A HOSPITAL has introduced Reiki therapy for its young patients.

The complementary treatment is being used at the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital in Brighton.

Rockinghorse, the hospital’s official fundraising charity, has provided the money needed to provide four specialist Reiki therapists.

Reiki, a form of ‘light touch’ therapy is said to be particularly beneficial to young patients on the high dependency unit.

Studies have shown the therapy can relieve symptoms of chronic and acute illness, manage stress levels and aid relaxation and sleep.

The therapists, who have been treating patients on a voluntary basis since 2012, are being funded for an initial three years.

They will be able to offer treatments for 10 hours a week and will work closely with clinical teams.

They can provide massage and Reiki treatment for parents with children and babies on the unit, to help provide a sense of calm during what can be a very stressful time.

Eight-month-old Blake Mlotshwa from St Leonards is one young patient currently receiving therapy.

He suffered a serious infection when he was 18 days old which led to him having two thirds of his bowel removed and he is struggling to absorb the food and nutrients he needs to grow.

The Reiki therapists are working with the doctors and nurses to help keep him as comfortable as possible.

Therapist Ali Walters 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."

Consultant paediatrician Kamal Patel said: “The Reiki treatment has improved sleep, fear, anxiety, distress and pain for children on our paediatric critical unit over and above what we can achieve through modern medicine.

“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 hospital and raises money for life-saving and cutting-edge medical equipment.

For more information visit rockinghorse.org.uk.