by Nikki Caddick
What is Reiki?
Reiki is an ancient Japanese method of natural healing. Rei means “universal” and Ki mean “life force energy”. This energy flows through people, animals, trees and plants. Originally founded by Mikao Usui in the early 20th Century, the tradition has evolved into the Reiki treatments we see today. We all have an inner energy and to be able to use this energy on other people we have to be “attuned” to our inner Reiki, as this allows a clear pathway for the energy to flow. Reiki then revitalises and balances the energies in our bodies to improve health and reduce stresses or anxieties. Reiki is a natural complementary therapy to help healing on a physical and psychological level.
The person attuned to Reiki is the giver of energy and this allows the receiver to “self heal”. You can use Reiki alongside prescribed treatments (human and animal). It is non invasive, non harmful, non forceful and non addictive. Reiki can be given as often as required and you cannot overdose. Animals who are in pain or anxious seem to sense there is something positive rather than harmful and they will often seek the Reiki energy.
How can Reiki help dogs?
Dogs who are stressed, fearful, anxious or depressed can all benefit from Reiki. It can help calm your dog by releasing tension and anxieties, and thereby reduce your dog’s stress levels. Reiki can be used at any time for fears, phobias (including fireworks), vet visits, grooming and general well being.
Receiving Reiki is simple. The giver of Reiki will place their hands on or near the receiver’s body (not specifically in the area affected, as the energy will flow through the body and be received in the areas where it is required). The life force energy then flows through the giver’s hands into the receiver. Sessions can last as long as the animal is happy to receive the flow of energy, and they can choose to move away at any point. To offer hands on Reiki you need to be attuned to Reiki Level 1. An alternative method is distance healing, where you can give Reiki energy to anyone around the world. To offer distance healing you must be attuned to Reiki Level 2.
My Reiki journey
My Reiki journey started during my Complementary Therapy module while studying for my degree in Dog Behaviour and Training. I was looking for alternative therapies that could be used to help with canine behaviour problems, specifically for nervous and fearful dogs where my main interest lies. One of my first puppy party clients recommended Reiki to help with emotional problems in dogs. Although sadly she is no longer with us, I feel I am continuing her Reiki journey. At first I was intrigued but was sceptical at the same time. How was it possible that by laying my hands on or near a person or dog, I could create healing powers that could help with pain relief, stress and anxiety?
Becoming Reiki attuned
Almost a year later I took the plunge and contacted Rob Fellows from Reiki4Dogs, applying to complete his Reiki Animal Healer 1st degree Reiki course. I remember saying to Paul my partner, “Well if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work but I really want to try”. Rob said he would do my attunements via distance healing. He advised me on the date the attunement would take place and an approximate time.
Around five minutes after the anticipated time, my dogs (who are usually asleep at this time of day) suddenly jumped up and came and sat in front of me. They then tried to rub their bodies on my hands. I mentioned this to Rob and he advised me that the dogs could sense something happening. After a few minutes they stopped and went back to sleep.
Over the following few months I noticed I was calmer in situations that would normally create stress or anxiety. I also noticed our three dogs were much calmer and more relaxed.
Reiki for human healing
Although my reasons for learning Reiki were to help with stress, anxiety and emotional conditions in canine behaviour management, in December 2015 I used my Reiki energy as a pain management and to help the healing process for my partner Paul. Paul had shattered his finger in a work-based accident. At first he was as sceptical as I was in the beginning, but I explained it wouldn’t cause any harm and if anything could quicken his healing process. He gave me the go ahead.
Paul commented that his fingers felt warm (which is a sign of receiving Reiki energy), his pain reduced and he felt as if the fragments were healing and coming back together. On his hospital visits they were impressed how quickly the skin around the fracture was healing.
A work colleague had recevied surgery on her back five years previously, was still in constant pain and had limited movement in her back. I did a very quick Reiki session for around ten minutes, placing my hands near to her area of pain. I don’t think I had ever made her speechless before! It was the first time in five years she felt pain free and had a more flexibility in her back.
The good thing about Reiki is it is always there, regardless of whether you intentionally use it.
Using Reiki as a veterinary nurse
I am a veterinary nurse as well as a dog trainer and behaviourist, and in both professions we see a lot of dogs who are stressed, anxious and have emotional instability. I have not changed how I talk to or approach dogs in either environment, the only difference being that I am attuned to Reiki. I have had many comments by owners who have been completely surprised that their dog seems relaxed in the consultation room and actually happy to be there, when previously their dog is usually scared or aggressive when they come to the veterinary practice.
When the owner has requested the dog be muzzled because it has bitten before, the owner is even more surprised when we apply the muzzle and their dog is still calm and relaxed. These are the days that make me happy to be doing the jobs that I do.
Only a few weeks ago we had a dog in the practice who was reactive towards people. I had seen this dog on a couple of previous occasions but not often enough for him to desensitise to the practice and veterinary staff, however he had always seemed fine and happy. The vet asked for my help because on this occasion the dog was lunging and growling at her and the owner had mentioned he had previously been ok with me.
On entering the room, before I spoke or touched the dog, his body language went from “I am so scared” to “I am so happy”. He was wagging his tail and he launched himself at me trying to lick me through the muzzle. Once he settled I placed my hands on him, gently rubbing his shoulders and the vet administere his injection. No barking, lunging or growling. This confirms my previous comment that dogs will gravitate towards Reiki energy.
Although at times I have not intentionally used Reiki energy it is always there. Feedback from customers shows me that dogs are much more relaxed and happier coming in for consultations since I have been attuned to Reiki.
Reiki for Macey with dementia
Macey our Labrador has dementia and this causes her stress and anxiety. By using a combination of Reiki and Crystal Therapy alongside veterinary prescribed drugs she is calmer, more relaxed and enjoying her life once again.
Reiki for Pepper’s barking
At the time of writing this article we are on holiday in Scotland and when people walk past our car Peppa, our Cocker Spaniel, will bark. Peppa is a nervous barker when she is uncomfortable, scared or spooked. I gave her a couple of sessions of Reiki the week before we went away, and this was the only difference to her normal routine.
We stopped at a distillery on the way to our holiday cottage and I was completely surprised by Pepper’s non reactiveness. 15-20 people walked past the back of the car and some stopped to talk behind the car. I assumed Peppa was asleep until I looked up and saw her looking out of the back window, wagging her tail – with no barking or growling!
Looking to the future
Reiki is hard to explain and I’m sure reading this article you think I’m a little crazy for believing this works, however the evidence I have seen so far is astounding. Since seeing such positve results I have since been attuned to Reiki Level 2, which allows me to give distance healing.
I was very sceptical when first starting my Reiki journey, however I believe it is an awesome complementary therapy. I will continue my Reiki journey, helping dogs with emotional support for their stresses and anxieties.
If you are unsure whether Reiki is for you, why not give it a go? After all you have nothing to lose!
Would you like a Reiki session or to learn more?
Nikki Caddick can be contacted for distance Reiki on 07507 667116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about Reiki, attunements and courses please contact Rob Fellows www.reiki4dogs.co.uk.