After a spinal injury: Getting back into the saddle with Jikiden Reiki treatment

As someone who has been riding since childhood, Mags Fenner has been no stranger to falling off horses, then getting back on her feet, and into the saddle. Reiki practice on the other hand she wouldn’t have had much time for, thinking it to be a bit wacky and the domain of hippies. A chance encounter with Jikiden Reiki teacher and practitioner Gisela Stewart at a networking meeting gave Mags reason to think again. As her pain levels (from having fractured her spine a few weeks before) noticeably improved with just 10 minutes of casual treatment, she was ready to find out more about Jikiden Reiki. But let Mags tell her own story:

“In February of 2012 I fell off my horse. Having ridden most of my life,  I’ve had falls before; the reality of hitting the ground, at speed, from 5ft up was nothing new to me. As a kid  I was taught to always try to roll and land on my side. Unfortunately, on this particular morning my landing was not up to scratch and I realised as soon as I hit the ground that I had seriously hurt myself. An ambulance journey and trip to A&E confirmed that I had shattered a vertebrae at T12 (this is the last of the Thoracic vertebrae, it’s in the middle back).  It was a stable fracture, meaning that the spinal cord had not been compromised and that there would be no lasting paralysis. But it was an incredibly painful and debilitating injury nonetheless.

I spent 6 days immobilised on a spinal bed. Meals were placed on a towel on my chest and I fed myself with a spoon. I was rolled onto my side twice a day (and the same throughout the night) so I could be washed down and checked for sores. I had painful injections each day to prevent blood clots and I was heavily medicated for the intense pain. It was very scary and very claustrophobic. After six days I was put in a brace and helped to sit up. I managed 10 minutes before the pain and dizziness forced me into bed again. However, there was no stopping me and the next day I managed to shuffle a few steps around the ward and 3 days later I was discharged and home.

I was so happy to be back home and out of the hospital, but it wasn’t long before home itself began to feel like a prison. I had to wear the brace 24/7 and would do so for the best part of 3 months. I had no strength; lifting even a plate of food was impossible. I had to be dressed and washed; I was physically incapable of doing these things for myself. I couldn’t walk far – literally I was counting steps; 20 one day, 50 the next. I couldn’t drive, obviously. Suddenly the ward at the hospital seemed like the most social of spaces and I missed it. I was beginning to feel very low and this wasn’t helped by the fact that my son was due to deploy to Afghanistan. The doctors added anti-depressants to the list of painkillers and other meds.

Some weeks later I was asked to attend a 4N Business Networking launch. I had begun to offer freelance PR and Marketing services just before the accident and I thought this could be a great way to re-launch myself and also to break the monotony and get out and meet people. So although it was only a matter of 8 weeks or so since my accident I dosed myself up with painkillers and took myself off to “network”. And how fortunate that I did; for a chance meeting there introduced me to Gisela Stewart and Jikiden Reiki. From that first meeting until now I have been amazed (and thankful) for the opportunity Gisela has given me to experience Jikiden Reiki.

I am a traditionalist when it comes to medicine and although I had a vague idea about Reiki, it was not something that I had ever experienced before – or, to be honest, something that I particularly wanted to experience. Reiki to me meant vaguely hippy people with a faint whiff of 1960’s incense. Not so for Jikiden Reiki!

Jikiden Reiki practitioners know about the body and how their Reiki practices can best help the body to heal. I undertook a course of Reiki treatments to run alongside the physiotherapy and hydrotherapy provided by the hospital. The hour long treatments themselves are soothing and relaxing. The longer term benefits of each Reiki treatment meant my body felt easier, more supple and less ‘weighty’, my back pain would diminish and then disappear. Not only that; my stress related headache would be gone, I would feel less swamped by my problems. And the insomnia which was becoming a habit would not occur on Reiki days. In fact, after three treatments I felt so much better that I ditched the anti-depressants (and I haven’t taken any since – some 8 months later).

For me Gisela’s Jikiden Reiki treatments came along at just the right time. I believe that they dovetailed with my hydro and physiotherapy sessions to give me the ideal rehabilitation treatment. In a perfect world, I would love to see Jikiden Reiki being included as an option for anyone involved in rehab, the benefits to me were clear and as tangible as those I received from physio.

Mags FennerA final word, I was lucky to have fantastic nursing in the hospital and really supportive friends and family who made sure I was never alone at visiting time and sat with me even when I was at my lowest ebb. They encouraged me to think positive which is a huge part of any recovery. Some months into my rehab, I was distraught when told my one doctor that ‘at your age’ – I was 46, maybe I would have to settle for 80% recovery and not ever be able to bend to do my own laces up, or put on my socks; to accept that I just wouldn’t be able to function as I had before the accident. I am happy to report that this doctor was wrong. Thanks to hydro and physiotherapies, Jikiden Reiki and my own hard work, I can do my own laces up and I do function at the same level as my pre-accident self (with some very minor adjustments). And happily, I recently got back on a horse! “