What exactly is Reiki? How can Reiki therapy benefit your pet? We chat to Reiki Master Pauline Baker to find out more about this intriguing alternative treatment.
How did you come to practice Reiki for pets?
I became a Reiki Master in 2003 whilst working as the head kennel-maid of a boarding kennel and cattery. I found that Reiki had a really positive effect in helping different animals settle into the boarding environment. I’ve also had my own variety of rescue creatures, locusts, rats, a cat, various dogs, ferrets and a snake that have all benefited from Reiki treatments throughout their lives. I’ve always had a passion for animals and a natural interest in alternative and complementary therapies, so when I discovered Reiki it just seemed perfect to put the two together.
How does Reiki work?
Reiki literally means ‘Rei’ – ‘spirit’ and ‘ki’ – ‘energy’ and as a Reiki practitioner I am able to channel this energy through my hands. Reiki works by balancing and unblocking the body’s own energy centres and pathways and in turn this supports the body’s ability to heal itself.
Can you talk us through a typical Reiki treatment?
When treating animals you have to work with intuition, read body language and follow the animal’s lead, so treatments can vary from pet to pet. Generally though I would greet the animal and ask their permission to offer them Reiki, I would then sit in the room and allow the Reiki to flow, creating a Reiki space. The animal then has the choice to come closer or stay a comfortable distance away to receive the treatment. Other animals are really happy to receive Reiki ‘hands on’. Here I would sit and place my hands where the Reiki flow is strongest, either on the animal or at a slight distance, sometimes the animal will position themselves under my hands in a particular place of their choosing. A treatment could last around 45 minutes to an hour or more, again depending on the animal. The most important thing is not to go into a treatment with preconceived ideas of how it should go, but to go in and listen to the animal and adjust the treatment to suit.
What type of pet is an ideal candidate for a Reiki treatment?
Absolutely any pet could benefit from Reiki, from dogs, cats and small mammals to exotics, fish or birds. As Reiki can be sent over a distance a vivarium, tank or cage is not a barrier, there doesn’t have to be physical contact. So potentially any animal in any situation could receive a treatment.
What kind of issues can be treated using Reiki?
Reiki works on a physical, mental and emotional level so as well as easing physical ailments, for example, reducing inflammation and pain, aiding recovery post-op, or accelerating the healing in sick or injured animals, Reiki can also help ease stress and anxieties that may have been caused by an emotional trauma or physical abuse. Healthy animals can benefit by enhancing their relaxation and providing a sense of contentment which in turn will help to maintain their health and for animals at their end time, Reiki is a gentle way to provide comfort and ease their transition. Reiki is also a wonderful complement to other therapies conventional or otherwise.
What do you love about doing Reiki?
I love being able to work on a personal and one to one level with different animals and that I am able to tailor each treatment to suit. Reiki is so versatile and can work in many different ways and in many different situations. Seeing Reiki work its magic is quite an honour and I never tire of seeing even the smallest of responses to it, for example a tense, nervous cat who after 10 minutes or so of Reiki will close his eyes, relax his stance and purr quietly. As a Reiki practitioner I am there simply to facilitate this flow of energy and even after doing it all these years it still amazes me. Reiki becomes a way of life and to be able to offer this to animals for me is the best job in the world.