Reiki Healing PTSD & Insomnia

GUESTBLOGGER David Baugnon is a writer and award-winning filmmaker who lives in New York, and now a Reiki practitioner. David had insomnia even before the post traumatic stress he suffered from surviving an earthquake; both the PTSD and the insomnia worsened with the events of September 11, 2001. I asked him to share his story of his Reiki self practice healing PTSD and insomnia, which often occur together, to help other sufferers appreciate how much practicing self Reiki can help them, even if other approaches haven’t been successful.

Reiki Changed My Life by Healing PTSD and Insomnia
by David Baugnon

I decided to learn to practice Reiki when my mother was diagnosed with cancer a year ago. I didn’t know much about it, but I felt relaxed and balanced after each of the two Reiki sessions I had received from Pamela. I thought at the very least it could help my mother relax, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t looking for a miracle.

So it was with Mom in mind that I arrived at a First Degree Reiki training with Pamela Miles in August, 2011. Little did I know the class would immediately change my life for the better. That night, for the first time in two decades, I got a good night’s sleep.

I’ve always had trouble getting to bed at a reasonable hour. This habit was exacerbated by my late work schedule, usually 2 PM to 10 PM, but after I survived the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, my sleeping habits worsened dramatically. I had been hitting the mattress around 2 or 3 AM. After the quake, it became 5 or 6 AM.

The human body is amazingly adaptable and I continued my life on only four to six hours of sleep.

When my son was born in 2010, I realized I could not continue like this. I didn’t know what to do. A PTSD specialist was extremely helpful, but it wasn’t until I started practicing Reiki self-treatment that I found real relief for the anxiety that kept me sleepless for so long.

During our very first Reiki practice in class, I noticed a subtle shift into relaxation, as if I were sinking into myself. When I described it to Pamela, she stated simply, “That’s your nervous system down-regulating.” I had never heard the term before, but it seemed right on target. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was the beginning of Reiki healing the PTSD and insomnia that had been running my life.

I arrived home that night eager to do my Reiki homework. I used to stare at the ceiling, thoughts spinning in my head, and many times, my heart racing. That night and pretty much every night since, I practice self-Reiki and fall into a deep, restful sleep.

I now start every day with a 30-minute Reiki session, and that too, has been life-changing. I used to wake up agitated with a billion things to do. Now I ease into my morning and it’s made all the difference in how I approach my day.

I am more patient, less reactive, and that has been invaluable with a toddler in the house. I feel like a better person, a better parent and a better spouse. My wife has seen the change as well (probably the ultimate test) as she says I seem “calmer and less stressed out.”

And as for my mom — truth is, she was reluctant to let me practice Reiki on her (not sure if she did any research and she’s a pretty die hard Catholic) but she did allow me to “pray” over her with my hands upon her, if only for a minute or two. She is currently cancer-free and we’re all happy.

Although I’m just a novice in the practice of Reiki, I’m excited about the path I’ve started and utterly grateful for Pamela’s class and her refined mastery of teaching Reiki.


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18 thoughts on “Reiki Healing PTSD & Insomnia”

  1. Hi David,

    Just a little thought for you:

    We all know that Reiki cannot and should not be forced upon a person who doesn’t want it. But what if we KNOW that that person has a real need for healing and is crying out for it, yet their ego still says ‘no!’?

    Well, try this. Every day, send 10-20 minutes of healing to your mother’s HIGHER SELF – the higher self never rejects Reiki as it knows that it’s fully positive. Then, if it is needed in her physical body, it will trickle down the layers, clearing and healing, working down to her body. Keep sending energy every day (or night if you prefer) for as long as you can – you’ll begin and continue the healing process, and help keep her fit and healthy!

    Let me know what you think 🙂

    1. James,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate that you want to be helpful, but who are we to judge another person’s choices? And what is the sense of offering a distant treatment to someone’s “higher self?” If such a think exists, it would seem not to need balancing. Whatever Reiki is — and I for one don’t know — is it like a syrup that drips?

      I apologize if my comment seems critical. This blog exists to support a credible presentation of Reiki. If we don’t question our assumptions about Reiki practice, we have no hope of increasing the accessibility of Reiki practice to the mainstream public.

      1. Hi Pamela,

        I am just saying that often the body can be crying out for healing but the ego wants to sort it all out itself, which often it is incapable of doing. In fact, we will often (especially empaths) pick up on when someone needs healing, even if they don’t know it themselves.

        Sending healing to the person’s higher self is like launching a rock over the castle wall instead of battering at the door (or the ego). The higher self will never say no to more energy, even if it doesn’t need it. It will then send it down the vibrational levels, through the levels of the aura, working from the highest body right down to the causal body and eventually the physical body.

        This provides a very powerful, and complete, healing. It’s definitely one to try too as it’s always interesting to get to know people’s higher selves. Speak to them and ask them to keep pushing healing energy down too.

