Reiki Healing and Surgery

Reiki Healing in PACU

I was concerned when my client refused pain medication. He had just received a new heart.

When I first met him a year ago, he was hallucinating in the cardiac ICU, where he wound up after emergency open heart surgery — his second in 24 hours.

His wife brought me in because he’d been in and out of consciousness for a week after surgery, showing no improvement. His surgeon suggested Reiki treatment might help.

He improved quickly after our first Reiki treatment, and was moved from intensive care two days later. Although he’d been semi-conscious at best while I was with him, he remembered me, and the relief he had felt as our Reiki treatment started.

Reiki relieves post-operative pain

Since this was his third open heart surgery, he knew very well how it feels to regain consciousness post-op.

This time, however, I had been with him before, during, and after his surgery, giving him Reiki treatment in the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) before he woke up.

When he opened his eyes and felt no pain, he assumed the surgery didn’t happen. His nurse assured him that a healthy new heart was beating in his chest. Like me, she was concerned that he refused pain meds. People heal better when they aren’t in pain.

But he was adamant. He said, “I don’t have any pain and I’m not taking any pain medication.” End of story.

Reiki balances trauma

It is a story I have witnessed many times over many years. The medical details vary, the cast changes. But the benefit of Reiki practice to people undergoing surgery is the same. It helps them heal faster.

When the surgeon is finished, it’s up to the patient’s body to heal. That’s where the balancing response to Reiki practice makes such a difference.

Reiki treatment soothes the shock and optimizes the body’s innate ability to heal. When you’re practicing on someone hooked up to monitors, the benefits of Reiki are often measurable: improved heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. If patients improve faster and need less pain medication, they’re able to get out of bed sooner, which helps prevent post-surgical complications. Patients receiving Reiki treatment recover bowel function faster, which means they often can go home sooner.

How much Reiki is enough?

Hawayo Takata* famously said: Any Reiki treatment is better than no Reiki treatment.

That said, when it comes to surgery, any Reiki treatment is good, and more is better.

Offering Reiki treatment before surgery helps balance the body so it has more resilience to withstand the shock of surgery. If possible, you can offer Reiki treatment during surgery as well. And definitely offer more treatment as soon as is feasible after surgery.

Patients are given pain medication before they come out of anesthesia. Even still, many wake up with intense pain. Patients tell me the drugs make them foggy but still aware of pain, and it’s when Reiki treatment starts that the pain begins to subside.

Reiki in the PACU

The patient can make arrangements for you to visit her in the PACU, where patients are taken directly from the O.R. This is best arranged with the surgeon, and confirmed at admission and just before surgery.

Be respectful to the nurse. If you alienate the nurse, you won’t be there long. If she needs to deliver care during your visit, step out of the way.

Keeping the basic protocol in mind, place your hands where you can without disturbing the tubes (PACU practice is not for the faint-hearted). Offer to step aside if needed.

Nurses are often aware of Reiki, and they want the best for their patients. They also notice the improvements on the monitors. You can ask the nurse what the numbers mean.

As I was leaving the recovery room late one evening, the nurse looked at me quizzically and said, “Now he’s almost too healthy to stay here.” We laughed as I asked her to please keep the patient through the night so he could continue resting undisturbed.

Reiki treatment speeds the natural course of post-operative healing. There’s nothing magical about Reiki practice, but after surgery, it can definitely appear magical.

Do you have a Reiki and surgery story, either when your Reiki practice helped you recover from surgery or you were asked to offer Reiki to support someone else undergoing surgery? Please share it in the comment section below.

*Hawayo Takata and her Reiki master Chujiro Hayashi brought Reiki practice to the U.S. from Japan in the late 1930s.


Please signup for my email list to receive credible, thoughtful information and perspective on Reiki practice.


9 thoughts on “Reiki Healing and Surgery”

  1. Susan Lee Roberts

    I had noticed a close friend of mine, in her 80’s, start to slow down. Her energy was low and she started dragging herself to sleep between 8 and 8:30 each night, whereas she was normally up until 10pm or even later. I wondered if this was the beginning of the end for this once vibrant woman. She had blood tests done and, in addition to her red and white blood cells declining, as they had slowly been doing for some time, the blood platelets were being produced at a low rate and not meeting her needs. The doctors said all they could do was monitor; there suggested the bone marrow wasn’t producing well, a common result after cancer treatments in the first 3 years after recovery. But my friend had recovered from cancer 19 years ago. Doctors did not know what to make of it.
    We did weekly Reiki treatments for 14 weeks. A follow up blood test showed an increase in all blood indicators and the white blood count was now in the normal range; the platelets were on the border of the normal range.
    Her energy had improved after the first treatment; after about 7 weeks of treatments, she started returning to a few of her activities she had to put on hold. After about 10 weeks people started commenting how great she looked; the energy was coming back into her eyes.
    The doctor recommended we continue treatments. Our goal is to get her blood counts and platelet counts into the normal ranges!

  2. I am a reiki practitioner,this is my work. I give of myself when it comes to those in need, and those I am close to. I have a friend who has has multiple neurological surgeries. I have practiced reiki with her after surgeries once she is home. However after this falls surgery I was able to get to the hospital two times and sent distance reiki. It was amazing seeing the difference this time, she was release much quicker from the hospital then previous surgeries and also her recovery was incredibly quick! She was back to her normal activities in weeks instead of months. I will add this surgery was no less invasive then any of the others. Getting to her quickly seemed to really add in her healing. Blessed to be apart of this beautiful work.

