Reiki and the Healing Crisis

by Diane Ruth Shewmaker

Healing Defined 
The many complementary and alternative practices available today, including Reiki, have varying ways of approaching healing, yet all share a common holistic philosophy that seeks to address the entire person. This approach views every symptom of "dis-ease" that you may be experiencing as having a corresponding physical, psychological, mental, and/or spiritual component that is contributing to the cause of the concern.

Healing is therefore defined within a much broader framework than simply addressing a physical or psychological symptom or attempting to cure a disease. In fact, healing is truly a way of life when held in this context, and is an ongoing process that never stops presenting you with opportunities for growth and transformation.

Although many people have reported spontaneous healing of their health conditions or imbalances, deep healing of the total person often involves a process that takes place over time and is not always a tidy, linear process. Rather, healing tends to follow a pattern that spirals and re-cycles over and over again, peeling away the layers of each concern until the healing is complete.

This is because the original issue or symptom is most often related to more than one aspect of a person's life, and very likely involves shifting the patterning found in all levels of the energy field. (See my article titled "Reiki and the Human Energy System" in the Winter 2002 edition of this magazine for a more detailed description of the different levels of the human energy system.)

Reiki and other energy healing modalities work with and positively affect the human energy system, and are noninvasive hands-on healing approaches that gently support healing at all levels. The universal healing energy of Reiki harmonizes your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies by grounding the essential life force within your energy system, which expands your capacity to carry more light and love.

This activates your innate healing resources, supporting the healing of acute and chronic disease as well as anxiety, fatigue, depression, stress, addictions, and other symptoms of imbalance. Other reported benefits include deep relaxation, stress reduction, clearing of addictive patterns, emotional stability, and better self-esteem.

The Purification Process
A great deal of purification and cleansing takes place when working with Reiki as part of the healing process. As such, it is important for you to inform each person with whom you are working about the healing process and be a part of his or her support system. Care must be taken to describe the process in a way that is thorough, yet does not cause undue worry or concern. You want to avoid creating a self-fulfilling prophecy or the expectation of always being in some form of crisis or drama, since this is most often not the case.

The flow of Reiki energy through the physical and subtle bodies encourages the gradual release of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual "toxins" that have made their way into the cellular memory and built up in the energy system over time. Toxic buildup is the result of past experiences such as injuries, illnesses, and traumatic events as well as poor health habits and pollutants in this and other lifetimes.

Much of the release experience is relatively gentle, does not take a great deal of time to work through your system, and passes almost without notice. Sometimes, however, the manifestations of the cleansing process are more noticeable and uncomfortable and may take several hours, days, or even weeks or months to work their way through the energy system.

The cleansing experience may also be heightened following a Reiki attunement or a series of treatments, because both can greatly accelerate the clearing and healing process. This is sometimes called a "healing crisis," which is defined as a time during the release process when old symptoms temporarily resurface, moving you from the chronic stage back through the acute phase of the problem while on the way to true healing.

As toxins are released from all levels of your being, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms: flu-like symptoms, fever, headache, sore throat, coughing, aching joints and muscles, tingling sensations, nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. Temporary changes may also take place in your sleep habits such as needing to sleep more often and longer or being wide awake when you normally sleep.

Deeply held emotions that have been repressed from earlier experiences such as grief, fear, depression, sadness, anger, and frustration may surface for no obvious reason. There may also be times when suppressed memories or other recollections surface in order to allow the body and spirit to heal. You may also feel empty and alone. Old and current behavior patterns found in the mental body may become magnified. You may also experience judgmental, blaming, victimizing, and abusive thoughts. As the spiritual body is purified, your beliefs about life, religion, relationships, how the world operates, and your self-identity may be shaken and will need to be questioned and revised.

As uncomfortable emotions and thought patterns from your shadow self come into your consciousness, simply allow yourself to observe and experience them without getting too caught up in them. Think of this process as a train where each of the cars is marked with an emotion such as sadness or thoughts of self-invalidation. As the train comes through your consciousness, just let it move along without stopping it and climbing aboard any of the cars. Acknowledge the old emotions and thoughts as they pass through you as how you once felt, and then let them go.

Welcome your new understanding of those old limiting beliefs that no longer serve you and have the courage to let them go. As the well-known expression says, "Let go and let God." Form a new spiritual foundation based on true wisdom, inspiration, and understanding. Read uplifting books and spend time with like-minded people. Meditate and look within for your own answers. Do breathing exercises to bring the life force into your body. Chant sacred sounds. Remember to call on your spirit guides and angels, the ascended masters, and the Source for assistance, while staying grounded and connected to Mother Earth.

All of the uncomfortable experiences that accompany a healing crisis are commonplace and are not usually cause for worry or concern. They naturally result from the process of bringing the flow of Reiki into the energy system. They are nature's way of purifying body, mind, emotions, and the soul, making way for higher levels of consciousness to be grounded in the body. Rather than being symptoms of illness, they can be viewed as signs of true healing in progress. It is also important to note that the symptoms of a healing crisis are not caused by Reiki, rather, the Reiki energy helps to bringing awareness and healing to those imbalances that are already active within you.

However, if you have any severe or continuing physical or emotional reactions, or other complications after receiving a Reiki treatment or attunement, it is recommended that you visit your regular healthcare provider right away. It is always important to remember that Reiki is a modality complementary to traditional medical and psychological care. As a Reiki practitioner, be sure to stay within the boundaries of your competencies and any licensing credentials that you may have.

This is an excerpt from an article in the Fall 2004 issue of Reiki News Magazine.