Health Check: South County Hospital offers reiki therapy

Lisa Kanakry is a nurse at South County Hospital. That's her paid job, but she also volunteers as a reiki practitioner.

"Reiki's a relaxation technique that helps the body realign and rebalance its own energy system, helps the body to take care of itself," Kanakry said.

South County Hospital has been offering free reiki sessions to patients for more than three years. But in recent months, its popularity has soared. Kanakry says she does fifty 10-minute sessions a week.

Since she became certified in reiki a year-and-a-half ago, she's logged 236 hours. No complaints.

Kanakry says he energy work involves "light, gentle touch. We key in on the areas of the body where energy tends to get blocked, on the top of the head, the forehead, around the chest area, solar plexus, knees and ankles."

Cris Cobaugh has had two hip replacements at this hospital. The first was in 2011, and then again last year.

Both times she was offered reiki.

"It was making something available to me that was meaningful that I could choose and I actually think that was the first step in engaging me in the whole process in my healing," Cobaugh said.

Cobaugh said she believes reiki performed pre- and post-operatively calmed her and helped in her healing process.

"If you subscribe to the philosophy of reiki you know it would benefit you through the energy work that it is, but -- and I certainly think that's valid -- but I think even if you didn't subscribe to that you benefit in other ways. You do naturally feel the calming of it," Cobaugh said.

"A lot of folks feel very relaxed afterwards, many, many fall asleep just as soon as I touch them. It's pretty amazing," Kanakry said.

Reiki is one of a few alternative therapies South County Hospital offers, but it's the most popular. Not only is it free to patients, it's also offered to members of the staff there.

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