reviewed, published research results available to begin to sort out Reiki’s effectiveness in various areas. The Center for Reiki Research has intensively examined a group of them through their “Touchstone Process,” “…a uniquely rigorous peer review method for analyzing a group of scientific studies” [using Reiki]. Its end product is a set of critical summaries derived from an impartial and consistent process…. [T]he process incorporates existing best practices for scientific review…” (CRR)

This process looks at all aspects of the study design and how each investigation was actually carried out. Results are analyzed, and study strengths and weaknesses are determined. The Touchstone Process has produced a group of nearly three dozen carefully analyzed studies. The CRR draws some conclusions about Reiki’s effectiveness from only the studies they have examined that they judge to be of at least satisfactory or better quality. (CRR)

In addition to the CRR/Touchstone studies, a varied body of research on Reiki demonstrates its effect on mental health. For example, Joe Potter, a Reiki Master in the United Kingdom, has been conducting an ongoing investigation into Reiki’s effectiveness. An online search in PubMed lists dozens of studies involving Reiki or other healing touch methods, investigating a broad range of conditions in many different populations.

Some investigations were conducted on animals, which helps eliminate some questions of bias and design control among Reiki recipients. Some studies used “sham” Reiki as a form of control (nonpractitioners administered a “Reiki-like” treatment), and others involved distance Reiki (Reiki delivered from too far away to permit touch). Each of these variables lends something importing to understanding the efficacy of the treatment itself.

Demonstrated Effects on Stress, Depression, Anxiety and Pain

Potter reports that “[s]tress was the most common word written by clients as a description or part description of their condition during their first session. Here 20.27% of the total client group treated used this word on their initial visit for Reiki treatment….” In animal studies, Reiki treatment produced clear signs of reduced stress as indicated by changes in autonomic, biological measurements such as heart rate (Baldwin, Wagers and Schwartz, 2008) and certain cellular signs of stress-related damage (Baldwin and Schwartz, 2006). In a study of nurses with “burn out syndrome,” biological indicators of a significant relaxation response were found as a result of Reiki treatment (Diaz-Rodriguez et al., 2011). When nurses administered Reiki to a group of patients with acute coronary syndrome, physiologic indicators of a significant relaxation effect were recorded. (Friedman et al., 2011)

Shore (2004) followed patients being treated for mild depression and stress. After six weeks of treatment and for up to a year afterward, those who had received Reiki showed both immediate and long-term improvements in depression, stress and hopelessness. In a small study, complete elimination of typical postoperative depression was seen in heart surgery patients given Reiki during surgery (Motz, 1998).

Pain often causes depression and anxiety. Reducing difficult-to-treat chronic pain can have a substantial effect on psychological well-being. Some studies have found Reiki to be effective for pain, anxiety and depression relief. However, their design or conclusions are unclear as to whether Reiki’s emotional benefits were a result of pain reduction or a separate phenomenon. Nonetheless, research demonstrated Reiki’s positive results for both pain and anxiety or depression.

Dressing and Sing (1998) found that among cancer patients, Reiki brought about significant levels of pain relief, anxiety and depression reduction, improvements in sleep quality, relaxation and general well-being. This effect was stronger in men than women. These benefits remained when checked after three months. Among abdominal hysterectomy patients, Reiki helped reduce pain and anxiety, particularly in a preoperative setting (Vitale and O’Conner, 1998).

Investigating Effects of Gentle Touch, Distance

Research shows that gentle touch in a safe environment aids stress reduction and pain relief (for example, Weze et al., 2005). Since Reiki generally involves a similar type of touch, the results of Reiki studies often can be confounded by the known impact of gentle touch vs. the effects of Reiki itself. Studies that include sham Reiki treatment groups, as well as those that involve a distance Reiki group, have been important to help sort out the relative effects of Reiki versus gentle touch – or even the effects of the presence of a “therapist,” real or sham.

Reiki is becoming an increasingly accepted presence in hospitals and clinics. (The Center for Reiki Research website lists 70 institutions at the time of this article that include Reiki in their offerings.) It is seen as an effective and cost-reducing method to improve health outcomes and quality of care. Hospital staff, such as physicians and nurses, are adding Reiki treatments to their work. Scientific validation of Reiki’s effectiveness have helped bring this method to the mainstream, where it is able to aid patients in all realms, including those with mental health challenges.

Please see Available Services  and Deals and Special Offers at Brooke Chang Reiki Therapy. Contact Brooke Chang Certified Reiki Master for a consultation or appointment at (951) 821-0825, brookechangreiki@outlook.com, or Contact Form

References

Baldwin, A. L.. Reiki, the Scientific Evidence. (Fall, 2011). pp. 29-31.

