By Raven Keyes, Author of THE HEALING POWER OF REIKI, A Modern Master’s Approach to Emotional, Spiritual and Physical Wellness
As a Reiki master who goes into the operating room with Dr. Sheldon Marc Feldman, Chief of Breast Surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, it was thrilling for me to have the opportunity to hear him speak about his work. I, along with all attendees of the first ever New York Reiki Conference (NYRC), sat rapt as Dr. Feldman explained his rationale for incorporating Reiki into his breast cancer surgeries. He spoke from his heart, first sharing the story of his beloved sister, Fern, who was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was only in her 30’s, an event that impacted the course of his life. Fern had three small children at the time and Dr. Feldman was studying to be a cardiac surgeon. As he explained, witnessing his sister’s illness, cancer treatments that often left her and the whole family traumatized, and her eventual death, led Dr. Feldman to change course and to become a breast cancer surgeon instead of continuing his studies in thoracic surgery. He passionately expressed how his sister had taught him the importance of finding a “better way” for women enduring breast cancer treatments, and that even though currently under-researched, he sees Reiki as an option to create that better way forward.
The environment in which Dr. Feldman was speaking so openly on that beautiful day of September 22nd, 2012 was one in which he could be comfortable sharing such things from his heart. At the NYRC, rather than his usual audience of doctors and scientists listening to his lectures on breast cancer surgical options and research, this was a different kind of audience. This was a gathering of Reiki masters and practitioners who had come from far and wide to hear Dr. Feldman speak about how they might assist patients by bringing Reiki as a tool in support of allopathic medicine.
For the Reiki masters and practitioners in the audience, it was important to learn about emerging research on Reiki and other complementary therapies that are already helping some patients to overcome cancer and create wellness. Dr. Feldman pointed out that alternative therapies, including Reiki, are currently being used mostly on a case-by-case basis in response to the request or openness of certain patients. He went on to express his support for further research to prove the value of Reiki so that in the future all patients will be able to receive Reiki as part of their treatment protocol.
It was a joy for everyone present to hear Dr. Feldman’s belief in, and support of, Reiki as a tool to help his patients withstand surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Along with his data, his powerpoint presentation included photos of patients who had received Reiki during their treatment, giving dramatic human experience to those numbers. He spoke of how Reiki during surgery results in less bleeding, steady blood pressure, and the need for less pain medication after surgery. And Dr. Feldman went on to say he believes it is very likely that Reiki optimizes allopathic treatment results for the patients, which is why he stressed once again his support for more research to prove this point.
Yet, for him, it was more personal than just the research on the screen pointing to Reiki’s value – Dr. Feldman has witnessed firsthand how Reiki changes things for his patients overall, and in the operating room in particular. He mentioned that during surgery, all the doctors and technicians are fully focused on their one personal specialty in order to create a successful surgery. “We’re all so busy during an operation with our specific tasks that we sometimes forget there is a patient there. When Raven is in the OR administering Reiki, there is someone present to take care of the patient, and every one of us is reminded why we chose our professions in the first place: we get to remember that first and foremost, we are all there as healers.”
What brought tears to every eye in the audience was the enlarged photo of his sister, Fern, projected on the screen. As we gazed upon her beautiful face, Dr. Feldman explained that in gratitude for his sister’s life, and the inspiration she has been to him, he created a breast cancer treatment center in her name: The Fern Feldman Anolick Breast Center in Kingston, New York. He touched all of our hearts deeply when he explained that his love for Fern is a guiding light that helps him to make the tough decisions that are part of his work. “She’s my guardian angel,” he said.
More about Dr. Feldman’s talk at the Reiki Conference will be posted in part 2 of this article on October 26.
To learn more, see Raven Keyes’ newly released book, The Healing Power of Reiki, A Modern Master’s Approach to Emotional, Spiritual and Physical Wellness.