When a beloved pet is sick, in pain, or suffering emotionally, our natural instinct is to try to help the animal feel better. We do this through veterinary care, dietary management, and good, old-fashioned affection—petting stroking and cuddling the animal so that it may feel our love and somehow benefit from it. Reiki is an alternative therapeutic treatment that builds upon the notion that love is a healing energy that balances the body and provides peace.

The Origin of Reiki

Discovered and developed in Japan by Dr. Mikao Usui, Reiki first came to light in 1922 as a means of correcting energy imbalances and obstructions within the body. Usui found that he was able to use his hands to channel positive, loving energy, and that this energy could be applied to other humans in a restorative way. Over the decades, Reiki practitioners have followed in Usui's footsteps, channeling energy in order to foster relaxation, reduce pain, and eradicate illness in their clients.

Reiki Benefits Animals

Reiki isn't just for people. Animals who are suffering physically, emotionally, or behaviorally can benefit from Reiki therapy. Reiki pet clinics are found in larger cities, but certified practitioners also exist in small-town veterinary offices, pet stores, animal shelters, and other pet-oriented businesses. Reiki is a gentle, non-invasive therapy that can ease pain, provide peace, and improve an animal's quality of life. If your cat or dog develops troubling symptoms or displays a change in behavior that concerns you, consider using Reiki as a supplement to regular veterinary care.

What Techniques Are Used?

A trained Reiki practitioner may use one of several methods to treat animal clients. "Hands-on" Reiki closely resembles the type of Reiki used on humans: the therapist places his hands on various parts of the animal's body, allowing healing energy to flow into the animal. If the animal rejects this up-close-and-personal approach (sometimes the energy is just too intense), the practitioner may use 'hovering hands", in which he does not physically touch the animal, but holds his hands several inches away from the animal's body. "Beaming" is a technique in which the practitioner sends healing energy to the animal from across the room. "Distance healing" is a more advanced form of Reiki which requires specialized training: the practitioner sends loving thoughts and healing energy to the animal from afar, and may never actually see or touch the animal at all.

Who Performs Reiki Animal Therapy?

To become a Reiki practitioner, one must be trained and certified by a qualified Reiki instructor. Reiki practitioners tend to be open-minded, spiritual people who stake their faith (and in some cases, their livelihood) on the notion that positive, loving energy, though invisible to the human eye, can significantly influence the well-being of all creatures. Guided by intuition, observation, and other pertinent information provided by pet owners, Reiki practitioners open their minds and use their bodies to deliver healing energy to their animal clients.