If you’re a reiki practitioner–meaning you’ve had even the most basic reiki training–you know whenever you find yourself in survival mode with no imminent threat, placing a hand to self-practice will soon have you sliding back to the safety of your inner home base. (Placing a hand simply means to use touch for reiki–here’s how to do it.)
Medical science doesn’t know why that shift from fear to safety happens, but preliminary evidence shows the response to reiki practice is pretty predictable. If you feel stressed, your state will quickly improve, and your body will respond by easing itself out of the stress response.
Interestingly, the improvement is more noticeable the more stressed you are (think of hospital patients). And reiki has also shown measurable physiological improvements in breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and heart-rate variability (HRV) in some research. Improving HRV is huge because HRV is a primary indicator of balance. When you’re balanced, your system is resilient, which means you can take a hit and recover–and maybe even be stronger for it.
We documented improvement in HRV after reiki practice when I was teaching at Yale Medical School when we researched reiki practice for patients in the cardiac ICU. The study looked at the short-term autonomic effects of reiki in immediate post-acute coronary syndrome inpatients, with reiki administered by nurses found to significantly increase vagal activity compared with resting and music control conditions.
Improving HRV is critical to surviving another heart attack when people have had one in the past 72 hours. Our research correspondence, published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the American College of Cardiology, showed improvement in HRV comparable to beta-blockers, without any unwanted side effects or complications.
That’s good news for heart patients, but it’s also good news for you. Given that HRV is an indication of resilience in your system, keeping HRV optimized means keeping your system purring. When your resilience is high, you take life in stride, with your creativity and creative problem-solving literally at your fingertips.