Laura Chen’s Story

Reiki offers respite from whirlwind of cancer treatments
Laura Chen and Family

Before her cancer diagnosis, Laura Chen had never heard of reiki. Now she says, “It’s kind of amazing.” 

After Laura received a brochure about the programs and services offered by Waterford Place Cancer Resource Center, her aunt encouraged her to try some classes.

“Book whatever they have,” she advised. “You never know how much it will help.”

Following this advice, Laura went to her first reiki appointment — not knowing what reiki was and unsure of what to expect. Reiki master Sandy LaBianco-Brown put her at ease as she explained the history of reiki and what it entailed.

“Sandy was amazing,” Laura recalls. The reiki session gave Laura an “immense feeling of peace, like a healing or restfulness, peace and hope. It was a quiet, comfortable time and a huge respite from the whirlwind of treatments and appointments.”

A soothing energy

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a natural healing practice to bring wellness and balance to the mind, body and spirit. Typically a hands-on service, it can also be performed hands off by placing the hands three to six inches from the body. Practitioners say that energy from their hands is transferred to parts of the patient’s body to relieve pain or stress. 

“She channels a soothing energy and passes it on to me,” Laura says of LaBianco-Brown. 

The reiki session provided Laura the first positive feeling she has had about her body since her cancer diagnosis. She credits reiki and the restfulness of Sandy’s touch with soothing her achy knees and even the digestive discomfort that results from chemotherapy treatments. 

In addition, she says her stress level goes down after the therapy. If she goes for a reiki session a day after her chemotherapy treatment, walking more slowly than usual, she leaves with a noticeable bounce in her step, feeling lighter. 

A measurable benefit

“It’s a measurable benefit,” Laura says. “To me, reiki is a medically necessary therapy that everyone should try.” 

Although LaBianco-Brown usually offers reiki sessions at Waterford Place, she has also been providing sessions to patients during their treatments at Rush Copley’s Cancer Care Center. This helps them relax during their treatments.

“Chemotherapy treatments are scary,” Laura says. “I’m always anxious about the medications going into my blood and what they do to my body. Having Sandy there made it better. She told me to close my eyes, then placed her hands on my head, forehead and shoulders while relaxing music played. It made chemotherapy more of a positive experience.”

Reiki principles

Laura has a card that lists the principles of reiki. It reads, “Just for today, I will free myself from worry and fear, I will free myself from anger, I will devote myself to my work and conduct myself honestly, I will be kind to all living things including myself and I will give thanks for my many blessings.”

She pinned it to the wall in her home office and looks at it often. “It helps,” she says. “It’s a great grasp of spiritual healing that I find very valuable.

“Reiki refreshes me and helps me to be at peace with my body,” she says. “That’s helpful because it gives me the strength to go about doing life and continue my treatments.” 

Related Stories