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Reiki and PTSD

PTSD is an individualised experience which has ramifications for the family as well as the community. It is an injury of the soul and the spirit of the person. Reiki can calm and restore the spirit and frequently brings healing to old, buried wounds. It is used to complement mainstream therapies.

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About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

In 1980 the American Psychiatric Association, the main organisation of psychiatrists in the USA added PTSD to DSM classification (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorder). The DSM is the standard    classification of mental health disorders for mental health professionals in the USA

In a nutshell, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is described by the DSM as:

•   A debilitating anxiety disorder that occurs after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event that involves either a real or perceived threat of injury or death. This can include a natural disaster, combat, an assault,   physical or sexual abuse, or other trauma.

•   PTSD sufferers have a heightened sense of danger and impending doom. Their natural “fight or flight response” is damaged, causing them to feel stressed or fearful even in safe situations.

•    Once called “shell shock” or “battle fatigue,” PTSD has recently received more public attention because of the high number of war veterans who have the disorder. However, PTSD can happen to anyone at any age. PTSD occurs as a response to chemical changes in the brain and is not the result of a character flaw or weakness.

We have seen a rise in the number of Children suffering from PTSD as a result of the Covid epidemic.


Symptoms of PTSD

The most common symptoms of PTSD as described by people with its diagnosis are:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks; nightmares; obsessive thoughts (they can see, hear, smell, taste things that seem real) 

  • Insomnia; nightmares

  • Intrusive thoughts – thoughts that are unwanted, feel uncontrollable, and often pertain to disturbing or distressing themes

  • Concentration problems

  • Numbness; depression

  • Feelings of estrangement from others; feeling or wanting to be alone

  • Hypervigilance – always being on alert; always ready to fight or do battle

  • Sudden startling

  • Irritability; anger; panic

  • Shame; guilt (survivors’ guilt)

  • Avoidance of situations, people/objects that remind them of event

  • ¨ Increased anxiety in general


The condition is intricate and deeply personal: the treatment options are varied: medication, exposure therapy, eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing therapy, massage, Reiki and others.

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Efficacy of Reiki

1. In 2014, a multi-year study demonstrated that USA soldiers who engaged in a 3-week multi-modal     program (including Reiki) in complementary and alternative medicine (officially called the “Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program”) showed very significant improvements in PTSD symptoms, depression, and anxiety .

2. In 2001, an experienced nurse and therapist found positive results when applying Reiki healing to survivors of torture in Sarajevo.

3. In 2012, a renowned doctor of internal medicine and clinical instructor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine published a report of her 30+ years of using Reiki and Therapeutic Touch on her patients, including those with PTSD, with great results.

4. In 2013, a clinical nurse published her findings on various patients she had treated with   Reiki, one of which was a woman suffering from severe PTSD and panic attacks, who was able to reduce her medication and manage her anxiety on her own after just a few sessions.

5. In 2014, a paper was published outlining the use of Reiki and other complementary practices by traditional healers in rural Guatemala to alleviate PTSD in their communities, to great success.

Further Study

If you were to do a detailed search in the medical and scientific community about the healing effects of Reiki, you will find quite a few papers and reports, and if you are truly curious, I highly recommend you get reading!


Even to those who don’t fully understand how Reiki works, the positive effects are undeniable, and when you combine those with the complete  safety (no side effects!) of this type of treatment, it’s no wonder that more and more people with PTSD are seeking Reiki practitioners to help with their treatment.

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