Reiki for PTSD

Reiki can be integrated into an individual’s therapy plan as a way to alleviate the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a complex condition many people will have to deal with sometime in their life, either through direct experience or the experience of a loved one. Public awareness of PTSD is on the rise and there are many resources now available.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Defined

PTSD is defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) as follows:

The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following were present:

  1. The person experienced, witnessed or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, to a threat to the physical integrity of self or others.
  1. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror (note in children this may be expressed by disorganized or agitated behavior)
  • The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of function.
  • The symptoms usually develop shortly after the event but may take years
  • Symptoms are present for at least one month.
  • It is considered an anxiety disorder.


Symptoms and Causes of PTSD

The most common symptoms of PTSD as described by people with its diagnosis are:

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through flashbacks; nightmares; obsessive thoughts (they can see, hear, smell, taste things that seem real)
  • Insomnia; nightmares
  • Intrusive thoughts – thoughts that are unwanted, feel uncontrollable, and often pertain to disturbing or distressing themes
  • Concentration problems
  • Numbness; depression
  • Feelings of estrangement from others; feeling or wanting to be alone
  • Hypervigilance – always being on alert; always ready to fight or do battle
  • Sudden startling
  • Irritability; anger; panic
  • Shame; guilt (survivors’ guilt)
  • Avoidance of situations, people/objects that remind them of event
  • Increased anxiety in general


It is important to remember that not everyone who experiences a traumatic event gets PTSD. Some of the many causes or risk factors for PTSD are:

  • Serious accident, injury; mutilation
  • Rape
  • Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
  • Betrayal by a loved one
  • Wars/Attacks/Bombings
  • Community violence (shootings/bullying)
  • Loss of family members, friends, community, property, possessions, home
  • Loss of job
  • Natural disasters – tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, flood


How Reiki Can Help

Our bodies have three responses to stress: Fight, Flight or Freeze. When we perceive a threat, stress hormones are released to activate the body’s protective mechanisms. Any function of the body that is not needed for immediate survival either slows or shuts down. During the fight or flight response, emotions are often buried and stored in the body as cellular memory. Repeated exposure to stress or a stress response can have a damaging impact on one’s health. Reiki works on four levels; mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual, to clear out blockages and promote relaxation. As a result, those trapped or buried emotions and trauma can be gently released. Reiki can also reacclimate the body to physical touch that is nurturing and therapeutic.

It is important to remember that we can never predict an individual’s outcome or response to Reiki therapy. The Reiki energy will always direct itself to what each individual needs most in that moment.

Reiki for Veterans

The option of Reiki is growing in its consideration for military medicine as a treatment for PTSD. In a recent study conducted by the Military Medicine Journal, researchers examined the effectiveness of Reiki. Using the moniker “Healing Touch,” researchers observed that Reiki produced a drop in PTSD symptoms for the intervention group by 14 points (from 54.7 to 40.7) using the PTSD checklist, which is considered clinically and statistically significant.


"Reiki benefits the military population and people that have PTSD because it elicits what we call the relaxation response. People that have experienced trauma and/or are anxious have difficulty reaching this healing state on their own. The relaxation response is a state of peace that can allow the body/mind to let go and reset itself and healing can begin."
Jennifer R., a Reiki master who was connected with Hope for The Warriors® states:
“About a year ago we surveyed our clients and asked what they are looking for that we can do to better their lives. We wanted to reach kind of that younger veteran demographic as well and so we created this Morale Center with massage therapy, chiropractic care and now reiki," said Stradley. "Reiki helps veterans who may be having a lot of stress. It can bring peace and relaxation into them. It impacts the body, mind and spirit… It has had a terrific impact on vets experiencing anxiety and PTSD, that kind of thing."
Laura Stradley, the Executive Director at the Veterans Outreach Center, Monroe County, New York, incorporated Reiki as a support program in 2020. She reported the success of the program:
“This experience is just awesome. It is so relaxing. I went in with no expectations but came out with more than I thought I would get," Szalkowki said. "More relaxation and feeling better about what was going on in my life. I feel more comfortable dealing with them now.”
Jeff Szalkowski, an Army veteran who discovered Reiki at the Veterans Outreach Center, expressed:

If you or someone you know suffers from PTSD or a related stress disorder, I invite you to give Resonant Reiki Therapy a try. There are no rigorous tests to endure, insurance hoops to jump through, or side effects to consider. Reiki is pure, healing, loving energy, with the power to change your body and mind. Contact us today, Resonant provides Reiki services in the greater Phoenix Metro area and virtual Reiki services no matter where you live!