Rheumatoid Arthritis and Reiki

what does a rheumatoid arthritis flare feel like
Image source: http://www.anesthesia.org/images/pain3.jpg
what does a rheumatoid arthritis flare feel like
Image source: http://www.anesthesia.org/images/pain3.jpg

I had my first ever Reiki session today. I had no idea what Reiki was all about, but I had heard the term.  As much as I knew is that it’s an alternative healing therapy.  Nothing more.  And I purposefully didn’t research, or google, or ask anyone about Reiki and what they thought.  I wanted to approach it with a completely open mind.

I’m not a cynic, nor even a skeptic, but I am evidence driven.  I don’t just hand over my faith and my money to anyone who says they can cure me.  I almost find the promise of a cure arrogant.  Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis is not a curable condition.

But I have seen many people turned around with diet, lifestyle changes, exercise, supplements, acupuncture…I have tried all of these myself.  Can these all have been ‘mild’ cases, or misdiagnosed?  Hard to believe.

This treatment was offered to me for free, asking nothing in return.  Such is my practitioner’s belief that he can help me.  I get miracle cures offered up to me all the time.  For the very fair price of $49.95, I can be pain free forever.  Yep. Right. Thank you…Delete!  But when someone is offering to help, and asks for nothing in return, I guess the only decent thing to do is accept with gratitude.

So I just had my first session.  A basic run down on Reiki is here.  It’s hard for me to do it justice, there is so much to learn and digest.  And some of it is hard to adopt.

Angelic Reiki, the form that my practitioner practises, is based on the Law of Attraction, that I have heard of to some degree.  In its simplest form, what you put out to the universe, the universe will send back to you.  Postivity begets positivity, negativity begets negativity.  I do subscribe to that idea, to a degree.

Another basic tenet of Reiki is that we are not here to suffer. We are here to be happy, and live a life that is fulfilling and enjoyable.  Very easy to subscribe to that philosophy. In fact much of what we discussed, I agree completely with. I just have a different terminology.

Another central tenet is that the body can heal itself. That all disease is curable.

I have a road block with this.  For the first many years of my disease, I was going to beat it.  I didn’t even accept that I had rheumatoid arthritis.  From the start of this blog, I envisioned the day that I would write that I am cured. I have beaten it.  I have won.

Over the years, my goal changed, and it became to live well, to live happily, in spite of being in pain.  I don’t always achieve that, but it is a philosophy that has served me well.  Most of the time I am happy.  I am always in pain.  I had to find a way for these to co-exist, or live a life of misery.

So now the goal is to visualise myself, not just happy living with pain, but being pain free.  And disease free.  And drug free. That this reality is within my control.

Misinterpreted, this philosophy can be turned to say that it’s our own fault we are sick.  I’m sure we’ve all been told that at some time. By a doctor, by a family member, by a friend.

But this isn’t the way it came across.  It came across as your attitude shapes your reality, including your physical body.  Which I believe…but I believe there are limits.  Reiki would say there are no such limits, and if I accept that there are no limits, my body will be healed.  I’m a long way from there.  I’m very much still focussing on living my life in the best way possible in spite of living with constant pain.

That’s the philosophy.  In practice it works like this:  In Angelic Reiki, your practitioner is a conduit.  He or she will facilitate the healing that the Angels endow.  So you need to have a connection with your practitioner.  The first session is the longest, and is all about building that connection.  You need to talk openly and honestly and establish trust.  Much more quickly that I would in any other setting!  Then the actual healing session takes place.

The room is cleansed, the archangels are present. There are candles and incense and soothing music and an environment of utter peace and calm.  I challenge anyone to not feel happier and less stressed under these conditions.

I was asked to lie on the table and clear my mind.  Focus on the music and whenever my mind wandered to bring it back to the music and empty my thoughts.  My practitioner laid his hands on my upper chest for the ‘soul’ and my abdomen for the ‘self’, and remained that way for the duration of the session. This is how he transmits the healing energy to me.

