Reiki: does it work for Fibro?

reiki-1 Since Fibromyalgia is such a complex condition, it takes a intricate level of healing to manage its symptoms. One has to look out side the realm of just modern medicine and sometimes back to ancient eastern medicine for cures for pain.
Reiki is a Japanese healing practice that promotes health and well being through a non-invasive technique. And for people affected by fibromyalgia, non-invasive is key. Anything that we can do that does not hurt us that will help to lower our stress levels and improve our overall well-being, we will try. ( Hey, I remember one time being in pain, I placed cod-liver oil on my stomach because I read somewhere that it would help reduce my cramps. It didn’t. It made a huge mess. I still laugh about it today, and that laughter is important. So, in the end it worked.) Reiki works by laying hands on the person to help them. It is based on the idea of our life’s energy force is what keeps us healthy. When that energy gets low, we get sick. The cool thing about it is, you can practice it by yourself, have someone help you, and you do not have to stop your other medical treatments to try it. But do it work for fibromyalgia patients?

The NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) says that Reiki does not improve symptoms for patients of fibromyalgia, based on their study. At the University of Washington, Seattle, the researchers did a study of 100 people funded by the NCCAM to see how Reiki worked on people with fibro . They tried Reiki on a couple of different ways- hands on subject, and hands off subject, neither of which produced any affect on their pain. Are their too many variables when it comes to fibromyalgia to do a proper test? Or is this ancient art of healing which dates back to the 1800s just too old for the complexity of fibromyalgia?

What do you think?

To read what NCCA has to say, look here: nccam.nih.gov/research/results/spotlight/050809.htm

Breathe right

1_blowing--windSometimes the smallest things can have the largest effects. Learning a simple task like controlling your breath will make a world of difference on your level of stress, anxiety, pain, and overall health. Think about it, whenever we become nervous, tense, or are experiencing a pain attack, we hyperventilate. Our breathing patterns become deep and fast, the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide we have gets out of balance. This pattern not only adds to our anxiety level, but if this happens often, it will take its toll on our bodies. Also during times of hyperventilation, our hands and feet could tingle, the blood flow to our brain is restricted, and our airway passages could inflame, all because of the low levels of carbon dioxide. Like we really need any more added stress on our bodies in the first place.

Learning to control your breath will not only help Fibro patients, but it can others as well.

Breath control therapy can help people with problems such as:

* Fibromyalgia
* Chronic and acute pain
* Asthma
* Depression and low self esteem
* Unhealthy relationships
* Stress and anxiety
* Respiratory issues
* Headaches
* Recovering trauma patients
* High blood pressure
* Eating disorders
* Drug and alcohol recovery
* Singers
* Runners and other athletes

Benefits of learning to control your breathing include:

* Healthier body
* Increased energy levels
* Stress and anxiety reduction
* Positive body image
* Controlling your anger and irritability
* Better sense of spiritual awareness
* Overall better sense of well-being

Breathing, sounds simple right? Well, it takes a bit of exercise to get the hang of it, especially when you are in pain or stressed. To learn how to control your breathing, no matter how you feel, is a real skill.

Here’s a few different ways to practice controlling your breathing:

Cool air in- Warm air out 2008-03-19-big-nose

• Practice when you most relaxed (I usually do it before I go to sleep at night).
• Lie down or sit in a comfortable position, if you can.
(a knotted yoga position is not necessary)222997454_fd6de77346
• Close your eyes
• Take a slow and deep breath in through your nose.
• Concentrate on the cool air coming in through your nostrils.
• Hold your breathe a few seconds.
• Breathe out slowly, evenly, and quietly through your nose.
Pay attention how warm the air is as it exits your nose.
• Do this for a few moments until all your cares wash away- or for me, until I fall asleep.

Shallow breathing for long periods of time causes your chest and shoulders to tighten up. When you breathe really shallow, you are breathing from your upper chest and not from your diaphragm.

Here is another way to practice controlling your breath, which I learned from when I sang:

air_elemental_by_iriloth2• Lay down, with a pillow under your neck for support.
• Place one hand flat on your chest.
• Place one hand flat on your abdomen. (right bellow your rib cage)
• As you breathe, watch the movement of your hands.
• If your chest hand is moving, you are breathing shallow. As you take in your next breath, concentrate on making the hand on your belly move.
• Make sure to take slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Note: When I was singing, I used to place books on my abdomen (right on my diaphragm) instead of my hand. However, I would not recommend it as a relaxation technique.

Here’s a meditation YouTube relaxation to listen to while you practice your new breathing techniques:
Simple Relaxation, a Guided Meditation by Quiet Mind Cafe

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