There are countless ways to ensure your pets are happy and healthy — feeding them, bringing them to the vet for routine checkups, grooming, and walking them daily are only a few crucial aspects of pet-parenting. But one type of treatment that many pet parents wonder about is pet reiki — what is it, and why might it be something to consider for your beloved fur baby?
Green Matters spoke with registered nurse, seasoned shelter volunteer, certified dog trainer, animal behaviorist analyst, and reiki master for animals, Michelle Manganiello of Paws & Rewind, to discuss pet reiki, and how it could potentially augment your fur baby's life. It could certainly be something to consider.
What exactly is pet reiki?
Medical News Today defines reiki as a spiritual, energy-healing practice from Japan that removes energy blockages surrounding the body. And animal reiki, Manganiello explains, is a very similar concept with similar benefits. It's a non-invasive healing practice that spiritual healers use to promote health and relaxation, through gentle and powerful healing sessions that involve little to no touching — mainly energy movement.
"Basically, I tell people reiki is energy healing. We are all made of energy. Reiki compliments medical treatment and is non-invasive... I do realize many people are skeptical since they can't see or touch reiki but it does work — it brings peace and healing to pets," Manganiello tells us.
Take a look at the below video from animal reiki specialist, Kathleen Prasad (Animal Reiki Source), to see what a dog reiki session might look like. Although it certainly looks a little different from a typical human reiki session, it's a powerful form of therapy nonetheless, that Manganiello says is associated with a myriad of benefits.
Why do most pet parents bring their pets to a reiki specialist?
There are many reasons a pet parent might turn to reiki, Manganiello tells us — it could be for the sake of your cat or dog's mental health, or their physical health. Like acupuncture or cryotherapy, it's a treatment that's both emotionally and physically healing, and it's proven to help with a wide variety of issues.
"Anxiety and fear or stress are the most common reasons for pet owners to come to me for Reiki. The anxiety, fear, or stress can be from many reasons including an illness, shelter or past trauma, to name a few," Manganiello says. "I also see dogs to use reiki in conjunction with traditional medical healing from an illness such as post operative ACL repair, stomach issues, or even cancer."
What do pets experience in a pet reiki session?
Obviously, your pets' experiences will vary, depending on the specialist, the type of animal, and their troubles. But oftentimes, it involves relaxing music, good energy, and soothing movements, and more. Manganiello, who does both in-person and virtual sessions, says that regardless of what the reiki is being used to treat, animals are generally more susceptible to reiki than humans, and often leave feeling relaxed.
"Depending on the dog, I can perform a distance or in-person reiki session. Animals rely on intuition and energy therefore they are very open to reiki. They guide me to the problem and it may not be what their owner brought them in for," Manganiello explains.
"If I do an in person session I will sit quietly with the dog and perform reiki. The room or space should be calm and quiet. I don't really need information from the pet owner as the animals energy will guide me to problems or energy blockages (in chakras)."
"I do the majority of my animal reiki as distance reiki, though I do ask for a picture of the animal," she says.
"I tell the people the time I am doing and only ask the dog be as relaxed as possible during this time. If you can sit your your pet it is a plus for both of you. I will report my findings when complete and many times it is not only what they came to me for. Over the next few days energy shifts take place and healing occurs."
What are the short- and long-term benefits of pet reiki?
Whether your dog suffers from PTSD, anxiety, or health problems, pet reiki combats stress and pain, and Manganiello even notes that many of clients ultimately have decreased anxiety long-term, and can often decrease or stop medication altogether.
"Short term, [your pet is able to] relax and be peaceful," she tells us. "Long term benefits are decreased pain, faster healing, more confidence, less stress, and fear — and much less or no anxiety."
"[Many] are able to decrease or stop meds for anxiety, and it helps with overall health and well being. I find the more times I work with a dog they become more trusting and open," Manganiello explains. "Owners reported less pain and fear, in the case of shelter dogs [after each session]," she says. "Reiki can do no harm — only good."
Regardless of what exactly is troubling your pet, reiki is certainly something to consider. Your beloved fur baby deserves nothing but healthy energy.