How a Reiki session works

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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 participate 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.

Is distant healing really a thing?

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Photo credit: norsez {Thx for 13 million views!} via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

One of the coolest things about Reiki is that, being energy, it is not subject to time or space. Therefore, a Reiki practitioner can work with a client without the use of touch, or without even being in the same room. Or the same country. I can send Reiki to my brother in the Philippines from my Indiana home in the U.S. The energy goes where it needs to go, with no roaming charges.

Still, it’s one thing to believe that Reiki and other complementary healing modalities work hands-on — but the practitioner actually being able to do something for a person or animal miles away? How is that even possible? It’s a tough concept for this skeptical journalist, too, and I can’t explain how it works. I only know that it does.

A friend’s mother’s cat — I’ll call her Maisie — had been anxious, over-grooming to the point that her back legs were nearly bald. My friend mentioned her mom had just installed new flooring and wondered if that could be what was bothering Maisie. In any case, both she and her mom were worried. Wanting to help and knowing I could use the practice, I promised to send Maisie some healing energy.

That afternoon, when I sat down to meditate, I drew all of the Reiki symbols in the air, making sure to include the distant healing symbol. I asked God to let me be a conduit for whatever Maisie, and all humans and animals connected with her, needed. Then I took a few deep breaths and intuitively connected with Maisie, whom I had never met and who lived a couple of hours away. I introduced myself and asked her permission to send healing energy, explaining that she was free to decline or to take as much or as little of the energy as she wished. This is important: Whether distant or hands-on, it’s always up to the animal. If I’d sensed her turning or moving away or felt any apprehension on her part, we would have been done, with me perhaps asking if I could check in with her the next day.

Once I felt Maisie say yes, I pictured her inside a soft bubble of light, enveloped by healing energy from the earth below her and the sky above her. Animals ground with their feet, so it made sense that the new floor, with its unfamiliar feel and smells (along with strange humans in the house installing it), exacerbated whatever other anxiety she felt. I also sent healing energy to the house, envisioning a safe and happy place for all who live or visit there.

After twenty or thirty minutes, I sensed she’d had enough for the day. I thanked her, told her, “You’ve got this,” and closed the session with a brief prayer of thanks. I repeated this for three or four successive days.

It took another week or so before I remembered to ask my friend if her mom had said anything about how Maisie was doing.

“Oh, my gosh, she is doing so much better!” she said. The fur had started to grow back on Maisie’s legs … and she was playing and accepting human affection in a way she had not done in quite a while.

Did I heal Maisie? No. As a Reiki practitioner, I am the string between two cans … Maisie and a higher source, however she might conceive of such, being the two cans. Any healing that happened did so by God’s grace and Maisie’s willingness, in that peaceful space we created, to heal herself.

This is why Reiki works so well with animals, who so often are at the mercy of us humans: They are respected, and they get to choose.

To learn more or schedule a session for your animal friend, visit my Reiki page.