Health Alert:

See the latest Coronavirus Information including testing sites, visitation restrictions, appointments and scheduling, and more.

Reiki for Cancer Patients

reiki for cancer patients

Kimberly Fleisher, MEd and Reiki master, is the founder and director of The Reiki School + Clinic in Philadelphia. She has been practicing Reiki since 1995.  Kim specializes in Reiki education, particularly in the healthcare field and is the team leader for Penn Medicine's Volunteer Reiki Program, providing Reiki sessions to patients receiving cancer treatments.

For patients undergoing treatment for cancer, the stress can be overwhelming. Finding tools that help you stay calm are invaluable.

Reiki is a gentle therapeutic practice that originates in Japan. Reiki is facilitated through light touch and is an easy addition to most medical treatments to help many cancer patients handle the stress of cancer treatment.

If you or someone you love is receiving cancer treatment at Penn, you may be eligible to receive free Reiki sessions through the volunteer Reiki program.

Here are five ways Reiki practice can help reduce stress during cancer treatment:

Reiki sessions are balancing.

After receiving a Reiki session, it’s not uncommon for the recipient to say, “I feel like myself again.”

Reiki creates an opportunity for patients to restore inner harmony and a sense of connection with their inner selves that might seem lost during the whirlwind of cancer treatment.

One cancer patient recently remarked after a session “…it connected me to a place inside myself that I forgot all about.”

Reiki sessions create a space for you to slow down and relax.

During a Reiki session, patients sit comfortably or lie down while the practitioner places their hands gently on or right above different areas on the body for several minutes at a time. During a Reiki a session, there is nothing that a patient has to do. It’s a space for the patient to rest, and to focus on their well being.

Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh often refers to the importance of stopping as a way to cultivate inner healing:

“At first, ’stopping’ may look like a kind of resistance to modern life, but it is not... Humankind's survival depends on our ability to stop rushing. Stopping is not only to stop the negative, but to allow positive healing to take place.”

Reiki sessions are nurturing.

How often do you allow yourself the space to be cared for? During a session, patients are totally immersed in the experience of care through the light touch of the practitioner’s hands.

Most people report that sessions are very soothing and supportive. Whether someone learns Reiki practice to treat him or herself, or receives a session from a trained practitioner, the time spent practicing Reiki creates a nourishing space for healing.

A patient noted: “It had a very calming effect on me. I could actually feel my body relaxing. I was able to let go of a lot of my anxiety.”

Reiki sessions are non-invasive.

Reiki is a completely non-manipulative and non-diagnostic adjunct to conventional care. A practitioner doesn’t press, poke or ask a patient to ingest something. They don’t talk about cancer, or how to fix cancer.  They don’t need to know specific information about your cancer treatment, or any other thing that’s going on with you, and they won’t touch you anywhere where you don’t like to be touched.

A Reiki practitioner simply places their hands on or slightly above your body in spots where you are comfortable being touched and they allow the session to unfold naturally.

Reiki sessions promote well being while giving patients the opportunity to be completely in control of the session, empowered to receive only what feels good to them.

Reiki sessions can help with sleep and restoration.

Most people know that rest and sleep are critical components for allowing the body to heal. One of the most commonly reported benefits heard from clients is that Reiki sessions help them sleep better.

People often find Reiki sessions restorative and rejuvenating. When you sleep better and feel rested, you feel better in general and are then more capable of dealing with life’s stressors. If you are interested in receiving a Reiki session while receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment at the Abramson Cancer Center, please notify your nurse.

Penn's Abramson Cancer Center is a national cancer center in Philadelphia providing comprehensive cancer treatment, clinical trials for cancer and is a cancer research center. The National Cancer Institute has designated the Abramson Cancer Center a Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only 40 such cancer centers in the United States.

About This Blog

The Focus on Cancer blog discusses a variety of cancer-related topics, including treatment advances, research efforts and clinical trials, nutrition, support groups, survivorship and patient stories.

Blog Archives


Author Archives