Animal Wise: How a Reiki session works

img_0717

The first lesson of animal Reiki? The animal is always at least one step ahead … and that’s OK.

If you are considering Reiki to support a beloved animal’s well-being, it may help to know more about what actually happens during a typical session.

Getting there

For in-person appointments in the Fort Wayne, Indiana area, which last about an hour, I come to your home, barn, or clinic. When I arrive, we can get acquainted and talk about whatever concerns you may have. Then I’ll find a comfortable place to sit or stand near the animal. After I say a silent prayer and gain the animal’s permission to share energy, I will enter a peaceful, meditative state. The animal is free to lie still, stand, move around, eat, get a drink of water, go out for a pit stop, etc. The Reiki energy — the life force that animates all living things — will go right to work, wherever it is needed, regardless.

Why it works

It works for two reasons. First, the energy comes not from me but from a higher power: God, the Universe, All That Is. There are many names. I’m the conduit, not the source. Reiki is a stress relief and relaxation modality and not affiliated with any particular religious tradition, but at the same time, it is based on the notion that the energy comes from a safe, loving place where all living beings are connected.

Second, I am sharing the energy with the animals rather than doing something to them. During a session, cats or dogs will often come closer, curl up next to me, or settle in my lap, but they sometimes prefer to be a few feet away or even leave the room. That’s OK; I won’t chase after them. However they want to participate in a Reiki session, or not, is up to them. It’s really not the same model of the Reiki client lying on the table and the practitioner moving around him or her using the hand positions.

That’s why it works. More often than not, we don’t know how, and that can be hard to get our heads around. I’m a skeptical journalist who never expected to be doing anything like this, and I wouldn’t keep doing it if I didn’t see the benefits.

A peaceful presence

An animal Reiki session is not about fixing the animal or getting rid of what’s wrong. Reiki, which never harms, is about creating and sharing a peaceful space that promotes whatever healing needs to happen. The animals often have a better sense of that than we do, which is all the more reason to let them lead.

You and any other humans or animals present are welcome to be present and may also benefit from the session, but I generally keep conversation to a minimum during the meditation. After about 30 minutes, I will gently bring the meditation to a close and we can talk about any feelings, questions, or impressions that arose. I may share intuitive information I received during the session that might be helpful to you, but I am not a medical professional and do not diagnose. Most animals (and humans) feel relaxed and rejuvenated after a Reiki session.

We can then discuss and/or make an appointment for further treatment. The benefits of Reiki are cumulative and it helps the animal to get to know me over multiple visits, so I generally recommend a series of three sessions over 10 days to three weeks, depending on the animal’s circumstances and needs. Then I’ll be on my way, and you are encouraged to call or email me with any questions or concerns.

Animal Reiki and animal communication

Animal Reiki may involve communication, and I often send distant Reiki energy as part of an animal communication session. However, a Reiki session is a time of meditation and quiet healing, and an animal communication session is about gathering information and insight. So, while there is some overlap between the two, the objectives are different enough that I handle them separately. Please see my animal communication page for more information.

Animal Wise: Essential oil safety

close-up-of-cat-s-nose

Some essential oils can be toxic to cats, even when used in an aromatherapy diffuser. (Foter)

When a journalist friend shared a Snopes Fact Check piece about essential oils being potentially poisonous to cats, I took notice.

Snopes is generally good at sifting out scams and misinformation, and I already knew cats are much more sensitive than other animals to essential oils. When used the wrong way or in the wrong concentration or amount, even diffused, some essential oils can be toxic. That is something every cat guardian — OK, cat staff member — should know. It’s why I am very cautious about using essential oils myself, and why I would never suggest a client use essential oils without first seeking reliable guidance on which oils to use, how, and with what species.

As another journalist friend and cat parent pointed out, the safety of particular essential oils for cats and other animals is best determined not by Snopes but by a veterinarian well educated and experienced in this discipline. That’s when I remembered animalEO, a line of essential oil products developed by holistic veterinarian Dr. Melissa Shelton. A veteran physical therapist and dog parent told me about animalEO, and Dr. Shelton’s Away blend was helpful during last year’s bad tick season. Her website is packed full of information, and there is a very active animalEO Facebook group hosted by Dr. Shelton herself. (Good luck keeping up with the high volume of posts.) Also see her response to the viral post that led to the Snopes piece.

If you are interested in using essential oils and live with any dogs, cats, birds, or other animals, here are my recommendations:

  1. Go to animalEO and find out more about how the animal’s condition might be, or not be, addressed with essential oils. Don’t even think of buying cheaper, lower quality oils, or using blends not formulated for animals.
  2. Take that information and run it by your veterinarian.
  3. If you use essential oils, use as directed. When in doubt, use less rather than more.
  4. Observe carefully. If any adverse effects occur, discontinue use and contact your vet.

Be mindful — not fearful — and remember that “natural” isn’t necessarily beneficial.