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Title: Exploring the effects of Reiki self-use on health literacy
Author: Gibson, Helen Elizabeth
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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Health literacy represents the cognitive and social skills which determine the motivation and ability of individuals to gain access to, understand and use information in ways which promote and maintain good health (Nutbeam and World Health 1998:10). To date, there is a paucity of research looking at health literacy in terms of specific types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) use. However, levels of current usage of CAM with their emphasis on raising awareness about health and healing suggest that they may be an acceptable and useful way to help people to manage their health and wellbeing. Reiki can be learned by anyone and, once a person has learned it, he or she is encouraged to regularly use Reiki on themselves as a means of self-care. This research address the question; how does learning and self-use of Reiki enhance health literacy? The starting point of this multi-stage qualitative project was the formation of a theoretical model of Reiki health literacy based on a critical review of the Reiki and health literacy literature. The model was refined using unstructured interviews with a purposive sample of 10 Reiki Master Teachers and further explored in semi-structured interviews with 25 Reiki level one and two practitioners who regularly self use Reiki. Analysis of the data indicated that participants perceived Reiki as an ‘easy’ skill to learn and valuable to use on a regular basis. Such self-use helped them make changes to their lifestyle, including diet and ways they coped at work. Reiki was used pro-actively to prevent ill-health and maintain good physical and emotional health. Participants spoke of using their Reiki knowledge and skills to self-treat minor physical ailments (headaches, muscular pains) and to manage mental and emotional problems such as worry, stress and anxiety. This research develops, refines and applies a novel model of Reiki health literacy and in doing so provides supportive evidence of the potential of learning Reiki and its regular self-use to enable a pro-active approach to health and well-being. Implications of this research include the use of Reiki as a supportive intervention for enhancing health literacy. Because anyone can learn and practise self-use of Reiki it may be a useful intervention for enhancing the health literacy skills of disadvantaged populations who are least likely to have highly developed health literacy skills. The research adds to the limited evidence base on self-use of Reiki and deepens understanding of the benefits of Reiki.
Supervisor: Long, A. ; Jackson, C. ; Edwards, J. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available