Reiki at St. Charles


Patients at St. Charles Cancer Center receive a healing touch

written by Claire Demarest

Touch. It’s such a simple thing and yet so vitally important to our health and well-being. It’s how we show affection, offer comfort and promote healing. When someone becomes sick, another’s touch takes on new meaning and importance.
That’s why at St. Charles Cancer Center, patients have access to a full complement of evidence-based integrative therapies, including Reiki. And because they’re funded by grants, these therapies are offered to patients at no cost.
Reiki is an energy healing that originated in Japan. It incorporates the idea that a person can, through a process similar to Tai Chi, help support their body systems on all levels: body, mind and spirit. Reiki comes from two words, Rei and Ki, and although hard to translate directly, together they mean “highly or purely guided energy to increase life force.” Reiki practitioners, through training and an “attunement,” are able to create a strong connection to this flow of energy for themselves and others. Patients, at the very least, report feeling relaxed and at peace. This alone helps facilitate healing.
Patients who use St. Charles’ Reiki services are welcomed to a friendly, nurturing environment where they’re able to take off their hat and shoes—even their wig—and relax on a table under a blanket. Some patients even choose to bring their own essential oils to use in their room. After the lights are dimmed, soothing music plays as a Reiki practitioner lulls the patient into a state of complete relaxation and peace through visualization.
The Reiki practitioner then gently sets his or her hands on the patient’s head and feet, and then moves to their arms, torso and legs. Many patients find that during their treatment, they’re able to decompress and set aside their concerns about their illness, doctors’ appointments and to-do lists. They simply feel warmth and contentedness.
Reiki practitioners leave each session feeling fulfilled as well, knowing they are able to provide this service and give patients a sense of respite for even 45 minutes. Often times patients are seen right before they go in for chemotherapy or radiation treatment, so these sessions are even more important to their overall well-being.
If you’re a St. Charles cancer patient and you’d like to inquire about receiving Reiki or other integrative therapies like acupuncture and massage, contact the Integrative Therapies Center at St. Charles Cancer Center. If you are a Reiki practitioner and you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, call 541-706-6723 or visit
Claire Demarest is a St. Charles Cancer Center volunteer and certified Reiki Master with years of experience both in private practice and clinical settings.

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