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 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).