And here’s the paradox.  I felt such relaxation and tranquillity it was beautiful.  Emotionally I felt lifted, and cleansed.  But in the absence of all other stimuli, my pain levels increased dramatically.  Nothing else to focus on, nothing to take my mind off it.  Not allowed to mentally block the pain.

So while it calmed my mind, and gave me peace, it increased my pain levels exponentially.  Interesting.

I no longer panic when the pain is terrible.

I used to.  Fear makes pain worse.  Telling yourself it’s going to be unbearable absolutely guarantees that it’s going to be unbearable.  This is the Law of Attraction and Reiki, just under a different banner. I’ve always just called it a self- fulfilling prophecy.

So I can ride through the pain, although I wasn’t expecting to feel physically so much worse.

Contrasted with feeling emotionally so much better, it’s an unsettling experience indeed!  Confronting.

The session did unlock many of my core beliefs, and that I do see myself as ill.  If the mind does control the body, which there is much scientific study to support, then I will remain so. I understand this idea.  But I also cannot believe, at this time, that I can heal myself completely with the power of my mind.

But the idea of being cured, being pain free (drugs or no) is too seductive.  It’s what we all desperately want above all else.  Our lives back. To NOT be controlled by pain. TO have choice returned to us. To have freedom.  I admit I went to sleep fantasizing about it last night.

So I have committed to coming weekly for the next four weeks.  And then we’ll assess the treatment, and decide where to go next.  I am very grateful for the opportunity.

Right now I feel very relaxed. The drive home was torturous and I had to take double the pain killers when I got home.  The oxycodone has taken the edge off.  But mentally I am calm.

And I feel…happy.


  1. Awesome! Not the pain part, but everything else. I will live vicariously through you…lol. I’ve heard of Reiki before, but have never tried it. I can’t wait to follow you on this journey. There is a lot to be said for the mind/body connection. Of that I am sure. One bad (unhealthy) decision usually begets another. I am sort of going through that right now. Not doing my yoga every morning (even though it helps…duh!), and I’m back to having 5-6 cigarettes a day. It’s no wonder I have been feeling more pain lately. Let’s believe this will work for you…the mind is soooo powerful, we truly have no idea what it is capable of. I want you to succeed, and give us hope. I will dive in 100% if this works for you. Although, I’m not sure we have anyone around here who does it….hmmmm. Anyway, best of luck girl. BELIEVE.

    • Thanks Marti! I totaly agree about the mind/body connection. Time to explore the limits! One really fascinating thing that my practitioner told me is that he can do distance healings. Personally I felt his physical presence would be essential, but he says not. That he has done healings with people on the other side of the world. Something to think about…

  2. So, do tell. Did you make it to all four weeks of Reiki? I’m hoping that your absence from the blog doesn’t mean you are feeling super horrible. I will hope that you made it and that it helped and you’ve been feeling so good that you are too busy to blog! But eventually I must have a report! LOL. #wishingyouwell

    • Hi Marti, I have done the four Reiki sessions. One was a distance healing, because I was flaring too badly to get there. I have had a few family issues which have been keeping me from blogging…and some really awful flare days and a really amazing day where I felt almost normal! On the whole, I think Reiki is wonderful for relaxing the body, connecting the mind and spirit and keeping a positive outlook. That, in turn, has to help us get through the challenge of chronic pain. I think it is excellent for depression, but I can’t say my pain has reduced. I hope to get back to blogging more soon, thanks for your good wishes, and same back to you! 🙂

      • Well I’m glad you made it to almost all of the sessions and glad to hear you are not doing so badly. Currently I am investigating the “alkaline” diet. I was looking into some yoga videos on Youtube and found a woman who teaches it (yogabycandace), who had a terrible experience w/Lyme Disease. Between the antibiotics and, she believes, her change of diet, she eventually became healthy again. She occasionally has a flare, but they are manageable now. Eh…it can’t hurt, right? The whole laying off sugar (only in the beginning) will be super hard though. For right now I am going to keep a food and med journal and also document any symptoms I may be having. If I begin to see a correlation I guess I will have my answer. I hope you hang in there…and we keep on keeping on.

