As for my feelings on spiritual/non-medical healing/treatments, chiropractic was my gateway drug, I think. In the early days of her life, my daughter not only didn't sleep through the night, she would wake up screaming for hours at a time. I absolutely honestly don't have any idea what was going on beyond that it might or might not have been related to her (hypotonic) CP. I'd nurse her and rock her and my husband would carry her around and eventually she'd go back to sleep. Her pediatrician didn't really see anything specific going on. I ran into someone on the playground one day who suggested a specific chiropractic office locally that worked with children - it was something I'd considered already, I just hadn't had time to fully explore my options (isn't that always the way when you have a special needs kid? "This sounds good - I'll add it to the list...") so I took her up on her suggestion. It did help, and after a few sessions just for my kid I stepped in and started getting adjusted as well. Long story short (another entry for another day perhaps?) we eventually stopped taking my daughter for a variety of reasons, and I took a break, but I'm back to getting adjusted when I can - and I see and feel the results.
From there, I started getting interested in Reiki. My dear friend Dana has her own Reiki (and reflexology and life coaching) practice and so I experienced a few Reiki treatments from her and also took my daughter for a few. I absolutely saw results with my daughter and felt results for myself despite not fully understanding how I could when all Dana was doing was placing her hands lightly on me - or not touching me at all. Yet I felt hot, I felt cold, and I felt relief from various ailments.
Two specific stories of how Reiki helped me and my daughter:
- My daughter was having a playdate with Dana's daughter and freaked out completely into a tantrum of epic proportions. I held my daughter in my arms and tried in vain to calm her - and then suddenly, as if a switch had flipped, she stopped crying. I looked over and Dana had rested her hand lightly on the small of my daughter's back. That's all it took.
- My undereye muscle was spasming for two weeks. Dana suggested a Reiki treatment and I thought, well, I'm not sure what a medical doctor could really do for me at this stage and this can't hurt, why not. Well after a single 30-40 minute Reiki treatment, my eye stopped twitching. Just like that.
As I learned a bit more, superficially, about Reiki, I discovered that it was something I could learn to do myself for me - and for my daughter and my husband and our cats and our friends and family - with just a (relatively) short class that Dana taught. (As in, not months or weeks, but days. Hours even.) Teach a man to fish...right? So I saved up every dollar I made from my button/jewelry business for several months and eventually I had enough to take the class with Dana. (Note: It's actually a very reasonably priced course, but I had to shove it into an already bursting budget so that's why I took it slowly with the saving up.)
The class was split into two parts - three hours on a Friday night, eight hours on a Saturday. And it was simply incredible. Every time during the 11 hours that my skeptic voice would start to whisper, the experience I was having would roar loudly back at it. I received four Reiju and with each I felt...something indescribable happening to my body, mind, and soul. I learned the full history of Reiki and of Komyo Reiki Kai (the style I was taught). I was able to practice on myself and on my classmates - seated and on a table. By the end of the course I felt confident that I could share this new gift with the world.
When I give or receive Reiki, I almost always start off by thinking "nothing is happening..." and then moments later I feel it. My hands and arms feel hot or cold or just buzzing with energy. I usually get hot flashes throughout my body and I almost always end with a sweep of cold. And then, whether I've given or received, I feel better. I feel more peaceful. Aches and pains fade to the background or sometimes disappear completely. When my daughter is the subject, she calms. I tried it on both of my cats - the cuddly, snuggly cat purred and licked my arm (he never licks me), while the standoffish yet loving cat sat still and let me place my hands on him for longer than usual (he has a bad back leg from an injury as a kitten and I'm really hoping I can give him some comfort). My classmates say my hands felt cold or hot depending on where and how I was placing them - yet my hands don't change temperature at all. I love it.
This post is me trying to make sense of this mystical Japanese energy healing art that still, sometimes, appears to me as nothing more than one person putting hands on another. Yet don't most people crave more touch in their lives? If the simple act of the touch is all that comforts someone, that's fine and logical to me. But it definitely feels to me like more. Like energy is moving and helping and reaching out for healing.
Dana explains Reiki better than I ever could. She's an incredible teacher and if you are in the Atlanta area and you're either seeking a Reiki treatment or you want to learn to do it yourself, I would not hesitate to recommend her services.
So now I am certified in the Shoden level of Komyo Reiki Kai. (I plan to take Chuden sometime in 2013.) I hope it can help my family to heal however we need healing. I personally believe - ME and NOBODY ELSE saying this and based on NOTHING BUT my own individual experience - that if you have a special needs child, you might want to look into Reiki and, if you have the time and money, you might even want to learn to do it yourself both for you as a caregiver (it helps with anxiety and stress...two things I have more than enough of...) and for your child. There are no known contraindications or negative side effects to Reiki that I've heard of/seen/been told about, and it can be shared with someone in a wheelchair or on a bed - the receiver doesn't have to concentrate or even actively participate (though s/he *can* push the giver's hands away or move away if necessary - my kid does both - she likes to put my hands on her head), the giver doesn't have to go into a meditative state or do anything particularly special or have any special equipment (I may or may not yammer through both giving and receiving Reiki, ahem - it still works). Worst case, it does nothing, right? But best case, it can calm and help the body to heal (although it isn't going to, say, magically cure my daughter's CP - nothing is ever ever ever going to do that, I truly believe it can help her body work to its full potential). Maybe just add it to your list of "Hey, worth a try!" things - my own personal list is a mile long.