Do you believe in Serendipity? By chance now volunteer Colleen came to visit Dawn & Dusk. I am not sure if it is the residents who need her or Colleen meeting the residents that have made her decision to reinstate practising animal reiki (Colleen presently practices human reiki ). But we are rather excited that she has so that she can physically, (eg when a dog has pain) and emotionally, (eg a dog suffering trauma) help a dog if they wish, when needed.
Plus Colleen is willing to help dogs outside of Dawn & Dusk. I asked her to give a simple explanation of what Reiki is, what is involved and how it can help not only our dogs but us too. You may want to get a drink and take a seat while you read. For more details or to book an appointment, please contact Colleen via her website www.authenticpathways.net or firstname.lastname@example.org
Colleen writes –
Everything is energy, energy is all around us.
Before you roll your eyes and dismiss this statement as some new-age nonsense, remember that everything is made up of atoms. And those atoms don’t just sit there quietly being atoms, they jiggle around, and because they move, they give off a vibration and vibration creates energy, so…
… everything is energy.
Figure 1 Universal Life Energy E
Every inhabited continent has some sort of cultural relationship with a ‘universal life force energy’. According to these traditions, this energy sustains all life and is referred to in various ways – in the western world it’s good old ‘life force’; Qi/chi in China, Prana in India, Mana in Polynesia, Nyama in West Africa, Ki in Japan, and many more.
Everything has this life force, and because of that and the previously mentioned jiggling atoms, everything vibrates at its own frequency, and therefore is able to affect other things that vibrate as frequency around them. Sometimes this frequency can be used to fix things, like broken bones 1, and sometimes it is used to destroy things, like cancer cells using radiotherapy.2 A form of vibrational exercise has even been proven to improve dementia symptoms.3 Herein lies the link between frequency (vibration) and health.
A generally healthy human body vibrates at approximately 7.5Hz. If it’s SUPER happy, it vibrates higher, and if it’s ill, it vibrates lower. Basically, you give off a ‘low vibe’ when you’re feeling poorly.
So… people have energy frequencies, and these frequencies are susceptible to being changed by a variety of things which all help towards ensuring one’s life force (or energy) is free flowing. Many ‘therapies’ deal with unblocking the flow of this universal life force inside the body. The belief is that when it cannot flow freely, it manifests itself in various physical, emotional and mental symptoms. When it does flow freely, the body has the ability to heal itself.
You may have heard of Reiki (pronounced ray-kee), you may have seen it in massage studios, yoga retreats or perhaps in spa facilities. Or even offered as a treatment, wait for it, in a hospital! (St George’s Hospital, SW London, for example).
Reiki as defined by the Oxford English dictionary is: “A healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being”.
“A healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being”.
Reiki was first ‘discovered’ by Mikao Usui, a Japanese man, way back in March 1922. He apparently received this gift of healing after spending time fasting for 21 days on a sacred mountain north of Kyoto. He claims that at midnight on the 21st day, a powerful light suddenly entered his mind through the top of his head and knocked him out. When he woke, he felt refreshed, alive, and had a new level of awareness. Shortly afterwards, he discovered he could heal by placing his hands over an affected area.
Now, if you’re thinking, “Okaaaay, THAT’S a little weird.”, you’re not alone. I remember the first time I heard it on my training, I thought, “Wait…what the …? How exactly does THAT work?”
It sounded weird. It sounded woowoo. But do you know what? Lots of things in life sound woowoo, and by the time I’d finished my training and had experienced sensations by both giving AND receiving Reiki, I was less worried about how ‘woowoo’ it sounded, and thought more about, “Who can I help with my woowoo hands?”.
The UK Reiki Federation quotes:
“When giving Reiki, practitioners have been shown to emit electro-magnetic or bio-magnetic energy from their hands. The frequencies of the energy emitted vary from one moment to the next; but many appear to correspond to those that medical researchers have identified as being the optimum frequencies for stimulating the healing process in tissues, bones, and other body parts so far investigated.”1 (UK Reiki Federation)
Reiki is not a religion, there is no dogma and you don’t have to hold certain beliefs in order to give, or receive, Reiki. It is always done with the best intention of the person or animal involved, and always done with permission. Always!
What happens during a Reiki session?
