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Reiki and Mesothelioma

Visit to learn more about how mesothelioma cancer patients are using Reiki as a form of palliative relief during cancer treatment.  

Guest Editor Virgil Anderson
I was diagnosed with mesothelioma due to exposure to asbestos throughout my many careers. But thanks to the vigilant workers at, I found the proper treatment and support needed to combat my disease. - Virgil Anderson

Exploring the Physical and Mental Benefits of Reiki for Cancer Patients

By Virgil Anderson

February 2017

Countless treatments have been created for cancer patients, from invasive surgeries to chemotherapy sessions. All of these procedures involve physical manipulation, which can remove or reduce the cancer risk in the body. However, many patients look for alternative therapies to help them move forward with their life without too many invasive procedures. Discover the art of Reiki, which is a therapy from Japan. By using the power of touch, this treatment seeks to calm and relax cancer patients as they deal with their diagnosis.

The Calming Effect
According to 
Cancer Research UK, this healing art gives patients a chance to relax. In fact, patients report that deep relaxation is possible. They temporarily forget their pain or worries, and they're allowed to float on a calm mindset for the duration of the treatment. As a result, depression and anxiety can be released from the mind. These negative feelings can play major roles in patients' lives when mesothelioma is involved. Positive mindsets allow good hormones to surge through the body while warding off negative thoughts that can aid cancer growth over time.

Indirect Cardiovascular Benefits
This healing technique uses a mixture of touch and hovering hands to soothe patients' minds and bodies. As the treatment continues to about an hour's length, patients experience significant changes in their cardiovascular system. The heart rate slows, blood pressure drops and tissues enter a state of balance. When the cardiovascular system is calm, it can distribute blood and oxygen to every tissue without prioritizing one area over another. As a result, a patient's immune system can slightly improve as it fights off any 
cancer cells currently developing.

Understanding Physical Touch
When patients first experience this healing art, they may be skeptical about the health benefits. However, the human touch is a powerful tool when it's wielded by an experienced practitioner. Experts begin with hands hovering over the body. Although patients' eyes are normally closed, they can feel the heat and electromagnetic draw across the skin's nerve receptors. These sensations focus the mind and central nervous system. Engaging the nerves allows the body to generate new, neural pathways, which can aid a mesothelioma patient's prognosis over time.

Encouraging Healthy Habits
An expert usually advises their patients to drink lots of water before a session. Patients will also want to rest after the session so that they can continue to feel the power of the treatment. All of these suggestions encourage a healthy lifestyle, which helps any cancer patient. Eating healthy meals, drinking water and exercising within a patient's comfort zone are all encouraged by healing-art experts. Each session can be better than the last one when the body is properly treated in-between 
doctors' appointments.

A patient's health remains a priority when a cancer diagnosis occurs. Patients need to explore their physical and mental sides in order to balance out the concerns over the diagnosis. Incorporating Reiki into a treatment program can only help a patient. According to the 
University of Minnesota, no one has ever associated negative issues with this Japanese technique.


More Cancer Centers and Doctors Encouraging the Use of Reiki

By Jack Bleeker

April 2010

With groups like the Society of Integrative Oncology, a multi-disciplinary organization of professionals, touting the advantages of complementary cancer treatment and recovery, new methodologies, including Reiki are gaining in popularity. More and more cancer centers and oncologists are beginning to recognize the benefits that these treatments – once dismissed with a snicker by those “in-the-know” – are providing for those who just don’t know where to turn to address issues like the pain and stress associated with cancer and its conventional treatments.

Complementary therapies - not to be confused with “alternative” therapies, which are unproven treatments – have gradually made their way to the forefront of cancer care as well-known oncologists who are lauded experts in their field begin to promote these supportive treatments as a natural part of cancer care. Even the National Institutes of Health operates a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researching complementary therapies and then recommending proven ones for integration into cancer programs nationwide, including those associated with mesothelioma cancer.

Lately, the ancient form of spiritual healing known as Reiki (pronounced Ray-kee) has earned plenty of attention as a potential complementary therapy for all kinds of cancer, including malignant mesothelioma. Rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, Reiki was “rediscovered” in the early 20th century and became particularly popular in the late 1990s as Reiki Masters began to teach non-Buddhists that life energy flows through all persons, this technique strives to increase the life force energy of a sick individual, therefore helping him achieve better health and happiness.

Like many complementary therapies, Reiki takes a holistic approach – treating mind, body, and spirit – and is safe and natural. Many cancer patients who have tried it note an overall feeling of peace, relaxation, and well-being when the treatment is complete. Totally non-invasive, Reiki therapy involves the laying of hands on the fully-clothed patient by the Reiki practitioner. His/her hands travel through 12 different positions, staying in each place for about 5 minutes for a total of about an hour per treatment. The feeling of invigoration or tranquility results from the fact that Reiki causes the body's molecules to vibrate at a higher intensity, hence, dissolving energy blockages that lead to disharmony and disease, Reiki masters note. This assists in controlling pain, easing stress, or lessening side effects of traditional treatments like chemotherapy, including nausea and other debilitating problems for those battling their mesothelioma prognosis. It is also believed to improve immune function.

With continuous positive reactions from many cancer patients, cancer clinics such as Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center offer Reiki classes for cancer patients, including Sloan Kettering mesothelioma patients on a regular basis as well as in-service classes for their hospital staff. Other well-known hospitals to jump on the Reiki bandwagon include Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Columbia Presbyterian, the Yale Center, and Cancer Treatment Centers of America. The list continues to grow as patients use tools like the internet to advertise their positive reactions to this ancient healing art, enticing others to give it a try.


National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines (

Society for Integrative Oncology (,

The International Center for Reiki Training (

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (