Reiki For Animals: Healing Abuse, Trauma and Neglect
By Monica Reyes
As you may know, one of our great customers recently opened her heart and adopted a black lab named Jenny. She was in dire need of a loving home, and was very timid. Leah D’Ambrosio was so kind to share her story with us, and how she has been making a difference in the animal community. She also gave us some insight on how animals are able to cope in such an uncomfortable environment, like a shelter.
Many animals in shelters are anxious, seeking comfort and love. The majority of these animals have been through a traumatic ordeal. More than likely these animals have experienced abuse, have been abandoned, or are runaways with no family to claim them. Whatever the story may be, a Northern California non-profit organization, Brighthaven, is an animal shelter that is ready to help the animals heal and find them a home. These animals are definitely in need of peace and balance. One way that can be achieved is through Reiki.
Reiki is a Japanese word that when translated means spirit “rei” energy “ki”. Literally the word means spiritual energy. We are all made of spiritual energy and through this energy we are all connected. The system of Reiki is a spiritual practice that was developed in Japan in the late nineteenth century by Mikao Usui, a Tendai priest. He developed this practice to help people to help themselves heal through meditation and hands on healing. In the United States there are many people who practice the system of Reiki to help others heal through hands on healing. The system is based on five elements: the five precepts (rules to live your life by), attunements, meditations, symbols and mantras and hands on healing. It is an easy system to learn and when practiced can help bring balance to your life.
Animal Reiki is slightly different than people Reiki. As taught by Kathleen Prasad, President of Animal Reiki Source, with the person treatment, the practitioner moves around their client and uses hands on for treatment. In an animal treatment, the practitioner sits quietly in meditation and the animal is free to move around the room. As the practitioner brings themselves into balance, their energy becomes calm and balanced and the animal, if it chooses, can then connect with the practitioner and start to feel the same peace and calmness that the practitioner feels. Animal Reiki, as taught by Kathleen and her students, is never forced. The animal always leads the treatment and hands are only used if the animal chooses to come to you for hands on treatment.
Leah D’Ambrosio and her teacher and mentor Kathleen Prasad founded the organization SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association) to bring Animal Reiki to shelter animals across the globe.
According to their website SARA’s goals are to:
- Teach and foster an understanding of energy healing.
- Teach the ethical approach to use when working with Reiki and animals.
- Provide a standardized approach to implementing professional Animal Reiki programs for shelters, sanctuaries and other facilities that assist animals in need.
- Document the effects of Animal Reiki on individual animals and the possible effects on shelter and rescue statistics as a whole.
- Serve as a world-wide information and referral resource for Reiki practitioners, shelters, sanctuaries and other facilities that assist animals in need that wish to incorporate an Animal Reiki program.
- Educate the public, shelters, sanctuaries, and other facilities that assist animals in need on the benefits Animal Reiki can provide to animals in need and their human caretakers.
In a shelter environment, Reiki can be a helpful tool to bring peace and balance to the animals housed there. When an animal is out of balance they can be stressed, anxious and fearful. With Reiki, an animal can find a peaceful place to heal and return to their natural state of balance. When they return to balance they are more likely to be adopted. It is always recommended to do at least four treatments with an animal when they are sick, stressed and/or injured. The first treatment is usually a time where the animal is testing to make sure you are not forcing something on them. The second treatment they may become more relaxed and settle more easily. The third treatment they usually know what is happening and relax immediately and by the fourth treatment, they know what’s happening and usually will connect immediately and go into a deep Reiki sleep. The Reiki builds upon itself each time you offer a session to the animal.
The wonderful thing about Reiki is anyone can do this. It is easy to learn and can be done anywhere and anytime. We all have the ability to offer Reiki to ourselves and to our animals. The key to being successful is practice. Through the practice of Reiki we can find ways to release fear and worry within ourselves and when we do this, we can then sit with the animals and create a calm space they are attracted to and want to connect to. A healthy animal is naturally in balance. They live in a space with no fear, no worry, with humility and with love and compassion. A stressed or injured animal still has that space within them but is having a hard time connecting to it. With Reiki you create that space for them and when they connect to you, they can begin to bring themselves back to balanced health.
One of the wonderful gifts of Reiki is you are never helpless in any situation with an animal. With Reiki you always have a way to offer compassion, love and care.
If you are interested in learning more about Reiki and taking a class, please visit the SARA website at www.shelteranimalreikiasociation.org. We would also recommend reading “Reiki For Dogs” by Kathleen Prasad. This wonderful book talks in depth about the techniques of Animal Reiki and includes wonderful meditations you can practice with your animal.