1. This method is founded upon traditional Japanese Reiki techniques and philosophy.
In 2006, I read The Japanese Art of Reiki by Bronwen and Frans Stiene. This book opened my eyes to the ways Reiki complemented my martial arts practice. I was very excited to learn that Reiki was about meditation and an internal mindfulness practice, as I had originally learned it as an energy therapy using touch. When I first trained with Frans in 2007, I was absolutely blown away by the simplicity and power of the Usui Reiki Ryoho meditation-based Reiki system. 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 done hundreds of professional training hours with Frans to practice and develop my understanding of these traditional Japanese techniques. These techniques and philosophy are the foundation for my Let Animals Lead™ method, and I am so grateful to Frans for his research into the origins of the system of Reiki, and his generosity in sharing these techniques with his students.
One of my favorite things about sanctuary animals is their incredible ability to live in the moment. No matter their past, no matter their physical ailments—these special creatures understand innately how to embrace love, mindfulness and spirituality.
I see it time and again when I sit with animals at a sanctuary or shelter and share Reiki. And when I listen close, they have much to teach. In fact, it’s almost as if they want us to learn the ancient wisdom of finding happiness.
Wednesday, March 1, was National Pig Day—and whenever I think of pigs, I cannot help but remember Harley, an amazing pig who touched my heart and the hearts of many lucky enough to know him.
Harley was a beautiful, 800-pound black-and-white pig who lived many happy years at BrightHaven sanctuary in Northern California. Five years ago, on July 11, he passed away—and is still sorely missed by me, so many of my students, and everyone who knew him. He was such an amazing soul that I feel the need to write about his life for those of you who didn’t get the opportunity to meet him in person.
With Reiki increasingly gaining acceptance—not just in the U.S. but across the world—I’m seeing more and more animal organizations not just accepting Reiki, but loving the holistic modality and making a concerted effort to share Reiki with their animals. This is a dream come true for me: I co-founded the nonprofit SARA (Shelter Animal Reiki Association) with the goal of rolling out animal Reiki programs into communities globally. To see animal Reiki being embraced on a wider scale is truly incredible!
Have you been wanting to pioneer an animal Reiki program in your local shelter, or expand an existing one? For inspiration, check out the following amazing SARA-affiliated animal organizations that are embracing Reiki. (Visit their websites for more information and to learn how you can help them.) The more people and organizations that follow in their footsteps, the more animals that can be helped:
One of the best things about Reiki is how deeply it relaxes animals, even those that are incredibly anxious, depressed or sick. Witnessing firsthand so many happy, calm and blissed-out animals following my Reiki sessions keeps me motivated every single day.
Below are a few of my favorite photos and videos of animals loving Reiki. Most of these were taken at BrightHaven, a holistic hospice for animals in Santa Rosa, California, where I’ve had the honor to teach monthly Reiki courses for more than 12 years: