When I first learned the Reiki symbols and the mantras, I learned how to “give them” to my client or put them “on” or draw them “over” an area that needed healing. Working on self-practice and humans I found good results, but as I found myself working with more and more animals, I had less positive responses. The animals would often get up and walk away when I drew a symbol or visualized a mantra. Over time, I stopped using symbols and mantras when I was with animals, as they seemed to be disturbed by them.
I’d like to talk about physical touch and the animal Reiki session, because I receive a lot of questions about this topic. People often ask me, “What are the hand positions for animal treatment”, or if they’re going to take a class they inquire first, “Are you going to teach the hand positions for dogs and cats?” Or they’ll see a photo of a Reiki session where I’m outside the kennel at a dog shelter and they’ll think it can’t be Reiki because I’m not touching the animal.
Almost all of us who have dogs have experienced working with them through orthopedic injuries or ailments at one time or another. Many of us have rescued dogs who may have come to us injured. Others of us may have dogs who have faced ordeals such as surgery or a long rehabilitation due to orthopedic issues. Healing can take a long time, and issues are often chronic and painful, which takes a toll on us as their loving caregivers, and can also cause stress in our dogs.
In the Let Animals Lead® method, created by Kathleen Prasad, Animal Reiki is defined as holding space for animals through meditation, to support their self-healing. This approach is composed of 6 Pillars of Practice. Kathleen describes these pillars as follows:
1. This method is founded upon traditional Japanese Reiki techniques and philosophy.
Although I learned Reiki initially in 1998, in 2006 I was very excited to learn that Reiki was about meditation and that it was also an internal mindfulness practice, as I had originally learned it as an energy therapy using touch. I loved incorporating the simplicity and power of the Usui Reiki Ryoho meditation-based Reiki system into what I was already doing with animals. So many things I had experienced with animals wanting me to just sit still and hold the space, suddenly fell into place. Since then, I have had hundreds of professional training hours to practice and develop my understanding of these traditional Japanese techniques. These techniques and philosophy are the foundation for my Let Animals Lead® method.