Article by Angie Webster
One of the greatest benefits of Reiki is that is allows us to quickly shift into the rest and restore mode. This is the opposite of the fight or flight mode. Fight or flight mode is that state that causes us to tense up, tighten our muscles, sends our heart racing, our adrenaline pumping and slows our digestion to a near stop. It is an automatic response to fear, anger or any negative emotion. It helps keep us safe and prepared to protect or defend ourselves. It is the mechanism that prompts us to find food or seek shelter, or to release our grief after a loss. Both modes are perfectly normal and natural ways of being. We could not stay alive without the fight or flight mode, though it gets a lot of negative press. It is simply a chemical response to external or emotional states. It informs our body what it may need to prepare for.
Rest and restore mode is our response to pleasant emotional states and external situations. Most of us don’t experience as many of these states as we do the opposite. In fact, our brain is programmed to pay more attention to the ones that are negative, responding more strongly to those and making more of a “mental note” about them. Neuroscientist Rick Hanson has studied this and says the brain is “like Velcro for negative experiences and Teflon for positive ones”. Rest and restore mode is when our body and mind begin relaxing everything and returning our heart rate and adrenaline to a balanced and regular rate. Our digestion is restored. Lung function returns to normal. We release “feel good” chemicals into the system. The entire immune system begins repairing the body and the brain begins restoring a more peaceful and balanced sense of clarity. Our body works to repair itself in this state. Sounds wonderful, right?
Yet, we don’t get to return to rest and restore very often. And when we do it isn’t for long enough to fully repair the damage that is done during all the time we are in fight or flight mode. And then there is the negativity bias of the brain, which is there to keep us safe by keeping us more focused on the “bad” things or the dangers than on the positive things that may have actually happened. So in order to overcome this and stay healthy, we have to intentionally seek balance. We can do this through energy healing, like Reiki, getting enough rest, and through meditation, breath work or exercise. We can also make an intentional practice of noticing and appreciating the things that happen that are positive in our lives.
Reiki very quickly takes us into the rest and restore mode and allows our system to stay there and work to repair itself. It also allows that work to continue for a period after the session. Once this repair and balancing has begun, it is easier to maintain. Continued Reiki on a periodic basis that makes sense for you and your situation, and/or Reiki training so that you can give yourself regular Reiki will help you to continue to return to the rest and restore mode often for continued healing.
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).