The grieving process is never easy, no matter the circumstances around a loved one’s death. Emotions like shock, sadness, anger, and loneliness can feel overwhelming after suffering a loss. While time helps heal wounds, the journey through bereavement often needs extra support. This is where a holistic therapy like Reiki can provide comfort and restoration.
Reiki is a Japanese healing technique that uses gentle touch to balance the flow of energy in the body. It was developed by Mikao Usui in 1922 as a spiritual practice for stress reduction and relaxation. The word “Reiki” means “universal life force energy.” During a Reiki session, a practitioner places their hands lightly on or over specific parts of the recipient’s body. The aim is to facilitate the flow of Reiki energy to bring harmony and calmness throughout the system.
Reiki has numerous benefits for mental, emotional and physical health. When it comes to grief, Reiki can be an effective complement to therapy or counseling. The soothing energy helps release suppressed emotions, stimulates the mind-body connection, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system. This allows the body to process trauma and loss at a deeper level. Reiki also enhances feelings of nurturing, comfort and inner peace.
What is Grief?
- Grief is the normal response to any loss or significant change in life. It involves both emotional pain and a period of adjustment.
- The grieving process involves common stages, though not everyone will experience every stage or move through them linearly:
1. Denial – Refusing to accept the loss has occurred
2. Anger – Lashing out emotionally at the situation or loss
3. Bargaining – Trying to negotiate to change or reverse the loss
4. Depression – Feeling intense sadness and withdrawal
5. Acceptance – Coming to terms with the reality of the loss
- Grief can manifest both emotionally and physically:
1. Emotional reactions: shock, sadness, guilt, despair, helplessness
2. Physical sensations: hollowness in stomach, tightness in chest/throat, fatigue, muscle weakness
- The intensity of grief often corresponds to the significance of the loss. For example, grieving the death of a spouse or child typically causes more distress than grieving the loss of a distant relative or acquaintance.
- Grieving is a highly personalized process – there is no “normal” timeline or end point. Be patient and compassionate with yourself.
- Unresolved or suppressed grief can lead to complications like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or chronic health issues. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help for grief counseling.
The goal of grieving is not to “get over” the loss, but to find a way to integrate the loss into your life moving forward. With time and active processing, most people can adapt to loss and re-establish emotional balance.
How Reiki Can Help With Grief ?
1. Promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety, sadness, and depression
- Calms the mind and emotions
- Releases suppressed feelings
- Eases muscle tension
- Slows breathing
- Activates parasympathetic nervous system
2. Restores and balances depleted energy
- Grief can be physically and emotionally exhausting
- Reiki recharges and revitalizes the body’s energy
- Helps combat fatigue, brain fog, weakness
3. Assists with acceptance and letting go
- Allows expression of feelings needed for processing
- Encourages mindfulness and presence
- Fosters inner peace and closure
4. Provides comfort through human touch
- Reiki involves gentle, nurturing touch
- Touch releases oxytocin which relieves stress
- Being touched when grieving can be very soothing
5. Establishes mind-body connection
- Integrates emotional and physical healing
- Taps into body’s innate wisdom
- Surfaces unconscious emotions
Reiki works holistically to heal the bereavement process by bringing harmony throughout the whole system – mind, body, spirit. It can be a crucial way to receive comfort and care from others during grief.
Reiki Symbols and Practices for Grief
1. Cho Ku Rei (Power Symbol)
- Helps heal emotional and mental suffering
- Cleanses aura and chakras of negative energy
- Removes energy blockages caused by grief
2. Sei He Ki (Emotional/Mental Symbol)
- Aids in resolution of sadness and loss
- Promotes understanding and acceptance
- Allows one to let go and move forward
3. Hon Sha Ze Sho Nen (Distance Symbol)
- Provides comforting connection to lost loved ones
- Sends Reiki energy to past memories in need of healing
- Bridges grief over time or physical distance
4. Hatsurei Ho
- Purifying practice to clear away grief energy
- Uses salt water to dissolve stuck emotions
- Prepares space for healing after loss
5. Mantras or affirmation
- Repeat phrases promoting comfort, closure
- “I am healing” “I feel at peace”
6. Guided meditations
- Help create open and relaxed state
- Often focus on healing from grief
- Noticing and allowing feelings to flow
- Living in the present, not past loss
Self-Reiki Treatment for Grief
- When receiving Reiki from another person is not possible, you can still benefit from self-treatment. Here are some tips:
- Create a relaxing environment. Light candles, play soft music, burn healing aromatherapy oils.
