Back in 2015 Rockinghorse agreed to fund Active Lightworks to provide therapists to offer Reiki to children, parents and staff at the Royal Alexandra Children’s hospital.
The project is so well received by the patients, parents and staff that at the end of 2018 Rockinghorse agreed to fund the project for another 2 years. The funding means ALW can continue to provide therapists to give around 1,000 Reiki treatments a year to all those who use and work at the Alex. Ali Walters Royal Alexandra ALW HDU Reiki Project Coordinator said “I’m delighted that we have had our funding from Rockinghorse renewed. Every time we treat we see what a difference it makes” she continued “The therapists and the staff often observe patients having respite from symptoms and drug side effects during a treatment, the parents become more calm and relaxed and the staff get support to help them deal with their busy 12 hour shifts” In 2018 Active Lightworks therapists provided just over 1,100 treatments mostly to patients, with about 20% being for parents and a few for staff.
Observations from Treatments
The most commonly reported observation of children during after a treatment is that they relax and or become calm. Often the children fall asleep, if they don’t fall asleep there can be lots of yawns, they might experience a reduction in pain. Their breathing may deepen or if they are already asleep they fall into a deeper sleep. We get smiles, good eye contact, and the children seem happier at the end of a treatment even waving goodbye to us.
We find that during or after treatments there can be an improvement in heart rate and breathing, the child’s colour, more secretions of for example catarrh or bowel activity. With young children it is difficult to identify if the treatment has helped with pain or discomfort. However, we do notice that the children can become more comfortable and this may be an indication that pain has been eased during treatment.
Another indication that Reiki helps with discomfort is the calming effect it has while a procedure is being carried out. If it is appropriate or requested we do carry out treatments while procedures such as blood samples are being carried out. It isn’t always the case, as these things are very upsetting for the children, but we do notice that they can be calmer or less reactive if a Reiki treatment is being carried out while the procedure is taking place.
The majority of the children we treat are babies or under 5. However around 4% of our treatments in the second half of 2018 were for teenagers. Often these patients are in for injuries or have complex needs, however there have been a few occasions when we’ve treated troubled teenagers (eating disorders, self harming, attempted suicide). The Reiki treatments in these cases have seemed to help them relax, calm and in one case encouraged eating. Not every child wants to receive Reiki and the therapists are sensitive to this, even with the very young children.
Reported comments (July-December 2018) from parents/patients
Child - After a treatment a child was noticed placing her hands on her toy when the therapist gently asked her what she was doing she replied “ I am giving her a sandwich of Love, just like you did to me.”
Mother on being asked if she wanted a treatment for her child "Yes please, it made such a difference last time"
Child - "feels really nice - definitely more relaxed there"
Child - "wow, I can feel myself relaxing - it's weird!"
Mother about the effect of a Reiki treatment on her child, "Not himself today - you calm him down"
Parent on the effect of a treatment on their child - "You certainly calmed her down”
Parent - "A really great service both my son and myself really benefit from."
From a parents perspective.
Having a child in hospital is such a traumatic event for parents . Post Paediatric Critical Care admission the incidence of Post-traumatic Stress symptoms in parents has been measured to be 50%. (Colville G., Pierce C. Intensive Care Med 2012; 38:1523–1531 DOI 10.1007/s00134-012-2612-2).
Currently the Royal Alexandra has very limited ways to address this. The cost to society of unmanaged parental Anxiety & Depression is very significant. However, therapists often notice during treatment that parents do relax, sometimes fall asleep and feel relief from stress, tension and anxiety. They are often surprised and grateful that such a service is available whilst their child is undergoing hospital treatment. For parents with children who are in and out of hospital it is extra support. It is also something many of them benefit from during their stays, which may not be available to them outside of the hospital.
From a staff perspective
Staff don’t have much time to spare to be able to have Reiki treatments however, we do treat some staff and student Doctors. They too report feeling more relaxed, ease from pain and discomfort and clearer in their thinking.
Reports from Staff (July-December 2018) after treatments
Student Doctor "Weird, I felt heat and really relaxed." He recommended his colleagues to try it.
Admin staff later on she reported back saying the she had no more pain.
Nursing staff, “Very relaxing”
Nursing staff she said her mind never, ever stops thinking but throughout Reiki she did not have a thought.
Student Doctor. She commented on my warm hands and on how incredible it is to have this service at the hospital.
Our initial funding from Rockinghorse was for 3 years and this was due to finish at the end of 2018. Due to the success and value of the project we put another bid in to Rockinghorse for a further 2 years of funding and this was granted back in November.
We are grateful to Rockinghorse for their on-going support of this project and the funding allows us to continue to give 35 hours of treatment per month which we are currently staffing with 4 therapists.