  3. I personally wouldn’t have anything to do with Reiki, there’s a great deal behind it that most people aren’t aware of and it’s not good, it’s playing with spiritual fire. Don’t be fooled into thinking that Reiki is
    not a spiritual force. It is! It’s not something positive like many think it is. Reiki is an occult practice, which anyone can Google.

    • Michael, I’m curious how you came to this conclusion and if you have ever practiced. No my experience no one has compared it to playing with fire as nothing threatening has come of it. At the least, you are calm at at peace. How this can translate to playing with fire is beyond me.

    • Michael, there’s always positive and negative energy. Positive is loving energy and negative is fearful energy. If you want the energy to be negative, your fear will create it in that fashion. It is your intent (your will) which determines which energy you want to feed . Reiki is on one man’s journey to discover the healing abilities of Jesus. His beliefs were Buddhist. Technically Jesus’s healing powers are from the occult, but Jesus is about one thing, love, the positive energy.

      Look to the root of anything you are in need of an answer to and you will always find it there. Unfortunately man loves religious dogma and thus the essence of this practice’s healing power has been adopted by some to further their own religion, but Reiki is not a part of any religion. Reiki is not a dangerous occult practice and labeling it as such is harmful to others as the fear it creates hinders their ability to heal. Reiki is about love and using our own energies to heal others and ourselves. We all have this ability.

  4. I came here looking for answers to helping me manage my RA pain, and to see what others with RA have had to say about the practice of Reiki . I have a client who is a practitioner of Reiki and has offered to help me progress towards a pain free life through practicing Reiki with her help. Of course as many if you, I am skeptical but desperate for relief. It sounds like Marti has discovered that the practice of Reiki helped heal her mind and how she perceived pain more than it helped the actual pain itself. I think this could be a valuable thing. Especially lately for me. After dealing with the onset of my RA 8 years ago, I have suffered a Miriad of issues while trying to find wats of controlling the pain. Now in a pain induced depression , I feel like I am at my wits end and some days I even think about how to just end it all. This is far from the person I used to be and I really dislike the person I’ve become. I appreciate the experiences Marti has shared and I have found it to be very helpful. I’m thinking that the practice of Reiki cannot cause any harm, and may even help with the negative mentality I’ve had lately. I really appreciate the blog and comments.

  5. Hi, I’m wondering how your treatment has gone and if you are still leveraging Reiki. I also offer free Reiki to anyone with RA, Fibromyalgia and RA. Just curious.

  6. I’m a reiki practitioner, and I have to say that, though I don’t entirely disagree with the whole “mind over matter” aspect of this, I have also seen reiki do much, much more than that for people. At the outset, pain can sometimes flare up (I won’t speculate as to why this happens), but I’ve never had a person leave a session that did not experience at least some pain relief. And it’s important to note that I have worked with chronic pain before, from remissive cancer patients to old injuries or surgical pain, and even a man in agony on his death bed. Not to mention that I’m currently working with a rheumatoid arthritis pain sufferer. I haven’t even gotten around to working with her on her mental state yet – we just started talking about that during our last session. While I do not expect her to become “magically” fully healed, I do expect at some point in the future that her pain will become much more manageable…so it’s bizarre to me that you experienced exactly the opposite effect. Reiki should be able to do both from what I’ve seen. I’m sorry this was not your experience, and I wish you luck in finding effective treatment!

    Also, if still interested in the potential of reiki as a treatment option (either mental or physical) you should look and see if there are any active reiki circles in your area. The groups I’ve worked in before never charged, but were operated on a “love offering” basis. And you’d get 3 or 4 practitioners all working on you at once. You can also offer to be a practice subject when they are teaching new students. The group gets experience giving treatments, and you get essentially free reiki, other than the gas to drive there. Just a thought, and I don’t even know if you’ll read this. I just wasn’t sure how many people were even aware of these options.

  7. Angelic reiki is NOT reiki
    They are not the same thing at all. The reiki federation does not recognise angelic reiki. I know someone who teaches both and she says she doesn’t know why it’s called angelic reiki as it’s nothing like reiki. I’ve tried both treatments and reiki is far superior


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.