- Ground yourself. Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the floor. Imagine roots extending from your feet into the earth.
- Set your intentions. Focus on allowing Reiki energy to help you process and release grief. You may say a prayer or mantra.
- Use Reiki hand positions on yourself. Place your hands wherever you feel you need healing. Focus on head, heart, and hara positions.
- Try guided meditations designed for grief to accompany the Reiki. Visualize the energy filling and surrounding you.
- Incorporate mindful breathing. Take slow, deep breaths in and out. Allow emotions to flow through you.
- Let yourself feel comforted. Release any negative energy to the earth and take in the positive.
- Close the session by thanking the Reiki energy for supporting your healing from grief. Notice any shifts in your emotional state.
Self-Reiki is a valuable tool for managing grief on your own time. Be patient and listen to your needs at each moment.
Finding a Reiki Practitioner for Grief Support
- Ask potential practitioners about their specific experience helping clients with grief, loss, and bereavement. You want someone well-versed in this area.
- Look for someone who offers private Reiki sessions, touch therapy, and emotional healing sessions. These allow processing grief directly.
- Consider a Reiki Master who also provides counseling or therapy services. They can integrate talk therapy with energy healing.
- Inquire about “grief-specific” Reiki techniques or protocols the practitioner uses. For example, certain hand positions or symbols.
- Ask about incorporating rituals like candle-lighting, chanting, or meditation to honor lost loved ones.
- Evaluate the practitioner’s communication style and comfort discussing death/grief. You want someone compassionate.
- Look for group Reiki sessions or “grief circles” focused on shared healing after loss.
- Research the practitioner’s lineage, training credentials, and philosophy on grief to find the best fit.
- Be open-minded about in-person or remote sessions. Both can provide grief support through Reiki’s energy.
Losing a loved one brings profound sorrow that can be difficult to navigate alone. There is no shortcuts through the grieving process, but support makes the journey more bearable. Reiki provides a holistic way to help manage the myriad emotions that emerge after a major loss. Its healing energy brings comfort, promotes inner peace, and assists with acceptance.
Whether you seek the care of a Reiki practitioner or use self-treatment, Reiki relieves some of the suffering of grief. The gentle touch and grounding energy allow suppressed feelings to surface so you can acknowledge them. Integrating Reiki practices into your bereavement ritual can accelerate emotional and physical healing. With time and care, most people are able to adapt to loss by finding meaning, purpose, and closure. Reiki guides you to restore harmony and reconnect with life even as you honor those you’ve lost. You emerge renewed.
If you or someone close to you has recently experienced major loss, consider exploring Reiki as part of the healing journey. With its therapeutic power, Reiki can make traversing the grieving process a little easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it normal to feel emotional during/after a Reiki session for grief?
Yes, feeling emotional is very normal and even healthy. Reiki helps release suppressed or stuck feelings related to grief. Crying or expressing emotions allows you to process the grief at a deeper level.
How many sessions are needed to manage grief with Reiki?
It depends on the individual and severity of the grief. Acute grief may take 10-12 sessions over several months. For long-term unresolved grief, it can take years with ongoing occasional sessions. Trust your intuition.
What results can I expect from using Reiki for grief?
You may feel more relaxed, lighter emotionally, improved sleep, increased inner peace and closure. Physical symptoms of grief can also be soothed. Emotional healing is gradual, so be patient.
Can Reiki help “old” or unresolved grief?
Yes. Reiki works on cellular memory and energy blocks. Even if you experienced loss years ago, unaddressed grief can resurface. Reiki can help heal grief from any point in your past.