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Pet Stories: In Your Own Words

A Beginnerís Introduction to Reiki as a Holistic Treatment for Animals

By Kathleen Prasad

Reiki Master Teacher

Founder and Director, Animal Reiki Source

I began the treatment of the horse, not really knowing what to expect. I had heard from his person that he had some sore muscles lately, but she hadnít shared specifically where. He leaned into my hands as I placed them lightly on different parts of his body. Occasionally, I could feel my hands heat up as I moved over areas that needed more healing. (A greater flow of Reiki to an area in need of healing usually feels like heat or buzzing in the hands of the practitioner.) It was when I placed my hands over his left knee that I got the most amazing reaction from him. As I felt my hands heat up on this spot, he lowered his head and fell asleep, his eyes half-shut and his lip hanging down loosely. After about 10 minutes of this deep relaxation, he awoke, turned his head and looked long and hard at me, then pressed his nose to my hands (that were still around his knee) then looked again at me and whinnied quietly. Then he pressed his nose again to my hands and lifted his leg into the air and held it there, in midair, for more than 30 seconds. Reiki had found the problem spot, and both he and I knew it. A few days after this treatment, he was pain-free in that leg.

This is only one example of the many powerful and deep connections I have made with animals in treating them with Reiki. I have been keeping a journal for several years to document these treatments, and although I read back through it from time to time, it never ceases to amaze me the responses to Reiki that I get from my animal clients.

For the animals I treat, Reiki is easy to understand: They feel its relaxing effects almost immediately and know it is helping them heal. Often times, animals even direct my hands to their problem areas by shoving a body part into my hand or leaning into me when I touch a certain area. Animals not only enjoy Reiki treatments very much, but they almost always canít resist its calming effects: Even the most hyperactive animal usually will lay down and fall asleep during the treatment. In their own intuitive way, they sense the very healing nature and power of Reiki. Being able to help animals heal through Reiki is an amazing journey for the practitioner, as it opens doors of communication and relationships that would otherwise most likely remain closed. Reiki as a form of healing is gentle but effective, easy to practice, and a great way for people to deepen their bond with animals.

Reiki, pronounced ďRay-key,Ē is an ancient Japanese system of energy healing, rediscovered for the modern world by Dr. Mikao Usui in the late 19th century. To use Reiki, the practitioner channels the healing energy of the universe through her hands into the animal client. During a treatment, the practitioner may use light hand positions directly on the animalís body or may send the energy from a short distance away, depending on the comfort and preference of the animal client. In higher levels of Reiki practice, the practitioner is able to send healing energy to the animal from long distances (out of the presence of the animal). This kind of distant healing can be preferable to the animal in many cases, such as if the animal is fearful and wary of humans, or extremely weak or ill.

This energy goes like a magnet to the area that needs healing most, even if this area is not known by the practitioner. In the most fundamental way, Reiki healing supports the body in self-healing. Reiki energy helps heal the client on whatever level needed most: body, mind, or spirit. And there is an added benefit to Reiki: Because Reiki is channeled through the practitioner to reach the client, the practitioner herself receives a treatment each time she gives one.

Traditionally used for human healing, Reiki is gaining popularity as a holistic healing method for use with animals. Its gentle and noninvasive nature, coupled with its powerful effects, make it ideal for treating any condition. Reiki, although a healing system in and of itself, is also a wonderful complement to Western medicine and other alternative healing methods such as Homeopathy, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, herbs, and flower essences. In addition, Reiki is easy to learn and use and cannot harm the animal, even when used by a novice practitioner. Many animal people have begun to empower themselves by learning to help support the healing process of their own animals. As a responsible animal companion, you should always consult a veterinarian about the health issues your animal may face, but with Reiki, how wonderful to know you are not powerless to help him as well!

What can Reiki do for my animal?

Reiki can help the body heal on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. In fact, there is no condition that Reiki cannot address. For example, physically, it can reduce inflammation, lessen pain, reduce the side effects of other treatments such as chemotherapy and help the animal heal faster after surgeries. Emotionally, Reiki can, for example, help stressed animals relax, help aggressive animals mellow out, and help abused animals learn to trust again. Spiritually, Reiki can, for example, help an animal live out his final days lighter in mood and spirit, without anxiety and fear. It is important to realize that ďhealingĒ an animal may not mean accomplishing the physical cure we are hoping for, but Reiki always helps support the animal in the ways he needs most.

To learn basic Reiki, a person needs to take a Reiki 1 Class, which usually involves only several hours spaced out over a few days. During this class, students learn the history of Reiki and how to give self-treatments and treatments to others. They also receive a series of energy attunements by the Master teaching the class so that Reiki energy can begin flowing through them. Once they have taken the class, they are able to begin practicing Reiki immediately.

So why donít more people use Reiki?

Reiki treatments for animals can be performed successfully by the animalís person once he or she takes a Reiki class from a certified Reiki practitioner or a veterinarian who has also learned Reiki. Although many holistic veterinarians throughout the world use Reiki as a holistic system to heal their clients, in this country, its use is not yet widespread throughout the veterinary community.

In conclusion, although Reiki is lesser known than some complementary therapies used for animals, it is a very effective yet gentle healing system that animals appreciate and enjoy in all stages of life. Any person can easily learn Reiki to help improve and support her animalís healing and well-being. To get started, find a practitioner in your area and get a treatment. Once youíve experienced Reikiís relaxing effects and powerful healing benefits for yourself, you will be anxious to share Reiki with the animals in your life.

How do I find out more about Reiki?

Internet Resources:

International Association of Reiki Professionals ( Contains a worldwide directory of Reiki practitioners and Reiki Master Teachers by location. Go here to find a practitioner and teacher near you.

American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association ( Provides a directory of veterinarians who practice Reiki.

Reiki Research (home.deds/nl/~reiki/engindex.html): Presents scientific research on Reiki and comparable healing modes.

Ontario Reiki Programme Centre ( Offers a list of Reiki research articles and studies, as well as general Reiki information.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health ( Provides information regarding current government-funded research on Reiki. Visit this site and search ďReiki.Ē

Author bio:

Kathleen Prasad ( has been a Reiki practitioner since 1998 and an educator since 1992. To honor her lifelong love of and connection to animals, she has devoted her Reiki practice, Animal Reiki Source (, to healing animals of all species and their human companions, teaching animal people to do Reiki with their animals and spreading knowledge of Reiki through publications in magazines, newspapers, and a self-published e-newsletter. She is co-author of the upcoming book Animal Reiki, to be published in February 2006. She lives with her husband, dog, and horses in San Rafael, California.


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