In a ‘person Reiki’ session, the person is either seated on a chair, or lies down on a therapy bed, and the practitioner places their hands on (or just above) the body in the area of the main energy centres or chakras. The chakras are referred to a lot in Eastern traditions, but in western traditions, they correspond to various glands in our body.
The practitioner starts at the head and works their way down to the feet. It’s relaxing treatment, so there’s not much talking. Sessions last roughly an hour.
When working with animals, you can’t just go ahead and start placing your hands all over their body. Animals are extremely sensitive to touch, and also to energy and anyone will tell you that you have to build trust before you touch an animal.
I follow a principle coined by Kathleen Prasad of Reiki Source, called ‘Let animals lead’.1 So rather than ‘give’ Reiki to an animal, like you would give it to a person, you ‘offer’ it to the animal, and allow the animal to decide if they’d like to ‘join’ you. This is vitally important if you want to build trust with the animal.
When working with an animal, if it’s a bird, dog, cat, or horse, I always meditate beforehand so that I’m not thinking of washing the dishes when I get home; how much laundry I have; or how angry I am at something someone said earlier. I want the animal to sense calmness, serenity, love, and trustworthiness, not be thinking “Oh my goodness, what on earth is going on with this woman! There’s no way I’m letting her touch me!”
Once I’ve meditated, I would start the Reiki session near the animal by simply ‘being’ in a Reiki state. The animal will feel the Reiki and will decide if they want to partake, or not. If they growl, or show agitation, then they’re not happy or ready to join in, and the session would stop immediately. However, after a few minutes, I’d try gently again to establish whether the growling was “Hey, quit that right now!!” or rather “Hey, what’s going on?”
However, if they’re calm, they’ll settle down and do what they need to do which might not be what you expect. I have had animals sleep and sigh their way through an entire session, I have had others who got up and walked around every few minutes, and others who didn’t move from their bed from the moment I arrived to the moment I left. It’s vitally important to allow the animal to lead the session. For this reason, sometimes a session lasts 10 minutes, sometimes an hour!
It’s also very important to note, that I never approach an animal with an “I’m going to fix you.” mentality. Not only is that arrogant, it’s not allowing the animal to lead, and it’s a terrible approach to an animal, having an attitude that they’re broken. The mental approach is, “I’m here to offer Reiki, if you’d like to join me, you’re welcome. YOU are in charge.”
One very special little dog, Elliot, has a very tender spot on his tummy/ribs area, and despite not liking anyone to touch him there, always offers that same area to me for treatment.
When he’s had enough, he licks my hand, gives himself a good shake, and then trots off and that is my signal that he’s done.
Please note, this particular dog is happy with the ‘hands-on approach’; I do have doggy clients that I don’t touch, but simply sit nearby.
Reiki is not meant to be a substitute for medical or veterinary treatment, but as a complementary therapy. A Reiki Practitioner is not trained to diagnose or prescribe, and a client should speak to their doctor, or vet, directly if they have any concerns about their health, or their animal’s health.
Remember Reiki itself doesn’t heal; it simply creates an environment that promotes the body’s natural ability to heal itself. For that reason, I don’t call myself a Reiki healer, as I don’t heal. I call myself a Reiki Practitioner.
And besides, “Reiki Sharer so that people and animals can heal themselves” is awfully long for a business card…
Here are some of the benefits of Reiki for both people and animals:
- Helps the body release stress and tension which, in turn, improves sleep
- Provides pain relief
- Creates deep relaxation; reduces anxiety
- Boosts natural immune system
- Helps with post-surgery recovery process
- Reduces some of the side-effects of medicines
- Eases mood swings, fear, frustration and anger
- Provides relief during emotional distress, e.g., before, during, or after bereavement
For animals, some additional benefits include:
- Stress relief
- ‘Settling in’ for new homes
- Helping rescue dogs feel ‘safe’
- Transition (preparing both you and your animal for the time comes when they’re ready to leave this life
Well, I’ve kept you long enough. My cats are already starting to wonder why my thoughts are filled with dogs so much recently, and if you’re a cat owner, you know you’ve got to keep your feline-kids sweet, or there’ll be trouble.
I hope I’ve explained Reiki in an easy-to-understand way. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.