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Reiki for Alzheimer’s Patients

Article by Angie Webster

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that slowly destroys the memory and thought processes. It accounts for 60-80 percent of all dementia cases, according to www.alz.org. Those with Alzheimer’s become very agitated, anxious and depressed over time, as they begin to lose their ability to perform the simplest of tasks or recall the names of loved ones or common items in their homes and their lives.

According to the Alzheimer’s fact sheet on the National Institute on Aging website, in an Alzheimer’s patient, the brain seems to have damage that slowly spreads. The neurons cease to function normally and communicate with each other, slowly dying until there are few left. In the late stages, the patient is unable to communicate and much of their body may be unable to function.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information has published a study through PubMed.gov that was done in regard to using Reiki to decrease the memory and behavior problems with mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer’s disease. The study was done at the Pleasant Point Health Center on the Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation with 24 participants ranging from 60 to 80 years old. 67% were female, 46% were Native American Indian, the rest were white.

Half of the participants were given Reiki once a week by two Reiki Masters for four weeks. The other half were not given Reiki. Before the study began, all the participants were given two tests that measure their mental state, memory and behavior. They were all given these same tests again after the four week study.

Those who had received Reiki for four weeks showed “statistically significant” improvement in their scores for mental functioning, memory, and behavior. Those who did not receive Reiki showed no improvement. While more research would be helpful, since Reiki is so helpful to reduce stress, depression and anxiety, this can only be a useful tool in the care of those with Alzheimer’s disease.

When someone begins to show signs of any kind of distress, even in the earliest stages of illness, it seems like the kindest thing to offer them is Reiki. If they are not able to communicate or offer their consent, perhaps simply placing your hands on their shoulders gently or holding their hand, touching them in whatever manner they will allow and letting the Reiki flow is an option. This may be such a soothing relief to them, even though they are unable to voice their appreciation for it.

Caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s is truly heart breaking and very stressful. Reiki can be a great relief to them as well, both in seeing the relief it provides to their loved one and in receiving Reiki for themselves. They can both give and receive Reiki, particularly if they are attuned and can do treatments themselves.

I read a touching story of a woman who saw the relief pour through her Alzheimer’s afflicted mother for the first time as she gave her Reiki during a visit after she became attuned. She said she felt that in giving her mother the help of Reiki, and visually seeing the dramatic difference it made for her, she was also helped.

As with most chronic illnesses, an idea to consider is the option of having at least one person in the family receive Reiki training to support both the person who is ill and the caregivers, as well. When you have this, Reiki is always at your fingertips, night and day, forever after. This can make a tremendous difference in how well the illness is handled: the stress level, discomfort, anxiety and depression. Even when the illness itself doesn’t dramatically improve, simply easing these factors makes life much more comfortable and healthier for the entire family.

Of course, with or without that option, there is much to be said for asking for help now and then! Even if you are already attuned, there is no shame in asking another Reiki professional or volunteer to offer you or your loved one a Reiki treatment once in awhile, if that is an option. Allow the healing to come to you in whatever manner is appropriate for you and your family.

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Angie Webster
Angie Webster

Angie Webster is a Reiki Master, Teacher, and Author. Angie’s primary focus is animal Reiki, which she adores. She teaches online classes on energy healing, flower essences, herbalism, and personal growth. Angie often works with nature healing and Earth healing, hoping to better understand our connection with Mother Earth. Angie is the author of Animal Reiki: How it Heals, Teaches & Reconnects Us with Nature and Reiki from A to Z. You can follow her at: angie-webster-healing.teachable.com and on Facebook (facebook.com/angiewebsterhealing).

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • wendy January 28, 2015, 11:04 pm

    My boyfriend ives with a brain injury and ive been considering finding someone to do reiki on him. He has memory issues,balance,difficulty walking and shakes like he has Parkinson disease. We have tried everything dpctors have suggested and feel hopeless. Could this be thevtreatment he desperately needs?

  • Angie Webster January 28, 2015, 11:57 pm

    Wendy, Yes, I think Reiki could certainly help him in conjunction with his medical care. I have also looked into the research on the benefits of Reiki and energy healing on other neurological issues, such as epilepsy, and the results show that it is helpful. Hopefully more studies will be done in the future, but until then, it doesn’t hurt anything to try it. At the very least, it will be calming and help with coping with any difficulties, but there is every possibility that it will do more. I would suggest that he have continued treatment over a period of time. One treatment is unlikely to do very much more in the long term. His practitioner can make suggestions for how many treatments and how they should be spaced. The two of you may wish to consider one or both of you becoming attuned to the first level of Reiki, if the treatments seem to be helping. That way you could have the wonderful tool of Reiki available any time you need it. If he were attuned, he could even treat himself every day, which may help him greatly and even give him back a sense of control in him life that those with chronic illness often feel they have lost. Something to consider in the long term. Sending you both blessings!

  • Susan Zimmer November 25, 2018, 10:37 pm

    I am interested in promoting holistic therapies, such as Reiki, at a Memory
    Care center where my husband is a resident with memory loss due to college football brain trauma. Any suggestions on approaching the administrator with the pursuit of having Reiki in this ALF are appreciated. We are located in Lecanto, West Central Florida.

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