There are different types of Reiki, some are more Western forms and then there are more traditional forms. I have studied a more traditional form of Reiki that is centred around personal (and daily) meditation and contemplation practice.
Reiki is a spiritual practice and at its heart is compassion and peace.
No matter the form of Reiki, the aim of all Reiki practitioners around the world is to create and offer out a gentle healing and nurturing space. Just as we are all individuals, the differing Reiki approaches will suit different people. If you are interested in receiving a Reiki treatment or in learning Reiki/ Animal Reiki for yourself, it is important to find a practitioner/ teacher that resonates with you!
Whether I offer Reiki to a person or an animal, I begin the session by entering a state of meditation (utilising the many different meditations taught within the system of Reiki).
People remain fully clothed and lay on a massage table. I then place my hands either on or slightly off the body if preferred, in various positions from the head to the feet, to a background of soft music. It is common to feel heat or cold from my hands as I move around the body, due to the energetic exchange.
This is a time for you to relax, to have some time away from the pressures and demands of life and to re-connect to your peaceful nature – a connection that can easily be forgotten (or unknowingly left uncherished) as you race through your modern, hectic life.
For animals the approach is modified to account for their sensitivity (SEE BELOW).
The different forms of Reiki are traced back to the Japanese founder Mikao Usui who wisely created the system of Reiki in the late 19th/ early 20th century. Mikao Usui had spent many years (starting from his childhood) studying and mastering various Japanese traditions, faith systems and practices – including Martial Arts, Shintoism and Tendai Buddhism…
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“Animals crave peacefulness and find it profoundly soothing, just like we do.”
Animals are amazingly sensitive creatures, in fact much more so than us! You can probably confirm that when you have been upset, your pet has sensed this and come to comfort you. Or you may have had a disagreement with someone on the phone and raised your voice, only to notice your pet has disappeared from the room!
Imagining these scenarios can help you to understand how your animal can also sense, and draw upon, the gentle and peaceful space provided by Reiki and created by a Reiki practitioner.
As an animal lover, you’ll acknowledge that your pet has a very unique, individual and lovable personality! Just like us humans, our animal friends can express emotions: we know when they’re happy and content with life. Likewise they have (sometimes subtle) ways of letting us know when they might not be feeling quite right.
We may notice that their energy levels are low, as they don’t want to go outside or are lagging a little when you take them for a walk. They might not eat or drink as much as usual. You might sense they are experiencing discomfort of some sort (even just by looking into their eyes). You may have adopted them from a shelter and suspect that they experienced some trauma or difficulties before coming to your loving home. Or you may have received confirmation of a health issue from your veterinary professional. (Reiki is never a substitute for veterinary care).
Due to their sensitive nature there are differences in the approach when offering Reiki to an animal. It is also due to these sensitivities that I offer mobile Animal Reiki- I come to your home, ensuring your animals comfort and that they will receive maximum benefit from the session. (It is also for this reason that it is suggested you walk your dog/s prior to my attendance).
Usually I will sit in your living area, as generally this is the space where your animal will be and/ or feels most comfortable. However if they are shy and for example in another room that is ok, because they are so sensitive they will still be sensing my presence and wondering why I am there. It is important that they are allowed to enter and exit the room I am in freely, as this ensures their understanding that it is their decision to accept the Reiki/ that it is not being ‘forced’ on them. (No-one likes that!)
I begin the session by entering a state of meditation (utilising the many different meditations taught within the system of Reiki). I then invite your animal/s to participate, to draw upon, the peaceful ‘space’ that is being created as a result of my meditation.
If your animal approaches me/ lays next to me, this may indicate they would like me to place my hands on them. Some animals will even direct a part of their body into my hands, or change positions to ensure my hands go where they are needed. However for many animals (especially initially when they don’t know me and depending also on their temperament) connecting to the gentle space from a distance is just as beneficial.
Great question! There are actually many common signs that indicate acceptance of Reiki by your animal. These include:
– Cleaning/ grooming themselves
– Starting to eat and/ or drink (particularly if this has been an issue due to them feeling unwell or stressed)
– Quietening/ relaxing, may fall into a deep sleep
– Use of bowels (and/or urination) – may experience relief from constipation (using the litter tray- cat/ indicating they want to go outside- dog/cat)
– A relaxation of sorts in their personality; for example you may notice they start to become more comfortable in the presence of visitors, less afraid of loud noises etc.
– Playing or increase in energy (especially where previously quiet)
– Other subtle changes that you will pick up on due to knowing them so well!
From a physiological/scientific perspective, deep relaxation (as provided by the Reiki ‘space’) activates the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), in turn switching on your animal’s innate self-repair (self healing) mechanisms.
The PNS is the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, otherwise referred to as the ‘flight or fight’ response and activated by stressors (disruptions) in your animals environment and life (past/present).
Examples of such stressors for animals include: current or previous illness in your pet, surgery/surgery recovery, pain, previous mistreatment, a recent or upcoming move, any changes in your life that are impacting your – and consequently your animal’s – usual routine (i.e. longer hours at work, a relationship breakdown, caring responsibilities), etc.
When given the opportunity to be still, to relax deeply, your pet’s energy can be redirected to restorative processes and maintenance of their own unique state of balance in body, mind and spirit. Reiki is like a gift of peace, offered to your animal without any pressure or expectation. They can draw from this well of peace, as much or as little as they choose.
Reiki is also beneficial for animals nearing the end of their life and can be a beautiful way to honour and support your animal, and your heartfelt connection to them, at this tender (and often stressful) time.
The gentle gift of Reiki always goes to where it is needed, it can reach all levels whether physical, mental or spiritual; and the deep relaxation and release it brings facilitates a healing response.
This short video discusses the many benefits of Reiki for Animals, featuring my Animal Reiki teacher Kathleen Prasad (with Olivia Newton John, via Healing Quest).
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