Reiki is a form of natural healing that was developed in 18th century Japan by a Buddhist monk named Usui Sensei. It works to heal across an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual level. Animals are very receptive to reiki, intuitively understanding accepting it to help them heal.
A Potted History
It is said that Usui Sensei travelled across the world to understand and learn from many other cultures about their healing processes. He developed reiki as a way of self healing and spiritual growth. The Japanese pronunciation is RYE-KEY but has been westernised to be pronounced ‘RAY-KEY’. Usui carefully passed on the teachings of reiki to Chujiro Hayashi who later, in 1935, trained a very determined Madam Takata in first degree reiki. It is said that Madam Takata fell ill after the death of her husband, suffering from several illnesses, and rather than continue with hospital treatment, she turned to reiki healing through Hayashi. Madam Takata made a full health recovery and continued with her studies of reiki until she mastered the art of healing, and was accredited as a reiki master.
Rei means universal spirit and Ki (or chi) means life force; the vitality that gives life to all living things (energy). When ones energy is low as a result of, for example, stress or poor living choices, this is when you are more likely to become tired or ill, and that can manifest in one or more areas of physical, mental or emotional dis-ease.
Over the past 40 years reiki has become increasingly popular in the Western world as a non invasive and non medicated therapy. Reiki works holistically across mind, body and spirit by channelling energy through your therapist and stimulating your own natural healing abilities. Animal reiki is also on the increase and used by vets as a more holistic approach to healing.
I am convinced that energy medicine (such as reiki) is both the momentum of the future and the core of tradition.
Cheryl Schwartz, Holistic veterinarian & healer
What’s is it helpful for?
Reiki is used for a whole host of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing, some of the areas you may use it for with animals include:
- To help them relax or heal emotionally after a traumatic experience
- To help them feel safe when they arrive at shelters
- To ease aches and pains in the body
- To recover from injury
- To ease symptoms from conditions
- To reenergise energy levels
- To remove nervous tension
- To heal digestive problems
- To support them during pregnancy or through birth
- To address erratic behaviour
How does it work?
It’s important to understand that reiki is non-invasive and safe, for everyone and everything. An animal will only accept reiki if they wish to, it can’t be forced upon them. Most animals are receptive to reiki healing and at times will let you know when they’re done with the session. If they don’t want you to start the session, they’ll either walk away and not come back or give you a clear indication that they don’t want it at that time.
Practitioners of reiki are all attuned to the reiki energy by a Reiki Master. A practitioner of reiki heals through conducting positive energy (either hands-on or hands-off, and at second degree reiki, distance healing can be performed) through your energy field. With animals I usually start hands-off.
The reiki treatment raises the vibration of energy in their body, dispersing negative energy, balancing, and healing. Some believe reiki power is one of the most powerful forms of healing. For minor work; balancing and relaxing, a single session is usually enough, for more complex or long standing issues a course of treatments is recommended. Improvements should start after 1 or 2 sessions.
What will happen at the session?
When I start a reiki session with an animal the first thing I do is greet them and introduce myself. I explain why I’m there and give them time to feel comfortable, exploring me; my smell and energy. It’s always clear to me if an animal doesn’t want reiki, indeed they give lots of clues about how they’re feeling if you tune in to them (a bit of pet psychology if you will). If they don’t want it at that point in time, and it doesn’t mean they don’t want it at all, not just at that moment. I’ll apologise, say my goodbyes, and the client won’t be charged.
Merlin’s a husky dog who’s been diagnosed with diabetes. He’s now blind and has been struggling to get going physically, often just laying for hours outside. After experiencing reiki herself with me, Sarah thought she’d try it for Merlin.
The Session: After introducing myself I sat down on the floor and started the reiki energy, not directing it anywhere in particular, and just waited. Merlin spent some time circling me, sniffing and licking my hands (it goes with the territory). I said ‘hi Merlin’ gently and let him continue. After a few minutes he laid down behind me and I started the reiki on him from that position. After around 10 minutes I turned to face him, I could see he was unsure so I stroked his head and he relaxed. I continued hands off reiki for another 10 minutes. In the final 10 minutes I switched to hands on, I did this because I felt intuitively that this is what Merlin wanted. He felt reassured by the touch and fell asleep whilst I completed the session. He seemed to enjoy it and was very chilled afterward. On consecutive days the week after I gave Merlin distance reiki, making sure it was at the same time every day (after his insulin injection when he was often restless). Sarah reported that he’d started taking an interest in the garden and walking out again, as well as seeming more relaxed after his insulin. Merlin will need more reiki to heal given the disease and length of time it’s been onset but he’s improving.
Sessions can be either 30 minutes or 50 minutes for face to face, and 15 minutes for distance healing.
During the session the animal may feel sensations of heat, this is the reiki energy, and will feel a deep relaxation. After a session they may continue to be dreamy and relaxed, rejuvenated, or even a little emotional (if the reiki has unblocked emotion), all of which is normal.
How does distance healing work?
This is a technique that many reiki practitioners use for people and animals that are not in a convenient geographical location. You can choose to use distance reiki just to send loving energy to animals (or people).
Distance healing sessions are held for 15 minutes and come in either a single treatment (for a boost of loving energy), or a course of 3 or 6 for healing.
Reiki Practitioner Lineage
All Reiki practitioners can trace their lineage back to Mikao Usui. Below is my lineage: Mikao Usui Chuijiro Hayashi > Hawayo Takata > Phyllis LeiFurumoto > Florence O’Neal > Jerry Farley > June Woods > Simon Treselyan > Marcus Haywood > Diane Whittle > Taggart King > Tina Shaw > Marion McGeough > Alison Braithwaite
As a reiki second degree practitioner I make sure I give myself boosts of energy and healing reiki, along with practices of meditation, yoga and tia chi on a regular basis to maintain equilibrium.
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