A Healing Space for Reiki In a Hospital

by Janny Adkins

I manage a  holistic women’s center, St. Luke’s Women’s Care, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. St. Luke’s Hospital is a member of a large hospital system, Iowa Health System. We are considered rural and conservative. In l994 Women’s Care opened a new facility located in a medical office plaza connected to St. Luke’s Hospital. Women’s Care views women from a holistic perspective, honoring their needs from a physical, emotional, and spiritual perspective. Nurses on staff  are holistic nurses, and they integrate this philogosphy with their traditional nursing care. Mammograms, and diagnostic interventions are offered as well as holistic nursing, imagery, and  energetic balancing techniques which initially included Therapuetic touch, and Healing Touch. At that time, the Vice President of Nursing was very open to holistic interventions. I obtained her sanction to begin to offer these modalities, quietly, without advertising, and upon the request of clients.

At that time I knew nothing of Reiki. One of the nurses on staff at that time, Diane Cira,told me about a Reiki Class that she had taken from Laurelle Shanti Gaia.  She returned from the class enthusiastic and excited about using Reiki with clients. Within a few months, I took a Reiki Class from Laurelle, and immediately experienced the gentle, but profound, healing power of Reiki, and immediately saw the advantage of incorporating Reiki into the clinical setting. The versatility of Reiki appealed to me, as it was simple in the clinical setting to call on the Reiki energy to be present.  There was no necessity to make obvious hand movements.  Reiki could also be sent from a distance without placing hands on a patient. All of this appealed to me, and I could see that adding Reiki would greatly enhance the energetic interventions that were already offered.

At the same time I began sponsoring Reiki Classes taught by Laurelle in the Women’s Center Educational Classroom. The classes were popular, as more and more people became excited about using and experiencing Reiki. 

This is now three years later and we have individuals asking us if we offer Reiki. I find it interesting that the individuals ask specifically for Reiki. Patients have told us that they are using St. Luke’s Hospital because they can have energetic interventions, like Reiki, while they are hospitalized.

Individuals coming to St. Luke’s ask their physician to write an order for relaxation therapies. Hospital staff nurses call Women’s Care and one of the Women’s Care nurses provide the relaxation intervention at the bedside. Each individual is holistically evaluated by the nurse to determine the correct intervention; Reiki, Healing Touch, Therapeutic Touch, Music Therapy, or Imagery.  The nurse charts on the patient’s computerized chart, noting consent for treatment, pre-treatment assessment, and response to treatment. There is currently no direct charge to the patient.

In Women’s Care, women may self refer. All visits are paid out-of-pocket. We especially encourage women to use Reiki pre and post surgery as a part of the pre-surgical consultations we offer to help women prepare for surgery.  Use of Reiki is one of the modalities that we suggest.

Reiki has added a depth to our energetic interventions that cannot be described with words... Reiki was the missing piece.  

An interesting caveat is that for several years, there was no formal written protocal regarding energetic interventions like Reiki. I considered the provision of energetic interventions part of our nursing care. However, last August, I asked Mona Sonkens, a Women’s Care staff nurse to write a department policy regarding Reiki. Mona had served on hospital policy and procedure committees for 14 years. Mona wrote the protocol, which I edited and reviewed and adopted as departmental policy. 

Would I suggest that other hospitals do what we have done? I would ask how can one argue with the fact that we are offering Reiki. 

Reiki has added a depth to our energetic interventions that cannot be described with words, only experienced by our clients. Reiki was the missing piece. It provided the spiritual component of healing that was not identified in the other modalities. 

I believe Reiki has a place in hospitals if we are to make our hospitals authentic places of healing. Just as Reiki works with the healing of our patients and clients, I believe Reiki has created a healing space for itself within our hospital.