  3. I was a surgical nurse up until this past March. I was called in for an emergency appendectomy and discovered it was on a woman I knew. After surgery, I asked her if I could do Reiki on her in recovery. With her permission, I did about 1/2 hour of Reiki. I saw her about 5 weeks later and she immediately asked what I had done in recovery. She told me that after I was finished, she had no post of pain. She was back to work within a week and her recovery was wonderful.

  4. This article is so wonderful! I recently changed positions and am now working in the Pediatric ICU and am constantly drawn to the children wanting to give them treatments. I’m not sure how well received my pratice would be, as Reiki is a little slow to get to Nova Scotia, Canada. But more are learning about it everyday, so I’m hopeful that someday soon I will be here in a healing capacity and not just an administrative one.

    1. Melanie, there are many resources on my website and blog to help you open up that possibility.

      Look at the Communication category on the blog (you’ll find it in the sidebar) and also at the Talking Reiki and the Mainstreaming Reiki webinar series, and the Introduction to Medical Reiki recorded professional training. All the best to you in your endeavor!

  5. It just never ceases to amaze me the experiences that people have during and after a reiki healing session. Experiences are varied from client and reiki practitioner. The simple techniques of reiki and the results that are achieved can be very profound. So keep up the healings, also it is good to read that even the surgeon was more than happy for the patient to receive reiki healing. The world has come along way in being more accepting that reiki does work and does help people heal.

  6. I am a reiki practitioner of 3 traditions. I also have end-stage liver disease at age 28. I was in ICU for a related problem and by chance learned that Baylor hospitals had two “occupational therapists” on call that did “hands/touch therapy”. I was curious if it was the same thing as reiki just called something elks and incredibly too exhausted to perform healing on myself.. so I thought “why not?”, and called one in. After days of not being able to sleep (as if people could get sleep in hospital– with them sticking you with needles every 4 hours), this woman came in and put me into such a healing, peaceful, restful sleep that I was able to be transferred to a regular room the next morning and left later that day. She came back to visit me as I was being discharged and said she had never felt a connection that strong as if I were pulling her energy out of her, but not in a bad way. She told me of visions she saw as I fell asleep. This seemed to startle her more than me because I am used to that sort of thing, but what was wild was that the visions she saw, were the same things I was seeing as I drifted off and I just thought they were random dreams coming on.

  7. I was 4 days post surgery. They had cracked my chest, removed the cancerous thymus and my entire pericardium. My beloved, Kay, and I were sitting in my room resting after the stress of the longer than expected surgery and the “interesting” lab results. All of a sudden my heart was pounding so hard in my chest that it was actually rocking my whole body. Every alarm to which I was attached (it felt like hundreds!) went off at once. The room filled with more people than I thought could fit, all coming in at a run. Kay moved to the foot of my bed – the only clear space. Even more terminals were attached to my chest as the ICU team tried to get a read on what was going the Most wrong. Minutes passed. Everyone was talking at once. Slowly, beloved slid her hands under the sheets and put the flat of her hands against the bottoms of my feet. Within seconds, my BP started coming down from the amazingly high number to which it had risen. Other vital signs started improving as my BP continued a graceful fall toward a more reasonable range. The Tech/Nurse at the biggest machine looked at Kay. Before he could ask, she simply said, “Reiki.” “Good,” he replied,
    “just keep doing what you’re doing until all the alarms stop and all the rest of our blood pressures go normal.” Everyone laughed. Kay smiled. She held the bottoms of my feet for at least half an hour. The room slowly emptied. Crisis interrupted. Another Nurse brought in a reclining chair and positioned it next to my bed. Kay wasn’t going home that night. She stayed by my side once I finally slept, her hands, and Reiki, at the ready. When she lef in the morning she had arranged for me to get a Reiki session each day for as long as I was to stay in hospital.

  8. My client had knee replacement surgery. She had been coming to me twice a week for about 4 months prior to the surgery. I was there at the pre-op, gave distance Reiki during the surgical procedure, and post-op in her room. I always work first on the person’s liver, as I feel it aids in toxin removal. In the early evening, the doctor came in and I asked him where the tourniquet was placed on her leg. He showed me, and when I did Reiki in these areas, it felt like popcorn kernels popping under my hands. I imagined this sensation was probably from the fact that blood vessels, veins, muscle, skin cells, were restricted during the surgery, including the normal flow of life-sustaining fluids. Staying there until it stopped (maybe an hour or so), I said good night to my client and returned in the morning.

    A teaching hospital, the surgeon arrived in the morning with a group of students. As he approached my client he was talking about the surgery he did less than 24 hrs ago, and how he will pick up her leg to show them. And she said, “like this?” as she raised her bent knee and moved it straight out, and back up again 2 or 3 times, unaided by any mechanical device or person. His response, “you didn’t just do that!” as he looked on with an amazed expression. Made sense to me. Nutrients in the blood and toxin from the lymph were allowed to flow all night long while she slept, and her healing began right away.

    Accompanying her to follow-up dr’s appointments, she was always twice as far along in her healing and range of motion than others at that number of weeks check-up. We continued to do Reiki twice a week until her physical therapy was done.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top