NEW CANAAN, Conn. -- Waveny LifeCare Network’s entire therapeutic recreation team recently completed a hands-on-healing training program to receive first-level certification in Reiki, a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation.
Administered by laying on hands, practitioners say Reiki helps to re-balance the “life force” energy field to facilitate mental well-being and emotional stability, as well as promote the body’s natural ability to heal itself. Unlike massage, Reiki does not involve physical manipulation. Whereas seniors with dementia can become frightened and restless, angry or agitated, Reiki helps to soothe and deeply relax them.
“Seniors who are agitated or stressed often find Reiki calming,” said Lauren Elker, Waveny’s director of Therapeutic Recreation, who oversees Waveny’s therapeutic programming and activities, and works closely with many of Waveny’s residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of memory loss.
“Reiki is a tool that provides touch as a nutrient to seniors,” said volunteer, Elli Kirk, who led Waveny’s staff training. “Older adults are often touch-deprived, and it helps them to re-connect to their world.”
This initiative complements Waveny’s holistic Healing Touch program, which has been offered across the Waveny’s continuum of care for several years. Healing Touch’s soothing techniques have been adopted around the world and are endorsed by the American Holistic Nurses Association. Research shows that in addition to inducing deep relaxation, Healing Touch can help to reduce pain, decrease anxiety, tension and stress, accelerate wound healing, promote sleep, and improve a general sense of well-being.
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