        Just give it a go – I’d love to see what anyone makes of this 🙂

      2. Again, James, thank you for your comment.

        The approach you suggest is speculative at best and very different from Usui’s simple, pragmatic hands-on approach.

        I personally am never comfortable with the practitioner — empath or otherwise — deciding who needs healing when. It’s too often a projection of his/her own need to be needed.

        I’m a strong advocate for informed consent, in which people ask for healing, or agree to a very straightforward offer, and their response is respected even if we don’t agree.

        You might enjoy this article

      3. Brand new to reiki (6 months) , learned 2nd degree. I have sent reiki to people I love without consent, but reading this gives me pause. I don’t pretend to know what they need, instead think of it as almost a prayer of love for them.

      4. Billie, I can understand why you would think that way, but the fact remains that Reiki is a practice, and traditionally one does not offer distant practice without the person asking, or at least consenting. It has only been since after the death of Hawayo Takata in 1980 that some people have stopped honoring that boundary, and many people are not taught it in their Second degree training.

    1. David, thank you for sharing Belleruth’s article. She has been a tireless advocate and educator for the use of guided imagery in health care. I refer people to her work when they want to add guided imagery to their self-care skills.

      Just for the record, I don’t encourage combining Reiki practice with guided imagery with Reiki practice (totally unnecessary), but rather practicing each on its own.

  2. I just finished my Reiki II class about a month ago!! I have been practicing on myself everyday. The question I have is that I have been getting sick with flu like symptoms and I was wondering if I could be releasing negative energy? I usually don’t get sick so I was wondering if this is normal when you first start out with Reiki? I had some physical stuff show up after my 1st attunement. But now these illnesses have showed up (after) my 21 days with the 2nd attunement.
    I am a little frustrated because I have been feeling so good otherwise! I really seem to stay balanced now I feel a little off! Then I have family members say to me why isn’t Reiki working but they don’t really understand it!! Any suggestions?

    1. Tina, what kind of suggestions are you looking for?

      There is no “normal” when one starts practicing Reiki, because Reiki practice is balancing, and that means different things to different people at different times — and even different things to the same people at different times! 🙂

      We each need to be present for ourselves. You know in your heart whether this is just something that’s happening, which you feel is safe even though don’t understand it, or if you need more help.

      In my experience, receiving more Reiki treatment helps one feel better. If it makes you feel worse, there is something else going on that needs attention. Have you tried using your distant treatment technique to help you clarify? I write about that in the Second Degree chapter in my book REIKI: A Comprehensive Guide.

      1. Thank you Pamela for your reply! I am sorry I posted this in the wrong post I wasn’t paying attention! I have your book but I have not used the distant treatment technique. I will definitely try it!! And I will continue to do the Self treatments. I am having trouble trusting when I go in to discernment if it’s my imagination or intuition! So trusting is a big one for me to work on!! I sometimes find myself wanting other people to answer for me and I do need to go within more! I am so grateful to have found you and your book I love it!!
        I appreciate your reply so much! So much I need to learn and study…..

      1. No worries, Tina. Let me know how I can help.

        You might be interested in the series on healing crisis. Click here for one of the articles, and the others are listed at the end.

    2. Tina, developing discernment is a matter of ongoing mindfulness and detachment. We cannot trust without being mindful and discerning. One clue for me is that when I am connected to my intuition, I feel very centered and calm, whereas the experience of imagination is not so steady.

  3. Interesting because I had a sleepless night last night as I have many times when I am excited to start something new. So many racing thoughts, and ideas kept me up and although it was not painful, I’m feeling the effects of not sleeping enough today. I will remember the next time I can’t sleep that reiki may help.

    1. Molly, Reiki practice will give you the most benefit if you practice daily self-treatment. If you don’t do it, why not try for a few weeks and see the difference.

  4. What an amazing story. I am always blown away by the transformative nature of reiki. It seems to flow into people’s lives when they most need it and profoundly chang not only them, but also the people around them. I commend David Baugnon for having the courage to share his story. Hopefully, it will inspire others who have PSTD to seek out reiki as part of their treatment plan.

  5. What a lovely testimonial! It’s amazing how some of us come to Reiki for one reason or another, only to find out it helps with other issues we hadn’t even considered. PTSD is a very complex issue, because sometimes the emotional effects can be seemingly unrelated to the triggers.

    I live with PTSD from birth trauma, and I know that my Reiki practice has helped me immensely with anxiety and other emotions that arise each year for the 2 months prior to my daughter’s birthday, as well as other situations where my body perceives I might be in danger. It’s a work in progress, but it has gotten a lot better over time.

    I noticed recently that I was able to read about someone else’s birth story and see a video of a water birth without having the clenching pain in my gut I would normally experience. That was a profound shift for me. My Reiki practice has given me the awareness of what I’m experiencing, and the tools to calm, process, and integrate the emotions.

    Kudos to David for his remarkable healing story!

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