It’s true the British always have a comment about the weather, especially in winter when it’s cold, grey and often raining! It seems winter is not our favourite season and our collective approach is to grit our teeth and “get through it” until Spring returns.
Winter blues are one thing, yet for some, they can develop into a persistent low mood that severely affects everyday life. This seasonal depression is called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD and can occur alongside any season of the year, although it’s often associated with winter. SAD doesn’t mean sufferers are “just a bit sad” as they can experience the same symptoms as depression including lack of energy, low mood, withdrawing from friends and family, and difficulty concentrating.
How can Reiki relieve the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?
Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a natural energy healing therapy that brings the mind, body, heart and soul into balance and harmony. All living things have an ‘energy body’ that exists within and around the physical body. When this energy is strong and flows freely, we experience good health and a sense of wellbeing. When the energy becomes weakened or blocked it can impact us mentally and physically. Taking a holistic approach to health and wellbeing means taking care of all aspects of what it means to be human, and this is where the healing power of Reiki can help.
Clients struggling with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or depression come to Reiki when they’re working with their doctor or mental health professional and they want to include a complementary therapy as a proactive step towards improving their wellbeing. They often arrive feeling ‘under a black cloud’ and I’ve seen how Reiki helps them to:
- feel energised when they are lacking motivation
- feel more mentally and emotionally balanced when they are feeling low
- feel better able to cope with their day-to-day challenges, and
- restore mental clarity when they struggle to think clearly or concentrate.
“It’s hard to motivate myself to get to Emma’s for Reiki but I make the effort because I know I will feel so much better. It’s easy to talk to Emma and after the Reiki, I feel like I’ve had a boost of energy. Life doesn’t seem like an uphill struggle, I feel brighter and I’m not craving sleep. Seeing Emma for Reiki helps me through the winter months.”
VC – Reiki client
The healing work that takes place during the Reiki treatment will:
- Cleanse, balance and strengthen the energy body: clearing blocked or stagnant energy, restoring the normal flow of energy and reinforcing the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
- Focus on the head to release the energy that is contributing to the Seasonal Affective Disorder. When working with clients who are struggling with SAD or depression, the energy around the head is either low or turbulent and demands of lot of Reiki healing.
- Deeply relax the mind and body and help you reconnect with your true self.
- Over time, Reiki helps you return to a place of mental peace, emotional balance and physical wellbeing.
A Reiki treatment is a comforting, nurturing experience: the ultimate act of self-care when you need it most. This is time out of your everyday challenges: to voice your thoughts and feelings is a safe, non-judgmental space and detach from your worries. During the treatment, you remain fully-clothed as you lie on the therapy couch with blankets and pillows. All you need to do is close your eyes, relax and enjoy the calming music.
“Even when the skies are grey and the nights are never-ending, Reiki lights a
small flame of positivity inside and I know it’s going to be OK.”
BT – Reiki Client
What does the research say?
While Reiki is still misunderstood by some, scientific research results can be helpful for validation and there are a number of well-designed research studies that prove Reiki is effective in relieving the symptoms of depression. The first study compared the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Reiki in reducing the symptoms of depression in teenagers (1). The study found Reiki significantly reduced the symptoms of depression over the 12-week treatment period, even though the Reiki group only received 20 minutes of Reiki once a week whereas the CBT group received 90 minutes of CBT twice a week!
The second study explored the effectiveness of Reiki in reducing depression in elderly people living in nursing homes (2). Reiki significantly reduced the symptoms of depression over the 12-week treatment period and at the end, the scores on the Geriatric Depression Scale were much lower than the control groups.
Another study tested the long-term effectiveness of Reiki on the symptoms of depression and stress (3) and found that Reiki significantly improved the symptoms of depression at the end of the six-week treatment period and the improvements remained one-year after the treatment!
The scientific research studies show there is strong evidence to support Reiki as a therapy to reduce depression and anxiety and improve mood.
“I was very nervous about my first Reiki session but Emma was warm and welcoming and quickly put me at ease. She gave me time to talk about how I was feeling and I came away with proactive things I could do to lift my mood. The Reiki treatments are my time to look after myself, to relax and recharge. I leave feeling so much more positive and hopeful.”
MD – Reiki Client
Reiki is a wonderful complementary therapy that helps to relieve the symptoms of Season Affective Disorder (SAD). By promoting relaxation of the mind and body, and reducing stress, Reiki offers profound improvements to your mental, emotional and physical health and wellbeing.
Reiki can complement medical or psychological care but it does not take the place of conventional medical treatment. If you suspect you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder or be depressed, please visit your GP and seek help from a specialist medical professional. You may also find the following UK websites helpful:
Mind – provides advice and support to anyone experiencing a mental health problem. www.mind.org.uk
Samaritans – Call 116 123 at any time, from any phone for free, or visit www.samaritans.org
SANE – a UK mental health charity that works to improve the quality of life for anyone affected by mental illness. www.sane.org.uk
(1) Charkhandeh, M and Talib, MS and Hunt, CJ. The clinical effectiveness of cognitive behaviour therapy and an alternative medicine approach [Reiki] in reducing symptoms of depression in adolescents. Psychiatry Research, 2016. Link to study
(2) Erdogan, Z and Cinar, S. The effect of Reiki on depression in elderly people living in nursing homes. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge.
(3) Shore, AG. Long term effects of energetic healing on symptoms of psychological depression and self-perceived stress. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 2004. Link to study