Baldwin, A.L., Schwartz, G.E. (2006). Personal Interaction with a Reiki Practitioner Decreases Noise-Induced Microvascular Damage in an Animal Model. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 12(1):15–22, 2006. In Center for Reiki Research, Retrieved June 23, 2012, from http://www.centerforreikiresearch.org/

Baldwin, A.L., Wagers, C. and Schwartz, G.E. (2008). Reiki improves heart rate homeostasis in laboratory rats. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14 (4): 417-422. Retrieved June 23, 2012, from http://www.centerforreikiresearch.org/

Center for Reiki Research (CRR). Retrieved June 23, 2012, from http://www.centerforreikiresearch.org/

Diaz-Rodriguez, L., Arroyo-Morales, M, Fernández-de-las-Peñas, C., García-Lafuente, F., García-Royo, C. and Tomás-Rojas, I. (2011). Immediate effects of Reiki on heart rate variability, cortisol levels, and body temperature in health care professionals with burnout. Biol Res Nurs, 13: 376 originally published online 5 August 2011. In Center for Reiki Research, Retrieved June 23, 2012, from http://www.centerforreikiresearch.org/

Dressin, L.J., Singg, S. (1998). Effects of Reiki on pain and selected affective and personality variables of chronically ill patients. Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 9(1):53-82.

Friedman, R.S.C., Burg, M.M., Miles, P., Lee, F. and Lampert, R. (2010). Effects of Reiki on Autonomic Activity Early After Acute Coronary Syndrome. Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 56: 995-996. In Baldwin, Fall, 2011.

International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP). Definition of Reiki. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://www.iarpreiki.org/

Motz, J. (1998). Hands of Life. New York: Bantam Books.

Potter, Joe, Research Report, Introduction and General Findings. Retrieved July 21, 2012 from http://www.reiki-research.co.uk/

PubMed. Retrieved July 24, 2012 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed

Shore, A.G. (2004). Long term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 10(3):42-48.

Vitale, A.T., O’Conner, P.C. (1998). The effect of Reiki on pain and anxiety in women with abdominal hysterectomies. Holistic Nursing Practice, 20(6): 263-272, 2006. In Center for Reiki Research, Retrieved June 23, 2012, from http://www.centerforreikiresearch.org/

Weze C, Leathard H.L., Grange J, Tiplady P, Stevens G. (January, 2005). Evaluation of healing by gentle touch. Public Health. 119(1):3-10.

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Try Reiki Therapy for stress reduction and chronic health conditions, Oncology Reiki Therapy for cancer recovery and pain management, Reiki Distant Healing with Reiki Therapy from a distance, and Animal Reiki Therapy for your beloved animal companions. Add specific treatments such as Reikiatsu Therapy (meridian acupoints), and Reiki Zone Therapy (reflex zones) for management of neuropathy, lymphedema, fibromyalgia, neuralgia, sciatica, back pain, chronic pain, immune boosting, insomnia, and more at no additional cost!

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Please see Available Services  at Brooke Chang Reiki Therapy.  Please contact Certified Reiki Master Brooke Chang about this special offer or for a consultation or appointment at (951) 821-0825brookechangreiki@outlook.com, or Contact Form

Aromatherapy: Do Essential Oils Really Work?

Article by Johns Hopkins Medicine

Essential oils have been getting a lot of buzz recently for helping with everything from headaches to sleep to sore throats. But do these concentrated plant-based oils work?

Essential oils can make a positive impact on your health and well-being as long as you use them in a safe way.

Want to give essential oils a try? Learn what conditions they may help treat and how to find quality essential oils, since not all products are created equal.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are basically plant extracts. They’re made by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves or fruit) to capture the compounds that produce fragrance. It can take several pounds of a plant to produce a single bottle of essential oil. In addition to creating scent, essential oils perform other functions in plants, too.

What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefit. Aromatherapy has been used for centuries. When inhaled, the scent molecules in essential oils travel from the olfactory nerves directly to the brain and especially impact the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain.

Essential oils can also be absorbed by the skin. A massage therapist might add a drop or two of wintergreen to oil to help relax tight muscles during a rubdown. A  skincare company may add lavender to bath salts to create a soothing soak.

What Are Essential Oils Good For?

Although people claim essential oils are natural remedies for a number of ailments, there’s not enough research to determine their effectiveness in human health. Results of lab studies are promising — one at Johns Hopkins found that certain essential oils could kill a type of Lyme bacteria better than antibiotics — but results in human clinical trials are mixed.

Some studies indicate that there’s a benefit to using essential oils while others show no improvement in symptoms. Clinical trials have looked at whether essential oils can alleviate conditions such as:

How Can You Use Essential Oils Safely?

