Reiki for Anxiety and Eating Disorders

Holistic therapies are still treated with a degree of mistrust and incredulity by some health professionals, but when it comes to matters of the mind, we all know that extra stress is damaging and relaxation can be really effective as a complimentary treatment. Some improvements in health can even be down to holistic therapies – even if this is simply the work of placebo, surely any improvement is good, no matter what the reason is!

At the end of last year I was going through a very stressful time which had exacerbated my anxiety to breaking point. My mum said she had heard Reiki was good for anxiety and said it had actually helped a friend of hers – so I decided to just give it a go.

I really loved Reiki and it made an instant difference to the way I was feeling, not necessarily physically, but I was most definitely lifted mentally.

What can you expect?

It’s difficult to say exactly what you will get out of the experience ,and they vary from practitioner to practitioner – but my own personal experience of Reiki is that it is so deeply relaxing – like being almost asleep. My practitioner has a heated bed covered with soft, scented towels – so it’s a really multi-sense experience.

Even though its psychological and medical benefit may not be proven, I genuinely believe that Reiki has a significant place in the treatment of mental illness, for nothing else if not its calming qualities. I would really recommend it for anybody with anxiety disorder, depression, body dysmorphia or an eating disorder because for that time you are there, you are in a warm, comfortable bubble and if you are additionally spiritual you feel very safe and protected. Because it’s a non-contact therapy, it’s suitable if you have an eating disorder as obviously massage and acupuncture can be painful and dangerous.

I feel so uplifted and happy when I have had my Reiki, feeling positive as though I could do anything. It’s definitely worth a go!

Tips…

  • Find a good practitioner who you feel completely at ease with – as with any therapy or profession, there will be a select few who aren’t that great or who maybe just aren’t the right fit for you. If you’re not completely at ease with the person doing your Reiki then you won’t relax and you won’t enjoy it, so it is essential. Try to go with someone who has been recommended as I did – then you won’t be as apprehensive and there’s a better chance that person will be a good practitioner.
  • If you don’t like it first time, then don’t give up – try a different person. I did go for hypnotherapy once and the guy told me to ‘be a tree’ and ‘feel my roots’ – frankly I thought it was stupid. I’ve since heard that hypnotherapy isn’t always like that – so sometimes it’s important to give things another go with a different practitioner.
  • You don’t have to spiritual, but it helps. I’m spiritual, but not to any particular degree, and I still love Reiki and embrace it fully when I have it. In fact it’s probably made me more spiritual as a consequence.
  • If you’re not into ‘chakras’ and ‘energy’ and ‘crystals’ that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy and benefit from Reiki – just enjoy the relaxation of it. Reiki works on the principles of energy, Chakras and colour but if you don’t believe in any of that, then simply listen to the music, take in the scents and sounds and take benefit from being lay down in a warm, dark room for an hour. It can work wonders.

What are your experiences of Reiki? I’d love to hear from you if you have tried it!

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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Struggling to access help? Turn to Mind

It’s a well-known fact that urgency (or rather lack of it) is contributing to and exacerbating mental illness in this country. GPs are often clueless as to where to refer their patients, that is if they are able to diagnose or recognise what the issue may be. Lack of understanding of many mental illnesses and stigma, especially surrounding eating disorders, unfortunately appears to still be rife in the NHS as well as in society as a whole.

Not being referred for the help you need makes you feel like you are not being taken seriously. Perhaps you are lying, perhaps you are overreacting? Maybe you aren’t worth the help? Damaging feelings for those who already have a negative mindset.

I don’t believe that bashing the NHS will bring any positive change – that’s not what this article is about. It’s about identifying and sharing other avenues which are open to those suffering who don’t feel they are being listened to or are getting help quickly enough – other avenues which do exist but aren’t always widely known about. Avenues which your GP probably also does not know about – therefore you simply don’t hear about them.

Over 11 years, I’ve tried to access help on the NHS several times. Sometimes it was voluntary and elective, at others it was something that I was compelled to participate in. Each time, I was let down. I decided each time I was poorly that if I was going to feel better I had to do it alone – as I always had done.

At the end of this year, I was under a lot of stress and pressure and my family asked me to go to the GP. I refused because I knew no good would come of that – and a few weeks later someone came back to me and said that a friend at work had been talking about the charity Mind, and how they had helped them. I was sceptical at first, but I agreed to give it a go and called my local Mind. They called me back and arranged a one-to-one with a member of staff who could direct me to the right place for support.

I was so impressed with this service. For the first time, I felt properly listened to, and the staff member I saw completely understood that I felt demoralised and had actually been made to feel worse in the past by not having been taken seriously or receiving the treatment I had urgently needed on several occasions. She was incredibly efficient and printed off a self-referral form there and then (this exists in my borough but obviously may differ depending on which region you live in). I have been recommending Mind to all my friends who have felt let down or who are disgruntled because they are consistently ignored by their GP, or those who are desperate for help and stuck on endless waiting lists for therapy.

If you are struggling to access help through your GP, then I would encourage you to speak to your local branch of Mind. They can listen to you completely impartially, and share with you the local resources which may help you. They may also be able to help you to get referred – so it’s definitely worth a trip. They also run workshops and therapies themselves, so there’s lots of ways in which they can possibly help.

Have you accessed help through Mind?

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Tough Cookie is a blog for support and inspiration during recovery from Anorexia. Eating disorder recovery can be tough – but so are you!

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