Integrating Reiki Therapy within a NHS setting by Ann Singleton
Ann Singleton, one of our CNHC Local Champions, shares her experience of working in the NHS, how this led to her career as a Reiki practitioner and her commitment to the idea of integrated healthcare available for all.
I grew up in a fairly conventional family in the town where I still choose to live. My rebellious side got the better of me at a very young age. Definitely one for knowing my own mind at that time, I decided that school really wasn't for me and used to be off home as soon as I could.! Leaving school at 16 I found that I could certainly turn my hand to anything that presented itself. This meant I had many different work experiences, which serve me in the work I do today.
My journey from conventional healthcare to Reiki
I was always quite envious of those who really knew what they wanted to do with their working lives as that knowledge appeared to be eluding me. Eventually in 2000, I applied for a job in the NHS. That first job would lead to 15 years of NHS experience, the first five years in an administration role in a hospital, then re-training as a technician within the Diabetic Retinal Screening department. I would say this was a pivotal change for me – actually dealing directly with patients on a daily basis, sometimes in difficult circumstances.
I learnt such a lot about the way conventional medicine worked. Seeing patients day in day out helped me to understand that while we can control physical symptoms with medication (which is as it should be), people are much more than that. We are breathing, talking, emotional, energetic spiritual beings who need to support our emotional self, our spiritual self, our energetic self. So you could say I eventually found out who I was through first having Reiki treatments myself, then going on to learning. and now I am fortunate to be able to teach it to many others. I feel I haven't looked back since that time.
My own spiritual development through Reiki rekindled a passion for writing and painting that wasn't there while at school, or perhaps I just needed Reiki to uncover it. Whichever it is, I am forever grateful for finding my own unique path and role in this lifetime.
Working in an integrated way in conventional healthcare settings
My experience in the NHS showed me that we can work alongside conventional healthcare, hand and glove together, to deliver the best care to all who need it. I tailor my courses to help students feel comfortable within those surroundings by arranging, as part of their courses, taster session within NHS settings. We go in as a supportive group and use the experience to grow our knowledge and understanding.
When the hospital I used to work for created the new role of Wellbeing Lead, tasked with helping the staff to help themselves in being well and being less stressed, I was approached to contribute to their staff health and wellbeing day. I jumped at the chance!
Together with one of my students, we provided the tasters in one of the busiest places in the hospital, Let me tell you – we were very much in demand, but it felt wonderful to be there and share Reiki to as many people as we could. Seeing a whole range of the workforce, including nurses, doctors, administrative staff and porters, being interested and looking at what we were doing was an absolute joy. Neither of us felt out of place at all, and I would love to see the day when we are all fully integrated within those areas of healthcare and recognised for the valuable contributions we make. Maintaining a professional attitude is key to gaining trust, by providing down to earth explanations of what Reiki is and how it can help support conventional practice by treating holistically.
We have recently delivered another wellbeing day at one of the community hospitals, this time with five students, and also for the local Mind Matters, to provide Reiki tasters and meditation for their own staff.
This has already led to two of the qualified students approaching and offering tasters to staff and support groups where they currently work and with other employers, including a school and a large corporation. There has never been a better time to offer our holistic skills in a professional way, and I can only see this growing as students become practitioners. They have a broader base to advertise their unique skills to, which will enable them to help many more people.
I would urge any of you to approach the NHS, different health support groups or GP surgeries and start off by offering tasters of your registered discipline at one of their staff/members wellbeing days. If you are also teacher, encourage students to come with you to gain experience and build connections for their practices. I feel that the more we are seen within conventional establishments, the more accepted we become and seen as the norm.