What exactly is Reiki?

iStock_000028981874SmallHeard of reiki but not too sure what it is? Read on to discover how this traditional Japanese method of healing works and who it can help.

The word ‘reiki’ translates as ‘universal life energy’. The therapy uses this invisible energy to stimulate the body’s own natural healing processes by facilitating its flow throughout the body.

Reiki is a powerful form of natural hands-on healing of which there are many variations. They all aim to balance the mind, body and spirit and reinforce the body’s natural ability to heal itself at all levels: physical, mental, emotional or spiritual.

A reiki practitioner uses touch or near touch – placing their hands close to the body – to encourage the flow of this energy. They gently place their hands, non-intrusively, on or near the body. In reiki there is no massage or manipulation and they treat the whole person rather than focusing on specific symptoms. The reiki practitioner will typically change the position of their hands several times during treatment, for which patients stay fully clothed.

During their reiki treatment many people say they can feel a flow of energy – a mild tingling, warmth or sometimes coolness – while others say they feel nothing at all.

What can reiki help with?

Reiki is used for a wide range of conditions, including physical problems, mental issues and emotional distress. Reiki is a deeply relaxing therapy and can help to reduce stress, as well as relieving pain and promoting self healing.

Who benefits from reiki treatments?

We all have the potential to find reiki beneficial and it can be used to treat patients of all ages. The therapy is very safe and can by used alongside conventional medical treatments.

We offer reiki treatments with our two reiki masters Dr Robert Maida and Caroline Hulme. Robert studied medicine at St Andrew’s University. He has been practising at the Good Health Centre since 2002, where he offers acupuncture and reiki treatments, sometimes combining the treatments with very powerful effects.

Caroline Hulme has been practising reiki for nearly 10 years, during which time she has offered the therapy both at our practice and our sister company Aesthetic Health, as well as at Wheatfields Hospice and through her own mobile practice.

To make an appointment with Robert or Caroline, call the practice on 0113 237 1173 or click here to request a callback.

Reiki facts

Reiki has been practised since the early 1900s when Japanese Buddhist Mikao Usui (known as Usui Sensei) brought together elements of his own spiritual practices to pioneer the healing method we know today.

A woman called Hawayo Takata (known as Takata Sensei) is credited with bringing reiki to the West during the 1930s.

Reiki is not taught in the normal way of teaching. Rather a reiki master (teacher) passes on the ability to use energy to heal to their students through a number of attunement sessions.

Show your heart some love this Valentine’s Day

shutterstock_129678908Planning to treat the one you love to some flowers or a romantic surprise on Valentine’s Day? Why not show your heart some love too? Keep it strong and you’ll be around for your loved ones a lot longer!

Here are our St Valentine’s inspired tips for taking care of your ticker:

Keep active It’s no secret that exercise strengthens the heart, particularly cardiovascular exercise. We’re not suggesting you hit the gym every day or start training for a marathon; anything that gets you slightly out of breath – so that you find it difficult to carry on a conversation – is good. The recommendation is that we aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity each week – that could be 30 minutes a day over five days. Swimming or brisk walking is ideal.

Know your numbers High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease or stroke.  Get your blood pressure checked and aim to keep it within a healthy range. Limiting your saturated fat and alcohol intake and consuming less salt – both at the table and in cooking – can help to maintain a healthy blood pressure. So to can exercising and avoiding stress. There’s more advice about keeping your blood pressure in check on the Blood Pressure UK website.

Stress less Avoid stressful situations and periods of prolonged stress, if possible. Feeling stressed can increase our chances of heart attack and stroke. It can also lead us to not getting enough sleep and make unhealthy lifestyle choices such as drinking more alcohol and eating comfort foods.

Quit smoking The British Heart Foundation says quitting smoking is the single best thing smokers can do for their heart health. Smoking causes a fatty build-up in the lining of the arteries, narrowing them significantly. What’s more, the carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke reduces the amount of oxygen in a smoker’s blood, making a smoker’s heart have to pump harder to supply the body with the oxygen it needs. This makes smokers twice as likely as anyone else to suffer a heart attack. Anyone who gives up smoking, regardless of how long they were a smoker, will reduce their risk of having a heart attack just one year after giving up.

Weighty issue Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease. Try to maintain a healthy weight and body mass index through diet and exercise. There’s more information about BMI on the NHS Choices website.

Keep it low High LDL cholesterol levels in our blood can increase our risk of heart disease, by clogging our arteries. To lower and maintain a healthy cholesterol level, cut down on saturated fat – avoid fatty foods, choose leaner cuts of meat and opt for low fat dairy products. Cut down your alcohol intake and, if you’re a smoker, try to give up.

Go fish Omega 3 fats help to protect against heart disease. Eat fish at least twice a week, particularly oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna and salmon.

Sleep well Getting a good amount of sleep each night can help to reduce our risk of heart disease and stroke. Of course, the amount we all need varies but it’s a good idea to aim for around seven hours a night.

Useful links

There’s loads of information and practical advice on taking care of your heart on the British Heart Foundation website.

Use an online BMI calculator.

We learnt some fascinating facts from this infographic about the human heart.

Preparing your body for skiing

So you’ve bought, or arranged to hire, the latest skiing equipment and clothing ready for your ski holiday, but have you put as much effort into preparing your body for the exertion?

Learning about correct posture, doing core strengthening exercises and practising your balance are all ways to improve your stability and prevent injuries on the slopes.

Ole Gulliksen skiing

It’s important to have a balanced stance when you’re skiing. Your feet should be 10 to 12 inches apart and your ankles, knees and hips should be flexed. Keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet over the middle of your skis and engage your core muscles as you lean forward from the waist, keeping your head upright. Your upper body will help to keep you balanced as you ski.

But of course, it’s impossible, and not advisable, to stay in one position as you ski. Skiers constantly change direction and shift position, and your stance will change to reflect this. Try to keep your muscles relaxed, rather than tensed, and keep your knees bent to allow them to act as shock absorbers.

If you’re a beginner, it’s a good idea to use a ski coach to help you get into good habits. It’s far easier to establish a good posture and technique from the start than to correct poor technique.

Our osteopath Ole Gulliksen enjoys skiing with his family – he’s pictured above skiing in his native Norway with his wife. Ole has these words of advice for anyone heading off on a skiing holiday:

Make an appointment with an osteopath for a skiing MOT before your holiday.

“Restricted movement and tight muscles increase your injury risk,” he says. “It’s wise to get professional advice on areas of your body that aren’t functioning correctly, and how to fix them, as part of your preparations.”

Wear appropriate clothing

“Dress warmly,” adds Ole. “There is no bad weather for skiing, only the wrong clothing. If your heart, lungs and brain are kept warm, the body will be more generous to share the heat to the hands and feet.”

Avoid burn-out

Finally, Ole advises against overexertion. “Skiing is more like a marathon than a sprint. Take it easy and don’t exhaust your body in the first hour.”

Read our blog post on avoiding injury on the slopes.

Other useful links

YouCanSki.com has this advice for beginners.

MechanicsOfSport.com has a good explanation of establishing the correct skiing stance.

The Telegraph has this advice on preventing falls.

And this video briefly explains the basic skiing posture and how to keep it out on the slopes.