The quality of essential oils on the market varies greatly, from pure essential oils to those diluted with less expensive ingredients. And because there’s no regulation, the label may not even list everything that’s in the bottle you’re buying. That’s why essential oils should not be ingested.

Johns Hopkins also advises against using essential oil diffusers, small household appliances that create scented vapor. Diffusion in a public area or household with multiple members can affect people differently. For example, peppermint is often recommended for headaches. But if you use it around a child who’s less than 30 months old, the child can become agitated. It could have a negative effect. Additionally, someone with fast heartbeat can react adversely to peppermint.

The safest ways to use essential oils include:

  • Aromatherapy accessories: Necklaces, bracelets and keychains made with absorbent materials you apply essential oils to and sniff throughout the day.
  • Body oil: A mixture of essential oils with a carrier oil such as olive, jojoba or coconut oil that can be massaged into skin. Because essential oils are concentrated, they can cause irritation. Avoid using them full-strength on skin.
  • Aroma stick: Also called an essential oil inhaler, these portable plastic sticks have an absorbent wick that soaks up essential oil. They come with a cover to keep the scent under wraps until you’re ready.

Allergic reactions to essential oils

A small number of people may experience irritation or allergic reactions to certain essential oils. You’re more likely to have a bad reaction if you have atopic dermatitis or a history of reactions to topical products. Although you can experience a reaction to any essential oil, some are more likely to be problematic, including:

  • Oregano oil
  • Cinnamon bark oil
  • Jasmine oil
  • Lemongrass oil
  • Ylang-ylang oil
  • Chamomile oil
  • Bergamot oil

Because pure essential oils are potent, diluting them in a carrier oil is the best way to avoid a bad reaction when applying directly to the skin. If you get a red, itchy rash or hives after applying essential oils, see a doctor. You may be having an allergic reaction.

Which Essential Oils Are Best?

There are dozens of essential oils, all with different fragrances and chemical makeups. Which essential oils are best depends on what symptoms you’re looking to ease or fragrances you prefer. Some of the most popular essential oils include:

  • Lavender oil: Many people find the lavender scent relaxing. It’s often used to help relieve stress and anxiety and promote good sleep.
  • Tea tree oil: Also called melaleuca, this essential oil was used by Australia’s aboriginal people for wound healing. Today, it’s commonly used for acne, athlete’s foot and insect bites.
  • Peppermint oil: There’s some evidence peppermint essential oil helps relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms when taken in an enteric-coated capsule (from a trusted health supplement provider). It may also relieve tension headaches when applied topically.
  • Lemon oil: Many people find the citrusy scent of lemon oil a mood booster. It’s also often used in homemade cleaning products.

How to find quality essential oils

The most important thing to consider when shopping for essential oils is product quality. But figuring out which oils are the best is challenging, since there’s no government agency in the U.S. that provides a grading system or certification for essential oils. A big problem? Many companies claim their essential oils are “therapeutic grade,” but that’s just a marketing term.

Unfortunately, there are lots of products you might find online or in stores that aren’t harvested correctly or may have something in them that isn’t listed on the label.

Here are some tips to help you shop for pure essential oils:

  • Look at the label: It should include the Latin name of the plant, information on purity or other ingredients added to it, and the country in which the plant was grown.
  • Evaluate the company: Purchase products from a well-known and reputable aromatherapy company that’s been around for several years.
  • Choose dark-colored, glass containers: Pure essential oils are highly concentrated. They can dissolve plastic bottles over time, tainting the oil. Most companies package essential oils in small brown or blue glass bottles to protect the quality.
  • Avoid “fragrance oils”: Fragrance or perfume oils are made from essential oils combined with chemicals or entirely from chemicals. They’re not suitable for aromatherapy — instead, look for bottles that contain a single essential oil in its purest form (100% essential oil with no other fillers).
  • Compare prices: Essential oils range in price, depending on how involved harvesting and production are. Within a line, there should be a wide variety of prices — rose absolute or sandalwood oils will be more expensive, while sweet orange oil will be on the less expensive end. If you find a rock-bottom price for an expensive essential oil, it probably isn’t pure.

Essential oils can lift your mood and make you feel good with just a whiff of their fragrance. For some people they may even help alleviate the symptoms of various conditions. For more information on how to incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle, consult an integrative medicine expert.

Please contact Brooke Chang Reiki Therapy about Available Services and Aromatherapy treatments or for a consultation or appointment for Reiki Therapy at (951) 821-0825, brookechangreiki@outlook.com, or through our Contact Form.

Please Note: This article is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended as specific holistic health advice to the reader. Therefore, reading this article does not create a practitioner-client relationship. Reiki Therapy and Aromatherapy are intended to be used as complements to traditional care, and do not substitute for qualified medical or traditional care.