Reiki Volunteers Help Norris Cotton Cancer Center Patients

NCCC patient Roger Dontonville and Reiki practitioner Jonathan Schechtman.

Additional volunteers welcome

When Roger Dontonville started his cancer treatment at Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) in the spring of 2016, NCCC staffers told him that Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) volunteers provide free Reiki sessions for patients. He decided to give it a try and found he really enjoyed what The International Center for Reiki Training describes as “a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.”  

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“It’s so relaxing that it puts me to sleep,” said Dontonville, an Enfield, New Hampshire, resident who was recently elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. “It’s calmed me down a lot, and made me think about my breathing. And I can feel the heat from their hands and the energy. Today is my last session, and I’m leaving here a whole lot better than when I came in.”

Reiki is “administered by ‘laying on hands’ and is based on the idea that an unseen ‘life force energy’ flows through us and is what causes us to be alive,” according to the International Center for Reiki Training’s website. “If one’s ‘life force energy’ is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.’”

Dontonville’s wife Anne had a few Reiki sessions as well, and said she also found it to be calming. “It put me in a different place, which I needed as a caregiver. I could feel the positive energy replacing the negative energy.”

“But the most important thing,” she added, “was seeing what it did for Roger and how it added to his healing. It helped him to sleep, which he needed to do. The volunteers were so wonderful. They saw how fragile Roger was for a long time, and it’s nice to hear them say, ‘Wow, look at you now!’” 

To read more about the Reiki volunteers, and how you can connect with this program, click here.

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