Reiki for Panic Disorder

An Overview of Reiki

Woman receiving reiki treatment from masseur
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Panic disorder is characterized by frequent anxiety, worry, and panic attacks. This mental health condition is typically treated using a combination of psychotherapy and prescription medication. In recent years, panic and anxiety suffers are increasingly turning to less conventional treatment options, called complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), to assist in coping with the symptoms of panic disorder.

Some common types of CAM include aromatherapy, acupuncture, and hypnotherapy. Reiki is also a form of CAM that has continued to grow in popularity for the treatment of stress and anxiety. The following provides an overview of Reiki, including what to expect during a Reiki session.

What is Reiki?

Reiki is a healing method that originally developed in the early 20th century by Japanese Buddhist, Mikao Usui. The term Reiki is translated to mean “universal life energy.” The main concept of this technique is based on the notion that all humans are made up of energy. However, sometimes this energy becomes blocked, which leads to both medical and mental health issues. A person who is trained in this method, called a Reiki Master, can bring back equilibrium through the use of his or her own life energy.

The healing process of Reiki occurs when a Reiki Master transfers energy through the palms of the hands.

By laying on of hands or applying therapeutic touch, a Reiki Master uses his or her own energy to bring back homeostasis to where it is needed on the client. Reiki is derived from a holistic healing system, claiming that the mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected and influencing each other. Reiki works by balancing energy throughout a person, making it flow the way it needs to for optimal health and wellness.

Additionally, the Reiki process may be able to assist in treating panic disorder symptoms by clearing emotional blocks, reducing worry and stress, and decreasing feelings of nervousness.

How Do Reiki Sessions Work?

Reiki sessions are similar to therapeutic massage in that you begin by lying down on a table or couch. You will remain fully clothed, with the exception of heavy jewelry, shoes, or restrictive clothing. When scheduling a session, the practitioner will typically remind the client to dress comfortably. While lying down, the Reiki Master may cover you in a blanket for your additional comfort. To create an inviting and relaxing environment, the room may be dimly lit while soft and peaceful music plays in the background.

During the session, the practitioner may softly place his or her hands on your body in various energy areas. Some Reiki Masters prefer to keep their hands just above areas of energy without actually touching your body. The Reiki Master will remain still in each position for at least several minutes before moving on to the next area.

The practitioner may stay longer or return to certain areas where more clearing and attention are needed. The session is typically about an hour long and you should leave feeling deeply calm and relaxed.

Getting Reiki Treatments

Reiki continues to grow in popularity, however, there some important considerations to take in mind when seeking this treatment option. First, Reiki practitioners are only required to complete several short trainings before being considered a Reiki Master. Second, Reiki practitioners are not regulated by a licensing or accreditation board, which makes it difficult to determine who is qualified to perform this technique. Last, and importantly, although there are anecdotal reports about its use, there is not a lot of scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of Reiki in medical and mental health conditions. Initial research data is promising, but further clinical studies are needed.

If you are interested in receiving Reiki treatments, seek out a practitioner that is experienced and able to provide you with client recommendations. Practitioners are often offering their services through hospitals, spas, yoga studios, and wellness centers. Reiki Masters can also be located online through directories, such as the International Association of Reiki Professionals (IARP).

Keep in mind that Reiki Masters cannot diagnosis your condition. If you are experiencing the symptoms of panic disorder, seek out the assistance of your doctor or qualified mental health specialist. Your doctor or therapist will be able to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. He or she will also be able to help you determine if Reiki is a fitting treatment option for your particular needs.


John Hopkins Medicine. Reiki. Accessed on November 20, 2012.

Shore, A. D. (2004). Long-Term Effects of Energetic Healing on Symptoms of Psychological Depression and Self-Perceived Stress. Alternative Therapies, 10(3), 42-48.

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