Updated: Jan 7
In this blog post, you will learn what Reiki is, what happens in a Reiki session and how it forms part of a holistic healing approach for your fur baby. You will also discover the importance of healing yourself in order to help your pet heal.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a form of energetic healing that was developed in Japan by Dr Mikao Usui. It is a powerful but gentle system of energy work that has many benefits for humans and animals alike. It is based on the belief that all living beings have life energy flowing through them.
Essentially, Reiki helps to enhance the body's natural ability to heal itself. Reiki helps to move and balance energy and to restore wellbeing. It can also work alongside medical treatment and other healing modalities to enhance their effect.
Animals, cats in particular, are naturally receptive to Reiki and sometimes they will keenly gravitate toward the energy. Because of their natural, heightened receptivity, some animals will prefer to experience the energy from a distance, rather than having the practitioner's hands on their body. Because it is a form of energy healing, it can be done remotely as well as in-person.
Reiki has its own innate intelligence. This means that it goes where it needs to go.
Reiki operates on the assumption that there are seven different major chakras or energy centres within the body, or eight within an animal body.
The Brachial (or key) chakra is found only in animals. It is the main energy centre of an animal. It links directly to all other chakras and it is the centre which relates to human-animal interaction. It is where the animal-human bond is formed and carried.
Animals also have six bud chakras, which help the animal to ground into the earth. They act as receptors, picking up on subtle energy vibrations such as changes in the weather like thunderstorms, earthquakes or cyclones.
All of the other chakras found within animals are the same as those found within humans. Starting from the base (or the tail of an animal) through to the top of the head - root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, throat, third eye, crown. Both humans and animals also have 21 minor chakras. These act as sensory centres and they are found all over an animal's body, including the nose, tail and ears. They assist in the functioning of the major chakras.
Each chakra relates to a different aspect within the body. When our chakras are balanced, our body is in harmony, we feel healthy and full of life. When our chakras are imbalanced, we experience emotional issues, poor health and more. The below charts set out the chakras as they relate to areas of the body and the symptoms of chakras when they are balanced and imbalanced. It's worthwhile noting that when one chakra is imbalanced, the chakra below or above it will likely be imbalanced as well.
Reiki supports our innate self-healing ability
The human and animal bodies have an innate self-healing ability. Therapies like Reiki simply support the body to do what it does naturally. It does this by balancing the chakras or energy centres within our bodies, which aids in relaxation.
David Hoffman, a leading authority on plant therapy, suggests four branches of healing in his book 'Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies':
Hoffman considers these four approaches combined to be the holistic approach for healing.
As a holistic animal therapist, I incorporate each of these branches into my practice when helping an animal to heal, and Reiki plays a big part, as you can see in the below table.
Whilst Reiki does not replace veterinary or medical treatment, nor does it diagnose, it does still provide substantial medicinal benefits. From a Medicine perspective, Reiki helps to improve digestion, reduce stress, improve sleep, strengthen the immune system, relieve allergy and allergy symptoms, relieve pain, provide relief from arthritis, rheumatism and other debilitating conditions, delay the onset and progression of disease, promote detoxification, alleviate lethargy, energises and revitalises ageing beings, and it also supplements medical treatments by increasing its efficacy.
From a Bodywork perspective, Reiki helps to relax the muscles, increase vitality and stamina, balance energy, support the body's natural healing processes, accelerate healing, energises and revitalise ageing beings, and helps to relieve pain from muscular and joint conditions.
From a Spiritual Integration perspective, Reiki helps to heal from past and current trauma.
From a Psycho-Therapy perspective, Reiki helps to reduce behavioural challenges and aggression, relieve emotional trauma such as abuse, neglect and loss, promote relaxation, reduce stress, fear and anxiety, alleviate depression and soothe high strung and highly sensitive beings.
What happens in a Reiki session?
In a Reiki session, the practitioner will channel Reiki healing energy and will pass that energy to the patient through their hands. When I'm treating a person, I will have the person lie on a table and that's where I will treat them. When I'm treating an animal, I have them lie down on any surface where they feel comfortable, for example, a bed, a couch or the floor.
The practitioner will place their hands on the chakra positions of the body. The practitioner may place their hands on other positions as well, depending on the patient's needs. Each hand position is usually held for three to ten minutes, depending on how much the patient needs in each position. For animals, the positions are generally held for a shorter time. This is because of the extra-sensitivity animals have to the energy - they generally don't need Reiki for as long as we do. Depending on the practitioner (and the patient), relaxing music, scent or other sounds may also be used in the session.
In a remote Reiki session, the practitioner will visualise the patient whilst focussing on sending energy to the patient's chakras. A remote session works in the same way as a physically present session, except the energy is sent telepathically (over a distance). Remote Reiki is preferred by some because it can be more comfortable for the patient, less expensive, less stressful (you don't have to worry about traffic or finding a park!) and there are generally less distractions. Animals can prefer remote sessions, especially if they stress easily or don't like being touched.
During and following the Reiki session, the client will likely feel lighter, more relaxed, happier. An increased range of movement may also be experienced due to the shifting of energy within the client's body. Sometimes, a client may fall to sleep, feel like they are floating outside of their body or see visions. Intuition may be heightened and the client may have a spiritual experience.
Generally, all clients will experience a heightened sense of calm and relaxation. By allowing your body (or your fur baby's body) to relax, Reiki helps to unlock the body's natural healing abilities.
The link between human and animal healing
Did you know that we share an empathetic bond with our fur babies?
The bond is so strong that it creates a health connection between us and our fur babies.
Often if a pet is suffering from a health condition, the person they share the strongest bond with, will usually present with the same condition. Our pets feel in their body what we are feeling in ours. This occurs because of the powerful empathic beings that cats and dogs are.
There's also a thing called "entrainment": when two systems with patterns of vibration synchronise with one another. It's like two humans connected through their energies - their energies synchronise. An example that is common to women is when our monthly cycles sync with other women in our environment. Another example is mother-infant bonding. This energetic connection allows us to bond with one another. And it occurs between us and our pets as well.
And so, with the combination of empathetic connection and entrainment, a cat or dog that is well may start to exhibit signs of their human companion's illness. The human may suffer from digestive issues or anxiety, and then the dog or cat starts to suffer in the same way. Then when the human starts to heal from their illness, one may notice that the dog or cat heals from their illness too.
Therefore, if your dog or cat is suffering from a health condition, it is vital that you work on your own healing, not just that of your pet's. Reiki can be a wonderful way to do this because it helps your body heal by balancing your energy.
Have you noticed that your cat or dog is suffering from the same health condition as you? Start the healing journey for both of you by booking in a Reiki session for you and your fur baby here.