Article by Angie Buxton-King
So what is Reiki / Healing? Every therapist will have their own interpretation of their therapy however I’m happy to share my simplistic view!
“Healers have an understanding that we have a physical body surrounded by an energy field. When we become unwell physically, emotionally or mentally this has an unbalancing effect on our energy field. A healer channels energy through his or her hands and by the gentle placement of hands on the physical body (or just above it) facilitates the rebalancing of the energy field which in turn may ease symptoms physically, mentally and emotionally”.
For 12 years I was employed in London by University College London Hospital (UCLH) as a healer working with cancer patients as part of an integrated holistic package of care. In case you’re wondering; it didn’t matter to them if I was a Reiki Healer or a Spiritual Healer! In 2003 I was promoted to the post of manager/healer of the complementary therapy team, leading the acceptance and development of healing and other complementary therapies within the hospital trust. Since then I have spoken at many medical and holistic conferences at home and abroad and in 2004 my first book the ‘NHS Healer’ was published by Virgin Books.
In 2006 my husband Graham King and I created our charity The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust (SBSHT) to facilitate more healers to work with cancer patients. We are very proud to have funded 26 healers to date at hospitals and Hospices in the UK.
Our charity is happy to fund any suitably qualified healer to work in cancer care and embraces the different modalities of healing i.e. Energy Healers, Reiki Healers and Spiritual Healers.
The labels that we as therapists and training organisations have attributed to healing is the source of much debate and conflict. So much so that I have studiously avoided airing my views on the differences and focused more on the similarities.
Healers do not under any circumstance diagnosis specific medical problems, but aim to treat the individual, with a view to alleviating physical, emotional and spiritual distress.
The similarities for me are that all three named here are based on energy, love and compassion, now who could ague with that! Therefore it follows that the benefits will be the same for all three. In the simplest terms that will be relaxation. What comes from that relaxation though will be many faceted and in my opinion it would be foolish to generalise.
My clinical experience of delivering Reiki and other forms of energy work informs me that the benefits can be seen on many levels, emotional physical and spiritual and if it is meant –on all three.
The experience of personal tragedy has provided me with the will and motivation to spread the belief that Healing can provide a very useful support to people struggling with health issues. Many of us will have the understanding that our emotions can have an impact on our physical self. Think of some of the expressions we use, ’Sick to my stomach’, ’broken hearted’,’ gut churning’, the list is endless. It therefore follows that many people who are out of balance physically, emotionally or mentally may benefit when their energy is balanced by a healer.
It is my personal experience with my late son Sam during his illness (1995-1998) that continues to drive me to help provide a healing service at what I like to call the “coal face”. I left UCLH in 2011 and my focus will continue to be opening doors for other therapists to work within statutory settings.
Working within the NHS as a healer has been extremely fulfilling (when working with patients) and immensely frustrating when dealing with financial managers and HR processes, but nothing I have experienced before or since is as fulfilling as working with someone at the bedside, delivering a therapy that they would otherwise not have thought of using, and seeing the wonderment in their eyes and asking, “When are you coming back?”
In the UK Complementary therapy has come a long way since the House of Lords report in 2000 which placed healing as a complementary therapy in group 2 alongside counselling, reflexology, aromatherapy and massage to name some of the therapies that are commonly used in cancer centres.
In 1995 when my youngest son Sam was seven he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. I already knew quite a bit about the complementary therapies available to cancer patients and more importantly I knew how to provide healing as a therapy –it’s very empowering to be able to do something for yourself and your loved one at a challenging time for the whole family.
Sam died in 1998 aged 10 but I know that the healing he received not only prolonged his life but also made those three years much easier for him to cope with than he would have otherwise and therefore by proxy easier for us as a family.
Since then I have felt very motivated to spread the knowledge that healing is a very beneficial and supportive tool when used alongside conventional medicine.
