Reiki for Dogs – Natural Healing
Reiki is a well established, evidence-based healing technique used in hospitals and health care facilities throughout the world. It is most commonly used in illnesses where stress is an underlying factor. Reiki is safe for all living beings, and is exploding in the field of natural pet care! Reiki’s gentle energies connect with animals to support their natural ability to heal from stress, injury and illness.
What is Reiki?
Reiki (pronounced RAY-KEE) is a Japanese healing technique that can be classified as a form of energy medicine. Translated into English, ‘rei’ means “universal” an “ki” or “chi” is energy.
Reiki is gentle, non-invasive and uses the practitioner’s hand positions near energy points in the body (chakras) to activate the innate relaxation and healing response.
Founded in Japanese tradition by Dr. Mikao Usui, Reiki was developed to treat physical, emotional and mental diseases. Although there are different traditions of Reiki, training under a Reiki Master with a known lineage to Usui is preferred by many serious students and clients.
Using various hand positions near the person or animal, energy is directed from practitioner to client. This elicits a state of profound relaxation, where the body’s innate abilities to heal and recover can thrive. There are never any negative effects from Reiki, and it can be used alone or to complement other treatment modalities.
What Does the Research Say About Reiki?
Reiki is well researched and used in many hospitals and clinics across the world for a wide range of conditions including anxiety, pain, childbirth, palliative care and cancer care. Several studies have measured significant changes in blood pressure, stress hormones , pain and mood following a Reiki session. To learn more about Reiki research, check out this list of resources.
What are Chakras?
Chakras are centres of energy that are present in the bodies of all living beings, including dogs. Chakras (from the Sanskrit “cakra” translating to “wheel”) were first identified in the ancient Vedic texts of spiritual wisdom in India. Visualize chakras as spinning wheels that run along the spine from the bottom of the tailbone to the top of the head. Each chakra corresponds with certain organs and nerves and even emotions. Many energy-based healing techniques are based on the ancient knowledge of energy centres.
To learn more about chakras, read the article, Chakras in Dogs.
Using Reiki to Balance Chakras
In the article Chakras in Dogs, we learned that subtle imbalances in a dog’s energy centres can manifest or aggravate conditions like anxiety, poor bonding, behavioural issues and a variety of physical illnesses. We also discovered that stress, toxins, poor nutrition and insufficient time in nature can negatively affect our dogs’ health by causing chakras to work too hard or become sluggish, thereby throwing the dog’s entire system “out of whack” and leading to disease.
One of the most powerful tools available to balance and heal those energy centres is Reiki.
What Can Reiki Help with?
Have you ever been frustrated with not knowing how to help your dog’s anxiety? Do you want to avoid “medicating” her with pharmaceutical drugs? Do you want to find out what is at the root of her anxiety or illness and how you can help?
Have you rescued or re-homed a beautiful fur soul? Is she having trouble adapting to your family? Is she stressed from past traumas or experiences?
Do you want to support your dog’s conventional pain management or cancer treatment?
Some of the conditions Reiki can help with:
- Anxiety & stress
Stress is everywhere, and animals feel it just as much as we do. In fact, during our Reiki sessions, animals often tell us they “pick up” on their owners’ stress and integrate it into their own bodies and minds. Animals don’t just “get” anxiety – there is always a reason, situation or history. Animals experience the fight-flight-freeze response just like we do and Reiki allows us to explore this experience and better understand what situations or people that may be linked to. We often use Reiki as the first step to guide a Holistic Treatment Plan that might also include herbs, nutrition and other complementary therapies. Rather than suppressing symptoms of anxiety, Reiki works to relieve the reason for it.
- Recovering from illness or injury
As a complementary therapy, Reiki is safe to “complement” any treatment plan that you and your vet develop. Reiki is safely used alongside conventional veterinary treatment, chiropractic care, massage, acupuncture and other traditional medicine healing systems. Reiki can reduce stress and anxiety during chemotherapy, dental/surgical procedures and other medical treatments, allowing those treatments to work most effectively. To learn about the different health care providers you can have for your dog, read this article on the 9 People you want on your dog’s health care team.
- Reducing pain and use of pain medication
It is sometimes difficult to know when your dog is in pain. Always collaborate with your dog’s vet and whole health care team to determine if your dog is uncomfortable and how to use the safest, most effective ways to reduce pain. Reiki is highly effective in relieving pain and often can help to direct other pain reducing strategies and at times, reduce reliance on conventional pharmaceutical drugs. An ethical Reiki practitioner will always encourage you to work with your vet and health care team to optimize pain management.
- Ineffective bonding
Trust issues, and difficulty bonding or finding their place in the pack are common concerns with owners of rescue dogs. These insecurities can occur with or without a trauma history. Reiki can help build a dog’s confidence, sense of purpose, and willingness to trust their new Fur Family.
- Transition to a peaceful death
One of the most profoundly helpful uses of Reiki is when it’s used to support pets and their families during euthanasia. Using the powerful energies of Reiki, a skilled practitioner creates a peaceful healing space which supports a beautiful, loving passage into spirit. The family is also surrounded by uplifting energies to help with grief, and provide comfort. Transitional Reiki is available here
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How Do I Choose A Reiki Practitioner for My Dog?
Reiki practitioners typically study at three levels, culminating in the earned title of “Reiki Master”.
Reiki Practitioners must gain knowledge (through studying), skills and experience (usually by training under a Master) often for several years to fine-tune their skills.
Practitioners can go on to specialize in Animal Reiki, which requires a somewhat modified approach. To help you choose a Reiki Practitioner, we can offer some advice to help you and your dog on the path to better health.
Top 7 tips for Choosing an Animal Reiki Practitioner:
- Look for a Reiki Master. This is someone who has achieved the highest level of certification. Ask to see their certification.
- Look for someone who has specialized training with animals. Working with animals and children is somewhat different than working with adults, so having this specialty is important.
- Ask how many animals they’ve treated. Although novice practitioners can be excellent and achieve positive results (everyone starts somewhere), experience can make a difference. An experienced Master will typically have documented dozens of case studies during their early training, and will likely have provided hundreds (or thousands) of treatments in their career.
- Ask if the Reiki Practitioner offers distance Reiki. This is very convenient, as you won’t need to leave your home to receive the benefits. Just like an in-clinic visit, you should receive an appointment date and time, along with time to talk about the session.
- Ask if the Reiki Practitioner is a Health Care Professional. Registered Nurses, physicians and other health professionals who practice Reiki with their patients can offer insights within the context of their general medical knowledge. Although they will not have the specialized animal knowledge of a veterinarian, they understand basic anatomy, functioning and medical terminology. They also know how to review scientific studies and tend to use the highest standards of evidence and ethics. Health care providers who are licensed are obligated to follow high standards of care for people, and will likely follow these with their animal patients. Health care professionals are trusted professionals who can introduce you to this form of energy medicine.
- Ask if they are members of a Reiki research group or association. These groups share and often add to research by submitting case studies or higher level evidence. Membership also shows an academic interest and desire to further the field.
- Ask about Pet & Fur Parent sessions. Some practitioners offer a delightful experience where pets and their Fur Parents can experience Reiki together. Visit healingfursouls.com for details.
How Do Animals Experience Reiki?
Each Reiki experience is unique. Energy is directed toward the area of most need – whether we are conscious of that need or not. During Reiki, animals often relax and release tension through yawning, stretching or sleeping. If you’re interested in reading some stories about how animals experience Reiki, read this article.