Reiki for Palliative Care
Helping a dying loved one on their journey (transition)
Reiki is a subtle and profound method and often transmits a feeling of security, deep letting go and a connection with the ‘bigger whole’. It is a simple form of accompaniment, processing and also pain therapy for body and mind.
Reiki can heal old emotional wounds and bring as much harmony to family members and loved ones as to the dying person.
Please note the following points if you would like to support a dying person with Reiki in the dying process-and in the days and weeks before.
Trust throughout the treatment your intuition where to give Reiki and for how long. The treatment procedure given here can be adjusted. Also, not all hand positions need to be applied sequentially. Usually the hands stay between 3-5 minutes in each hand position (or longer).
1. Begin with the Heart Chakra
At the beginning you ask – or you are asked – if you can give Reiki to the person and also where to apply it. If you have permission to give Reiki directly, start by placing your hands on the middle of the chest (the heart chakra). This helps the heart to let go of this life and to greet the transition.
2. Solar Plexus
Then place your hands on the lower part of the ribcage (over the ribs), the fingers touch in the middle; you treat the solar plexus. This position promotes relaxation, reduces fears and gives energy.
3. The Head
All Reiki head positions are suitable for treatment; but I recommend these two positions.
a) Put your hands above the ears on the sides of the temples, the palms adapt to the shape of the head. This position harmonizes both hemispheres of the brain, relieves stress, restlessness and calms the mind.
b) Place both hands (from the back) on the back of the head with the fingertips resting on the ‘medulla oblongata’ (an energy point) and the bone of the back of head (at the join between head and neck). This position conveys a sense of security, calming the mind and strong emotions such as fear and shock.
4. The Body
You can also give all body parts Reiki, where the receiving person has the most complaints or pain. Either ask the receiving person or decide for yourself where to lay your hands and for how long.
5. Legs, Knees and Feet
Hold your hands over the legs and treat both knees and feet of the receiving person. In the knees, we often hold energy and fears, especially the fear of dying. Receiving Reiki in these areas helps the dying person to let go and to trust.
6. Full Reiki Treatment
Also feel free to give a full Reiki treatment, especially in the days before the final transition. If the person is ill, you can release some of the pain.
If you cannot touch properly, because of the space and surroundings, then hold the hand of the receiving person and show her that she is loved and appreciated.
It is important that you give your dying relatives or friends all your love and then let them go.
Tell them not to worry, let them die in peace and give them the feeling of being loved.
Note: Sometimes it is better to give Distant Reiki* depending on the conditions, surroundings and if the person wishes to be touched.
One of my Reiki students shares about her experiences during the transition (death) of her father. She decided to give Reiki without touching (Distant Reiki).
“I wanted so much to give my father Reiki when he felt worse or when he was already in the dying process. We were lucky that he could be home until the end. But I realized that he did not want to or the energy did not flow when I lay my hands on or just held his hand. He was at peace with himself and I felt that the Reiki energy had disturbed him.
At first it confused me that no Reiki energy was flowing while touching. It used to work very well with my dad before. But it was his decision and of course I respected that. And since he was calm and was not afraid, that was perfectly fine for me.
I respected his wish not wanting to be touched and started to give remote Reiki without directly touching (Distant Reiki). However, when I sat next to his bed and gave remote Reiki and the reiki energy was flowing. But I was a bit contained, because I had the feeling before, he would not like it so much.
He was not afraid of dying either. When he left, he once again opened his eyes and looked into the distance with a surprised expression. Then, with his last breath, he closed his eyes gently, as if he quietly shut the door behind him.”
Monika G. (Reiki Master)
*Distant Reiki for terminal care, see my book: “Reiki for Emotional Healing”, page 139