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Five Reiki Ideals for Cancer Survivors

by Marsha R. Drozdoff, ACSW, LCSW, CRMT

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From the time of diagnosis, you may wonder if life will ever be the same. Stress and worrisome thoughts can feel like an uninvited stranger who demands your attention and respects no boundary when you want to focus on anything but cancer. Reiki can become an invited guest into your life and can help you better manage all stages of treatment, as well as your survivorship transformation.

Reiki is frequently known as energy medicine or energy therapeutics. Because it is a gentle and non-manipulative touch modality, it can be used at any stage of healing. Sometimes the Reiki practitioner may also work in the energy field some inches above the body. Many medical centers incorporate Reiki into cancer care for stress reduction, symptom management, and wellness.

Because it is a gentle and non-manipulative touch modality, Reiki can be used at any stage of healing.

Author of Article photo

Marsha Drozdoff

You can receive Reiki sessions as part of your cancer care, or you can take a Reiki class. Besides learning how to perform Reiki on yourself or another, during a Reiki class, you will be introduced to the following five Reiki ideals.

I. “Just for today, I shall not worry.”
As a cancer survivor, you may find yourself flooded with thoughts about surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, body image changes, financial or relationship challenges, and questions about your prognosis. Excessive concentration on those worries releases stress hormones. To use this ideal, say it three times, listen to the mind’s chatter, and then record that inner conversation. This helps you identify your needs and allows you to release stored up feelings. If you are Reiki trained, you can notice where in the body the Reiki is most needed for restoration.

II. “Just for today, I shall not be angry.”
Chronic anger, whether about your diagnosis, your actions in the past, or a perceived wrongdoing by another, can diminish necessary energy needed to move forward in your recovery. The process for this ideal is the same as for the first: say the ideal three times, listen to the internal conversation, write down what you hear from within yourself, and then use Reiki if you are Reiki trained.

III. “Just for today, I shall earn my living with integrity.”
If you aren’t working, you can substitute “I shall live my life with integrity.” Take a moment to reflect on what that means to you. Perhaps it means doing your best in each situation and creating value regardless of the circumstance. It may also include bringing authenticity and honesty into your communication with your employer, coworkers, family, friends, and healthcare team about what you can and cannot do during your active treatment and recovery process.

IV. “Just for today, I shall honor and respect all beings.”
Many survivors who work with this ideal recognize that they are included in this “all beings” category. They begin to explore what honoring and respecting themselves would look and feel like. Does it include taking time off for play and pleasure, getting enough sleep, addressing and modifying unhealthy behaviors, and creating better balance in your life? Does it include more patience and compassion with others, recognizing that others may be doing their best at this moment, too? The result of working with this ideal may include more forgiveness of yourself and others, and seeing the world through more compassionate and gentle eyes.

V. “Just for today, I give thanks in gratitude for my many blessings.”
This is a beautiful ideal to use daily, even as an affirmation. Gratitude is such a powerful and transformative energy. It can potentially open up new doors to allow you to view the gifts that you may be receiving, even in the midst of profound changes. It can help you to reprogram joy into your life and to recognize blessings that surround you. Write down those things you’re grateful for daily and share them with others; this can open meaningful communication.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Marsha Drozdoff is an oncology social worker at University of Arizona Medical Center and University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, AZ. She received her Reiki Master Teacher Certification in 2005.

This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, July/August 2012.