The Brighton charity Rockinghorse is paying for specialist treatment for young patients at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Kemp Town.
The children’s charity has provided funding for specialist reiki therapists to offer the treatment to patients at the Royal Alex over the coming three years.
Reiki is a form of light touch therapy which has been found to be particularly beneficial to youngsters in the High Dependency Unit (HDU) who can be treated at their bedsides.
Studies suggest that this type of complementary therapy can relieve symptoms of chronic and acute illness, manage stress levels and aid relaxation and sleep.
Rockinghorse has provided funding for an initial three years to therapists from Active LightWorks who have already been treating patients at the Alex as volunteers since 2012.
The funding will allow the reiki therapists to double the amount of time that they are able to offer treatments from five hours a week to ten.
The therapists work closely with clinical teams – and can also provide massage and reiki treatment for parents with children and babies in the HDU.
Rockinghorse said that it helped provide a sense of calm during what can be a stressful time.
One of the HDU patients to receive reiki therapy is eight-month-old Blake Mlotshwa. He suffered a serious infection when he was 18 days old which led to him having two thirds of his bowel removed.
Blake is unable to absorb the food and nutrients that he needed to grow and his condition remains critical.
The reiki therapists are working with his doctors and nurses to help keep him as comfortable as possible.
Ali Walters, a massage and reiki therapist at Active LightWorks, said: “It is wonderful to be able to give both the children and parents an opportunity to relax and unwind.
“So often parents tell me they are delighted that during treatment their child drops off to sleep or they see their child become more calm and comfortable.
“I am delighted that Rockinghorse is now funding our work so we can provide more therapists and treatments to support the critical care that is provided in HDU.”
Kamal Patel, paediatric consultant at the Alex, said: “The reiki treatment has improved sleep, fear, anxiety, distress and pain for children on our Paediatric Critical Care Unit over and above what we can achieve through modern medicine.
Dr Patel added: “To have such a fantastic team of people offering reiki really helps our patients get better quicker.”
Rockinghorse is the official fundraising arm of the Alex and raises money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment and ensuring that children are treated in an environment better suited to their needs.
For more information visit www.rockinghorse.org.uk.