Is animal Reiki really a thing? You bet. Cats and dogs alike can benefit from energy healing as much as humans. Tim Link, a Reiki Master, animal communicator and consultant, explains how he uses Reiki to help dogs heal—a practice he recently utilized on an older dog who was recovering from surgery.
What Is Animal Reiki?
Reiki is an energy healing technique developed by Mikao Usui in Japan in the early 1900s. The word “Reiki” is usually translated as universal energy or universal life force. “This life force, when activated, brings the receiver into better harmony and accelerates the body’s natural healing processes,” says Sally Morgan, a holistic physical therapist whose services include Reiki for pets.
Practitioners use hand positions to channel healing energy. It’s not with the intention to heal, but rather to offer energy for the receiver’s body to use as needed. Reiki for dogs or cats can take place using a light touch directly on, or above, the body, or it can be done remotely. “Remote healing can be a leap for some, but it’s not that complicated. It’s energy, so it doesn’t matter whether the animal receiving Reiki is in the same room or halfway around the world,” says Ingrid King, Reiki Master and publisher of The Conscious Cat.
The original Usui style of Reiki, the most widely practiced style, has 12 standard hand positions: four on the head, four on the upper body and torso, and four on the back. Human and dog Reiki hand positions are similar, with minor adjustments for size variances. Reiki for cats is pretty much the same as Reiki for dogs, again adjusting for differences in size.
“The different and unique part about Reiki for pets is that they will move their bodies around and let you know where they want the Reiki, because they’re intuitive and in tune with energy itself,” says Diane Larson, a Reiki Master who works with people and animals.
Why Would I Hire a Reiki Practitioner for My Pet?
The Benefits of Animal Reiki
- Relieving anxiety
- Creating a stronger sense of well-being
- Relieving pain
- Strengthening the immune system
- Supporting healing
- Helping with behavioral issues by promoting relaxation and stress reduction
- Promoting overall health and wellness
When Reiki Can Help Your Pet
- Speed up the healing process after surgery or illness.
- Help an animal who is sick when the veterinarian can’t identify exactly what’s wrong—Reiki energy can pinpoint the source of the problem within the animal’s body.
- Calm and assist a dying animal—Reiki can clear an animal’s energy centers (chakras) so the transition process is less traumatic.
Does Reiki for Pets Have Side Effects?
Most pets become very relaxed during or after a session and may fall asleep. “Reiki is never harmful and never painful,“ Link says. He also noted that he has found Reiki for dogs and cats most beneficial when the animal is resting and not distracted by other things.
The shift in energy created by animal Reiki may at first startle some pets, especially if they are skittish or have experienced trauma. These pets may initially prefer to experience the energy from a distance.
Can I Do Reiki on My Pet?
Anyone can learn to do animal Reiki. You learn by receiving an attunement and instruction from a Reiki Master. The attunement is a transfer of energy designed to open the energy pathways in your body. Teachers usually give attunements during workshops. Three levels of Reiki instruction are available:
- Level 1: Teaches you to use Reiki in person for yourself and family/friends/pets. The focus is on opening your physical energy channels, letting you connect to the universal life force energy. You also learn hand positions.
- Level 2: Teaches you how to use Reiki for cats and dogs at a distance.
- Level 3: Master’s Training teaches you to use Reiki at the highest level and gives you the knowledge to teach Reiki.
If you want to do Reiki healing for dogs or other animals, you need to attend at least a level 1 workshop. However, Morgan notes that some pet parents have trouble performing animal Reiki on their own pet because they are too emotionally attached.
How Do I Find and Qualify an Animal Reiki Practitioner?
You can start by doing an Internet search. You can also ask for referrals from friends, your vet or people connected to the massage community.
The Animal Reiki Practitioners Directory claims the most extensive list of animal Reiki practitioners in the world. You can also find practitioner directories on the websites of professional organizations such as the International Association of Reiki Professionals, and The International Center For Reiki Training.
To evaluate a person’s credentials, ask about their level of training and how the practitioner conducts an animal Reiki session. The practitioner should be able to explain the expected benefits. You could also ask to see the person’s training certificate or references, or about membership in a professional Reiki organization, which would require proof of Reiki training.
Reiki for pets can be a wonderful way to support their health and welfare. Just remember that it isn’t a substitute for proper veterinary care.