Benefits of Reiki – Stress

18th January 2012

In a survey published in June 2011, the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personal Development) stated: “Stress has become the most common cause of long-term sickness absence for both manual and non-manual employees, according to the CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management survey.”   

One of the most effective areas where Reiki makes a big difference to someone’s life is in the management of stress. In this post, I explain what stress is, what its impact is on our health and well-being, the causes of stress, the impact of stress on business and our relationships. I then talk about the role of Reiki in helping us to manage stress.

What is Stress?

Although we all know what stress feels like, it is not often that we stop and think about what it is. A good starting point is the NHS’s website. Here there is a very clear description of stress – it is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. The article makes the important point that we each respond differently to situations – some of us thrive under certain conditions which others may find very difficult. For example, some people are naturals for working in sales environments – which are high pressure – while others need a calmer environment in which to work. The International Stress Management Association (ISMA) defines stress as “the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them.” ISMA goes on to explain that the “fight or flight” response of the body to a perceived challenge or threat is ok of itself, but when the body is continually placed in this state, then we create the conditions for poor health.

Causes of Stress

So what are the causes of stress? Well, this varies from person to person but common causes include financial worries, work pressure, relationship difficulties, poor lifestyle, death in the family, and exams. These are all aspects of our everyday lives, so it is not surprising to realise that stress is such a common issue in the home and the workplace. For businesses, there are also the following considerations: office environment (such as lighting; air conditioning; electro-magnetic pollution from electronic devices; lack of outdoor space) and working conditions (organisational culture; working hours; relationships between employees) etc.  Outside of organisational and relationship based sources of stress, there is also the relationship we have with ourselves – for example, negative ways of thinking and loss of self-belief.

Symptoms of Stress

ISMA identifies four areas where symptoms of stress can be seen: physical; emotional; psychological; and behavioural. Some examples include: difficulty sleeping; headaches; negative thinking; memory lapses; irritability; mood swings; anger; loss of confidence; aches & pains; frequent colds; irritable bowel syndrome; increased reliance on alcohol or smoking to relax; withdrawal; etc.

Impact of Stress

Stress has an impact on us at every level – it affects how we think, how we feel about ourselves and the people around us, and how we feel physically. So, for example, our thinking may become more negative or more aggressive when we are stressed; we may feel on edge, or angry and resentful, or despondent; and at a physical level we may feel tense, sweaty, run down, and experience back aches, stomach upsets, headaches and difficulty sleeping. Furthermore, stress tends to be cumulative – once we are stressed it is hard to shake off the feeling. A night out or a long weekend is a temporary salve to the stress, but often does not shift the underlying tension  or change the way we feel.

Stress itself is not an illness. However, if we do not manage or remove stress from our lives altogether, then it can causes serious illness. For example, stress has a negative impact on the immune system, hampering the body’s natural defences against disease. If we have an existing condition then stress is likely to make that condition worse. Over time the cumulative effect of stress can cause back pain, headaches, digestive problems, as well as more serious conditions.

An important point to bear in mind is that when someone is under stress, then the people living or working with them are directly affected by the stress as well. So team performance can suffer, or the mood at home changes and a partner and/or children also suffer because of the stress that someone is experiencing.

Impact on Business

If you are a business manager or work for a business, then you will be aware of the potential for stress to impact employee and company performance. The CBI has compiled several reports on the impact of stress in the workplace, and in this summary it is clear from the organisations quoted that it is a serious problem for businesses. For example, the International Stress Management Association cites an article in Mind (June 2011): “British businesses lose an estimated £26 billion each year in sickness absence and lost productivity. With greater awareness and mental health support, they said businesses could save one third of these costs – ‘a mammoth £8 billion a year’.” More stark is this assessment by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personal Development) in a survey published in June 2011:Stress has become the most common cause of long-term sickness absence for both manual and non-manual employees, according to the CIPD/Simplyhealth Absence Management survey.”

Aside from the economic and personal cost of stress on employees and work relationships, businesses have a legal obligation to manage stress in the workplace. ISMA notes that:

“The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 dictate that organisations of greater than 5 people are required to assess the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities;” and

“Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 organisations are required to take measures to control that risk.”

So businesses have clear incentives to address and manage stress in the workplace. These incentives are not just commercial and legal; companies who actively care about the welfare of their employees will be particularly in tune with the impact and management of stress.

Reiki & Stress

So where does Reiki come in? Well, let’s start by identifying where Reiki can make a difference. We already know that stress affects us at a physical, emotional and mental level. Stress is then a very “holistic” challenge because it affects us in the round. Since Reiki is a holistic approach to health and well-being, it is exactly the sort of health issue that Reiki is so good at addressing. From my own experience I know that Reiki is extremely effective in relaxing someone at a physical, emotional and mental le[1]vel. When we enter into a state of deep relaxation, the tension held in our body starts to drop away. We start to let go of heavy emotions and to shift our mental state from negative to more positive outlooks. Reiki helps us do all of these things.

What is happening during a treatment? Well, a Reiki healer is channeling energy to the client. As this energy passes into the client’s body, it helps the body to let go of tension at a physical level. As the body relaxes physically, the person relaxes mentally. This enables their emotional state to start to shift as well. At a deeper level, the client’s energy is starting to move again – when we hold tension and stress inside ourselves, it creates inertia and stagnation at an energetic level. A Reiki treatment gets the energy moving again, clearing out old “stuck” energy and so allowing the client to let go of tension at a physical, emotional and mental level. These areas of stuck energy can be seen on an Aura Machine where a chakra shows only a very small amount of energy or an area of black instead of one of the principal colors we associate with the Aura.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Mailing List