Words: Rob Fellows
Reiki (pronounce ray-key) has been available as a holistic therapy since the early 20th century but it has only relatively recently been regarded as a healing choice for pets – especially dogs.
Dogs love this form of hands-on healing which is often used as a welcome complement to prescribed veterinary treatment or simply enjoyed on its own as a pampering treat. In the hurly-burly world of living with humans, Reiki’s therapeutic touch can leave canine recipients feeling physically relaxed, emotionally balanced and often…happily, fast asleep!
So, what is Reiki?
In the dazzling array of holistic therapies on offer today, Reiki appears to have maintained its straightforward stance as a no-nonsense, non-invasive, only-ever-does-good therapy. It emerged from Japan in the early 20thcentury as a form of ‘energy’ healing designed to improve people’s overall well-being which the Reiki practitioner achieves by balancing the energy fields in and around the body leaving the client relaxed, de-stressed and perfectly calm.
Person or pooch, there is no difference in the way Reiki is transferred from the practitioner’s hands to the recipient. Human subjects remain fully-clothed and dogs don’t need to do anything but be themselves. Dogs can choose to sit or lie comfortably for the therapy session which normally lasts between 20 minutes to an hour depending on how long the dog wants the Reiki. It’s not unusual for dogs to settle almost immediately under the hands-on warmth and relax into the comforting and calming influence of the Reiki. On the rare occasion that a dog doesn’t take to Reiki, they will do what dogs do - vote with their paws! It’s highly likely that they will wander around the room for a short-time and then turn to the practitioner for a second try. And maybe, stay for more.
When can Reiki work best for dogs?
Reiki was developed by Mikao Usui from Japan to ease anxiety and help people attain a high level of relaxation and calm. A century later, that remains its purpose with pets included as recipients. It’s worth pointing out that Reiki should be regarded as complimentary, and not alternative, and anyone giving Reiki shouldn’t make any diagnosis unless they are a qualified vet. However, what Reiki can do is provide beneficial, complementary therapy to pets coping with a wide variety of illnesses.
International Reiki Master Teacher Rob Fellows started his journey with Reiki because he wanted to help his Springer Spaniel, Joe, who was suffering with arthritis.
Twenty-years ago, when Rob was suffering with lower-back pain he discovered Reiki on the recommendation of a friend and was amazed how easily and effectively it eased away his pain. At the same time, his dog Joe was on medication for arthritis, but there were times in the day when he was often in discomfort and that’s when Rob decided that as Reiki had helped him, Reiki was likely to help Joe too, as Rob explains:
“I had gained so much benefit for my back pain from Reiki I decided to learn Reiki myself so I could help give Joe some comfort when he needed it particularly at night and in the morning. Our vet was happy with that because it ran alongside the medication and I was relieved that I could do something to help my dog when he needed some extra comfort. Joe enjoyed Reiki for the rest of his life. And, looking back, I see how Reiki helped us bond even closer, especially in his final years.”
Who can give Reiki?
As Rob’s story shows, Reiki is not so much a gift as an opportunity for anyone to learn, or rather be ‘attuned’ to Reiki. “As a practitioner it’s wonderful to see an animal react to the calming effects of Reiki,” says Rob. “Often, they fall asleep during a session which is reassuring for me as the ‘giver’ and it’s also hugely rewarding for me to be able to coach others to become Reiki givers so they too can feel that great sense of reward in being able to help their pets. I never hold back from saying that anyone who wants to give Reiki – can do it. Your hands are the only tools you need, and everyone has the natural, in-built ability to give Reiki. It just needs to be released.” The ‘release’ – usually called the attunement - is simply achieved under the direction of a Reiki Master and, after that has taken place, the ability to give hands-on Reiki is present and it will last a lifetime.
How can Reiki benefit dogs?
Dogs and humans have a similar body structure and consequently they can suffer from a similar range of physical and psychological conditions. On its own, Reiki can bring calm and relaxation but as a complementary therapy (following veterinary diagnosis and appropriate treatment prescribed), it can bring much needed comfort and helps speed-up the healing process. This means the ‘giver’ will concentrate their hands on any area of discomfort the ‘receiver’ has or move their hands gradually and gently over the entire body to restore physical and emotional balance and great calm by encouraging the body’s natural self-healing powers. There is no manipulation or invasion of the body. It is a particularly simple therapy to learn and administer.
Reiki’s most precious benefit is the creation of calm. This is massively helpful for a dog that suffers on-going bouts of anxiety or displays a fear of loud noises, such as fireworks. There’s an extensive list of benefits connected to Reiki including increased energy levels, reduced blood pressure, a boosted immune system, an aid to better sleep, and an accelerator to self-healing. As a holistic therapy it’s a relief for people learning Reiki to know that it does no harm and cannot be done wrongly.
Dogs don’t have to have any health conditions in order to benefit as Reiki can be given regularly for general wellbeing and to enhance the bond between owner and their dogs.
Training and beyond
To help those who want to take-up Reiki to help their own pet or add a skill to offer in their job in animal care, Reiki Master Teacher Rob Fellows has developed a range of easy, accessible training options including a live one-day course or an easy home-study course each resulting in a qualification to do hands-on Reiki therapy. Being able to bring the natural healing of Reiki to our loved ones, including our pets is a way of reaching out to them with extra kindness and care. Its gentle, totally natural, non-manipulative healing therapy offers all the qualities of a hands-on, bonding therapy. It can also be the ultimate in pampering and it’s all available at our fingertips.
For more information visit: www.robfellowsreiki.com