My clinical experience within the hospital setting allows me to say that the therapy can be used to assist in:
- Anxiety management
- As a pain management strategy
- As a supportive measure through unpleasant and/or painful procedures e.g. lumbar puncture, bone marrow aspirate, liver biopsy
- To reduce chemotherapy/radiotherapy gut disturbance
- To engender a sense of control
- To enhance compliance with treatment regimens
- To enhance coping
- To enhance the immune response
- To improve quality of life
- To increase self-esteem & confidence
- To assist the patient in the dying process
For me it’s all about the patients, and offering them different avenues of support. In the latest UK cancer plan it suggests that appropriate supportive therapies should be available to cancer patients. Unfortunately no money is set aside for this and it isn’t mandatory, therefore supportive therapies are not yet commonly available for cancer patients.
I along with my fellow trustees believe that any future cancer team should include complementary therapies in the package of care but realistically the money may not be available through the NHS budget unless we prove a need first; hence the work of my charity The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust.
I’m keenly aware that both Graham and I need to share the information gathered over the past years working in the NHS to allow other healers the opportunity to develop the skills required to work safely and competently within a statutory setting. To help achieve this we created our unique course for healers: “Healing in Hospitals and Hospices workshop”.
This workshop helps focus the healer’s minds on what it’s really like to work alongside conventional medicine. This has then led on to some healers making the decision that it’s not for them whilst others do go on to achieve their goal of working within healthcare in the NHS. Self knowledge is power!
Alongside my work in the NHS I have always maintained a private practice. As all healers will know, the use of healing is of benefit in many areas of health, most notably in the stress related illness arena and in metal and emotional health. The main physical difference in working privately is that you can take an hour to deliver a treatment and the environment is geared to healing.
Other than that most therapists will be working intuitively as I do at home and in the hospital so the energy and response to the energy will be as varied as it at the hospital bedside. Of course its nice to be able to burn lovely oils, light a candle and have more chance for a conversation that may help the client release, but it is not necessary to have any of these things in place for the session to be beneficial. Patients in both settings report feeling energy moving within their bodies, seeing bright colours and twitching and movement as their energy rebalances.
It is very common for a client to grab hold of my hands and exclaim “Oh but how can they feel cold when I felt such heat?”
There is no ‘one tool fits all’ for healthcare, however my passion is that by providing conventional medicine and Reiki alongside each other we can facilitate the choice for a more holistic path to be taken by the client /patient. I strongly believe we must not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’ but allow people to choose for themselves how they wish to approach their health care.
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Angie Buxton-King is a Reiki Master, Spiritual Healer, Tutor and Director of The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust.
In the past she has been the National Chair of The Doctor Healer Network, The National Federation of Spiritual Healers and a Council member of The College of Medicine representing complementary therapies. Angie is the author of The NHS Healer, published in 2004.
Angie has been the invited ‘key note’ speaker at many medical and holistic conferences in the UK and abroad. She along with her husband Graham have created Training for Reiki & Energy Healing that complies with National Occupation Standards in the UK. They also created their unique, ‘Delivering Complementary Therapy in a Statutory Setting’ and ‘Healing in Hospitals and Hospices Training’ to give healers the necessary skills to work safely and competently in the integrated health field. In 1999 Angie was employed by University College London Hospital (UCLH) to deliver healing to cancer patients as part of an integrated, holistic package of care. In 2003, she was promoted to manager of the complementary therapy team at UCLH, leading the acceptance and development of healing and other complementary therapies within the trust. Angie and her husband, Graham, are founders of The Sam Buxton Sunflower Healing Trust (SBSHT) www.cancertherapies.org.uk which was created in memory of Angie’s son Sam, who was diagnosed in 1995 aged seven with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and who benefited enormously from healing before he died in 1998 aged 10. SBSHT has provided funds to cancer centres within the NHS (26 healers to date) to enable cancer patients to receive healing free of charge at their hospital or hospice bedside when they need support most. If Angie can be of any help in your Healing Journey, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 01502 726 029.