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A Brief Introduction to Animal Reiki

It’s been a while since I’ve written an introduction to Animal Reiki, so I thought I’d write a few of my thoughts about this topic for you today.

According to the 2021-2022 National Pet Owners Survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), about 70% of US households have an animal. This number is 58% in Canada (according to the Canadian Animal Health Institute) about 59% for the UK (according to and about 38% in Europe (according to The European Pet Food Federation).

With so many millions of households bringing animals into their families, it is also wonderful to see the explosion of Animal Reiki practitioners and schools around the world. Animal lovers are always looking for ways to increase the quality of their animals’ lives, including finding better quality diets, offering fun and stimulating exercise and games, and of course, sharing holistic modalities to alleviate suffering and improve overall quality of life. Animals can benefit from all the same holistic healing modalities as we do, including acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, homeopathy and flower essences and so on, however for me, Animal Reiki is my favorite way to bring healing, peace and compassion to my animals’ lives every single day!

What is Animal Reiki?

Reiki comes from the Japanese words Reiki, meaning spirit and Ki, meaning energy. It is usually translated as “spiritual energy,” or “universal life-force energy.” A lesser-used definition of the word Reiki that I’ve come to really appreciate is “Soul Power.” For me, this really speaks to the essence of our being, and the healing power innate in it. It also implies responsibility, for with every action we choose, we create an energetic ripple effect into our world. When we wake up to the healing power of our soul’s presence, we realize that each and every moment we are influencing our world, and we must decide exactly what that influence will be.

Reiki is not just a word about the essence of being, it is also a spiritual healing practice created by Mikao Usui in Japan 100 years ago. Although his original practice centered on creating a balanced life through the 5 Reiki Precepts: For today only, do not anger, do not worry, be grateful, work diligently and be kind to others – as well as hands-on healing sessions for the self and others, animal lovers have noticed that animals gravitate to the peaceful energy Reiki creates, and can benefit from Reiki in similar ways. Because animals are so sensitive to the energy of the people around them, it makes sense that when people learn to balance and harmonize their own minds, bodies and spirits, this shift in energy attracts animals, makes them feel comfortable and safe, and creates stress-relief.

Simply put, Animal Reiki is meditating with animals for peace and healing. The biggest benefits of Animal Reiki are stress-relief, a strong sense of well-being and a greater quality of life. In the Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki, that I have created through many years of practice, we use a new approach and method of sharing Reiki with animals. These changes keep the spirit and original teachings of Usui intact as much as possible, while modifying the physical and mental approach of the practitioner in order to make sure animals are empowered to choose how (and indeed, if) they want to connect for healing. Honoring the choices and wisdom of animals in their own unique healing journeys is the most ethical way to help animals with Reiki. The central teachings of the Let Animals Lead® method can be found in the 6 Pillars of Practice.

Can Reiki help all species of animals, even wild animals?

The human approach to Reiki is much more problematic on animals that are not comfortable with physical touch. Human Reiki teaches “beaming” Reiki from the hands when no physical contact is involved, which is a technique that can disturb our wild and sensitive friends. However, by using the Let Animals Lead® method of Animal Reiki, because of the ethical modifications made, such as letting go of our hands in order to honor animal choices, even the most wild and untrusting animals can be offered Animal Reiki sessions.

What about traumatized, weak or dying animals? Is it safe to share Reiki?

The human approach to Reiki can feel uncomfortable to fragile and traumatized animals because of their sensitivity to intentions such as beaming or a strong mental focus on what is “wrong.” The Let Animals Lead® method teaches very specific and unique mental focus techniques that ensure even the most fragile animals will feel respected, comfortable, safe and empowered to lead their own healing process.

Is Animal Reiki only for sick animals?

Animal Reiki always brings safety, comfort, peace and well-being, so why wouldn’t we want to share with our animals all the time, even if they are healthy and happy? I see Animal Reiki as a kind of “spa day” for animals who already feel good: why not make a good day great?! Plus, one of the special benefits of sharing Reiki with your animals is that it deepens your bond and relationship with them in beautiful ways.

The Effectiveness of Animal Reiki

In my own experience of thousands of anecdotal cases, I have seen Animal Reiki bring stress-relief and peace to animals of many species, ages and conditions, from shelter dogs to community cats, guinea pigs and parakeets to snakes (both domestic and wild) and lizards, farm animals such as horses, cows, pigs, goats and sheep and exotic animals such as tigers, bears, leopards, alligators and monkeys.

Here are some examples of how different kinds of animals respond to Reiki:

In addition to my own countless personal experiences, I have heard amazing stories of the myriad of benefits for both the animals and their humans, from my thousands of students around the world! I’ve been practicing for over 24 years and teaching for over 21, so you can imagine how many anecdotal stories of Reiki positivity I’ve heard!

Are There Scientific Studies that Prove Animal Reiki’s Effectiveness?

Physiologically, Reiki has been shown to be effective in activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Two scientific studies were also conducted with rats and produced clear, objective evidence of a benefit of Reiki for stress reduction, however, I personally find these studies unethical (inducing stress to prove you can reduce stress).

For human patients with chronic health conditions, Reiki has been found to be more effective than placebo for reducing pain and anxiety, depression, and for improving self-esteem and quality of life. Reiki should be regarded as a complement (not an alternative) to conventional medicine and other therapies. (See “Reiki Is Better Than Placebo and Has Broad Potential as a Complementary Health Therapy” for more details about 13 peer-reviewed scientific studies of Reiki from 1998-2016.)

I hope all of these articles and resources support each of you in spreading Animal Reiki and its healing benefits to as many animals as possible 🙂 What the world needs is more compassion and peace everywhere, for animals, humans and for this beautiful and fragile planet on which we live! Through our Let Animals Lead® practice, we’re able to remember our inner Reiki, or great soul power and the responsibility we have to cultivate and strengthen balance, grounding, peace and positivity for the betterment of our world.

Mark your calendars for May’s Animal Reiki Talk, a free monthly Podcast!

May’s topic is “Distant Animal Reiki Sessions: Best Tips” Tuesday, May 3, 2022 6pm Pacific time CLICK HERE to join live online and/or listen in later.

And finally, this week’s “Animal Reiki Q and A” video is: “I’m nervous about an animal having a healing reaction during the session and what to do. If an animal has an intense reaction should we stop, and how do we explain it to the owner?”

Subscribe to my YouTube channel and turn notifications on to see them when they’re first released!

Stay safe, be well and may the animals light your way,

Photo Copyright, Lexie Cataldo

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