The theme of Men’s Health Week 2018 (11th-18thJune) is “Men & Families – making healthy connections”. I love this multi-faceted theme! We can take from it that improved family connections can improve the health of men (and women, for that matter), that family can be very influential on the wellbeing of men, and that the emotional wellbeing of both men and women is dependent on connection with other humans and finding the right tribe. Unfortunately it seems that men in general are not nearly as good at making and sustaining healthy connections as women are and this is one of the contributing factors to men’s health being overall a lot worse than women’s health. Men die younger, have more preventable diseases, more accidents and a greater risk of lifestyle related disease than women, which is why Men’s Health Week is a thing!
Men seek advice and interventions for symptoms at a rate that is much slower and less frequent than women, almost certainly contributing to their higher rates of disease and early morbidity. What we really want everyone to do is to work on prevention and looking at underlying causes, rather than just band-aid solutions and treating symptoms. Western culture dictates that men should be outwardly strong, independent and largely silent about what is going on inside of them on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Men are effectively discouraged from developing deep connections with themselves and looking inwards, tapping into their Yin (feminine, passive, inward) energies. This is where Reiki can be especially beneficial to men and where the connection with family and friends is super important. Giving the men in our lives this kind of information and creating the space for them to delve deeper, creating self-awareness and the self-love that will lead to improved wellbeing, and longer, healthier lives.
To illustrate this I would like to discuss a case study of one of my clients, let’s call him Toby. Toby came to see me because he was under significant work stress. As a typical forty-something self-employed person, Toby was anxious about returning to work after his festive season break. He had greatly enjoyed the much slower pace over the holidays and it had shown him how much happier and healthier he could be. Toby suffered from intermittent high blood pressure, migraines and pain in his left shoulder. Mentally Toby felt that he was a massive over-thinker and even worse, that he would do the thinking for others in his business. He felt that he had created a situation where the people who worked for him came to him with every little problem, but without the solutions, because he was seen as the everything-expert. Toby’s goal was to feel more balanced and for his mind to feel clear and open, rather than being cluttered up with all the excessive thought that he had become addicted to.
After Toby’s first Reiki session he felt really good and booked a series of 3 sessions. As often happens, after his second session, Toby found that he was very stirred up emotionally for a period of time afterwards, and felt quite vulnerable. However once this feeling settled down Toby began to notice the changes that were occurring in his head. He had began to feel like his brain was less cluttered, and that he didn’t need to live his life with work as his main focus – he was thinking less, and certainly worrying less. Toby felt that he was more able to live ‘in the moment’, with mindfulness.
A few sessions in we included some work on Toby’s sore shoulder as well and after a couple of these sessions he reported that the pain had gone. The benefits for Toby’s work life continued to accumulate. He had a massive increase in productivity as he continued to worry less about every little thing. Instead, he was able to work less but get more done, especially when his approach was not based on a mindset of ‘I’ve got to get through a lot’ but simply one of doing each task and systematically moving on to the next one.
Toby continues to find that his Reiki sessions are a very healthy way to release the valve on the emotional pressure cooker of life, which he says he did not expect! In addition to all the benefits for his mental and emotional health, Toby has not had a migraine for a few months now and has found that his blood pressure is at a healthy level, so that he no longer needs to take medication. He continues to top up his energetic balance with a reiki session every month or so.
For many men, Reiki can be the perfect natural health modality as it doesn’t actually require a lot of discussion about what the issues are, what the possible underlying causes of a physical problem may be, or why any of this is ‘happening to me’. Reiki will go to work where it is most needed – on a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual level – and the outcomes can be life changing.
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