Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reiki Byosen for the Physician or Nurse

We have been working with a simple technique to allow non Reiki trained physicians and nurses to be more aware of natural channels. I often feel that as a teacher, the task comes down to helping people to be aware of those things that they already have the natural talent to be aware of if only they "listen" closely to the world around them.

Doctors and Nurses are trained in classical physical examination to "Observation, Palpation, Percussion and Auscultation." It resonates with health care professionals, because we all understand the tendency to rush to auscultation (listening with a stethoscope), and we all know from our training that observation and palpation are classic techniques that matter.

Studies consistently remind us that about 70-80% of accurate diagnosis comes from careful history taking, and that an additional 15-20% comes from observation and physical examination, and yet, laboratory testing - which only accounts for about 10-15% of accurate diagnosis becomes the reference point too often. We sometimes forget that when a lab test does not correlate to the history and physical exam, what is really "going on" - it is often the laboratory which is not correct.

So with student doctors and nurses rounding with us in hospice, we focus on classic physical examination - we focus on observation and palpation prior to auscultation. In fact, in hospice, we so rarely use laboratory testing, that use of our physical examination skill becomes even more important.

Palpation over the pre cordial impulse, the middle of the chest, corresponds to the Heart Chakra. And from the perspective of physical exam there is so much we can appreciate through our hands. Breath sounds and murmurs heard through a stethoscope are "vibrations" - so often they can be "palpated" and we can appreciate heart rate, heart regularity, many murmurs and breath sounds. In dehydrated patients (which hospice patients often are) - often sounds are missed with stethoscopes - but corresponding vibrations can be palpated. Training our hands to be more sensitive is just like training our ear to discriminate more with the stethoscope.

But so often - by spending a little more time observing and in contact with patients, we become aware of more than just the physical vibrations. If nothing else, when we ask patients for permission to examine them (and we always ask permission before touching anyone), the contact and the time spent are important. For people with intuitive tendencies, they often become aware of more of what is actually "happening" to the patient, on a spiritual as well as a physical level.

It is not always easy to integrate "scientific" observations, with intuitive observations happening at the same time. So often, people lock out one or the other thinking the "signal" will be clearer if not "confused" - but in fact with time and practice for an experienced clinician (and of course only a licensed clinician can diagnose) - being holistic and bringing all our sense to bear improves our accuracy. At the least - it improves our contact with our patients at a time when a sense of connection is often what the patient wants, since in hospice, cure is already not scientifically possible.

It is important as a physician to realize what a precious gift our scientific training is, but at the same time respect what Reiki Practioners can accomplish with years of practice - Reiki after all is a healing art form and not a scientific process - and it really cannot be "distilled" in the same way as our "material" observations and tests.

From the Reiki classes i have participated in, I have an awareness of how much talent that some of my teachers and classmates have. One can become a Reiki Master in a relatively short period of time these days, but that is the "beginning" of studying Reiki as a method or process. Several years along, having been trained as teacher in multiple styles, having participated in shares in Japan and Vancouver, Barrie Ontario and in Maryland - having visited Kurama - I can reflect on how early in the Reiki journey I still perceive myself to be.

Integrating holistic care at its best doesn't mean a physician becoming a Sensei, it means physicians opening their minds and hearts to new opportunities, and experienced Reiki practitioners being available to assist as participants in an overall plan of care. This is most evident in Hospice, where Spirituality is so central a part of the mission, where Science alone has failed the patient, and where Hope stems from connection and continuity.

We need to be cautious with certifying "Complementary" methods within the health care professions. "Alternative" pharmaceuticals, minerals and nutritionals certainly can be tested in classic scientific ways, and brought into the mainstream. Art forms such as Music and Reiki touch the spirit, and are skills that having a Health Care degree may not make us more qualified to assess.

I would rather have Musicians judge intonation, and Reiki Sensei who have devoted their lives to Reiki method set standards for Reiki - than those of us who have spent so much time learning anatomy and physiology and pharmacology.

We are all still on a journey of learning more - in acknowledgement of those things which we have yet to learn, we are likely better at what we do for keeping a sense of humility.