What Is Reiki Therapy, Reflexology and Guided Imagery, and Will They Help Me Relax?

Question: What is Reiki therapy, reflexology, and guided imagery and will they help me relax?

Answer: Reiki, reflexology, guided imagery, are all complementary therapies. Reiki is - a considered a manual healing method as well as an energy modality, and the practitioner holds their hands over or on the head, the neck, shoulders, abdomen, other parts of the body, usually for about five minutes in each area. The practitioner is actually a conduit for the energy. Reiki means universal energy, so it's energy from the universe.

Reflexology looks at the hands and the feet as the windows to the body. And, for example, what reflexology -- when a reflexologist looks at the soles of the feet, they actually see the entire body. There are reflex areas on the feet that tell us about that. Now, reflexology is not a foot massage. It's purposeful movement called bites and you walk across the foot; and areas of tenderness tell us information, give us information, about that person. And some people find that if they don't like massage, don't like touch, that the foot is a good place to do that -- or the hand -- that they can tolerate that and they find it helpful.

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Guided imagery is more of a mind-body modality, where you're using imagery to help you think positive thoughts, kind of get control, relax. Interestingly, people will sometimes say, "I don't want to do guided imagery. I don't think I can conjure up an image." But what we usually say is if you can worry, you can do guided imagery. So, anyone who has ever worried -- because that's what they're doing is conjuring up an image and then thinking about it -- in this case we would conjure it up in a positive way. Patients who are angry, who are upset, who are stressed, find that they can take the image that keeps coming to them that's negative and turn it around into a positive, and that sometimes actually preserves their energy.

Each of these modalities has something to offer if it's meaningful to the person who's using them, and so it's important to identify not just the therapy but the proper practitioner for you.

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