Healing for the body and healing for the mind

By Varsha Abraham

Alison Butler spends much of her time fighting for others. As a disability rights advocate, she helps to protect those with disabilities from discrimination. In 2014, Alison’s world suddenly changed!  She was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was a new fight for her—this time against cancer—and Alison and her doctors chose an aggressive path. After a lumpectomy, a double mastectomy, and chemo, her cancer seemed to be under control.

Then…in 2017, in the midst of adjusting to the end of a 17-year marriage, Alison got the dreaded news: The cancer had spread!!! Fighting this battle alone while caring for her three children and working full time, Alison felt her energy draining. She needed to find a way to regain her energy and reduce her anxiety. In addition to the physical and emotional toll of cancer, there were financial drains as well. She needed to plan for her treatment costs as well as for her children’s future.

By the time she discovered Reiki, she had tried everything else: massage, meditation, acupuncture, and so on. Alison describes Reiki as having “the benefits of combining massage and meditation.” The Lifespark sessions involved a lot of visualization which helped Alison to clear her mind of stressful thoughts. The sessions were the right balance for her: a quiet, stress-free space where she could release all the negative energy and replenish her mind and body. Alison’s practitioner, Kimberly, made her feel like she was in a relaxing spa, and helped her to focus on healing. Alison describes it as a time that was “healing for the body, and healing for the mind.”

The Reiki therapy was a much-needed break from battling cancer and facing the demands of day-to-day life. The sessions were free and convenient. She was even able to have some of them while she went for her chemo treatments at the hospital. The Lifespark sessions taught Alison to take the time to be still and increase awareness of her own energy. She says, “I would visualize getting rid of negative energy and gaining positive energy.” The sessions lowered her anxiety about cancer and about the future.

With her anxiety reduced and her energy replenished, Alison can now focus on the positive things in her life. She feels very lucky to have a supportive workplace. She loves being able to help other people who are facing challenges of their own. Most of all, she loves that she can focus on things like the back-to-school morning routine for her kids.

As she gets ready for the next steps of her treatment, her experience with Reiki reminds her to find some time to relax and gain energy to face each day. She says, “With cancer, you feel like you have no control, and this therapy provided a way for me to control my reaction to cancer.”

For others who are going through similar experiences, Alison has this advice: “It is very important in the cancer journey to take time to focus on the positive and on the things you can control.”

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